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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Just Pinky

He must have had a real name, but the kids just called him Pinky. His nervous, red-rimmed eyes regarded the world through thick-lensed glasses, and his hair and skin were so pale that Teeny bet me a quarter that Pinky couldn’t bleed.
One day, the school nurse came to our class to explain "albinism" and how there was no “melanin” anywhere in his body. I could tell that the nasty boys weren’t listening because they didn’t want to let science get in the way of having a bona fide freak to pick on.

Teeny and me, though, we were fascinated when the nurse projected slides on a screen showing albinos from different races and countries. After school we made sock puppets from Teeny's father’s athletic socks and dressed them up like bleached Zulu warriors and Aztec gods.

It turned out that white hair and colorless eyes were the least of Pinky’s problems, because Principal “Halitosis” DeLosis came into our class one day and announced that Pinky had died from kidney failure.

My Mom made me go to the funeral (she said it was a “good learning experience”) and so did Teeny’s Mom, and the worst part wasn't those hypocrite bully boys looking all sad in their Sunday clothes. It was that the preacher never once called him by his real name, just called him Pinky.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I could almost not finish this. I had thoughts of two men who worked for me for a while in Mississippi, brothers. We were all grown, or were supposed to be, but people at work still made an effort to call them out about something they had no control over. As a friend used to say, it hurts so much my wrists ache.

I love that the kids go and make them warriors and gods in their play. Because that's what kids do when different is just different rather than bad or scary.