Volume 3, Issue 6, page 12
the visitor, who thus somehow knows that Lonnie has endured longer than usual, avoiding
eerie laughter. Lonnie is fighting. He fights
without motions, without anger, without expressing anything.
Then, it comes out. It comes out as if it
had just waited for Lonnie not to shake his
head, not to nod, not to look at the teacher,
not to look at the boy or girl, not to take
note of the record player or the chart, not to
stamp his foot. The laughter erupts. One expects it, when it comes, to be chattering
laughter, simian. It isn't. It's human. We read
nothing in the laughter. We read everything in
it. Lonnie's face always has expression, but
because the expression is always the same, it
is no expression at all. The laughter isn't
something of or by Lonnie. It's something that
seems inside of Lonnie, yet apart from him.
Lonnie has forgotten and left his mouth agape,
and the laughter, lying in wait, has simply
Teachers look at Lonnie, but without pausing in whatever they are doing. There are
small creases between their eyes. They're not
just sure about, this laughter, this time, because it took longer to erupt. They're sure
enough about the other boys and girls. They
pay no attention. To them laughter is laughter
and they're not sure what it means anyway.
Lonnie doesn't put either finer in his
mouth now. It's as if he knew he didn't dare.
His teeth might make his fingers hurt now.
It's too late to cause the laughter to abate.
It has started. Nothing can stop it now, nothing but Lonnie. But it must go first all the
way through the pattern.
The teacher's shoulders droop as she looks
at Lonnie. Why doesn't she grab Lonnie, shake
him? Even slap him? Clearly this is the beginning of hysteria. Extreme measures may be
used. But not with Lonnie. Extreme measures
will prolong rather than abate Lonnie's laughter. The teachers know the general pattern.
Lonnie's laughter is now continuous. Lonnie
can't stop it. It must in some strange guided
fashion stop itself. His laughter, like a tornado, a hurricane, must laugh itself out, wear
itself down to silence.
Even some of the mongoloids, the hydrocephalics, the microcephalics, take brief blurred
note of Lonnie, and don't look back at him.
The laughter goes right on until it is time
for the children to go out to the bus, to go
Most of them get their caps, hats, coats,
rubbers. Lonnie sits and laughs. It isn't even
horrible to watch and hear; maybe that is one
of Lonnie's tragedies, that his laughter is
not horrible. Even so, it tears apart all the
normal who hear it. Apparently it doesn't tear
Lonnie, but it must; somewhere inside Lonnie
it must. It couldn't not tear him.
Lonnie sits, and a teacher brings his cap,
his coat, his rubbers.
Lonnie laughs as he slaps his cap on. He
rises and dons his light coat. He dons his
left rubber. His hands manage with a certain
deftness. But his hands slip off the right
rubber before he can get it all the way on
over his heel. It's all on but that. And there
is now some hint of tragedy in Lonnie's face.
His hands reach down to either side of the
heel of the rubber. One hand grasps, but the
other slips. Lonnie's laughter is now almost
unpleasant, for tice first time. It's as if inside him Lonnie were swearing, out of a heart
that could express itself only in extremes.
But no words. If Lonnie could only erupt into
profanity, even obscenity, the teachers might
Lonnie looks at the others, donning caps,
hats, coats, and ruobers, and looks at the
teachers, who are also donning hats, coats,
and rubbers. His laughter continues just as it
has for half an hour or more. Does Lonnie fear
he will be left behind because he can't put on
that right rubber? Will he never stop laughing?
One of the teachers can endure no more.
Maybe there is no other way to bring Lonnie's
laughter to a close. The teacher bends over
Lonnie, pulls on his rubber. Lonnie looks
down, shakes his head, while his laughter rambles uncontrollably on. The teacher studies
Lonnie briefly. Then she stoops again, pulls
the rubber off over Lonnie's heel. Then she
takes Lonnie's hands, places them against the
rubber heel. Mostly it is the teacher's hands
which don the rubber, but Lonnie's hands are
also there; so the laughter ceases, cut short
off, as if with regret.
Lonnie rises abruptly, stamps his foot, not
to express exasperation, but to set his foot
more snugly in the rubber.
The column forms to march out to the bus.
As it passes the visitor, the teacher says:
"Did you notice the hysteria pattern?"
The visitor nods.
"Did it give you any ideas?"
No, only that there is just one thing to
do, considering that Lonnie didn't begin nearly as early in the last study period to laugh:
Keep on trying while there is the slightest
reason to suspect that Lonnie does not cease
struggling to free himself from his invisible
(To be continued in the November AB BREE.)
WELGOS STILL HOPES TO RETIRE,
BUT FIRST COMES BIG LOT SALE
Plans for the expansion of Human Fhgineering, Inc., into a $400,000 proposition have
been recently announced by Rev. Jim Welgos.
These plans were boosted, or born, with the
donation of the down payment on an eight-acre
piece of property near Fairhope, Ala., which
will eventually cost the organization $21,000.
To complete payments, and launch into a program of extensive construction, Welgos plans
to offer one-foot square lots of the acreage
at $1 per square foot. land on which a house
and garage are located will be sold for $10 a
foot, while 56 pecan trees will be sold for
Token purchasers of these land parcels will
not be expected to build on them, nor to cart
the land away, Welgos explains. Instead, he
hopes through this method to raise $400,000
with which to construct a dormitory, lecture
hall, swimming pool and gymnasium (for physical
education), a printing plant, etc.
Welgos says the property will be strictly
the property of Human Engineering students, as
it is his first step in a move to separate
himself completely from the organization. He
adds that he is ready to do "whatever writing
is necessary to get the ball rolling, and from
that point, I want to pick up my own life. I
think that I've given to this all that I want
to give. I want to have a little bit of detached family life for myself, the wife, and
the kids. I'll stick with it, though, until it
doesn't need me and then I'll do my fade-out."
Human Engineering, Welgos adds, recently
was given a "shot in the arm" through an article in a national magazine, which brought in
more than 2,500 replies, and resulted in the
enrolment of more than 200 new students in his
"Lessons in Living". C0100
Nations play "trick or treat" too, but like
harT hnvc. thevt.00 often trick those who treat.