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The Purple Angel
by JK Murphy
Dear Marc (Mark?),
I just wanted to apologize for getting you fired (and arrested?) 13 years ago. That was 100 percent uncalled for. Think of this as a good, hearty "whoops, I fucked up!!!" First things first, are you French? I always envisioned your name spelt with a 'C', I'm not sure why. I think you may have had that look about you, but now when I try to remember your face I only see one of two things:
1) PJ Dan from YTV, (mysteriously enough, unless you secretly are PJ Dan and have been under the Witness Protection Program for the last decade for fear of me seeking further vengeance against you. Ha ha aah ah ahh a ah ah aa hhhaaaa!! Quit being so paranoid, Marc(k)!!!!!!!!!)
2) My 8-year-old self, laughing maniacally under the harsh light of morning, gazing through blackened twigs at you being forced away in handcuffs, sitting on the ground while you were carted off to jail. It is a very disturbing image. I think that is why it has stayed with me for a very, very long time.
Marc(k). I want to begin my apology by first stating that things did not have to be this way. I'm not sure if you are still serving your sentence, but if you are, know now and for evermore that it is technically your fault. Look around you. Look at your dark, dingy cell, the crusty bars. Look at your bunkmate, Franklin. Look at Franklin's tattoo, and the thick layer of filth garnishing his skin. Feel Franklin's strong, firm hands grasping your neck as he goes in for the kill. I can only imagine the nightly ritual you endure.
Certainly you couldn't have known whom you were dealing with when you signed up to be the junior instructor at the St. Andrew's Tennis Club. You thought you would be teaching a bunch of elementary school girls. I guess you didn't know that the devil herself would be arriving with pigtails and bubblegum on a bike named "Purple Angel". I guess you just didn't see that coming. Maybe you should have thought twice before picking that BITCH Delilah Fairybush* every single damn time you needed a volunteer. Every single damn time. Delilah* was fine I guess, if you go for that sort of thing (I don't). With her matching socks and shoes, she had her naïve act down pat, but it was exactly that: an act. Everybody knew she was the biggest slut in the third grade and if she says anything different she's a lying sack of shit. She was then and she probably still is. In fact, I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if she's working the corner of King and Crown at this very moment. Even the blades of grass surrounding the tennis court could see the game she was playing (a dangerous game indeed). Every day the same goddamn thing. I think I spoke for the entire gang when I took her aside one day and very simply stated that her vomit-inducing flirting was not going unnoticed, and that we, frankly, had had quite enough of her blatant sexual advances. We were there to learn, and learn we did. Learn we did.
Unfortunately this learning came in giant waves of astonishing revelation. Rather than learn about the game of tennis, for example, I learned about the great blemish that is human nature. I learned that Delilah*, while seemingly coy and seemingly angelic, lacked something I and the rest of the world commonly refer to as "talent". Not only did she have little to no tennis ability, she also had what appeared to be nothing but pink cotton under that brown stringy head of hers. I wouldn't go so far as to call her stupid, as Lord knows she had to possess some level of intelligence in order to be such an unbelievably manipulative whore. By late July she had the whole class sucking on that sweet lollilop of a sob story she told. You'd think she was the only 8-year-old in the world to have her adrenal glands removed. Give me a break. Newsflash, Delilah*: Having no adrenal cortex does not automatically make you a tennis superstar.
Marc(k), Marc(k), Marc(k). Despite these damning signs of Delilah*'s major personality deficiencies, you still insisted on playing favorites. The girl was clearly and mistakenly in love with you., even though I realize you had no feelings for her (while your taste in women was questionable, I can't for a minute believe you'd stoop that low). It was obvious to me and everyone else in the class that we (you and I, Marc(k), you and I… not Delilah*, but me. Me.) had something unspoken, a romantic tension that bordered on cosmic. You chose to deny this and repeatedly ignore me. Maybe you were scared. Maybe you were worried about what the huddled masses might think. Maybe you actually were retarded like everyone said. I don't know. I'm not here to ask these questions.
I started my protest against favoritism outside our lesson in early August of 1993, if you remember correctly (you probably don't.) I would circle the courts in Purple Angel, politely but forcefully demanding justice. You ignored, while the others just stared, their sloppy mouths hanging ajar like a bunch of lazy cows. Sheep. I was thinking cows but now I'm thinking sheep. Big hairy sheep, too dumb to do anything but follow. Big lazy hairy sheep. I was a pioneer. Your ignorance only fueled my rage. I suppose you thought you were being clever. I wonder how clever you feel now.
FYI, when I told Mrs. MacDonald about your close relationship with Delilah*, I really didn't know what I was insinuating. In retrospect, I suppose borrowing lines from my favourite episodes of Degrassi High might not have been such a wise idea, as at the time, what with being 8, I didn't exactly know the "weight" or "meaning" of some of the words I was using. Sorry about that. And the fire I set (yes, that was me) to the back woods wouldn't have been blamed on you if you hadn't said those horrible, vile things to me earlier that day. I don't know about you Marc(k), but for me, "disrespectful" and "inappropriate" are labels that don't just wash away with soap and water. That fire was an accident, I swear. Did it look good? No, it did not. But them's the breaks, Marc(k). Them's the breaks.
I didn't get off scot-free either, I'll have you know. After I informed the two new instructors that they "best watch themselves or they'll end up like the last guy", my mother had a bit of a "sit-down" with me. As if I needed this lecturing. As far as I was concerned, after the cord was cut and the teat ran dry, I had no need for this woman. Her words were empty. As if she understood true love. The humiliation only grew when I insisted it wasn't me but my evil twin who had said these words. Evil twin? Oh, come the f*@$ on, Becky! I was 8 and even I knew that was weak. Still, it was all I had. The woman had me up against the wall and she knew it. I had to go apologize to Joe and Mac, or whatever the hell their names were, which I did with clenched teeth, all the while realizing I had ten times the intelligence of these imbeciles put together.
Ok, in closing, I am really, really sorry for any psychological warfare I may have caused you over the past decade (give or take). Innocent games, really. Why don't we call a draw in this great tennis match of life and say it's water under the bridge? I for one am going to do just that. I can't tell you how great it is to finally get this off my chest. Thank you for that.
Rebecca Judith Stone
P.S. If you ever wanted to go out for a drink or whatever, give me shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JK Murphy has changed the names to protect the "innocent"