Father Smith strode into our fifth-grade

classroom, white hair and beard, a lean

Santa Claus without the sack of toys.

He ordered us to stand. I stood with the rest.

Boys in white shirts, black pants, ties.

Girls in plaid skirts.

 

“EVERYONE LOOK AT TWO OTHER

STUDENTS IN THIS CLASS!” boomed

Father Smith.

 

We did. But instead of glancing at two students,

I looked at Whitney twice. Once at each of her

shapely, brown thighs–at least as much as her

skirt couldn’t hide.

 

“ONE OF THE STUDENTS YOU JUST

LOOKED AT IS GOING TO HELL!”

yelled Father Smith. “Because the BIBLE says

WIDE is the gate and BROAD is the road that

leads to DESTRUCTION!”

 

He shot us all hard stares, then went on:

 

“BUT IF YOU HELP EACH OTHER stay on

the NARROW ROAD which leads to heaven,

you might SAVE ONE OF THE STUDENTS

you just looked upon.”

 

For years after, Father Smith’s words echoed in

my head, but every time Whitney caught trouble,

I failed to even try to set her back on the straight

and narrow. I guess I just couldn’t imagine any

heaven without both of those shapely, brown thighs

wrapped around my head without a halo.

 

–Fyodor Bukowski

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