“Repeat after me!” Sister Mary Ludmilla shouted, as she beat time against her palm with a heavy wooden ruler. “A noun names a person, place or thing!”
The class dutifully complied but the response was merely a murmur to her roar. Everyone obeyed, that is, except Jesse who sat slumped in the back of the room, his vacant eyes fixed on the window where a heavy rain beats. He was a recent transfer from Central Public High School to this 9th grade English class at St. Francis Academy. Actually, he was expelled; the Catholic school recently began accepting problem students as part of their ongoing commitment to community service. Jesse had very little sleep the night before. His mother’s new boyfriend decided to suddenly take a parental role with Jesse and his 8 year old brother. The guy’s idea of discipline to was to use the steel end of a flyswatter against the back of the legs on the young boy immediately and often when the youngster demanded his mother’s attention.
“Young man, I asked you a question!” Hovering over him, brandishing her ruler, Sister Ludmilla screamed. “Answer me, you dummy!” Her voice rose to eardrum breaking decibels.
“Huh?” Jesse uttered, his eyes still fixed on the rain.
“I’m talking to you, dumbkoff!” She stabbed his shoulder with the instrument.
“Sit on a fork,” he mumbled as he tried to sit more erect.
“How dare you insult me?” She demanded.
The first blow she landed on the top of his head was perhaps the last time she would apply that rule as her standard of measure. Jesse grabbed it out of her hand and pitched it to the front of the room. Then in one fluid motion, he rose from his seat, his right hand formed a fist and shot straight into the hairy wart on the nun’s chin. Sister Mary Ludmilla crashed into the window pane, and in what seemed to the students an endless cascade of black cloth, she slid to the floor.
Gerónima de la Asunción García Yánez y De La Fuente -- Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velázquez
[The motto on top reads, "It is good to await the salvation of God in silence" ]