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You Think G-D Would Have Given you Hair Like That if He Loved You?
By Deborah Stoll

My head is bleeding profusely from being pushed off the monkey bars by Thandie Gross, whose nose is bleeding as a result of my having socked her in the face, the sock itself the result of being pushed off the monkey bars in the first place.

I grimace in pain at the front of the administration desk in an attempt to be noticed by Miss Sherry, who is in charge of handing out passes which are needed for EVERYTHING. Right now, I need to get to the infirmary. I can feel the blood running down the back of my head in a rivulet, snaking its way underneath my dirt-stained collar. Miss Sherry has already told me to stand quietly and wait my turn, but there are no other turns for which to wait. I stand alone. I sigh.

"Ms. Stoll, I will attend to you once you have obeyed the rules -- remain quiet and stand behind the dotted line."

I turn to look behind me -- a dotted line painted like a highway stretches along the floor from one end of the front counter to the other. I move behind it. And wait. Miss Sherry continues to read whatever it is she's reading with the kind of intent usually reserved for Members of The President's Cabinet when deciding whether or not to invade, you know, Whoever. I start to have what must be an acid flashback. My two older brothers often spend the night with their friends sneaking booze out of our parents' liquor cabinet (called the White Piece for some reason -- the thing is red) talking about all the awesome times they've had, almost always involving acid flashbacks. I believe that I've caught one because that's what happens sometimes and it is called a "contact high".

Plunk! The delicate sound of a blood droplets hitting the linoleum floor.

"Ms. Stoll, I can feel you moving. If you continue to fidget, you will have to wait even longer."

There is no one around. There is nothing Miss Sherry has to do that can possibly be as important as attending to a child's bleeding head. I am nine years old and I know more about prioritizing than she ever will.

"Miss Sherry?"

"It's Miss Cherrier," she snarls, pronouncing it as if it were French, which I know it's not.

"My head is bleeding."

"Speak when you're spoken to."

"But you won't speak to me!"

With the most apathetic look possible she glances up. "You are a spoiled brat with no respect for your superiors." She is saying this and staring straight at me. She can see my bleeding head. She can see the pool of blood congealing beneath my feet and she doesn't care! She continues, "So when you stand behind the dotted line and I decide that I am good and ready, I will attend to you."

Dotted line?!!! The pain has grown so intense that everything looks dotted to me! The pool of blood swirls around like a riptide and turns into a mess of snakes. I hate snakes! I start shaking, which has an immediately contagious effect on Miss Sherry. "IF YOU SAY ONE MORE WORD, I WILL HAVE YOU THROWN RIGHT OUT OF HERE!" On the wall behind her is a poster of a bunch of happy girls holding hands and singing around a campfire. It says, "Where girls Become Strong, Independent, and Courageous Young Women".

The pay phone is just off to the side of the front desk -- a stone's throw from where I stand. I glance toward Miss Sherry, hunkered into her Very Important Papers. I hope they're divorce papers. No way! Who'd marry her? They're probably death papers. Yeah! I hope someone she knows died! I hope her house has caught on fire and all her cats are burning! And because I am a Strong, Independent and Courageous Young Woman, I make a mad dash for the phone.

The second my feet leave the dotted line Miss Sherry is up, her arms made of rubber like that guy Gumby, and she reaches out to envelop me in her stretchy green globules.

JUST HOW MUCH TROUBLE COULD A SEVENTY-POUND-SHORT-SHORTS- WEARING-LOPSIDED-PIG-TAILED-HEAD-BLEEDING-GIRL BE? I'm no Firestarter! I'm no Nancy Spungen (having just last month snuck the book about her, And I Don't Want to Live This Life: A Mother's Story of Her Daughter's Murder, out of my brother's room and reading it cover to cover, swore off forever having children or getting involved in punk rock). Miss Sherry drags me away from the telephone. The receiver clinks violently against the plastic side five times before settling into a gentle swing, and then, it stops.

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