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The Long Black Key (standard:Flash, 1245 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Oct 31 2010Views/Reads: 1518/869Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Boyhood experiences of a boy in grade school.

Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

Almost every student in the school was scared of Peddamma or elder
mother.  She was a short, middle aged teacher, dark skinned with grey 
hair pulled back to make a small bun at the back of her head. In her 
hand was always a cane.  If a teacher calls sick, his or her class 
students were sent to Peddamma's class, since she only could handle the 
extra load of students. Everybody in Juggernaut's class were terrified 
one day when their class teacher called sick, they all understood where 
they would spend the rest of the day. 

For any violation, Peddamma will either cane the student or if the
violation was significant, she will tie the student to the concrete 
poll outside in the courtyard for everybody to see and serve some 
lashes.  It was terrifying to watch let alone experience it. During the 
class, Peddamma caught Juggernaut day dreaming and asked him to stand 
up. Scared to look at her, Juggernaut got up slowly.  After a minute of 
watching him, she said “Are you the son of doctor so and so.”  “Yes 
teacher,” said Juggernaut.  “Sit down and pay attention,” said 
Peddamma.  Everybody in the class was shocked; they all expected that 
Peddamma either hit Juggernaut with the cane or tie him up to the post 
outside. Juggernaut thanked Jesus for the break he received. 

One day during school recess, Juggernaut and his friend were
entertaining their class mates with sword fight using the long dried 
pods of Poinciana tree. All of a sudden, the students were scattered 
and ran away towards the classroom leaving Juggernaut stand still with 
sword like pod in the hand. He recognized that Father Naidu was behind 
him. Father Naidu appeared suddenly from nowhere like travelling sage 
Narada Maharshi in Hindu mythology, who was known to materialize 
himself at every critical juncture.  Juggernaut stood in silence 
frightened only to receive a severe hit on the head from the tip of the 
long black steel key. He threw the sword and walked slowly towards the 
classroom rubbing his head to soothe the pain.  Nobody knows which door 
the long black key opens at the school but everybody understood that it 
could hurt badly. 

After five decades, Juggernaut went back to St. Anthony's just to look
at his old school. The cab driver drove straight through the gate over 
the wide metal grate into the school yard. The school yard changed 
significantly, a new two-story grade school was built. The old school 
was in the process of demolition, the only small section remained 
intact was his old classroom.  “Is it a miracle or what?” Juggernaut 
shouted loudly as the taxi driver looked puzzled and confused. 
Juggernaut walked pass the debris to reach the class room with only two 
walls remaining.  The dreaded concrete posts were gone and so as the 
Peddamma's classroom, the chamber of horrors.  Across the play ground, 
the old Banyan tree was still standing, big. 

Juggernaut requested the taxi driver to take a picture of him leaning on
one of the remaining walls of the old class room. When the camera 
flashed, Juggernaut involuntarily touched the spot on his head, the 
landing site of the dreaded long black steel key, Father Naidu's choice 
weapon of punishment. 


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