SHORT STORY | ST. ANGELINA OUR LADY OF A THOUSAND SORROWS
Published by Ascent Aspirations Literary Journal
"I see pieces of men marching; trying to take heaven by force
I can see the unknown rider, I can see the pale white horse
In God's truth tell me what you want, and you'll have it of course
Just step into the arena
Beat a path of retreat up them spiral staircases
Pass the tree of smoke, pass the angel with four faces
Begging God for mercy and weepin' in unholy places
...from Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series, Vol 1-3 (1991)
Who knows what it was about Angie that drove men so crazy? None of us hayseed Mississippi plough boys even knew she had a pretty face until the principal forced her to start wearing underpants to school. She must have mesmerized a dozen of besotted, junior high school crackers by then, flirting with them until their blood broiled over and their johnsons blew up like over inflated tires. They all used to sit on the steps after class like a row of loved-starved pigeons and stare when she'd sashay past like a pint-sized evangelist on her way down the dusty road to virginal bliss in a spellbinding state of perplexing grace, preaching the gospel of "first marriage then sex" to any all-day sucker willing to listen.
After moving on to high school, it only got harder (pardon the expression) to keep my zipper from exploding whenever she walked by, and on one particular, steam-heated Saturday afternoon, when I accidentally came across her skinny dipping in the cattle tank, and then watched her ride buck-assed naked home later through the violet twilight on that lucky bastard of a sway-backed quarter horse of hers, I swear to God I just about had an accident in my pants. Gave a whole meaning to the term "bare back riding" that's for sure. I never knew what possessed her to do that but good Lord it was something to see.
In spite of her God-awful strict Catholic upbringing, and having to live with her inbred band of criminally-inclined brothers, Angie seemed born to be desired; it was a divine gift she had, and her not fully understanding that she had that kind of power only intensified the pleasure I got from wallowing around in the treachery of all that mysterious magnetism, apparently unable or unwilling to stop her from turning me into a slobbering pet that she played with for awhile, and then discarded, leaving me there clucking my tongue like a big baby bird, gasping for a drink of rain. None of the tongue-tied dick heads I knew back then had the nerve to go out with her sober, but when any of them did get tanked up enough to ask her for a date, she always went. So I figured, what the hell, I was just as big a redneck lush as any of those other juiced up goober losers, why not me? So after I'd gotten so hammered on Old Granddad that I couldn't pee my own name in the dirt, I finally asked her out: and damned if she didn't say yes. "Why not?" she said. "I've gone out with every other cow trash hick in this two-bit one-horse town, I may as well give you a twirl."
I can't say that did much for my ego, but what the hell did I care? I had a date with the one and only Angelina Giacano, Our Lady of a Thousand Sorrows, which is what we guys called her on account of us thinking she must be so depressed about never getting laid that she must be about ready to commit suicide any day now. Oh, I knew that the odds against any long term shot a shit-kicker like me had with an unsullied saint like her were staggering, but even a blind pig can find a truffle if he's not afraid to stick his nose in the ground.
After pounding down a six-pack of Ballantine XXX Ale, I wove my way up her old man's garbage-littered gravel lane, careened off a half-dozen shocked-to-shit black angus heifers, parked my new blue 1952 Studebaker in Angie's mom's freshly planted rose bed, and then, miraculously, managed to stagger up the steps to the front door without falling on my face. When her highness Miss Mississippi, finally made her entrance an hour later, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to cursty or hold her train. When we finally made it back down the steps to the car, I felt as if I'd just robbed the First National Trust and gotten away clean.
Unfortunately, by the time the vampire flick we'd gone to see at the Beach Twin Drive-in Theater in Biloxi was half finished, and I'd finally worked up the guts to start grappling around in the dark for something a bit more titillating to play with than Angie's boobs (if that was even possible), she rammed her bubble gum down my throat with her tongue, straightened her brassiere, and, with her half-unbuttoned blouse and pink slip fluttering up behind her like two freshly laundered bed sheets in the wind, she sailed out of the car in a glorious cloud of elegant indignation, leaving nothing behind but a blond wake and me, sitting there stewing in my own stink.
Having properly chastised me in front of about a dozen or so of my closest, popcorn-chomping classmates, including Angie's bad-assed brothers, Floyd, Lester, and Sammy Rats, all three of whom looked as if they'd played banjos in Deliverance, who had been guffawing hysterically while witnessing my degrading comeuppance, Angie eventually wandered back from her striptease stroll to the snack bar and murmured sweetly; "I thought you were different, but I've decided to forgive you anyway."
After tucking her steamy little half-dressed self tight up against me, she calmly resumed watching whatever the hell piece of crap vampire movie we'd gone to see in the first place, as if nothing whatsoever had just happened.
It took suffering through the last six months of high school with a bad case of blue balls, a hopelessly confused johnson, and an intolerable infestation of hives to get it done, but here I stand, the last of the true believers, watching Our Lady of Thousand Sorrows herself, floating off across the sweet green hills in nothing but a pair of my Jockey briefs and an Ole Miss baseball cap, giving my old man's shocked-to-shit milk cows an early morning peep show. Imagine their surprise when they see her later tonight in the barn, wearing nothing but pink lace panties and a pair of my old rubber boots, milking those bewildered beasts. Who knows where I went so right? Believe me, the fact that I'd been the only guy left in town willing to put my incendiary sexual fantasies on simmer for six months isn't lost on me, but still, I'd only asked the sadistic little tease to marry me on a dare. Who knew she'd say "yes"? But as painful as the agonizing wait had been, I guess finding a secretly orgasmic nympho hidden behind that saintly facade has been worth it. As for her Lady Godiva complex? well, I don't really know what that's all about, but it saves me one shit load of money on clothes.