Sunday, July 10, 2011

Murphy: The Early Years (Part V)

            Murphy, small of shoulders, bowed of head,  shuffles up to the office.
            “Ma’am I?  -- ‘scuse me, ma’am.”
            (Looks up sharply.)  “Murphy!  Young rascal.  What brings you here.”  (Softening a bit, though;  the boys seldom show up spontaneously, voluntarily.)
            “Well I -- no-one else to ask, ma’am.  I just got nobody, no, not one person, in the whole wide world.”
            Definitely softening, and settling back -- almost reflective.  “So… What’s on your mind, young Irish scamp?”
            Awkward;  fumbling for words -- then finding them.  “Well I -- I just wonder what --  what it is, really:  that makes me so bad.”
            She frowns;  is silent;  purses her thin lips.  “I reckon it was just… a bad seed…”
            “Bad seed, ma’am?”
            She purses further.  “There are two seeds in the spirit -- two of them, and don’t you forget it.   You just happened to get the bad one. “
            He is silent, not understanding;  and yet, and yet … yet beginning to understand.
            She decides to level with him.  “You know -- you were conceived in iniquity, by a very bad woman, with a very bad man.  But bad as she was -- he still should have stuck by her;  made an honest woman of her, or near as anybody could with material like that. -- But he skedaddled, soon after soiling your young mother’s bed.  He was a coward, and a welsher, was your dad.   And the apple does not fall far from the tree.”
            Had he ever known the man, this might strike Murphy like a blow;  but he had never known the man.   “So… I guess I was just -- born to sin;  that right?  Just plain -- simmered in it, ‘fore I was ever even born.  That so?”
            (Somewhere  her heart smarts her;  yet she must be stern in the truth.)  “That is so, Master Murphy.  You were born in sin, like a squid in ink;  and will certainly be damned.”
            Since this prognosis seems only to confirm the daily burden of his present life, it daunts him less than one might think.  He simply verifies.  “So:  no hope, is there.”
            “No;  none.  -- Well… there is… Jesus;  but he is not for the likes of orphans, or reform-school boys…”

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