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Not Apologizing. (Short Story).

April 12, 2019

cropped-12301412301.jpgCharles studied the principal sitting across from him in the man’s large church office; actually it seemed more office than was needed for the few books he had Charles thought as he studied Pastor Thomas Flincher, school principle and junior pastor of First Evangelical Free Church. He was sure that his wife, Andrea, may have had more books. It was a minor observation but it was an observation that struck him at first as the bookshelves seemed to have the books spread out as if trying to convey more books than there were? But as Charles thought about it it was a minor observation of the man behind the desk that also seemed sparse for such a big office.

Pastor Flincher was still talking in the tone that Charles knew all too well, “It’s your daughter again, Charles. We have had this discussion before about her attitude. Your daughter seems to not realize just how prideful she sounds or simply unpleasant in her conduct…”

“Emma? What did Emma do?” Actually he had another daughter but Emily was rarely in trouble and seemed quit content to remain that way.

The older man sat straight and it seemed uncomfortable in the high back chair, his hands folded together on the book he was reading, “Emma was argumentative in class yesterday. In fact down right refusing to apologize for her attitude.” The features of the man seemed to have decided to not smile, “I have been very patient with her attitude up to this point because your wife is also a teacher here. I have given your daughter plenty of chances to curb her opinions…”

“Which class was she having a problem?” He really wished the man would get to the point. “My daughter does have strong opinions on certain subjects. Which class?” He wanted to laugh but it was apparent the man across the oak table was in no mood for that reaction. Emma would have corrected the man by stating she had opinions and she wasn’t opinionated. He once asked her the difference. As for Andrea, she was a substitute teacher at the moment. As for Emma, well, she had her defense on her opinions.

“Dad, an opinion is just educated thought or even guess, being opinionated is to not believe anyone else has an opinion worth listening to.”

Pastor Flincher responded, “Mr. Conrad’s science class.”

Charles had to do a quick mental remembering of Emma’s teachers, “Ah, Mr. Conrad. Teaches mostly earth sciences, also the gym teacher if I remember what Emma told me.” He leaned back a bit in the stiff chair, “What was Mr. Conrad discussing?”

“She was being argumentative in class, Charles.” The tone said it all. “Mr. Conrad was quit bothered by her refusal to apologize for being wrong…”

“Principal Flincher, my daughter doesn’t argue with people unless pushed. She’s a quiet girl; not as quiet as her sister, but quiet. For her to do as you are suggesting she would have to have been pushed. I know she has opinions and very strong one’s for a fifteen year old, but arguing is not her way….” He decided to not remind the man he also had an older son in the school as well; Craig was about to graduate into collage next Fall.

The tension in the older man’s features remained, “Mr. Conrad was discussing the Noah story and geology of the Noahic Flood. He was explaining the problems with the belief in a universal flood…”

Being polite, “I am not seeing the issue yet.” Though he had an idea where this was going. He would have added his own thoughts on the Noah story but decided it wasn’t needed.

Frowning, picking up a pen and slowly tapping it on the desk, “You daughter’s personal opinion or views on the story of Noah has no place in Mr. Conrad’s class.”

Pretty sure knowing where this was going even more, “What views?” Emma had spent an hour talking to him in his own office at home and it was quit a story. It was of course her side of the story but Emma seemed to keep to the general idea of the story. Emma defended the idea of the tale as truth and factual; Mr. Conrad seemed to question and seemed to not actually believe any of the story. That was the general idea Emma gave her dad when they stopped talking once they were called for supper. She of course continued the discourse at the table until her mother reminded her that she had made her point and let it go; Emma smiled at that; Emily giggled.

Pastor Flincher was replied tapping the book with the pen, “Charles, just tell your daughter to keep her views to herself in class.”

Though he knew already, he had to ask, “What did Emma say in class, Pastor Flincher?”

The man wanted to say something but stopped himself, “Let’s wait till Mr. Conrad arrives, he was there.”

He was put off briefly, “Okay. Sure.” Something wasn’t making sense.

“Your daughter is fourteen is she not?”

“Fifteen actually, will be sixteen in October.” Adding, “My youngest, Emily,  will be fourteen soon, next month actually, and my oldest, Craig, will be off to the U of M…”

“Fifteen can be a tough age to deal with I know…”

He disagreed, “I find my kids to be quit well-adjusted and very few issues really.” He understood full well where this was going, “My kids, all three of them, have their different personalities but have never given me cause for alarm….” Though Emily’s tomboy tendencies to break parts of herself like last week did trouble him at times; broke her arm and seemed proud of the adventure that got it broken and that would be climbing questionable tree branches. She walked around quit pleased with the dark blue cast on her left arm, a few still healing cuts on her face and nose. But she was alive, healthy, and followed her sister around for which Emma endured with patience. He continued, “Pastor Flincher, my kids are doing just fine. I have very few issues or problems from them…” He could see the man wasn’t really listening anymore; he seemed more impatient for Mr. Conrad to show up. But he was going to continue to defend his kid, “Emma’s a good kid, Pastor Flincher, I’m sure that she wasn’t that much trouble in her discussion in her science class. She does like science.”

“Yes, yes, of course she’s a good kid, Everyone’s kid is a good kid, Charles. But they do sometimes get ahead of themselves in what they think they know or understand.” He tapped the pen on the book again lightly, “They do have a high opinion of their knowledge, Charles. Kids think it’s all about them…”

“Not sure I am following really. What does this have to do with her science class?” Emma had already told him much about her science class and Mr. Conrad, but Charles had to give the other side a chance to state their side he had told her. Emma had protested of course that she wasn’t making anything up and that she was simply stating her opinion of the subject. It was a circular night on the discussion but eventually she went upstairs to help her sister with her own homework; Emily stood at the stairs staring at Emma till she got the point. It was funny thought Charles. He continued, “Pastor Flincher, I am not following very well, all Emma was doing was voicing her mind on the subject of Noah’s Flood…”

Interrupting with patience, “What kind of books does your daughter read?”

“Emma likes to read and generally anything. Takes after her mom in that regard.” He could tell he was fishing for something. “Though of late she has been doing some reading on fossils and dinosaurs…”

The patience wasn’t there, “Don’t you monitor her reading?” He held up a hand, “I don’t mean to interrupt, Charles, but she does seem to read a lot of books she may be too young to read let alone understand their full context.” He smiled a bit, “I’m not telling you how to raise your kids, Charles, but it does seem to me that what she is reading is having a negative effect on her. What kind of books is she reading?”

Why did he feel uncomfortable at the question, “Of late I believe she is reading books on fossils. I think she sees herself as a future fossil hunter…”

Interrupting again with a raised hand, the smiled seemed clued in place, “I am just concerned by the books she is reading. She voiced some very odd views in Mr. Conrad’s class.”

“Odd views?”

“Maybe you and your wife should be better monitoring her reading habits more closely. As I said I am not here to dictate you or your wife’s parental rights but she did as Mr. Conrad stated become rather argumentative in his class.” He closed the book in front of him, “Look, let’s just wait till Mr. Conrad comes and we can discuss this better.” He tapped again the pen in his hand.

Charles noted the book’s title, ‘Rescuing The Bible From Fundamentalism.’ By. Sponge. And another on something called replacement theology sat next to his Bible; which he never heard of.

Pastor Flincher was talking, “Mr. Conrad was simply stating that the idea of a universal flood such as told in the Bible story of Noah was never meant to be taken as literal as it has been by some in the church. Your daughter became very defensive….”

The knock at the door seemed louder than it had to be thought Charles.

Mr. Joseph Conrad entered the office as if he owned the room.

The voice was clipped, “Principal Flincher.” It was said calmly up to a point though Charles as the man spoke mostly to the man behind the desk. He sat down, looked at Charles without much else, “Mr. Nichols.”

The look he gave Charles said much.

Pastor Flincher leaned back a bit, put the pen down and observed the other two men with a smile of patience, Now that we are all here, we can discuss this matter better.” Charles was about to say something but the hand went up, “I am not finished, Charles. I feel this meeting is needed for all involved…”

Charles gave up trying to say anything. Andrea was home taking care of a not feeling well daughter who was being talked about. But still, they hadn’t asked Andrea for the meeting, but only him. He felt uncomfortable about it for some reason.

“…Emma felt she had some right to voice her opinion and not have to listen to anyone else let alone the teacher, that would be me not her, Charles. I have certain rules in my class and she seemed to act as if those rules didn’t apply to her…” Mr. Conrad sounded as if he were giving a speech he had given a few times before.

“Mr. Conrad does have a right to make rules in his class, Charles. It is his class. If he feels the need for certain rules and for certain books not used in a science class, I support him…”

The man was talking a lot but not saying much thought Charles that made sense to him for the moment. He was also beginning to feel as if he were being double-teamed for some reason.

Breaking in bluntly Mr. Conrad spoke up, “Your daughter…”

“Her name’s Emma.”

“…your daughter seems to take Noah’s story very literally. I tried to explain to the child it’s only a story with a moral point. It was never meant to be taken as a factual event. It’s physically impossible to rain that much and her stubborn response was that God could have simply done it. The child…”

“She’s not a child, she’s fifteen…and it’s only a story with a moral point?” He was somewhat taken back by the comment, “This is a Christian school is it not?” It had to be asked as this conversation was becoming nonsense to him even if he wasn’t a Christian; a secular Jew yes, but never a Christian. His wife, Andrea, was the Christian adult in the family, and he was convinced that Emma was, Emily he was certain wasn’t but didn’t mind going to church with her mom and sister. It was complicated? Not really he would told anyone who asked, but he had to ask the question of the man who had taken over the job a few years ago. “I would have thought that the story of Noah was Christianity 101…”

The man looked back uncomfortably at Charles, “Charles, we are not here to discuss my own persona beliefs or opinion on what the Bible says or doesn’t say….”

It was obvious to Charles that Mr. Conrad was growing very impatient with the way things were going. Pastor Flinch wasn’t noticing much.

“….We are here to discuss what to do about your daughter’s attitude in class. She is becoming a disruption in Mr. Conrad’s science class.”

Conrad had enough, “Look, I’m not a Christian, I simply deal with real science. I try to teach actual scientific facts to the kids in this school. I do not teach religion. I’m a science teacher…” Looking at Charles hard, “Your daughter needs to learn to listen and not interrupt my class with her opinion about science…” Looking at the man behind the desk who looked back somewhat lost, I was hired by you to teach science. Factual science and not debate one’s personal beliefs in science class. She needs to just sit in class and listen and take my tests. Not stand there in class and tell me that the story of Noah has to be taken literally because it’s in the Bible as factual history and that somehow the fact of all those dead fossilized animals prove the flood of Noah was real…”

The look in the man’s round puffy face would have been comical thought Charles but this was becoming a very unfunny if not odd conversation. He was sure he was missing the obvious real reason for all this double-teaming against a fifteen year old girl with an opinion.

Conrad was still talking, “….Noah’s story is just that a story taken from other stories, legends, and a lot of mythology that God made it rain for a few weeks. I told the child it just wasn’t possible to rain that much. It’s a fine moral story if that is what you want to believe but she was taking it personally and as factual history that a man built a 475 foot long boat….”

He wasn’t sure how to respond to any of this. He couldn’t see his kid standing up and doing anything of the kind. What happened to his shy little girl? But if anything, he was impressed despite the fact that the man next to him was glaring at him. Charles spoke up, “I am confused.” Looking at the pastor who looked back again uncomfortable, “You hired him and he doesn’t believe or agree with the religious stance of this school?” He also began to think that maybe if hadn’t been paying close enough to his family as much as he thought he was or thought he had. He wasn’t becoming angry at Emma, she was standing up for something and he felt proud of her. The cancer didn’t kill her as a young kid and this just made him prouder; those were stressful and terrible years of her early life. “I am very confused, Pastor Flincher, I would have sworn that defending the Bible was a good thing. My Emma’s gone through a lot in her young life, I’m not sure I can be too mad at her over this…” Looking briefly at Conrad who only looked more annoyed, “Why did you hire someone who doesn’t even agree with your beliefs?”

Pastor Thomas Flincher was not amused, “I will not have my decisions questioned, Mr. Nichols. Mr. Conrad is an excellent science teacher and your daughter was argumentative in his class. She refused to apologize for her outburst….” He reached over and grabbed his Bible, tapping it again with the pen, “Look, Charles, not everything in this book is too be taken literal, and your daughter needs to listen to those in charge, those in authority over her, and to learn to listen to those with better understanding of this book. She needs to learn to not question those in authority over her in the classroom…This book has warnings against those who attack or act as your daughter did to someone in authority over her…”

He bit his tongue from getting angry, “Is Pastor Donald aware of all this?”

The hard look remained, “I’m in charge of the school, Mr. Nichols. Pastor Donald has his duties, I have mine, and they do not crossover. I made that very clear when I took this job a few years ago…” He flipped open the Bible as if looking for a particular verse of Scripture to make his point, “I’m the principle of this school, I make the hiring choices and Pastor Donald knows this and so do those when I was voted in…”

He was surprised that Conrad was being so quiet. In fact he was beginning to suspect there was more to it than his kid stood up for herself. And it seemed to him it was being dragged out for some reason.

“….I will hire who I think is best for this job. The school is important to me. Mr. Conrad is a very good teacher. He was highly recommended from the last school he worked at…”

“Where was this?” He found himself asking, “How long, Mr. Conrad, where you at your last school?” He asked the question because the man didn’t look over thirty and something was beginning to bother him about the guy. He carried himself with a stiff air of the self-important was true and obvious but there was something else about the man that troubled him.

“Charles, Conrad doesn’t have to answer your questions, he’s not the issue, your daughter is.” The arms folded across his chest but he quickly tried to relax, “I will hire whom I feel is best for this job…”

Finally interrupting in anger, “Your daughter owes me and the entire class an apology. She will stand up in front of my class and apologize for her behavior! I will not tolerate in my classroom such an attitude!” The man wanted to get up and make his point but he was forcing himself to remain sitting. “I’m owed an apology and I will get one. Standing up in front of the class like that and acting as if she knows better science than I do. I’m the teacher, not a fifteen year old girl, Mr. Nichols. Not sure what books she is reading but they are not science books.”

He wasn’t sure why he said it, “Well, she does read her Bible, she reads other books…” It sounded ridiculous but he felt compelled to defend Emma on some level. And none of this was making sense with the two men who sat demanding he force his kid to apologize for something he was convinced she shouldn’t have to apologize for in a Christian school. To the other man who sat next to him with that look of one not use to getting his way, “You want me to force Emma to apologize for standing up for what she believes in? In a Christian school of all places? She’s defending the Bible as far as I can tell. What’s wrong with that?” He wondered where Pastor Donald was in all this. Something really wasn’t making sense. Maybe he was missing something? Something obvious? “I thought the Bible was the Word of God?” He couldn’t believe he said it; secular Jews don’t say such things. “Thanks, Grandfather Aaron”, he told himself with an inner laugh, “I guess I was listening?”

The voice was flat in response as it continued, “We don’t worship the Bible, Charles.” He flipped through some more pages, “We study it, we learn from it, and we follow it knowing that not everything in it was meant to be taken literally. Historically speaking, the first eleven chapters of Genesis were never meant to be taken as actual history. The Bible is God’s Word, but that doesn’t mean we blindly believe everything we read in it.” He tried to be a little more relaxed as he felt he was making his point, “The Bible is a good book to live one’s life by in matters of morals, ethics and basically how we should treat people, but it’s not history and it’s certainly not a science book….”

“Does Pastor Donald share those views?” That sounded more like an Andrea question.

The annoyance returned, “I’m not like Pastor Donald, Mr. Nichols. We differ on a few points of the Bible.” He flipped a few more pages as if having a problem finding something, “But Pastor Donald is also nearing retirement, so we choose to simply agree to disagree until we we get another pastor…”

Conrad spoke up again, “I’m not here to discuss religion, Pastor Flincher, I’m owed an apology.”

Charles was getting annoyed by the complaining of Mr. Conrad, “My daughter, Emma, will not being apologizing. I want to know what she said exactly in your class, Mr. Conrad?” Emma had tried a few times to tell him what the man was like as a teacher. He had passed it off as typical student complaining about the teacher sitting on his right with a growing look of anger in the small eyes and balding head.

The voice was hard, unpleasant, “There is no discussing or debating religion in my class. Your daughter was belligerent in my class…”

Interrupting, “Not even sure Emma knows what that is, Mr. Conrad….”

“…She refused to stop mentioning the Bible in class as if it were an authority for science facts. She refused to stop interrupting me in class when I try to explain to her that the Bible was not a science book and has no place in science class…”

Charles noted the silence of the other man. Was this really the church his wife and daughter’s actually liked being at? “So, defending her faith, what she believes in, what she was told was the Word of God, in a Christian school is the problem?” He was beginning to note he was sounding like his Christian wife. Was that good or bad? Well, he did marry the redhead knowing her religious faith was Christian and not of her own Jewish roots? Well, that wasn’t fair, she never left her Jewish roots behind but she knew his own thoughts on the subject of the church and was simply diplomatic when the subject came up. He married a Christian girl with a Jewish last name; he had no regrets. His pointless talking to himself was interrupted by the annoyed Mr. Joseph Conrad and his demands that his kid be dragged before the class and forced to recant her beliefs; it’s how it felt he told himself.

Mr. Joseph Conrad seemed offended by the statement, “I am not a Christian, I am certainly not religious in anything. I teach science and only science. She will apologize. She was wrong and needs to be corrected…”

“Why did you quit your last job?” Charles asked it calmly for the most part, “I would curious what school you taught at before you came here.” Adding; “Do you not allow your students to ask questions?”

Annoyed, “I allow science questions, Mr. Nichols, I don’t allow students to stand on soap boxes and preach in my class…” Holding up a chubby hand, “As for my last school I taught at, that’s a private matter and of no concern of yours or your daughter…”

He decided to let that go for the moment, “And Emma didn’t ask a science related question?”


“What did she ask or say that has gotten you and the principle so worked up?”

The man leaned back in the chair he seemed uncomfortable sitting in, “I am not here to be asked questions, Mr. Nichols, I am here to let it be known that she will apologize…”

“What was the question or statement made by Emma? I know my daughter, she can be stubborn but she knows what she believes in and why. She doesn’t just simply blurt out statements without thinking things through….” He could hear the pen being tapped on the desk impatiently, Charles really wanted to tell the man to stop it but of course he didn’t, “I know Emma, she asks questions to understand what she is being told. So, I think I am asking a valid question, what did Emma say?” It was becoming apparent this was a man who didn’t like being questioned; another observation Emma had told him.

Principal Flincher seemed bent on being silent.

“Mr. Conrad,” Charles started out patiently, “As a parent I am allowed to ask why my kid is in trouble. So far you have said nothing to indicate that Emma did anything to deserve her being forced to apologize for stating her beliefs and defending her beliefs…” He decided a knew tact, “Look, Mr. Conrad, I’m not a Christian, my wife is and so are my kids, they like this church, they are liked and seem to have gotten much from being here. I am seeing a great value in them being here, I may not believe as they do but I do see them being pretty good kids because of this places influence, but I am not going to allow my daughter to be forced to do something she has no obligation to do like apologize for something you have yet to really explain….” He could see the interruption coming from the small dark eyes. “So, again, what did she say or do to get me out of a day of work and have to come here and have my daughter raked over the coals?”

Not happy at all, “We were discussing the impossibility for the world-wide Flood of Noah to be anything but a story and very possible a local flood told so many times it became the whole planet. It was a local flood told over and over and the story became bigger with the telling. The story of Noah was nothing more than a moral tale of some kind…”

“There are other cultures with flood legends…” He was convinced the man simply didn’t like the fact that Emma stood up and disagreed with the man.

The hand went up, “She said that as well. I pointed out to her that the Bible took those tales and made it their own. It has nothing to do with an actual world-wide global flood….”

Charles wondered if he did the hand thing a lot in his science class? Emma said he did it a lot. Mostly when he felt the student was making too much sense Emma told him with an impish smile.

“….She insisted that the fact that so many cultures world-wide have flood legends would indicate that the stories have some truth to them. She stated the Bible was a factual record of the reasons for the flood and who caused it….”

“Sounds reasonable to me, Mr. Conrad.”

The hard tone returned, “She was being belligerent.”

He cracked a smile, “Emma has no idea what that word means.”

“She was being argumentative then. But I tried to be patient knowing that she read odd books by people claiming to be scientists….”

He would have asked who those were but Charles was sure he already knew. She made him once watch the Ken Hamm/Bill Nye debates and of course he did as he did enjoy her talkative behavior even when forced to watch that which he didn’t want to watch. But he did. They actually had a good time sitting next to each other, eating popcorn, and spending half the time talking about everything but the show on the tv. At some point Emily showed up and joined the watching of the debate; Emily fell asleep mid-way through the program.

“….She seems to read a lot of books and I really wonder at what point is she going to read an actual science book….” Angry for some reason, “Ken Hamm is not a valid authority in my class on science. But she kept on quoting him…” He folded his hands on his lap as if he were addressing a student, “Look, she is your child, you may let her read all the fake science books you want, not my problem anyway, but in my class we will discuss real science with real science books as those are by people who have studied actual science….”

“You define real scientists as who?” He took notice that the principle was completely allowing the other guy to take over the problem; but the pen was still clutched in the man’s left hand as he slowly seemed to be flipped through his Bible for something?

“I define real scientists those with actual and real degrees in science.”

“Their names? Because I know what Emma reads for the most part and even books on evolution she has and does read….” He could see the expression in the man’s face was uncertain of Charles’s statements, “I know she’s read Darwin’s book…And some guy named Bakker as well.”

He interrupted and with it came the hand following, “She’s read Darwin’s “Origin Of The Species?”

Charles liked the look in the man’s face, “Yes, she’s read it.”

“She talks like she’s never read a book on a real science subject…”

“You mean she questioned what you were teaching because so you assumed she never read anything else but Ken Hamm. I admit Emma can be stubborn, but what kid isn’t at times. But she is my daughter and I known her very well. Belligerence is not in her makeup….” He raised a hand as the guy was about to interrupt, “Let me finish, Mr. Conrad.” He noted that Principle Flincher was listening finally, “I know my Emma. She’s a fairly normal fifteen year old girl. She doesn’t get belligerent but she does stand up for what she believes in. She has never caused me much trouble in her life. She’s grown up to be a pretty girl and I am proud of her. She’s gone through a great deal…” Why did he keep bringing up the cancer days as it was apparent they didn’t care?

Principal Flincher interrupted, “There is no reason to get defensive, Charles, but your daughter needs to apologize for being at least over-stepping her bounds as a student in Mr. Conrad’s class….” The Bible page flipping ended, “Mr. Nichol’s, we are here to simply discuss your daughter’s conduct in Mr. Conrad’s class….”

Emma had once explained something that was also becoming clear, “Daddy, no one calls him anything but Mr. Conrad, he even spent a few minutes explaining that he would not answer to anything but Mr. Conrad. In fact he seemed to demand it, Daddy. It would have been funny if he didn’t say it in such a way that everyone in class was afraid to say anything else…”

“….It’s Mr. Conrad’s class and he will and can run it as he pleases. If he doesn’t want the Bible mentioned for his own reason’s that is choice to make. I am not bothered by Mr. Conrad’s demand how his class with be run…”

He was getting tired of the merry-go-round, “My Emma is not apologizing.” He wanted to get up.

The science teacher got and stood over Charles, “She will apologize or I will fail her. Period, end of conversation, end of discussion, end of subject. I will expect this apology tomorrow morning and in front of the class or I will fail her…”

“You’ll fail her? For disagreeing with you?” He slowly got up.

“It’s my classroom, it’s my rules, I do not discuss religion in my class, and she will either do as she is told or I will simply fail her. I will not have my classroom being used as a religious soapbox, Mr. Nichols….and certainly not by some Jewish brat!”

Charles smiled despite the last part of the statement, “Ah, the truth comes out finally, my Emma is quit proud of her Jewish heritage; takes after her mom on that point. Along with the mane of read hair. Finds it great fun to remind people she’s Jewish, it’s something I am proud she is still holding unto…” He could see the looks in both men and it explained everything, “This isn’t about Emma disagreeing with you, you don’t like the fact that she wears a Star of David on her neckless or doesn’t hide the fact she is quit proud of her Jewish heritage, that’s what is bothering you two…She’s my Jewish princess and it’s the only thing you two have a problem with…” He wanted to laugh but didn’t at their expressions, “She’s not apologizing for having an opinion let alone being a Jewish girl with an opinion you don’t like…”

Heading toward the door in a huff but stops abruptly, “She will apologize in the morning and in front of the class, Mr. Nichols. In front of the class or I fail her!” Opening the door with a violent jerk, looking at both men but speaking to the silent principle. “I will have an apology or else. Your Jewish brat will do as she is told!” The door slammed violently shut.

“As you can see, Charles,” So began Principal Flincher in a cold tone, “The truth is that as far as I am concerned your daughter will apology for her belligerent conduct in Mr. Conrad’s class. It’s that plain and simple.” Standing up, “Listen, Mr. Nichol’s, soon Pastor Donald will retire, I will be voted in as the senior pastor and changes will be made in this church. I don’t hold to many of the views of Pastor Donald, he holds to doctrines I do not agree with. Changes will me made and people can either except them or leave this church…” Closing his Bible quickly, “I will not tolerate any opposition to the changes I will make, your daughter will apologize. It’s that simple or you and your Jewishness can find another church.” Heading toward the door, “End of discussion, Mr. Nichol’s. Either do as you are told to do or leave my church….” Opening the door and standing at there looking at the man with a cold hard look, “I don’t believe as Pastor Donald does that Israel and the Church are two different things in Scripture. The Church is the new Israel via what Scripture states very clearly is what I believe, Jews are not welcome here and if they refuse to conform or not apologize when they overstep their rolls in the new Israel, well, they can leave…”

“My daughter is not apologizing, Principal Flincher even if I understood what you are talking about.” The man was talking theology Charles had no clue about.

“Doesn’t matter if you understand or not, just leave if you are not going to do as you are told.”

“I am not going to force my Emma to apologize because you two don’t like her for being my Jewish kid. Not happening…”

He glared, “Listen, I am going to make an example of you people and that’s what I am going to do…”

“You people?” He stared back, “You mean Jewish people or people who question you or anyone else here?”

“Yes, you people, where ever there are Jews, they create problems by just being there! You don’t belong in the Church of Christ as far as I am concerned. Where there are Jews there are problems and problems generally created by your kind! Down through history your kind have been a problem and I will make an example of you and your family until you either do as you are told or leave!”

Walking up the man, “I don’t teach my children to apologize for their heritage let alone what they believe, I am not about to start now, Principal Flincher. Not about to start now and teach my kids to be cowards and hide their family heritage. Never going to happen!”

“You will do as you are told or leave my church, Mr. Nichols.”

Charles Nichols shook his head slowly, “If we have learned anything since the Holocaust, Principal Flincher, we don’t run anymore and we don’t apologize for being Jewish.”

“Then leave my church! If you cannot do as you are told, then leave my church!”

The man seemed on the verge of hysterics thought Charles, “I am not going to make my Emma apologize for anything and certainly not for being Jewish. I’m not going to go quietly into that repeating of history, you want me and my family to leave, you’re going to have to try harder than threats of failing my kid…this Jew doesn’t apologize. I may not be a practicing Jew…”

“Troublemakers are all you people are. Down through history your kind have been nothing but trouble. Nothing but a stubborn bunch of anti-Christ bunch…”

He forced himself to be calm because he wasn’t feeling calm, his grandfather would have been proud, “…But this non-sense would make me a practicing Jew just out of spite.”

“Nothing is stopping you from leaving, Mr. Nichols.”

“Yes, someone is, her name is Emma and I couldn’t look at her in that young strong-willed face if I didn’t do as I have taught her to do…this Jew is not apologizing nor is she going to apologize…”

The face was unpleasant, “We’ll see just how much you believe that…” He walked away in an angry huff, “Damn stubborn unwanted people…”

He watched the man walk stiffly and certainly angry down the long hall and really wondered what he got himself into. But one thing was for sure, there was not going to be any apology. His cell phone buzzed. He looked at the caller ID.

“Hey Emma…no it didn’t go well at all….No, Emma, you are not apologizing….Jews stopped apologizing after we stopped running and stood our ground…” He walked down the hallway quit convinced everyone in the office heard the man yelling and the conversation over-all. “….No, Emma, you are not apologizing….” He heard her laugh, it sounded good to hear her laugh a bit, “Jews don’t apologize, Emma….the Holocaust taught us that enough was enough of running away…” He laughed at something she said, “Yes, we are a pain in the ass when we stop playing the victim….we are certainly a pain when we stop and fight back….” He laughed again as he walked out the building and toward his car, “No, Emma, it’s not going to be pleasant tomorrow….” It was silent a bit on her end of the phone, he knew she was thinking carefully before speaking again, he spoke up, “Emma, we are not apologizing for who we are….” He opened the car door, sat down, and started the engine, “I know, I know, it’s going to be unpleasant tomorrow….” He could sense she was trying to hold in her emotions, she may have been a smart kid but could be emotional at the drop of a hat, “As you stayed home today, you feeling a little better….” She woke up looking tired, not feeling well, “…..Yes, of course, doing homework…”

He laughed at her as she lightly laughed with him. He wasn’t sure what had happened in that office he just left because the truth be told he really never thought about his heritage as much as Emma took it or studied it. Something inside him simply snapped and he sounded more like his Grandfather Aaron than himself. It surprised him and it startled him as well that he sounded as he did. Because he was no practicing Jew, really never thought about it nor the truth be told ever really cared too much about it. But something snapped in him as the two of them made demands on his kid and her beliefs and then they made it personal. Damn personal? Yes, maybe that was what it was. It became personal and it caused something to get very angry in himself. And they attacked his kid? And they kept attacking his kid and wouldn’t stop. Or was it what she stood for? What his whole family stood for? Whatever the reason or cause or whatever, he had become angry. Very angry. Where did all that come from? Well, maybe it wasn’t that hard to understand. He simply had walked away from his family and he thought never looked back or even remembered things he thought he had forgotten or tried to forget. He had forgotten nothing. He had never forgotten his Grandfather Aaron’s words when his grandson confronted him about his constant harping on his family’s history and heritage. “Not apologizing, Charles, you may nor like it, but you’re a Jew, you have faith, a heritage, a family, a history that you do not apologize for…” Charles thought as he slammed the door of the man’s apartment that he hadn’t been listening but apparently he had.

“I’m heading home, Emma, be there in a bit….”


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