Sherry Kerrigan smoothed her dress and continued her comments. “I don’t think it’s right to have some of the children getting ahead of the others. Labeling them is unfair.”
The school principal, Toby Johnson, shrugged. “Gifted programs are S.O.P. at charter schools in Texas,” he said.
“The fact remains that advanced classes stigmatize some children unfairly.”
Principal Johnson sighed. “Miss Kerrigan, our goal is for each child to get an education tailored to their specific needs.”
“Well, I can tell you what my Bernie doesn’t need: a bunch of heathen bullies calling him stupid. All children are smart in the eyes of Jesus.”
“CHRIST, not this again!” Jim Randall stood up a few seats away.
“Mr. Randall, please,” Principal Johnson said. “Let Miss Kerrigan finish.”
Kerrigan poked her chin out. “Thank you, Principal Johnso—”
“So we have to sit here and listen to this nonsense again? Her boy’s problem is she only lets him read the bib—”
“How dare you, Paul Randall! HOW. DARE. YOU,” Kerrigan hissed. “I WILL NOT sit here and listen to your blasphemy.”
Principal Johnson looked like he might sink into the stage. “Ladies and gentlemen, please,” he begged. “Can we just stick to the issues?”
Jim Randall crossed his arms. “Every meeting it’s the same thing. My Bernie, my precious Bernie. I don’t want other kids learning things he’s not. I don’t want him learning things that aren’t in the bible. If aliens read the transcripts from these meetings they’d assume Bernie Kerrigan was the only living, breathing student at Monroe Elementary.”
“I won’t apologize for caring about my son,” Kerrigan snapped. “He’s special. All children are special.”
“Then let’s talk about some of the other ones, for Christ’s sake.”
“Jim Randall, if you think I’m going to sit here and listen to you take The Lord’s name—”
“You’re not sitting, you’re standing up. And spare me the lecture. No wonder Bernie’s ostracized. He’s probably traumatized from growing up with that psycho McBride piss in his ear.”
Kerrigan fumed. “Pastor McBride is a messenger from God. You might not respect that or anything else, but it’s true.”
“Folks, please, school business, can we get back to it?” Principal Johnson pleaded.
“Bug off, Johnson,” Kerrigan snarled. “I’m tired of taking abuse from Jim Randall.” She turned to face Jim. “Your boy’s no prize. Always shoving around the smaller kids, the porky little heathen.”
“Keep squawking, crazy bird. I’ll be sure to let him know what your son thinks of him.”
Principal Johnson looked desperate now. “Order, I need orde—“
“Is that a threat?” Kerrigan shouted. “I’d like the record to show that Jim Randall just threatened my Bernie. You all heard him. You might think I’m stupid, Jim, but I see what you’re doing.”
“What I’m doing is trying to shut you up. To hell with your Bernie, this school’s got serious problems.”
“Well, the school does have some issues,” Principal Johnson said, working for diplomacy again. “If we could just get back to business I think we could—“
“Oh, now we’re the problem. I’ll tell you the real problem: You’ve all turned your backs on Jesus.”
Jim Randall snickered.
“That’s right, laugh it up, Jim. We’ll see who’s laughing in eternity.”
“You see,” Randal announced to the crowd. “This is what I’m talking about. This is a public charter school, why should she get to force her bullshit Jesus nonsense on us? It’s illegal.”
Sherry Kerrigan’s eyes were on fire as she reached into her purse and came back with a Ruger pistol. “THAT’S IT! I’ve had enough,” she said, waving it around. “I tried the peaceful way, like Jesus, but you people didn’t want it. Prepare to be smote, heathens!”
As Sherry turned to fire the pistol at Jim Randall it discharged in her hand. The stray bullet hit Meg Watson square in the ass and she shrieked. Jim Randall barreled shoulder-first into Sherry Kerrigan as Principal Johnson ducked behind his podium. People made for the exits as Randall and Kerrigan rolled around on the floor, struggling for the gun. Before long another shot rang out like a slammed gavel, signaling the end of that week’s PTA meeting.