The weekend before thanksgiving, found me trotting down the sidewalk through the predawn darkness. Benton was undergoing something of a Indian summer, along with the rest of central Mississippi. The hard killing frost of late October, had been replaced with warm, almost early spring weather.
The town too was dead, with most people just now waking up, or choosing to sleep in. As I put the row of neat little cottages and square yards of Wilson Creek, the district my sister and I make our home's in. And welcomed the row of shops, business, government sponsored service offices and government building of downtown. I paused and took a deep breath and for the millionth time that day, I cursed my fate.
You see, I had been given a 'Saturday Detention' by the female prefect. Little Miss. Cindy Peterman, who thought she was queen of the school. She was the kind of girl who loved to throw around her family name and social connections. Her father, Richard Peterman was the senior Warden of the local Episcopal Church, St. Mary's. He was also a Fourth Degree Master of the Earth Cutters.
Her mother, was the social butterfly of town. Linda Peterman was president of both the UDC or United Daughters of the Confederacy and the DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution. She also belonged to the Benton Garden Club. So more or less the Peterman family was way up there, kind of like the southern version of the bourgeoisie.
This musing carried me through the gates of the school and up steps and soon I found myself standing in front of the heavy cedar doors. From my vantage point at the top of the steps, I could see the others, who like me had been sentenced to spend there Saturday here. Around a bakers dozen students where milling around the lawn. Most of them wore a sullen look on there faces. A few.. Just grinned a twisted grin and loudly told others what awaited them once the door open.
Sinking down and sitting upon the steps, I took another breath and placed my hands on my cheeks and waited. I felt, I felt out of place. I was a good girl.. I had been trying so hard in all my classes and for the most part I brought home 'A's' and 'B's' in most of my subjects. And I felt almost cheated, the reason behind me being here.. Was no doubt a act of revenge on the part of Miss. Cindy Peterman.
See, Cindy has never liked me for one reason or another. A lot of minor reasons and one main reason I believe, see I was not born or raised in Benton. Up till a year or so ago I was living in Canton. And the difference between Canton and Benton was like the difference between day and night. Canton was part of that massive cityscape that dominated the central part of the state.
You see, Canton was part of a collection of towns and villages that had grown together. Mostly due to the white flight of Jackson, the state capital. So you had Jackson at the center and around it you had dozens of smaller towns and cities that were located no more than a stone's throw away from each other. It was hard to tell, it was hard to tell where one city ended and the other begin. All in all, Canton my native city was part of a urban area that laid claim to a half million souls.
Lost in my musing, I failed to notice the door opening and in the doorway there stood a women dressed in a wine colored track suit. Her flaming red hair tied up in a messy bun and her emerald colored eyes peering straight at me.
"Brewer. I see you did something with your hair." She said giving me a level eye. "Mighty dressed up. Going on a date this afternoon."
I took a deep breath and raised my head up to meet the source of the voice. Most teachers tend to address you either with Mr. Or Ms. Attached to your first or last name. Others had the habit of saying only your last name. And a few.. Used just used your first name.
"Yes ma'am." I said taking a deep breath as I stood up and brushed some of the dirt from my skirt and from my sleeves. "Yes ma'am. Matthew and I have a date this afternoon. Where going out to Johanna's this afternoon, before catching the movies tonight." I said peering toward
I said folding my hands in my center.
"Sounds like fun." She said peering toward me. "But if you were mine, It would be straight home and you'll be grounded for the weekend. Getting a Saturday Detention would wreck any fun plans for the weekend." She said nodding her head toward the inside. "Now get a move on, 24601."
I had to bite down upon my tongue and bow my head. But under my breath I swore that I will get that women back for this. As I moved to the enter the school. I felt the teacher wrapping her fingers around my arm.
"Where do you think your going, 24601." She said peering at me. "Fall in behind the others. Hand on your side. Eyes straight. No talking in ranks." She barked at me.
I blushed and quickly made way toward the far end of the line. All thirteen of us stood there, standing shoulder to shoulders. Are eyes facing the wooden door and the warm wind blowing over are shoulders.
"For the next four hour. You will not be called by your name. You will be called by your number, the number that was attached to your slip. In the next four hours, you will pay for the crime you have committed. If you have a phone on you, I ask you to hold it up."
I reached into my purse and pulled out my phone and held the phone up in the air.
"You will no silence all phones and power them down. You will silence anything that makes noise, or you will have them taken from you. You will obey all school rules. Any questions?" She roared as she marched up and down the line. She then turned me. "Any questions 24601. Speak now girl or hold your peace." She barked again as she walked up to me and gave me a sideway glance.
"No ma'am.." I stuttered out. "Has your phone been placed on silence, 24601?" She said as she peered at me. As my phone was in my hand and at that time a catchy anime theme song played. Alerting me I had a text. I could only shake my head.
"No ma'am.." I said. I never been a person to pray, but at that very second I was praying to whatever God or Goddess there might be to help me. This woman was pressing all my buttons.
"Silence your phone now and store it away in your purse. Is that understood 24601." She whispered and then left me along. As I silenced my phone, I watched her walk toward the front of the school.
"Saturday detention is a punishment. At time for reflection. A time to make amends. There no priest here to hear your confessions of guilt. There are no confessional booths. Once we enter into this building. I will separate you and put you in separate parts of the school. Use this time to pray, reflect and reform." She gave each one of us a hard look. And I felt my blood turn to ice water in my veins.
A low rumble passed through the crowds.
"Speak up!" She bellowed.
"No ma'am.." Each of us responded.
We were then marched away. And as we crossed the threshold, I swore under my breath that I will get my revenge. I swore it indeed. Come hell or high water I would see that girl crushed under the heel of my boot.