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January 31, 2004

Posted by anoddphrase in Uncategorized.

yeah, this is (again) definitely one of my favorites… Mr. Frankenbach (or Frank as i now get to call him from living on his dorm floor and babysitting his children–under pure duress, i assure u) wanted to see if he could tell which of our writings was whose and so we were told to use different fonts, etc. and not put our names down and see if he could guess. is it bad that he guessed mine?  and btw, yes, this actually happened (i usually write about real experiences here :P) and yes, it has to do w/ exactly what u’re thinking..


Mr. Frankenbach                                                                                Daily Theme #8

English 250

January 24, 2003


Crossed Fingers



            “I believe in witches.”  I blinked and stared incredulously at my history teacher.  He rose calmly, in spite of the fact that our usually unstoppably talkative class had fallen silent, and moved over to adjust a setting on the laptop attached to the electrical unit next to the white board.

            “You believe in what?” asked one of the more outspoken boys seated across from me.  All the muscles in my body seemed to have frozen in place, my gaze stuck on my history teacher’s thin form.

            “I believe in witches,” he repeated, absently typing in a few commands on the keyboard in front of him.  “I believe my mother was a white witch.  It’s a simple matter, really.  I believe that they existed back then and they exist now.  Don’t you think that the people in the ’burning age’ could have believed it as well?”

            “But, they were uneducated and they didn’t know any better-” began another boy, sitting two seats down from me.

            “Well, it’s a matter of belief,” he stated firmly, striding back to his chair and sliding his copy of the course’s textbook closer to him.  I still hadn’t moved yet and my eyes were beginning to water.  “That’s not my point, though,” he continued.  “My point is that these people put women– and men — to the stake mostly because of the simple fact that they believed that they were witches.  Which, of course, brings us back to the reading.  What were the other reasons that historians believe were the cause of the witch burning?”

            The whisper of shuffling papers broke the rather uncomfortable silence and a girl’s voice rang through the air to answer the question.  I gulped and forced my arms to open the book to the page of our reading, staring blankly at the sheet in front of me.  A large black and white inking of the ‘stereotypical beliefs about witches’ dominated the left-hand side: three women, nude, ‘possessed’ with ‘an aged and debauched sexuality’, while ‘concocting strange potions’, riding on broomsticks, and ‘feasting’ on children.  Gently, ignoring the rhythmic chatter of my class, I slipped my left hand down the smooth sheet to hide the image from my sight.  When I’d done the reading the night before, I’d had to do the same.  Physically block the picture from my view.

            A pale hand thrust itself in my face and I jerked back to glare at the perpetrator: a skinny boy with freckles.  “What?”

            “You’re in our group.  Are you going to move over and help?”

            “Group for what?”

            He sighed.  “Haven’t you been paying attention?  We’re debating the topic of Columbus.”


            His fingers tapped impatiently on the wooden table.  “Well?  Are you coming?”

            “Yeah, just give me a minute.”  I pulled my notes together and dragged my chair over to the cluster of people that were huddled in the corner of the classroom.

            “How can he believe that, though?” muttered a girl as I entered listening distance.

            “It’s what he believes,” I snapped back, before I could stop myself.  “What difference does it make, anyway?”

            Raising her chin slightly, the girl combed a finger through her shoulder-length brown-blonde hair.  “I was just saying.”  Her eyes narrowed in suspiciously on me.  “What does it matter to you?”  Heat rose in my face and I itched to pull at the collar of turtleneck.

            “It doesn’t matter.  I’m just defending someone’s right to believe what they want.  You know, defending the Constitution of the United States.”

            She sniffed and flipped open her book.  “Whatever.  Let’s get back to the topic.  Are we arguing Columbus, the good guy, or Columbus, the bad?”

            “The good,” replied the freckle-faced boy.

            “Anybody have a page number?” asked a curly-haired girl across from me.

            “Yeah, page five-nineteen.”

            I sighed, my face cooling immeasurably, and I shoved a paper out of my book, exposing the offensive Witch’s Sabbat illustration.  A frown creased my forehead as I hurriedly turned the page back to five-nineteen.

            “Psst!”  I looked over to see the ‘whatever’ girl leaning over and eying me like a cat eyes a mouse.  My teeth caught my lips between them as I turned my head back to the main conversation, but she tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, “You never said what religion you believed in.”

            My tongue scratched at my throat as I tried to swallow.  “Yeah, so?”

            “So?”  She stared belligerently at me.  “What is it?”

            I fidgeted, dropping my hand beneath the seat of my chair and crossing my fingers tightly.  “Nothing.”  My voice was too low and she craned her neck, edging closer.


            Clenching my crossed fingers into a fierce fist, I spoke louder, “Nothing.  I don’t believe in anything.”

            “Oh.”  Her expression sagged and she curved her lips in a tight smile that didn’t reach her eyes.  “Sorry, didn’t mean to, like, pressure you or anything.”

            “No problem.“  Gritting my teeth, my lips formed some semblance of a smile.  And the fingernails of my crossed fingers dug into the skin of my palm as she turned away.




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