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JACK, ALONG WITH COOKIE AND JUDY... SEEN HERE SHORTLY FOLLOWING JACK’S THIRD, FAILED BAR MITZVAH... THE FIRST TWO HAVING COME TO NAUGHT; THE FIRST DUE TO NUDITY - THE SECOND DUE TO AN INFELICITOUS APPARITION OF THE HOLY VIRGIN - THE MOTHER OF THE UNIVERSE - LODGED IN THE FORK OF A TALL PECAN... WITNESSED BY ALL AS A GENERAL ELECTRIC REFRIGERATOR WITH HER DOOR OPEN, LIGHT ON, AND GIVING SUPPORT TO ABOUT A TWELVE POUND SPIRAL CUT, HONEY-ROAST PICNIC HAM TEETERING ON HER NEXT TO THE BOTTOM SHELF...

IT HAD BEEN A HAPLESS REOCCURRENCE... A SEEMINGLY REPETITIVE AND PURPOSEFUL ATTEMPT ON THE PART OF THE VIRGIN TO REDIRECT ANY INTENSION’S OF ENDING POOR JACK’S PROBATIONARY STATUS AND CONSUMMATING HIS TENURE AS THAT OF AN ADULT...

AFTER ALL, POOR LITTLE JUDY’S EFFORTS TO TRANSITION HER STATUS HAD BEEN SIMILARLY DISRUPTED, AND THE SLIGHTEST RECOLLECTION OF THAT DISRUPTION ENGENDERED AN EXAGGERATED GRIMACE AND SQUINTING OF HER EYES... SHE HAD BEEN CAUGHT WITH A CAMEL PRIOR TO HER FIRST BAT MITZVAH, AND WITH A LUCKY STRIKE DURING HER SECOND...

AND COOKIE? THOUGH PERENNIALLY YOUNG AND NOT YET AWARE HER DESTINY WOULD BE THAT OF IMMUNITY FROM SUCH IRE, HAD BEEN THANKFUL SHE HAD WORN HELEN’S MISS DOG AMERICA PAGEANT CROWN... NAUGHTY BETTY HAD SNITCHED IT FROM HELEN’S ROOM EARLIER ON... HAD PRESENTED IT TO COOKIE... HAD ASSURED COOKIE THAT WEARING IT WOULD RENDER HER INVISIBLE...

IT WAS ALL TERRIBLY COMPLEX... ONE, IN ORDER TO EVEN BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND, WOULD HAVE HAD TO AT LEAST HALFWAY BEEN THERE...