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Timmy, Hand Momma her Gun
By Jason Micallef

In college, one of my favorite leisure activities was to ride my bike down the old brick path to the library and hole up for a few hours with The Journal of Abnormal Psychology. The Journal, if you're unfamiliar, is a monthly collection of actual scientific studies with titles like "The Grass is Always Greener: Hermaphrodites living in Rural Settings," or "Double Trouble: Bi-polar Disorder in Conjoined Twins." Though titillating, most of these articles are written by men with PhD's or women with hyphenated last names, so they could be placed under the category "intelligent." I'm not prone to hyperbole but I will venture to say that The Journal of Abnormal Psychology is, and continues to be, the single most brilliant piece of printed matter ever to come from the mind of man.

One day I came across a well footnoted story of a female bus driver in Spain who, late at night, would pick up drunk men, pull the bus over, kill them, remove their ears and sew them to the bottoms of the bus seats. True, it's sick, but you have to appreciate the quirky touches. Did she use a needle and thread, or was a Bedazzler involved? Ears sewn to seats, was there a pun involved that I wasn't getting? A lesser murderer would have just shot their victims in the head and left them for dead, but it takes vision to make it into the Journal of Abnormal Psychology and this particular bus driver had it in spades.

She reminded me of Chastity Blevins.

Being a school-aged child in rural Virginia, the school bus is an important and vital part of any youngster's existence. Thaddeus B. Page Middle School was exactly 22.7 miles from my home, a thirty to forty minute drive that was much longer for some other kids. The bus driver that was assigned your route became, by default, an important figure in your life, usually spending more time with us each day than our parents.

Though she was an adult, our driver insisted we called her Chastity, a prospect both thrilling and terrifying. "We all shit sittin' down, and I ain't no different," she'd say, inhaling half of an Eve Slim 100. Yes. She smoked while driving a school bus packed with children, but before you get alarmed, she was sure to roll down a window, unless it was cold. Part den mother, part dominatrix, Chastity ruled the bus like a manic babysitter, dishing out equal parts love and abuse. If you were good, you got to sit up front, right behind Chastity, and were put in charge of her cigarettes and lighter. It was an esteemed position and, when given the opportunity, we held it with reverence. If you were bad, you were subject to verbal abuse, spankings, or you may not have been picked up at all.

Fortunately "bad" for a group of school children was much different than "bad" for Chastity Blevins. Rumor had it that she had been a stripper at the Pole Cat, but was fired for beating a customer to death. Though it's not the natural progression of things to go from sex-industry murderess to, say, school bus driver, this was Virginia and it seemed like a probable career trajectory.

On a good day, it was all smiles and smooth riding.

"Can't beat this, Can ya' kids?" she'd say, caressing her new blue-black spiky hairdo.

"Nothin' better than Friday night, a new hairdo, and some Boone's Strawberry Hill." She slid the brown paper bag that covered the bottle under her seat and lit another cigarette. For Chastity, the bus was not just a job where she picked up and dropped off kids, but also a job that allowed her to take care of errands, like going to the liquor store or getting her nails done.

"I'll just be a minute. Sit tight and don't touch nothin'" was one of her favorite sayings, usually returning with a discount carton of cigarettes or some unidentified animal squirming inside a burlap bag.

Even though there were many "field trips," as she'd call them, we always got to school on time, mainly, because of what Chastity Blevins did to the governor.

"Goddamn governor. Bane of my mother-effin existence."

The governor, if you're unfamiliar with school bus automotive technology, is a device that controls the speed of the vehicle, making it impossible to go over 55 miles per hour. The day Chastity had it removed was the best day of her life.

"That man is goddamn genius," she proclaimed to a third grade girl with pigtails seated behind her.

"In less than an hour, he rigged this bitch so I can push it up to 80 if I want," she yelled as she peeled the bus out on the highway. "80! Goddamn it. Do you know how fuckin' fast that is?"

The third grader lowered her head into her Trapper Keeper as she clung to the side of her seat, holding on for dear life.

With the added extra fifteen minutes that going 80 MPH allowed, Chastity was a free woman. She picked up groceries, went to the Payless, and even stopped to chat with friends. Though we usually got the first day of hunting season off, the following weeks, men in blaze orange and camouflage could be seen all over the county, walking along the side of the road, carrying their rifles after a day of hunting. A shit-kickin', snuff chewin' George Bailey of sorts, Chastity was quick to offer a hand, French-tips and all.

"Carl?" she'd say to a buck-toothed man, caressing his gun. "I will not let you walk all the goddamn way to the Little Sioux. Get your goddamn ass up in this bus." She opened the door, and Carl hopped up and took a seat. The bus now contained 22 school children, two cartons of cigarettes, a bottle of Irish Cream, a rifle and an ex-stripper.

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