The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son, a collection of mostly true and usually funny stories by Willaim Z. Snyder, can be downloaded at Amazon.com. There is no need for a Kindle. Just click on the link below.
An excerpt from The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son
Danny Gilroy's Pencil
by W.Z Snyder
© 2008 William Snyder
Hawthorne, California - 1968
The life of a fourth grader at Saint Joseph’s Parish School was not easy. To begin with, we had to deal with Sister Claudia. She was the creepiest nun I had ever known. Unless she’s 160 years old, the woman is dead by now and it is bad form to disrespect the deceased. Oh what the heck, Sister Claudia looked like a corpse even when she was alive. The old gal was incredibly emaciated, looking very much like a plucked chicken. Her pallid cracked skin was pulled tight against her face while scraggly bright red hairs shot out from under her black and white nun’s habit. Her dental situation a real mess; about twice the size of normal teeth, yellow choppers jutted out from her gums in every direction but up and down. I tried to follow her directions because her lips rose up when she screamed at us, exposing those horrible, yellow teeth. Like all of the nuns, Sister Claudia was more than willing to whack me upside the head with the flat of her hand or pummel my knuckles with the hard side of a ruler. She was a terrible teacher. The woman raced through math concepts and refused to field questions. Math class for me was constant bewilderment. My mother had to hire a tutor so I could pass the fourth grade.
Sister Claudia told us creepy stories we knew to be hogwash, but they held our attention nonetheless. Once, she went into a tirade about the dangers of throwing snowballs. In the 29 years I lived in Hawthorne, California, it never snowed. Not once. Yet Sister Claudia felt compelled to deliver her cautionary tale.
When I was in the fifth grade, I lived in Boston. Even though we had been told it was dangerous to throw snowballs, some of the children failed to heed the advice of caring adults. I remember one particular day, school had let out and I was on my way home. A boy named Jimmy Dolan began throwing snowballs at some of the children. One of the boys threw a snowball back at Jimmy. Now boys and girls, that snowball hit Jimmy Dolan in the corner of his left eye and knocked his eyeball out of the socket. And Jimmy ran home with his eyeball hanging from his eye socket by a string of tissue. The doctors couldn’t save that eye and Jimmy Dolan wears an eye patch to this day. So the next time you want to throw snowballs, think of poor Jimmy Dolan and his eye patch.
Although I’m sure the story never happened, I do think of Jimmy Dolan and get the heebie-jeebies when I see a movie in which someone heaves a snowball. That nun really got deep into my psyche. I guess that’s what nuns do. I clearly remember wondering what it would be like to have my eyeball swinging from the socket by a two-foot string. Would I still be able to see from the swinging eyeball? If I held the eyeball behind my head, could I see what was going on behind me?