Garbage men don’t read novels!
The town of Salem had a small problem with schoolmarms. When Jimmy Bindle started school, the little village had a school marm named Goody Goodwife. Goody was a good teacher, who loved only good things. Sadly, in his fourth year of school, Salem was shocked when Goody Goodwife was found dead in bed, soaking wet and with her lungs filled with water. Upon examination, it was determined by the town’s doctor that she had died in her sleep, and that Satan had attempted to take her down to hell. God was furious with this, and grabbed her from his clutches, after dosing her with water to put out the hellfire. This explanation of her death made perfect sense, and so the death of Goody Goodwife was the last thing schoolmarm related in Salem that wasn’t a mystery of some sort.
Luckily for Salem, Jimmy Bindle was created with the perfect mix of talents for solving the mysteries that would appear during his tenure as a student. There are enough of his exploits to fill a never-ending series of profitable children’s books! In this spirit of this, we shall start with the story of Goody Goodwife’s first replacement, a woman known as Goody Teacherperson.
Actually, Teacherperson was her maiden name. Her Husband-given name was Goody Hobbinscotch, and that is how we shall refer to her from now on.
As soon as Goody Hobbinscotch entered the classroom on the first day, Jimmy knew something wasn’t right with her. Thanks to his absolute lack of faith in humanity, Jimmy was able to pick up on the little things that other people would not. Usually his supernatural brain, which heeded no calls for accuracy or research, could supply him with an answer to any question he asked it. When it couldn’t, it was…a mystery !
Sitting in his desk in the back of the class, Jimmy contemplated the situation. There was something about Goody Hobbinscotch that just wasn’t right, but he couldn’t figure out what. His exceptionally talented mind was at a loss. It wasn’t until he went outside to recess, which consisted of group prayer in teams, that he finally got it.
“Susan, I know what the mystery of Goody Hobbinscotch is!”
“You know, the mystery of what’s strange about her,” Jimmy said.
“That’s not a mystery,” Susan said, “the strange thing itself would be the mystery, wouldn’t it?”
“No, it wouldn’t, because I didn’t know what was strange, and that was the mystery.”
“You’re stupid, and I hate your face Jimmy,” Susan said.
“Quiet, the both of you! If you don’t stop distracting me, my team is going to lose to those Jewish kids today! Do you realize how hard my father will beat me if that happens?!?!” Betty Foster yelled from across the field. Betty’s team, the Quakin’ Quakers, always lost group prayer to the Puritan Rightminds.
“Don’t you want to know what the mystery is?” Jimmy whispered to Susan.
“Jimmy, do you need me to care about your stupid mystery or something just to make yourself feel important? Because that means you’re a witch,” Susan said.
Susan was such a pill.
Because Susan was so mean, Jimmy almost decided that it wasn’t worth it to try to solve the schoolmarm mystery. But then he realized his reputation was at stake, and he decided to go ahead with it.
You see, Goody Hobbinscotch smelled bad. Really horrible. Her stench filled the room, covering everything in sight with a fine layer of nastiness. What was worse is that thanks to good Puritan manners, no one else in the class seemed to notice. Luckily, Jimmy wasn’t constrained by such things. He could smell Goody Hobbinscotch, he could smell her from a mile away, and it bothered him.
There must be some explanation for why she smelled this bad. Knowing that no good Christian woman would ever smell this horrible naturally, Jimmy decided that there was something more involved. Perhaps something involving the great Satan. Jimmy’d always wanted to meet the great Satan, so he could spit in his face. Perhaps this was his chance.
“Psst, Susan,” Jimmy whispered during Grammar lessons, “do you want to come help my solve the mystery of the stench of Goody Hobbinscotch after class?”
“You’re being weird again, Jimmy,” Susan replied. “And you’re going to get us in trouble!”
“Come on, you know you want to. She smells really bad!”
“Jimmy, if I come with you to solve this mystery of yours, will you promise to never bother me again until our arranged marriage is performed when I’m 13?”
“Fine. I’ll meet you after class.”
Jimmy’s plan was to sneak into Goody Hobbinscotch’s house after school, but to do this, he knew he had to distract her somehow; otherwise, she’d walk in on them going through all of her stuff trying to find whatever was causing her horrid odor. Jimmy had just the idea. He told the Goodwife that the desks had been speaking to him, and he was pretty sure a demon had entered his while he was outside being good at recess. She would be there until morning; it was perfect!
“Jimmy, what are we going to do when we get there?” Susan asked.
“We are going to solve the mystery of the stench of Goody Hobbinscotch!”
Jimmy wasn’t sure why Susan always wanted to prompt him into exposition, but there it was. What an odd thing to say.
Anyway, once in the schoolmarm’s house, it became readily apparent even to the densest woman in the village, as Jimmy thought of Susan, that the mystery was solved. Upon the walls were feces. Feces, feces everywhere! Offal!
“I’ve solved the mystery!” Jimmy shouted!
“So have I!” Susan shouted!
“No you didn’t, I did. I’m the smart one. Whatever you’re thinking is wrong,” Jimmy said.
“Oh yeah? You don’t think she smells bad because she covers the walls of her house with her own waste?” Susan smirked. “Jimmy, you’re so foolish.”
Now, Jimmy had been thinking just that, but since Susan had also thought of it, it made him reexamine his original hypothesis. If it was so obvious that Susan could get it, then there must be some underlying meaning that made it a real mystery, one worthy of him to solve it.
“Susan,” Jimmy said after a long, thoughtful process surrounded by the feces of Goody Hobbinscotch, “it escapes me how you can always be so wrong. I have discovered the real cause of the schoolmarm’s stench, and this poo on the walls is only part of the cause. But because you called me foolish, I’m not going to tell you what it is until I reveal it before everyone tomorrow in class.”
That’ll teach her.
“I would like to start class today by saying that I love all of you children, I love my job, and I would like to give you all can…”
“Stop right there, you evil, foul smelling heathen!” Jimmy yelled from the back of the class.
“Jimmy, whatever is wrong?” Goody Hobbinscotch asked.
“Susan and I (there was a groan from the back of the class) went to your house yesterday, and I solved the mystery of your evil stench, completely without Susan’s help! You’re a monkey!”
“What? That’s impossible.” Goody Hobbinscotch’s eyes darted back and forth, trying to find an exit.
“Wrong. It’s not only possible, it’s true and horrifying, and you know it. I’ve already told the minister!”
At this point, Minister Smith stormed in. “You, you call yourself a Goodwife! You’re not a Goodwife at all! How dare you try to corrupt our children, you filthy ape?”
“But I’m not an ape! I’m nothing more than a human being with a weird fetish, honest!” Goody Hobbinscotch begged the minister.
“I’d like to believe that
, but I know in my heart that my genius friend here is correct, as no man could ever be wrong about a woman, much less about something so obvious as your simian heritage. For this offense against humanity, you shall be crushed by large stones for the amusement of the townspeople in the boring, dead days of winter!”
“Nooooooooooo!” The Goodwife cried, collapsing in shock. The minister and his company, who had been waiting outside the door, walked in and grabbed her. She sobbed and wept all the way to the hold below the church, where she would be kept until it was time for her punishment to begin.
Later that day, while Jimmy was walking home to tell his mother the good news about what he’d done today, Susan came running up to him on the road.
“Jimmy, I’m sorry I doubted you. Sometimes I forget that I’m just a stupid girl, and you’re the smartest boy in town. I’m glad I’m going to be married to you against my will three years from now,” she said.
“As you should be, my dear,” Jimmy said. “As you should be.”