LIGHTNING: The Plot to Kill Sister Mary Xavier By Terry Rainey

Word Count 499
The Plot to Kill Sister Mary Xavier
By Terry Rainey
My mother drove us home after our easy win over St. Charles. All of us had scored. Herman stole the ball three times and made two layups; Martin followed up and made the one that Herman missed. A rebound had bounced off Walter’s head and back into the basket.
I’d scored 9 points, but my mind was on what I’d just learned, that the streets in Arlington went through the alphabet 3 times, each time adding a syllable, Ash to Young, Adams to Vermont, and Avalon to Tuckahoe. Saintchucks was on Pierce. I ticked off street names as we drove, after a drink stop at 7-11 on Veitch, towards Herman’s house on Lexington.
The ride gave us time for one of our favorite hobbies: coming up with ways to end SisterX’s time on earth, or at least her time on earth with us.
We’d concocted plots like Martians landing in the school parking lot, a Cuban Missile attack, and even having the Pittsburgh Steelers draft Sister X in the 12th round. We so loved conceiving and tinkering with these ideas. There was nothing on earth more important than laughing and making other people laugh. As in all things, we’d become competitive in laughter.
Our only rule in plot anarchy was that each person had to ratchet the story up another level. Sometimes we also took a drink and had to hold it in while others tried to make us laugh.
Herman started “First tie a string around X’s finger.”
Martin, master of SisterX plots, said “Get her to inhale helium, tell her it’s holy air. Those who partake will go straight to heaven. Make sure she gets lots. So much helium that she balloons to 25×25, not 5×5.
Walter quietly added “Make the string hundreds of feet long, and make her a SisterX kite.”
It was my turn as we approached Buchanan Street. I said all of us grab a hold of other ropes and take her to the Arlington parade. But we’ll get lost and go very close to high power wires.” It was quiet for a second. My contribution seemed flat, which I thought happened because I’d been focused on passing from Vermont to Abingdon.
Then my mother chimed in. “Forget the parade. Just have the kite get hit by lightning!”
Our stunned laughter was so startling and unexpected that my friends still had drinks in their mouths. My mother sensed the imminent eruptions and bellowed “Chinese Fire Drill!” as we stopped at the red light at Harrison. We hopped out and whooped as both Herman and Walter spit out their drinks on Lee Highway.
After we piled in, I was in the backseat. Herman looked at us. He had shotgun and I couldn’t be happier, even though my stomach muscles hurt. Sitting between Walter and Martin in the backseat for the ride from Harrison to Lexington was like looking through a Viewmaster and suddenly seeing our world, Arlington, in a bright new light, glowing and warmhearted.

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