Note To Self

Entry by: A.O. Shock

7th February 2017

Winnie Crack

Somebody poured petrol on David Hodges and then set him on fire. I can’t tell Jesus or the Virgin Mary that I was sorry to see him go. I tell God I was sorry, or that would be a sin. But I wasn't sorry. That ain't the same thing as doing it.

Jennifer Murray said he got tied to the monkey bars behind Rose Tree Elementary and they emptied a whole thing of petrol on his head. I asked if it was unleaded or diesel. Jennifer said, “You’re crazy, Winnie Crack!” But that was my first thought and I don’t know why. Different prices, maybe.

David Hodges cracked an egg on my head at the community swim club three summers ago. I was getting a suicide which is Dr. Pepper and Coke and Sprite and Root Beer mixed together. At first I thought a stone fell down on me, but then there was ooze running in my ear and a yellow glop on my blue bathing suit. Everybody laughed. I just smiled and froze, which is what I always do when I don’t know what to do. That’s when they started calling me Winnie Crack. They sing:

“Winnie crack whore, and I don’t care…”

David Hodges was so good looking even girls who hit other girls would get all shy around him. He went with Courtney Dyson, and she was blonde and pretty and mean – almost as mean as him. In fourth grade she came up to me at lunch and asked if I was a boy or a girl. I smiled and froze. But when I saw her at the funeral crying and rocking back and forth I felt sorry for her. I even said “I’m sorry for you Courtney.” She said “did you put grease in your hair, Winnie Crack?” And right then I thought I wouldn’t mind watching her go down in flames.

“Winnie crack whore, and I don’t care…”

Let them sing all day. I have my own song. Johnny Cash “When the Man Comes Around.”

And the whirlwind is in the thorn tree
The virgins are all trimming their wicks…

That one’s my best song, so I have to save it for extreme situations. It’s about how the people like me are going to God and how the ones like David Hodges are not. Jesus talked in puzzles.

When I start to see things nobody else can see they put me in the place. Then if I howl they put me in the room. At least I think that's why. There’s no bathroom, so I have to bang on the door if I have to go. Sometimes they come and sometimes they don’t. Only the worst of the worst go their pants. So you hold it. If I howl, they bring the needle. It’s pure poison, but they stick it in me all the same. You fight the poison with singing or remembering. You remember the weirdest things.

Like when Marble called her grown son a shovel-footed fool. Marble is a cashier at Randall’s where I used to sack groceries before I had to come here. Her son Walter was selling watermelons out the back of his truck down on Mercer Street and forgot to put the gate up so when he drives off the watermelons spill out and bust open. Shovel-footed fool, she said. I wish I could make up phrases like that. And "note to self" - she always has a funny one after that. Like with son it was, "Note to self: you can't put in what God's left out! Brains!"

I miss Randalls and Marble and getting to know people by the food they pick out to eat. Lonely people eat lonely food. Like frozen burritos and deviled ham. You have to be very careful with the coupons. People get mad. Marble never messed up the coupons, not even on two for Tuesdays. One time I asked her how old she was. “Older than water,” she told me. I wish I could make up phrases like that.

Black people must never go crazy, cause I haven’t seen one black person since I been here. Except the workers. Like the nurse with the necklace.

She had a heart made out of gold dangling around her neck and I asked her who gave it to her and she said my sister while she held up that needle in the air. So that gave me something to think about.

Try it like Marble try it like "note to self", again, NOTE TO SELF: try and think about this try and think about being big and black at the JC Penny’s looking though the box of lit glass at the pretty gold charms maybe some are shaped like circles with little rubies in them some are crosses because you want to get your mind away from the men holding you down on that rectangle of foam rubber while she’s pricking you with the poison.

When I was twelve David Hodges and Eric Bross and Brian Sewell told me to come and play pool with them in David’s basement. I said I didn’t know how to play but they said they’d teach me. I got there and there was a pool table except nobody wanted to play. They put me on the table and turned that day into a day I will never talk about. Not even to God.

The whirlwind is in the thorn tree…
The virgins are all trimming their wicks…

They call this room "Special" but there's nothing special about solitary confinement. Maybe I'll save that one for Marble: "Note to self: there's nothing special about special." Think she'd laugh? This time I’m here because they won’t let me have my blanket that I slept with my whole life. I’m on sharps and laces. My blanket’s no bigger than a hand towel. Not in here says Dr. Ackerman. For your own good he says. Well I tried to shove him into tomorrow for his own good. Next thing, here I am. There’s a lady out there who never stops crying. You wish they’d give her a pill, or even the needle. I asked her what she’s crying for? She said she’s the one that got left behind. Sometimes I ask God: am I the one that got left behind? He doesn’t answer so I make believe I hear him say no.


Then I picture David Hodges burning and his eyes going last. Like the eyes are thick rubber balls and slow to burn, so he can see himself on fire long enough to beg forgiveness for being a tormenter and an egg-cracker and for putting me on the pool table. So he can watch himself go. But he kept his eyes closed the whole time. The whole time he kept his eyes closed.