It was to be the Pupae. A word nobody understood. It could easily have been the Romulets or the Hiawathas. I was only seven when they sent me to join up. I say only obviously because I’m trying to present mine as a tragic case. Not real tragedy, but, you know, pathetic.

I don’t remember getting the idea myself. But that kind of drivel is often dished out by your best friend. In my case, Fard. I liked him though he shared a bedroom with his big waxy ears and his grandmother and her big waxy ears. And a ton of ironing around his house. Not washing. Ironing. That is where mothers transplanted from the midwest fell down. They could wash away in the electric paradise of the Southern California Edison Company. But ironing. It was not automatic.

To my surprise the old boy and girl thought it was a terrific idea. I then realized I had made a big mistake. But it was too late. They rushed around like mad getting me the official junk. The handbook smelled like new paint. I thought they could have scented the different chapters: salt air for knot tying, raccoons’ bottoms for the camping. But before they got me home with the handbook and lunatic paraphernalia, I started crying all over the place!

Punishable Innocence