Saturday, November 20, 2010


The following is a transcript of _____'s very candid audio notes (transferred from camera phone) chronicling the initial inception phase, as well as three character profiles, for the re-tooled "Deeply Damaged: Cautiously Approaching Death On The Shore":

Lee Copperhead was the childless, barrel-chested, unaccredited principal of a Messianic Jewish Pentecostal day school. He had no formal training or college degree, but his beard made him look supremely magisterial and I harbor suspicions that he got the job based on his patented Facial-Hair alone. His unfortunately deep-set eyes always seemed to be thoughtfully locked squarely on people's foreheads, just out of step with the eyes of whoever he was addressing. Being as that most student interactions with him were positioned so as he was behind them while he un-spared the rod, this quirk rarely impinged on effective communication. Naturally, he charmed the pants off Old Man and Old Woman.

One of the ways Lee implemented his own specific brand of micro-management was to burst into Hebrew class unannounced and declare that it was time to pick a girl and watch as she attempted to take the shape of various letters of the Hebrew alphabet with her body. He would be on hand to assist with the particularly dexterous positions, while simple letters like "Alef" could be admired from a distance. Sadly, he would administer back rubs with his weird hands which he, no doubt, likened as unto a carpenter's or something.

Lee's wife was one of two school secretaries, which, in retrospect, must be way up there with non-event jobs. The entire school, kindergarten through grade 16, was comprised of 30 kids, max. My eighth grade class had two students, me and an all-star contortionist. They had two receptionists. This was at the kind of school where kids jeeringly taunted, "Pride comes before a fall!" when you hit a double in kick-ball.

So, maybe you're the kind of camera phone that can deduce that Lee loved the young ladies, which is unfortunate, as his wife, the receptionist from earlier, appeared to be a good 25 years his senior. The way I imagine Lee now is having been a second wave modern Messianic Jew (there's a pretty significant gap between the waves of the 1st and 20th Centuries) and joining up right as the utopian 80's years of the Messianic Jewish counter-culture was tapering off. I'm sure the prospect of an easy-in to the community with a mature, sensual woman-elder of the compound was absolutely scintillating at the time, but no doubt as the idealism of the early 80's fazed out, and beards became less and less statement-oriented, the relationship had cooled.

Lee wouldn't be on hand for my 8th grade year as he got a case of the bed bugs and decided to run off with receptionist number 2 who, sadly, was much older than he. Mohammed married older. According to some non-corrupted biographical information, one of modernity's Shamans, the Viking of 6th Street, also had a penchant for strictly older women, and while there may be some room to draw a parallel between paddling kids and drumming, a blind street-genius Lee was not. That's not to say that he didn't enter into an authentic enlightened trance while hitting kids.

I managed to give Lee a pretty wide berth for a little while, but it was only a matter of time before he wanted to spank me.

One day in chapel I took it upon myself to share a vision with the school. Lee had just given a talk about obeying the teaching staff, and I was overcome with a vision of a bearded man standing on a mountain,

"And his tongue wasn't a human tongue, but a sword! And he used this sword to cut children in half like so many defenseless bed bugs! In one hand he held the thigh of a virgin and in the other a paddle, pointed towards Jerusalem! People would gather around because they assumed that all the blood at his feet was the blood of the Lamb, but it was actually children-blood! The blood of a million children's uniform pants! And the blood would not turn into wine! He would use his influence to convince people to give up their children to his tutelage! He made it rain toothbrushes so that there wouldn't be but one dirty toilet-bowl in all the four-corners of the earth! Because the earth is flat, and so it only stands to reason that it has four corners! And folksy punishments fly in the face of a culture absent of values! This false prophet was given authority over a small flock hidden way, way down in the valley where no one ever went, so no one could hear him sowing lies in the ears of God's children! But God saw him and judged his heart!"

It was obvious to Lee that my verbal exorcisms were not taking and, as he saw it, the only course of action God was leaving him was to physically assault the demons. I was in 7th grade and it would only be a few more years before even Old Woman would abandon this technique, so I was having none of it. Knowing that a physical altercation, other than a consensual beating, was beyond what even Lee was willing to dole out (the beard couldn't justify everything), and I walked on home.

Along the way, which passed through a few neighborhood backyards, I was stopped by Satan and, what appeared to be, a future version of Lee, shorn of his beard. He was no longer staring confidently at anybody's forehead, and an otter's jawbone hung limply at his side, like he was embarrassed of it.

"Servant! I have revealed myself to you in order to show that this man's future sin, which you won't be privy to until you're old enough to hear that kind of talk, completely disproves my existence! Now, we have something of a trip ahead of us."