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PART FIFTY-EIGHT

          Stacie was unsure how to proceed. Like Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland she felt as though she’d slipped into a rabbit hole which she was tumbling down ever farther and faster. “Damn it, Dodson,” she mumbled to herself, “am I supposed to drink this bottle or not?”

          “Sorry?” Karla said in response.

          Stacie shook her head quickly three times. “Uh, nothing. It’s just that things keep getting curioser and curioser. I guess I’m just a little perplexed that I had no idea that all this was going on. I like to think that I know my students.”

          “Oh. Well, you know,” Karla replied, with a wry, single eyebrow lift and matching half smile cheek raise. “Kinda the whole point was that nobody does know any of this. Especially Skylar! I mean, I’ve lied to her, I’m ashamed a what I was, her daddy’s for sure a killer and is out there hunting me and proly looking for her.

          “Is curioser a word?”

         “Pardon? Oh! No. Not a real one. It’s from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Just a phrase I use when I’m confused.”

          “Oh. I’ve seen that movie! I liked the original from when I was a little girl. You know? The Disney one?”

          Stacie fluttered her hands while bobbing her head up and down and shaking it left and right. “Sure. So, not to focus on the trivial here, but you were a, what did you call the tattoo under your angel wings? A racist, white power skinhead girl?”

          “Skinhead girl white power. It’s a very popular design with the Elohim women. I was, but I’m not. We’re all God’s children, no matter what those ass holes say about Ham and Shem.”

          “I’m sorry?”

          “The Bible? Genesis, nine, twenty to twenty-five?” Karla looked to Stacie who only raised her eyebrows in response. “No? Well bless your heart! I was raised to revere the Bible and I’ve read a good bit of it, but them Elohim folk twist it. Canaan was Ham’s son and Ham is Noah’s son. Ham finds Noah drunk and naked and calls his brothers to come see, which was totally disrespectful?

          “Noah wakes up and has a fit and curses Canaan even though it was his Daddy Ham who was disrespectful. I don’t get that part, why Noah’s curse his grandson? Anyway, Ham’s sons were Mizraim, Cush, Put and Canaan and all them boys went over to Africa and in Africa’s where the blacks are, right?

          “So, according to Skinhead interpretation, that’s why blacks are inferior, because God cursed ‘em and made ‘em slaves to the Israelites, so saying a black is equal to a white man is going against God.

          “It’s all bullshit,” Karla said, shaking her head. “Oh! I don’t mean the Bible’s bullshit, just how some folks twist it to justify their evil.”

          Karla screwed up her face a moment, tilted her head to the right, turned her eyes up and to the left and recited, “Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.’

          “That’s one of the things skinheads use to explain why the white man’s superior to the black, but it’s bullshit. People are people, good and bad, white, black, brown or red. When I grew up I didn’t fully embrace that? That people can be good or bad regardless a how they look? But, since I up and left Caleb and his evil doings, I can’t tell you how many coloreds have been good to me and now I know better. People are people, colored or not.”

        “Yes,” Stacie replied hesitantly, unsure of whether to correct Karla’s choice of vocabulary, “they are. This is all horrid, but what makes you certain Caleb is a killer?”

         “Oh, lot’s a things. But the thing that made up my mind for certain was his Googling.”