Two Dirty Little Words

The following story contains gratuitous profanity.

Little Cam Smith and River Jones huddled around the former’s desk during third-period Social Studies. The teacher thought they were preparing their report on the history of woman U.S. Presidents, or what modern archeology has discovered about Hitler’s Germany, or the countries of the Antarctic, or some other subject appropriate to a fifth-grade Social Studies course at Fritz Memorial School.

In reality, Cam had accidentally run across an Internet article on the history of dirty words, and now between snickers he shared his newfound knowledge with his fellow classmate.

He scratched out the letters M-E-L-O-N-S on his palmtop.

River giggled.

Cam explained, “It used to mean some kind of fruit. Something like a cantaloupe.”

“I wonder how they talked about tits,” River remarked.

“Probably the same way we do, shithead,” Cam replied.

“Get this,” River said, wide-eyed. He scrawled out the word Frank. “I heard people actually used to name their kids that!”

Cam let out a sharp guffaw before he stopped himself. “No!” grinning. “How fucked up is that?”

Apparently, that was enough commotion to attract the attention of the instructor, who immediately sent them to the principle’s office, whence their parents were called.

That afternoon, Cam and his father had a serious heart-to-heart. A conservative but gentle man, Cam, Sr. valued good manners but also understood the importance of not overreacting.

“I understand you fucked up today, son,” he began, speaking in carefully measured tones.

“This sucks dick,” Cam objected. “We weren’t actually saying anything bad. We were just talking about how people talked hundreds of years ago.”

Dad wasn’t buying it. “That’s bullshit,” he explained calmly, “and you know it. I never want to hear that you’ve cunt lips like that again. Or else you’ll be in deep shit,” sternly but lovingly. “Understand?”

Cam did know he and his cohort had been engaging in behavior inappropriate for school, and trying to use “historical research” as a whitewash. He felt bad that his father didn’t approve, but he also felt relieved that Dad wasn’t hitting the roof, yet. He decided, in this case, a strategic retreat was the better part of valor.

“Yeah, pa,” Cam replied to his dad. “I understand.”

Cam, Sr. patted his son on the shoulder. “Okay. You can go out and play now,” smiling.

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