He’d been waiting for an hour.
Well, maybe not a whole hour, but it sure felt like it. The little girl who sat next to him had been waiting for a long time, too. He could tell by the way she squirmed in her seat and the panic in her eyes.
A second-grader with three older sisters, Greg didn’t normally feel sorry for girls.
But this was different. He felt sorry for every kid in Sister Ignatius’ class—even the mean boys who made him pick his nose and eat it during recess.
In any case, Sister Ignatius had a strict rule regarding interruptions: “Do NOT.” Therefore, no one dared raise a hand during her spelling rants. The whole class was afraid of her, and with good reason: The horror stories passed down from older siblings to younger were turning out to be true.
Connie, Greg’s eldest sister, liked to tell about the time Sister Ignatius (Iggy) grabbed her by the back of the neck and repeatedly slammed her head against her desk for getting 33% (an F) on a phonics test. Iggy’d left thumb and fingerprint bruises on that tender part, right below her ears, and a bloody nose.
That afternoon when Connie told the folks, she got Dad’s belt instead of sympathy.
They were ‘good Catholics’ and assumed the nuns could do no wrong. Connie must’ve deserved it.
Greg was in kindergarten then, so had no recollection of the incident. He didn’t believe it the first several times he’d heard it. He did now, though, because of what happened to Jimmy Cooper yesterday.
In the middle of the Spelling Bee, Jimmy let his pencil roll off his desk and onto the floor. Wild-eyed, Sister Ignatius stomped over to Jimmy’s desk and rapped his knuckles five times with a splintered wooden ruler. He wouldn’t cry, though, which served to fueled Iggy’s rage and so she slapped him. Jimmy still didn’t cry.
Then the bell rang so she had to stop.
If that’s what happens when you drop a pencil, imagine if…
And then, from the corner of his eye, a yellow puddle began to form in the aisle. He glanced at the little girl and saw tears spilling down her cheeks.
The puddle meandered its way toward the front of the classroom—and Iggy. It was inches—no, centimeters—away from her ugly black boots.
All hell was about to break loose. He knew he had to do something…but what?
What happened next, Greg would later describe as Divine Intervention.
Unaware, Iggy took a step and went sliding. The back of her head cracked against the edge of her desk…or maybe it was the chair—it happened so fast that none of the kids remembered, exactly. Either way, she landed flat on her back. Her veil and head dress had fallen off in the process, revealing a few wiry strands of hair.
Iggy was bald!