“Neville! NEVILLE!” Sister Rose cried, “You get out of there!”
Neville, quickly snatching up his toy soldiers and bundling them to his chest, scrambled up the side of the grave and rolled out, his jeans smudged in dirt. Hurriedly he bustled his hefty self up to the sister, who’s stern look could’ve skinned a cat, and before her he cast his eyes to his feet, knowing the verbal whooping of the Holy Mary, Mother of God was upon him.
Sister Rose’s hawkish face bared over him, and dejectedly he shuffled on his heels. “So,” she snipped, “Mind telling me what you were doing in that six foot hole there? Hmm?”
“I was,” Neville began, trying to think up a lie. But failing to come up with a good one he conceded. “I was playing with my toys.” he muttered.
“Huh!” the sister huffed, “Playing with toys and mingling with the dead! Desecrating the bed to which our passed Mother Superior is to lay! Bless her soul.” she added, making the sign of the cross.
“I weren’t trying to disrespect no one!” Neville cried, “I was just playing! Honest!”
“Oh! An honest boy are you?” Sister Rose barked. “Well then, and honest days work is what I’m going to make out of you today.” and with that, turning round and grabbing a mop and a bucket that had been sitting behind her large, plump form, she thrust the mop into Neville’s hands, his plastic soldiers plopping to the ground, and the bucket she dropped at his feet.
Neville looked up, aghast. Not the – !
“Ooh yes!” the sister confirmed. “You will scrub the whole thing! Beneath the pews and all that. Your little body will fit under there! Pudge or no pudge!” She poked her fat, knuckled finger into his belly. “Now get going! Or do I have to bring Sister May out here -?”
“No!” Neville shouted, alarmed. Though realizing how obvious his weakness was, he readily corrected himself, with added composure. “I mean, no Sister Rose. That ain’t necessary. I’ll get to it.” And as Sister Rose’s gaze steered him towards the church he moped off, his toy soldiers he had placed in the bucket rattling as he walked. This had turned into a miserable day.
But at about the tree line, an idea struck him, and he looked down to his green army and commanders piled in the bucket, a smile spreading over his face.
In a sprint he raced for the church. Something was on the horizon, wasn’t it? Commando Rodger’s elbow was tickling; surely an omen of bad things comin’. A great adventure, a wicked sea, and a storm was moving in—fast!