Jack, the Novel

Tattling Twins: The Continued Serialization of the Antebellum novel, “Jack”

Chapter 26


      “So Johnny and Randy, how long have you been altar boys?” Master asked when they were seated up front of the class near the judge.

      “Three years,” snapped Johnny Sliney. “Two years,” said Randy Sliney.

      “Well boys, which is it?”

      The twins looked at one another and then, at the same, time Johnny Sliney said two years but this time Randy Sliney said three. Some students snickered causing master to turn around sharply with a scowl and they all went perfectly still and silent.

      “Well, skip it!” said master. “What did you see Johnny on Saturday.”

      “Well sir, I don’t like to tattle but I saw Jack Stone lifting up the Monstrance and standing behind the altar like he was the priest or something.”

      “Yes I saw the same thing sir, and I don’t like to tattle either. But it was Jack Stone behind that altar alright and he was getting everyone except Johnny and me to play tag around the altar. They were all running around, everyone-Jack Stone, and Jeremy, and Jimmy and Mike and all of them drank some of the wine from the bottle in the sacristy but I didn’t and my brother didn’t. We were behaving ourselves because we respect the church and they were just having a good old time. I just didn’t think they should be doing that so we told my mother and she told my father and he said you have got to tell Master Whittemore and the pastor. So that’s why we came to your house, sir, on Saturday afternoon, as soon as we could, to let you know that there was some wicked things going on at the church earlier that day. But Jack was the one getting everyone to do the bad things.”

      “Well there you have it, Your Honor. And what about Mr. Brooks?

     “Mr. Brooks was running around like everyone else-I mean like the others, not my brother or me. Brooksy was having a good ole time too and I didn’t think he had a headache,” said Johnny Sliney.

      “Nor did I sir. He was having much too good a time.”

      “I see,” said master with a big grin on his face. “I see.”

      “And you say Jack Stone was behind the whole thing?”

      “Yes sir, it was obvious to me. And Jeremy too.”

      “Really? Why Jeremy too?”

      “Because he just kept not listening to me and my brother calling us Hiney and Hiney’s brother because that’s what Jack liked to call us, and then all of them would call us the Hiney twins and another word I would not like to repeat, sir.”

      “Oh but this is a trial and you must repeat that word, Mr. Hiney, I mean Mr. Sliney, “ said Whittemore. The students roared at master’s name slip and master screamed again to shut their faces.

      “Well sir, Jeremy called me a horse’s ass and said my brother was a donkey’s ass and that was totally inappropriate especially inside such a sacred place.” Many students held their hands over their mouths but could not prevent wind escaping violently through their mouths in great peals of laughter causing Master Whittemore to scream, “Shut your godforsaken mouths you idiots before I take a cane to each one of you!”

      “Now! Why did Jeremy say such a mean thing to you and your brother, Mr. Hiney, I mean Sliney sir?” said Whittemore whose face turned beat red as more snickers were heard. Jack was trying to get the class to laugh from his bench up the back of the class and Mike started throwing little pebbles at Jack and other kids. Then Jack winked at Brooksy who winked back and Jack spit a spitball at Mike hitting him in the face.

      Then master asked Mr. Philips, the defense lawyer, if he had any questions and Mr. Philips told the judge and master, “No sir, it seems pretty clear to me who the culprits are here and I don’t wish to waste the master’s time. I have no questions.”

      Then master said it was recess and that’s when Jack told me and Brooksy that we have to ask the court for a new lawyer cuz the one we have isn’t helping us at all and he asked no questions, and to say that we want Jack to be our lawyer. So that’s what we did.


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