Wednesday, May 4, 2011

jesus freakz + buddha punx by M.E. Purfield

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Meet Patty Gee – Pentecostal teen living with her grandmother and widowed father. Patty finds happiness in her religion that keeps her close to her father, her recently deceased mother, and God. Her perspective is clear. It has to be if she’s going to survive freshman year in a new urban school.

After violent incident that leaves her beaten, she meets Miggy Perez – Dominican Buddhist punk who takes pictures off dog poop on the sidewalk. Yes, Miggy is weird. But Patty feels God sent Miggy to her for a reason. Plus, she’s one of the first people in school who doesn’t call her a Jesus Freak.

Patty’s father doesn’t approve of Miggy. He believes she was sent by the Devil. He may be right. Especially when Patty feels her life spinning out of control. Then something happens that truly blows her world apart. Miggy was not sent by God or the Devil – but from someone unexpected.


M.E. Purfield is a short short story writer and a YA novelist from NJ.



The Devil glares at me, tugs her midriff denim jacket, and places her hands on her hips. “What are you looking at, bitch?”

I turn away and stare at the Garden Apartments across the street. I wait and hope that Zenaida Cepeta (aka the Devil) grows bored, satisfied with embarrassing me in front of the school and the world. But then she shoves the back of my shoulder. I turn around.

“I’m talkin’ to you,” Zenaida says. She stands with Tamika Williams and Mary McKay on either side of her. All three girls are in the same class as me, but way taller. “You deaf or somethin’? I said what you lookin’ at?”

I press my binder and books close to my pounding heart. I know that she already knows the answer to the question. I was looking at her kiss Tommy Quinn by the bus stop in front of the school gate. I couldn’t help myself. For just for a quick moment, I imagined that he was kissing me.

“Maybe she’s checkin’ out your clothes,” Tamika says. “Look at hers. Dresses like some kind of Amish bitch or something.”

“She ain’t Amish. Freaky Jesus Freak,” Mary says. “Isn’t that what they call you?”

Tamika and Mary laugh.

“You like to look at me, Jesus Freak? Huh?” Zenaida asks.

I search for help. All the kids are either smiling with anticipation of a fight or too scared to move.

Zenaida pushes my shoulder again and then knocks the books from my hands. The binder hits the sidewalk and the pages blow away with the winter wind.

“You like the show, huh?” she asks.

“I...I wasn’t...” I say.

“Why you getting all up in my shit? You pata or somethin’?”


“Lesbiana? You get off on my shit?”

I open my mouth, look her in the eye, and gasp. I know little Spanish, but I know what lesbiana means.

“No,” I say. “What?”

“Better be careful, Zenny,” Tamika says. “God might strike you down with lightnin’.”

“Or maybe you hot for my man?”

I study the ground, hoping to hide the truth from my eyes. It doesn’t work.


Zenaida punches me in the face.

I grab my stinging eye. My brain flashes black and white.

She grabs my hair and punches me in the head a few more times. When she releases me, I fall to the sidewalk and lean against the metal school gate.

“Where’s the lightnin’? Thought you were special, freak?” Zenaida looks up at the clear sky. “You see any lightnin’?”

“Nope,” Tamika says.

“Nada,” Mary says.

All three of them laugh.

“Keep your eyes to yourself,” Zenaida says.

They walk away.

I sit on the ground, whimper, and keep my face covered. I’m afraid to let it go, afraid it will fall apart. I had never been punched, never been in any kind of fight. I tap my nose to see if it’s bleeding or broken; all I find is mucus. I should stand up and go home, but I don’t want to face all the strange and staring eyes. I don’t want to see the world. I pray to Jesus to give me strength, to help me.

“Hey, you okay?”

I look up. A black girl with straight, red-streaked hair looks down at me. She holds my binder and schoolbooks. She smiles, but not in a vindictive way. This wave of compassion radiates from her.

“I think I got all the pages back,” she says. “But you might want to walk down Newark just in case.”

I grab the gate and pull myself up. I show my hands to the girl. She passes me the books.

“You sure you’re okay?” she asks.

I nod. If I speak I know I will cry.

“Okay,” the girl says. “I’m Miggy by the way. You need help getting home?”

I try to smile a thank you, but I’m sure it comes out funny. I shake my head and then start to walk home.

“Bye,” the black girl says.

“Bye,” I say back, but regret it because by the time I turn the corner the sobs come out.

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