GEYSERLAND GUILD OF WOODWORKERS
A short story by Bob Collins (Stumpy)
Innocent Millicent was a beautiful young girl. Small with an almost child like figure, her jet black hair, smooth forehead, brown eyes and high delicate cheekbones made her appear fragile and vulnerable. Even the small tattooed ink blue cross on that otherwise perfect cheekbone, the symbol of her fraternity to the large assembly of womenfolk who have patronized our penal institutions, failed to seriously mar her lovely features. Innocent Millicent looked as sweet and cuddly as a kitten, but she had the cunning will to survive of an alley cat, the morals of a tom cat, the courage of a lion, the ferocity of a tiger, the speed of a cheetah.
She fought like a cat too, screaming and snarling, clawing and biting and scratching, always going for the eyes and the softer parts of the body. She was a ball of feline fury! Yet she looked so pure and innocent, in need of protection.
Innocent Millicent was born in the valley and grew up here, but at the time of this story she only visited for brief intervals, usually, immediately after her latest release from the girls corrective training institution she had been attending, or when the climate of the big smoke became too hot for her to handle.
This story really began one weekend when Innocent Millicent came home from the smoke, to recuperate from an undisclosed illness. She left again promptly on the Monday morning after an incident free weekend, though, there was an unhealthy but unconfirmed rumour of a “Gang bang” down at the metal pit late on Saturday night. This unpleasant rumour was later more or less confirmed when, after an incubation period of ten days had lapsed, the doctor’s surgery was suddenly swamped by a lineup of seven lads plus four married men, all red faced, searching for relief from a dreaded social disease known locally only as the scratch.
The doctor who had a malicious streak in his makeup, administered this relief by using a hypodermic needle of a dimension and capacity usually reserved for the inoculation of horses. This, he plunged into each bare buttock presented with such recklessness, in every case he “accidentally” struck a sensitive and hitherto undiscovered nerve end. The lineup left the surgery barely able to walk, in twice as much agony as they had suffered on entry. Though each time the doctor had profusely apologised for hitting the hidden nerve end, the consensus of opinion was “to hit it by accident eleven times in a row was quite beyond the realm of coincidence, so the bastard had added to the agony deliberately!”
It was only then realised, Innocent Millicent had departed so promptly on the Monday morning in order to keep an unbreakable appointment at an Auckland hospital clinic! (You know which). At near the same date there arrived into the community a new headmaster, his snobbish and domineering wife along with his pretty young daughter Ann Marie aged fourteen years.
It was unfortunate the wife possessed an over inflated opinion as to the social status of a headmaster’s wife in this community of “rustic yokels,” and at a time when the sad story of Innocent Millicent’s most recent visit was still hot if painful news.
On hearing the story her snobbery increased by leaps and bounds, so by her scathing comments she soon lost the goodwill of even the most tolerant of this close knit community. After all, bad as she may be, Innocent Millicent IS one of ours! Jumping in where angels fear to tread, the headmaster’s wife publicly and pointedly snubbed Innocent Millicent on her next brief visit to her home township.
Folk who knew her were always careful not to offend Innocent Millicent, self preservation depended upon this, so when the headmaster’s wife was so obviously rude, the girl was quite taken aback. Soon after Innocent Millicent, having recovered her composure, set off down the street to the headmaster’s residence, vengeance bound. Upon arrival she proceeded to shower rocks gathered from the metalled road onto the headmaster’s iron roof, all the time shrieking for the “snobby bitch to come out and fight.”
The “snobby bitch” suddenly realizing she had a tiger by the tail, and alone at the time barricaded herself securely in her castle and frantically telephoned the village administrator for rescue. This administrator who had known Innocent Millicent since the day of her birth, and who had followed her progress since that day with growing concern, turned out with commendable promptitude when considering his reluctance.
Upon arrival at the scene of the action, he was heavily handicapped in his negotiations with Innocent Millicent, because she kept running off in search of more stones of throwable size, a commodity becoming increasingly rare on that section of roadway. Eventually by accompanying her on her foraging sorties at a fast trot he managed to persuade the girl to stop this aggressive activity, but only by stating the next move would be to bring in the law at which time she would be arrested for assault, obscene language in a public place, and about forty six other offenses.
Using a bit of crude psychology, the crafty administrator pointed out that though she probably would not object to the likely intervention of the law, in fact would as usual enjoy the diversion, the truth of the matter was, the “Snobby bitch” would win the day, and that would never do! Seeing the logic in this, Innocent Millicent stopped the barrage of rocks, they were in damn short supply by now anyhow, and marched off the field of battle in silent dignity, mana intact, victory hers.
She left for the smoke a few days later, while an uneasy peace still embraced the community. This tranquility was to remain until Innocent Millicent returned on her next visit some four months later. By this time the headmaster’s wife had regained most of her composure, and on perceiving a growing behavioral problem with the lovely young Ann Marie, saw the opportunity to correct her daughter while at the same time gain vengeance by further blackening (as if that were possible) Innocent Millicent’s reputation.
Foolishly she put this ill thought out scheme into action, so causing the very humiliation to Ann Marie she was so vigorously attempting to avoid. It happened this way.
Puberty had been very generous to Ann Marie by endowing upon her far greater (and better shaped) visible assets both fore and aft than the national average, a condition soon perceived by the local young blades. Ann Marie, herself realised her good fortune, so, despite a careful catholic upbringing decided that if they were to bring in any interest, assets should be utilized rather than locked away, so set off at a gallop on a course hell bent toward rampant promiscuity.
Her mother horrified at this sudden trend and fearful of the likely consequences, sought to put Ann Marie back on the tracks by telling her in lurid detail of the earlier visit by Innocent Millicent with its predictable resultant epidemic of the dreaded “Scratch.” She succeeded by use of these “fear” tactics to slow Ann Marie down to a trot, but her secondary ambition, to further blacken Innocent Millicent’s character, misfired horribly when the lady in question returned to the village for another brief stay.
Innocent Millicent went to the local shop to do a bit of shoplifting. This was expected of her, but was made difficult for she and the shopkeeper had played the cat and mouse game for as long as they both could remember. She knew every two way mirror he owned and the position of every spy hole drilled in the shop walls, but it was still fun to beat him. This time she walked out of the shop empty handed as she had intended, but with a packet of Huntly and Palmer cream crackers – the only item she had managed to lift – clamped expertly up her skirt between those shapely thighs.
The shopkeeper, watching, her like a hawk saw her leave with considerable satisfaction. Close fitting clothes, no pockets, no shopping bag, no cleavage of any significance to act as a hiding place, empty hands, he had beaten her, this time, HE thought! He did note her gait was somewhat spavined, her step unnaturally short, a bit bow legged too, but understandably and wrongly put all that down to a relapse of the unspeakable disease.
Once outside the shop Innocent Millicent retrieved her slightly crushed loot, and with a becoming smile of satisfaction on her becoming face gracefully walked home with her cream crackers under her arm. While passing the headmaster’s house she recognised Ann Marie on the front lawn, so still feeling rather belligerent against that family as well as being envious of the young girl’s proudly presented assets, politely informed her, her mother was a “stuck up snobby old bitch who didn’t have the guts to come out to fight a person half her size!”
Ann Marie with the impetuosity of youth but without the discretion of maturity, ignoring the instinct of self preservation, deciding that attack was the best form of defense for her mother, retaliated by telling Innocent Millicent she was the central North Island distributor of a shocking antisocial affliction called “the scratch”, and it was true as mother had told her!”
Innocent Millicent was outraged to have this exaggerated inflammatory information broadcast at only one octave below a shriek for all the street to hear. The fast gathering audience were then treated with an excellent viewing of Innocent Millicent, small and fragile looking as she was, leaping over the headmaster’s front fence, throwing buxom Ann Marie flat on her plump backside on the lawn, ripping off her modest black school girl bloomers and stuffing cream crackers where Messrs Huntly and Palmer never intended them to be stuffed;! – and without butter, too!
Needless to say this unusual use of broken biscuits totally destroyed for ever that treasured, closely guarded proof of Ann Marie’s catholic chastity. While poor young Ann Marie tearfully bolted inside to confess to her shocked mother she had just lost her all important virginity at eleven thirty am, on the front lawn, before fifty six witnesses – and to a cream cracker, Innocent Millicent left the field of conflict with dignity and grace, half a box of cream crackers under her arm, unruffled and well satisfied with her performance, to await the arrival of the local constabulary which she knew was inevitable.
She didn’t even mind the loss of half her crackers, she didn’t much care for them and had only flogged them to put one across her friend the shop keeper. The police eventually did arrive, far too late to save Ann Marie from a fate better than death, but to take Innocent Millicent away for another sojourn of free bed and board on the tax payer, nine months this time.
Innocent Millicent was not upset by this at all, in fact she was quite pleased about it. A change is as good as a rest, and she would be able to keep up to date in the latest trends of her chosen profession, tutored by experts in the field. At the time it was generally conceded by all who knew the story that good (if somewhat battered) had once again triumphed over evil and Innocent Millicent had been dealt her just desserts.
But, as time went on and the subject was analyzed in depth it was gradually realised the full potent of the vengeance devised by the diabolically evil mind in the so pretty head of Innocent Millicent. The sheer guile and cunning of the girl is almost beyond comprehension and without a doubt, in this case, if evil has not already triumphed over good, innocence and purity it certainly will in the near future!
Stop and consider for a moment, the dreadful plight the Unfortunate Ann Marie finds herself in. As an innocent carefully reared catholic girl she will undoubtedly be married at a white wedding with orange blossoms and all the associated hoo haa, but in the magic moment when the happy couple are at last alone, poor Ann Marie will be obliged to confess to her husband, before he finds out for himself, that the precious carefully guarded physical evidence of her cherished chastity innocence and purity is not quite intact, in fact totally in tatters.
The poor girl is in a “no win” situation. If she confesses the truth she will be branded a liar for the rest of her life! What young husband in this world would believe a tale from his new and presumably innocent bride who claimed her cherry had been popped by a Huntly and Palmer cream cracker at the tender age of fourteen? Her only alternative would be to tell a lie, but what lie could she tell which would make her husband any happier?
No, the point is proven beyond any doubt in real life evil does frequently triumph over good, innocence and purity. This must indeed be the “Ultimate Evil!”