Vinegar (Story by Risa Peris)

Sunday School was stifling during summer. The room it was held in was a small, box like area with one tiny window that only allowed small puffs of breezes to ruffle my hair and cool my brow occasionally. I usually just set on the couch during Sunday School while my mother stayed in the cooled church and listened to the pastor utter things that were apparently to advanced for young ears. We were Methodists and my mother uttered God multiple times a day. 

“Why don’t these pants fit,” I asked her one time. 

“God is telling you that you are a growing boy.” She was ironing my dad’s shirts. “And maybe getting a little fat.” 

Sunday School was run by some woman with a cap of curly hair and long calico skirts whose two teenage children were in the class. Every Sunday was a fight between her son and her. Her daughter, a dour looking girl with a narrow face and thick glasses kept her eyes glued to the romance books she read. They were adult romance books by the look of them. I read one once. Boy, was there a lot of sex in those books. But they weren’t easier to masturbate to than the porn magazines I had buried in the woods and visited when I could. 

Some of the students actually were serious about the Bible. Those kids chatted while mother and son raged. 

One girl asked, “Why did that Roman soldier give vinegar to Jesus who was dying for a drink of water?”

The teacher blinked a few times and then her fat son flopped on the floor. “You’re killing me, Ma.”

The teacher kicked him with her sandal shielded foot. 

“Ah, Ma.” He rippled like a huge dying fish. “Give me some water.”

“I’ll give you vinegar, you ingrate.”

Why did that Roman soldier give Christ vinegar? The question didn’t make me sad. It just made me wonder. 

I am now a Border Patrol Agent in Clint, Texas. Not far from that old Methodist church. I didn’t travel far in life. I married a good woman, had two kids, and hated Obama. Did we really need brown people running this country? I felt like an outsider in my own country. 

A young man in a cage begged me for water at the detention facility. One guard yelled, “Drink from the toilet.”

“I know something better.” I went to the staff kitchen. There was a bottle of vinegar in the cabinet to clean the coffee pot. I poured some in a paper cup and went back to the cage. 

“Here you go, Senor.” I handed the dirty man the cup. He gulped and then gagged. 

“What did you do?” asked Agent Mikelson. 

“Ah, I gave him some vinegar.” The officer laughed so hard he shared the story with the other guards. 

“This is going on the FB page,” said the officer. 

Why did the Roman soldier give Christ vinegar? Because he could. It’s mightily easy to be mean and become a sadist when your actions would never be condemned or punished. I have a touch of sadism in me. I also have a cavity.