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Shenandoah Jones (ShoStoBloMo #14)

November 14, 2009

Having a name like Shenandoah Jones can mean you are destined to be one of a variety of things: country singer, starting tailback for a nationally ranked SEC team, car dealership owner, Serious Actor. What our friend Shen has found, though, is that it means he gets his ass kicked about seventeen times a day.

See, having a name like Shenandoah Jones also kind of relies on you being a big dude, with mournful eyes and big muscles and a smile that lights up the world. When you are, in fact, short, scrawny, four-eyed, brace-faced, and scowly, having the name that Shen is cursed with is kind of like finding a way to unironically mock yourself in front of everyone you know, everyday, forever.

We zoom in on Shen, riding his bike home from school, skipping choir practice because of a stomach ache. He is plagued with stomach aches, by the way, because he is in love with Macy Anderson. She’s the prettiest girl in school, the meanest girl in school, and the epitome of every stereotype you’ve ever seen on TV.

From the look in Shen’s eye, it’s pretty obvious he’s dreaming of Macy Anderson, or he’s dreaming of something, because he doesn’t see the station wagon coming up on the stop sign with no hint of stopping.

It only takes a split second and Shen is airborne, his bike having t-boned the front of the wagon. He flies over the hood of the car and lands with a very unpleasant sliding squish onto the pavement a good ten yards away. For a moment everything is silent except for the radio blasting from the windows of the car. Journey, if you want to know. But you probably didn’t. And now that I’ve said it, it’s made things worse, hasn’t it? Sorry.

Shen lays there on the road, bleeding, but alive, and suddenly Shenedoah Jones is the name of the kid on the glass jars in sandwich shops, asking for donations to pay medical bills.

The siren’s wail is getting louder and people have come running form their houses to see what the commotion is all about. Kids who previously had kicked Shen’s ass earlier in the day are helping to tie tourniquets on his appendages, even as he squeals and cries for them to stop.

Then the ambulance is there, and the paramedics pop out of the doors like they’ve been shot out by James Bond ejector seats. They split up – one run-walks to the car and the other run-walks to Shen. After a few minutes of triage, he is tied to a board and loaded onto the ambulance. The police have arrived and ticketed the station wagon driver, Macy Anderson, who seems to be fine physically, though emotionally may be having a hard time of it as she contemplates not what she’s done to Shen, but how long she’ll be grounded and how she probably won’t have the car for Friday’s party at Jack’s house.

The ambulance wails its way down the street and Shenedoah Jones is now the name of a boy who survived being run over by the most popular girl in school. They are inextricably linked now, whether they want to be or not, and the Fates open up a new door for the future.

I can see this door opening from my vantage point up here and I wonder if Shen knows what he’s in for. Benefits, weeping – the whole Ferris Bueller work up. All for a kid everyone enjoyed picking at and beating on and generally terrorizing every minute of every day of every year.

Shenedoah Jones is now the name of the kid who gets the news story written about him. It’s the name of a guy who is on TV all the way in Dallas because of the community support surrounding him and his family. It’s the name of a guy, who, on the way to the hospital, had a stroke and fell unconscious and hasn’t woken up even though it’s three weeks later now.

I sit up here and I can still see the red smear on the road. I am not sure if it’s from his face or what. It’s still there, though, and it proves that sometimes your destiny isn’t planned for you. Sometimes gaps open into the ether just like the surprise doors in Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. You’re torn, herky-jerky from the path you were on, and you take the fork in the road whether you want to or not.

Shenandoah Jones had always agonized over not living up to his name. But maybe he should have agonized more about not living.

That’s not a very nice thing to say about a bullied kid in a coma, is it? It doesn’t matter. I’m a tenured angel so no one can say shit. What does matter is that I’m getting ready to wake up this poor SOB, and he is not going to know what hit him. So to speak.

You tell me, is it worse to be bullied everyday, or is it worse to be Ferris Bueller-ized by the kids that still hate you but have now latched onto you for attention and fame?

Shenedoah Jones is the name of a guy who is going to wake from a coma and then wish he was still asleep.

It’s the name of a guy who will sue the ever living shit out of Macy Anderson’s family and tear the town in two.

It’s the name of the guy who is sitting in the car in front of you on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

Buckle up.

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