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punishmentI thought that crying was for sissy boys when I was young.

I never did it only on my own. No-one ever saw me cry.

I would just go fishing then and my tears got lost along the banks of the river Liffey in Ireland where I grew up.

You see tears are like liquid threads from your soul; they touch out to rivers and lakes where they can be at one. And when that happens you feel good again.

At my Catholic college when I was fourteen I admit I did bad things to the teachers.

I baited them, I took baby rats that were friends of mine and let them out in class and newborn rabbits that they had never seen; and frogs that also got me into trouble.

I used a fishing line and stretched it out between the aisles of the desks in class so that the priest, the Latin teacher would trip over; and then quickly reeled it in again. I hated Latin classes, and they hated me.

They got me back the priests. You could even say they conspired against me when they had their lunches with roast beef and Holy wine and afterwards for dessert mille-feuille with chocolate sauce the buggers.

So every other afternoon after class I had to be beaten; to save my soul. This act was done with much relish by a young priest in his robes; a rope belt around his waist and sandals on his feet enclosing white socks. He made me want to puke all over him.

A bamboo cane about four foot long. I had to put my hands out to receive the lashes. Six on each hand.

The blows cut into my already bleeding hands and landed on the same wounds from the day before. I screamed inside of me but never let him know. I would not give him that satisfaction.

The canings went on for weeks until my hands were so swollen that I could not write in class anymore, and I would hide them from my classmates and from my family when I got home.

I did not care about the pain, and I never stopped giving the priests a hard time; I would just start again the next day.

I got into the College church tower one afternoon and rang the bells by swinging on them; a fifty foot drop below. I shouted “God Bless you all when you go to Hell because He and me will never forgive you bunch of feckers, so you can all go and piss in the wind like I am doing to you now.”

But eventually I realised that my left hand had blown up to the size of a melon and was useless. I had to admit my faults to my father and see what could be done.

Off to hospital where they found I had a dislocated and fractured thumb. The priest had decided that there was nowhere else to hit me on my palms and went for my wrists instead.

I lost my faith then in religion forever. They taught me that they only hurt and that destroyed my soul.

I hope he enjoyed his sadistic pleasures sanctioned by Holy Rome for centuries past.

I hope that his conscience will recover one day but I doubt that very much. My left hand and my soul have not.

And I have never given up defying the priests. I still ring their bells every day in my mind; injustice and cruelty is never forgotten no matter that it is done in the name of the Lord.

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