This story is part of a series I’m doing on childhood dreams, nightmares, and distorted perceptions of reality. Some of the stories have autobiographical ties, but they are mostly fiction. And some of the stories reflect fiction I was writing at that age. It might help to consider all of them and how they all fit together.
“I put the corporal punishment form in your folder on the table,” Jeff’s mom says. “Sean, yours is in the front pocket of your backpack.”
Jeff is ten. He has the morning newspaper, and he puts it above the folder on the table. He cracks open the folder to look at the form. I, Brenda Stevenson, do / do NOT give the principal of Oak Haven Elementary permission to administer corporal punishment to my child in the event of serious conduct violations, as outlined in the school handbook sections 3.2 – 3.5. The do NOT is circled.
Jeff has wondered about this for years, but finally feels he can ask. “Mom?”
“Yes?” she says, as she puts away a clean pot from the night before.
“You hit us all the time. Why do you say that the school can’t give us corporal punishment?”
His mother turns around to look at him. “Son, if you ever do something so bad that the school wants to hit you, you’re gonna get it a lot worse at home. I don’t need them to do my job.”
“Oh,” he says. He closes the folder and puts it in his backpack, then sits at the table and opens the newspaper.