When I was sixteen years old, I took part in my church's annual 'Fund Raiser' that was mostly a vote between the two senior acolyte's. Now my church was a very traditional. And we normally had two senior acolytes, one male and one female. We also still used the nineteen twenty eight version of the 'Book of Common Prayer' and our priest said the Mass facing the alter way from the people. And the vestry board still charged pew rent. Also, St. George's Episcopal church was one of the oldest churches in my hometown, having stood on the same plot of land for well over two hundred or so years. The building even dated back to the founding of the township, then called Manchester.
Now, the 'Fund Raiser' went something like this. Each year, the vestry board would set out two large pickle jugs. You know those huge, plastic ones that you often see at food trucks and at baseball games and such. The name of each competing acolyte would be written upon the jug and the congregation would donate there pocket change into jug of those who they wanted to see get slimed. Then after a month or so of waiting, the two jugs would be collected and the value of the money held within would be counted and the once who got the most would get the messing of there life.
I remember the courtyard was standing room only as it seemed the whole congregation, some seventy five people seemed to have squeezed itself into the cramped confines of the courtyard. The air buzzed with excitement. I and my fellow senior acolyte a cute boy by the name of George where the standing in the center of the courtyard, surrounding us was a sea of people. Standing between us was a small wooden box that had been stained with countless gunging from past charity events.
Behind us was a ladder, a twenty foot ladder that was already folded out and sitting at top was the strongest boy that they could find, A small smile crossed his lips as he cradled a big ten gallon bucket in his hands. He had sandy brown hair, deep blue eyes and wore dust colored shorts and a short sleeve shirt. He had the short of dazed expression of a seasoned football player who's had there brain rattled around one to many times on the line. The 'VIP' brass pin that was pinned to the collar of his shirt also a badge of honor. The badge had been reward for scoring three touch downs in the last football game. Despite his effort, Benton Academy had won that game, and had sent our school's hostage, Hannah Mayflower to her doom. And yes, Hannah was also in there, I spotted her shortly after they collected the money, she was still blushing and her hair still had traces of gunge in it from forfeit she had to endure.
Pushing those thoughts out of my head, I turned toward my fellow acolyte standing beside me. He was tall for his age, standing tall as an Georgian pine. He had been graced with sandy brown hair and broad shoulders. All and all he was tall and lean and fit. An air of leadership seemed to surround him. He was dressed in his Sunday or causal best, gray trousers, a dark brown belt and a white button down shirt was his outfit. I myself was wearing a simple, half sleeve pink dress paired with white stocking and black court shoes. My coppery red hair was worn down that day. Anyway returning to the story, both me and my fellow acolyte exchanged nerves glances as we waited with baited breath.
We did not have to wait long, for soon the doors of Martin Hall where thrown open and into the courtyard came the rector. A tall, blonde hair, blue eyed priest called Fr. Andrew William Percy. Now before I go on, I should maybe take some time and tell you a little about Fr. Percy, he was a proud man, He was also very proud of his pedigree, having mentioned bits and pieces of it in his sermons. He had been born into the Percy family. A family that was considered by many to be among the finest, wealthiest and oldest in the Yazoo Delta. While New England might have there own brand of aristocracy in the 'Boston Brahmin' we in the Yazoo Delta have the 'Planters' who are more or less the same thing.
It was into this world of rank and privilege Andrew William Percy had been born. And in a way he was perfect in any sense of the word, he had reached the rank of 'Eagle Scout' in troop 1345 the same troop was also attached to the church. He had graduated at the top of his class from Manchester Academy as well, from Manchester it was onto bigger and better things. He then attended Mississippi State where he graduated with an B.A in Business, from there he went further to attend Sewanee the cradle of all Episcopalian gentry. It was there he became a priest.
He later returned to small town, Yazoo City. Why, only the heaven's know. But I doubt it was a calling from God. But I expect it was a lust for power, he quickly formed connections with the community and was often seen dining with 'Shot Callers' of the town.
Fr. Percy moved into the crowd, he then took a deep breath and cleared his throat. Slowly, everybody started to calm down, the dozen of lively conversations started to settle and come to end. All eyes started to focus in on Father. After a minute pause, he took a deep breath and in a loud clear voice that filled the whole court yard he called out.
"May I please have you attention." He bellowed. "We have finished counting. And I'm pleased to inform you, that we have raised around one thousand dollars." His flat lips twisted into a half moon smile. "With Lauren Wicker being the selected to get the gunge. Lauren, with six hundred dollars being in her bucket. The other four hundred dollars was Edward Mullen's bucket."
All the color drained from my face as the crowd started to break into a loud chores of cheers, catcalls and whistles. Now a thousand dollars might not seem like a lot of money today. But back in two thousand it was something of a king's ransom. While writing this, I goggled an inflation calculate that put the current rate at almost fifty percent. So once you factor in inflation your looking at around fifteen hundred dollars. Pretty amazing considering how tiny St. George's Parish was.
Anyway, taking a deep breath I reached down and removed my shoes. Once my shoes where removed I handed them over to my mother who took them with a giggle. Then taking a deep breath I started to climb on top of the block. Edward smiled and reached out his hand, I took his hand as I placed my stocking covered foot upon the block and climbed up. The crowd started to close. A dozen or so people including my mother started to snap photos. Bright white lights flashed before my eyes.
One of those flashing there cameras was a young women around my age. She wore a simple white blouse and a black. Her jet back hair was held in place with a dark blue headband. As I caught sight of her piecing blue eyes, my face flushed a darker red. Of course she would be here. Before I go any further, again I feel that I should explain myself yet again. The girl with the dark blue headband and jet black hair was Alice Susan Guild. And she was something of an inspiring journalist. She was on the staff of our student ran newspaper 'The Manchester Herald' where she covered most major social events including formal dances, fetes, and home and away games. She had even been published in the local paper the 'Yazoo Herald' and even the larger regional paper 'The River Peddler'. She also had the habit of confusing the truth with hearsay.
"Oh man this is great!" She said smiling as she dropped her camera and pulled out a small pen and a pocket size notepad from her purse. "Hey! Lauren would you mind giving me a post gunging interview when your done! I mean this is like front page martial right here, I can see the headline now 'Local girl gets gunged for charity!' I mean after are soul crushing defeat Thursday, we need a bit of good news ."
I took a deep breath and peered down at Alice.
"You know, if you want a good story, you can swap places with me. Then you'll really have a first hand account." I said grinning as I wigged my toes.
"Oh sorry darling." Alice said in a overly fake southern accent. "I would so love to do so, but these clothes are dry clean only." She then shoved her pen and notepad back into her purse and folded her arms across her chest and turned her head to the side. "Plus, I do try to look good for the public. I'm afraid the slime would ruin my hair, my make-up and totally clash with my lovely nails. You know, some of us try to appear lady like."
"You little b-" I was about to let a swear slip when I caught sight of Father standing off to the side. "That enough of that. I wish both of you two would act your age and not your shoe size. Now, that exchange has gone on long enough." said in a stern, lecturing tone of voice. He then cleared his throat and lifted his head and then in a commanding tone of voice he bellowed out.
"Now, Mr. Porter." He said peering up at the boy holding the bucket. "At the count of three, you may drop the gunge. Do you understand me. Answer yes or no son." He added in a clear, crisp, commanding tone of voice.
"Aye Father." He responded.
I took a deep breath and planted my hands at my side. As all around me voices started to count down till my doom.
Then it happen. Once the count down ended, I felt the ice cold gunge being poured over my head. A loud squeal filled the air as the dark, green gunge spilled out of the top of my head and ran down the side and over the top of my white stocking clad feet. The slop felt like fridge and cause goosebumps to form on my forearms and made me shiver. After a tense seconds the flow stopped. I stood there, and noticed the area around me was splattered with huge puddles of green slime. The oily mixture for the slime had been made from mixing cake mix, eggs and plenty of vegetable oil. That meant that the bricks that paved the courtyard had become slick as chicken shit.
Looking down and sighing I reached up and flipped my hair up. Then it happen, unknown to me, somebody had carried another bucket of freshly mixed slime from the kitchen located in Martin Hall to the ladder and with some feat of supernatural display of strength had lifted up the bucket to Joe Porter who was sitting at the top of the ladder who no doubt was smiling ear to ear as he hoisted the bucket up and gently upturned it, letting the gunge spill out of bucket and onto me, coating the front of my dress and soaking my shoulders. And on the pavement, blue slime mixed with green and formed kind of murky color.
I then found myself covered from heat to toe in thick gunge. Smiling rudefully I flicked a little toward the gathered crowds as they gathered around to snap another round of pictures. And with that, our little tale comes to a end.