This story is dedicated to Drksideofthemoon, a master storyteller who has had a positive influence on my life and writing.
"What are you getting for Valentine's Day, Moondog??"
The strident tone of Eddie Kovich's voice cut across the cafteria tables like a sharp knife. His cronies, Frank Urbant and Marvin Koos grinned in phony admiration. Only Scott Thunem, a relative newcomer to the group of nineteen year olds was silent, staring helplessly at the Down Syndrome teenager sitting alone by a table right next to them.
"A kit in da ass!" Moondog's voice was a grating screech, akin to chalk being dragged down a chalkboard.
Frank and Marvin laughed so hard they almost knocked over their flimsy food trays, as Eddie deliberately knocked his chair into Moondog's. Her enormous breasts jiggled, and her hands were forced into her lasagna, splaying the serrated noodle sheets everywhere.
Scott looked away in horror. When his friends first started to tease Moondog, he had gone along completely, afraid he would be rejected by them. Now, he was getting tired of the constant bantering of the defenseless girl. Besides, he had just joined a study group in his Psych 101 class, and Moondog was in it. Scott was ashamed of his past reactions to the handicapped girl, and was determined to make it up to her.
"Enjoying the great cafeteria food, Moony baby?"
Eddie gave Moondog's chair another shove and her hands knocked a milk carton into her lap. She squealed in horror as the cold liquid trickled down her legs. Now, her face was covered with tomato sauce and her midsection was saturated with milk. Even through all the red goo on her face, Scott thought he saw tears falling. Pushing his chair in suddenly, he got up from the table, unable to take any more of his buddys' chinese water torture.
"Where do you think you're going?"
Eddie snarled at Scott in a mocking way.
"I...I have to get ready for my study group."
Scott knew that was lame, but he didn't care so much about what Eddie thought anymore. He walked away from the unpleasant scene as quickly as possible, vaguely aware of Marvin and Frank shaking their heads.
As Scott went up the three flights of stairs to his tiny dorm room, he couldn't stop thinking about Moondog. All he knew about her was that she had just turned 18 and was born with Down Syndrome. Scott knew very little about Down Syndrome, and was determined to find out more. Was Moondog just a "retard", as Eddie would say? How could she go to school and get passing grades if that were true? And how in the world did she get the name "Moondog"? What was her real name?
Scott picked up his psychology book and walked down the hall to the all purpose room to meet with his study group. As he walked through the wide entranceway, his eyes glanced at Moondog sitting on a pillow. She looked up at him pleadingly, as if to say "why didn't you help me?" Scott's cheeks burned as he sat down between two other girls, Jane Paulson and Mary Tutolo. He chose a location where he could look straight at Moondog. With all the distractions in the cafeteria, he had never looked closely at her features.
Moondog looked down at her psychology book as Scott took in her face. Her hair was stringy and dirty blond, and badly needed combing. Something was not quite right with her nose either, as it seemed to be flat and two dimensional. In addition, her mouth and eyes appeared too small for the rest of her face. Yet there was something about her that captivated Scott, a sincerity of expression that turned his brain into cookie dough and paralyzed logical thought.
As the study group got underway, Scott dutifully answered sample test questions in a mechanical voice, being far more interested in staring at Moondog. After a short period, she returned the stare, a marvelous innocent expression like the countenance of a young child. Almost imperceptibly, Moondog's hand went toward Scott's. Her fingers made small circles on his own, as she explored the ridges on his knuckles. Jane and Mary were busily drawing Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs as Scott and Moondog explored their own. No words were spoken as they held hands and smiled at each other like two lovers sharing a delightful secret. Time stood still, and in due time the study group session was over. Scott mumbled goodbyes to Jane and Mary, still holding Moondog's hand.
"See you tomorrow." Scott looked right into the handicapped girl's eyes.
"Fee vou tomvovow." Moondog often could not speak clearly, but Scott understood every word.
Scott walked down the hallway slowly, stealing brief glimpses of Moondog as she shuffled to her room in an adjoining corridor. He was determined to try to defend her the next time he was eating dinner, tired of his wimp image among his guy friends.
The next day was even more painful for Scott to endure. As he entered the sparcely filled cafeteria, he could not believe his eyes. Eddie and company were throwing small tacks, paper clips, and spitballs in Moondog's direction. Her dinner tray was covered with so much debris, she could no longer eat.
Scott sat down quickly next to Eddie, who chucked a small stapler at Moondog's cowering form. It bounced off her back, as she squealed in pain.
"What the hell are you doing?" Scott had a light voice but he tried to sound as menacing as possible.
"Don't worry, 'tards' don't feel pain...I read it a book somewhere." Eddie glowered at Scott in triumph.
"She's not a 'tard', she has Down Syndrome." Scott could feel the desperation in his voice.
Frank let out a whistle and hit the table with his fist. "Well, what have we got here, Albert Einstein?"
Marvin and Eddie almost fell off their seats in laughter. Scott was the smartest of the group, and they never let him forget it.
"Sorry, she's taken buddy boy, Mr. Down popped her cherry last week!"
Eddie looked at Scott for his reaction, but his friend was gone.
"Hey, where'd he go?" Eddie turned his head like a key in a lock.
"Dunno, mumbled something about having to study."
Frank grimaced in absolute disgust.
"All work and no play makes Scott a dull boy!"
Marvin guffawed as the boys continued to pummel Moondog with debris. She had been looking for Scott for help, but now he was nowhere in sight. Fortunately, a cafeteria worker noticed the hijinks and quickly put an end to the rain of projectiles. She escorted Moondog to the counter, where she gave her a new dinner serving. Eddie and his pals decided to go back to the dorm and take in a movie. They tripped Moondog as she went to a new seat, sending her water glass flying. As it crashed in a hundred pieces on the floor, the boys howled in laughter.
"Fuckin' 'tard'" Eddie grunted as he slammed the cafeteria door shut.
Scott ran to the library without looking back, furious at himself for not protecting Moondog. He had to find out more about Down Syndrome, to see what made Moondog act the way she did. The librarian steered Scott to a book on genetics, where he was surprised to find out Down Syndrome is also called Trisomy 21. One extra chromosome, usually from the mother causes all the havoc.
Scott's eyes watered as he read that the majority of Down Syndrome individuals have IQs of less than 70. So, Moondog was probably retarded after all! Tears welled forth as he perused the common complications of the condition...heart disease, hearing loss, speech irregularities, low tone, obesity, and gastric issues. Scott knew in his heart at that point Moondog would never have the finest quality of life. More determined than ever to protect her from further abuse, Scott vowed to sit with her the next day and try to strike up a conversation. He figured Eddie and the other boys would get upset, but that didn't matter at all anymore. Saving Moondog was paramount on his mind, and had become a complete obsession.
The next morning Scott felt much better. It was Valentine's Day, and he dressed in his lucky red heart boxer shorts, white polo shirt and burgundy khakis. Classes proceeded as usual, but as he walked up the long hill to the cafeteria, Scott had an uneasy feeling that something was very wrong. He increased his pace when he thought he heard Moondog screaming through the heavy glass doors. The building had just opened for dinner and he couldn't believe there could be a problem so soon.
As Scott entered the almost totally deserted array of neatly set long tables, he immediately noticed a commotion in the food line. Eddie and Frank were pushing Moondog back and forth between them like a large beach ball. She was attired entirely in red, right down to a corsage of several crimson roses. Her dinner tray had long since fallen, and food was strewn across her body as well as the floor. She howled as the boys roughly pinched her breasts, pushing her faster and faster with greater force. Suddenly, without warning, Eddie ripped off Moondog's corsage, causing roses to fly in all directions. She screamed in terror "My rovses!" and tried to retrieve them from the floor. Eddie took the thorny stem and entwined it in Moondog's hair. As he pulled harder and harder, the handicapped girl screamed in pain as her hair was yanked out by the roots.
Scott started running when he saw what was happening, screaming like a banshee the whole way.
"You're hurting her, you're hurting her!"
He grabbed Eddie by the shoulders and punched his nose so hard he went head over heels onto a large table. At the same time, Frank tried to lunge toward him, but Scott turned at the last minute and watched in glee as Frank careened into a row of dinner trays, wailing in pain as his back smashed into them with amazing force. The two cafeteria women screamed in horror as Eddie got up. His nose was bleeding profusely, and he had a large gash on his forehead.
"You're fuckin crazy!" Eddie tried to deck Scott with a knockout punch, but the enraged teenager pivoted him away toward the glass entrance door. He hit it with a resounding crash as the cafeteria women attempted to call the police on a cell phone. Scott quickly gathered Moondog up and escorted her to a study area off of the cafeteria.
"I know a safe place we can go."
Moondog was too dazed to respond, yet was able to follow Scott to a large bathroom designed for handicapped individuals. One they were safely inside, he locked the door from within.
"Now, let's get you cleaned up."
Scott took some paper towels and wet them. Moondog was completely covered with gooey mustard, ketchup, and what appeared to be salad dressing. The rose branch was still caught in her hair, so Scott removed that first, wincing at the sight of small clumps of streaky blond hair attached to the thorns. Then, he gently cleaned all the glop off Moondog's dress. She cooed and giggled as he tickled her sides with the paper towel. After going through several paper towels, Scott realized that he had gotten Moondog even more wet in the cleaning process. His mouth dropped as she tried to unzip her dress in the back.
"w-w-hat are you doing?"
"Dess com ofv."
Moondog guided Scott's sweaty hands to her zipper. He needed no urging to bring it down a long curvy track. Moondog kicked off her shoes as Scott attempted to lower her dress. Together, they managed to get the soaked garment completly off, revealing a slightly moist red bra and plain white panties. Scott felt a swelling in his pants as he took in Moondog's underwear. He was a virgin and had never seen a girl's body this close.
Moondog placed Scott's hand on her swelling nipples. Scott's heart was pounding so intensely he felt it was going to burst out of his body any second. He gently kneaded Moondog's breasts with the same bewilderment of a young boy entering a candy store for the first time. In response, she pulled at his sleeves. Scott kicked off his pants and yanked off his shirt quickly, revealing a lightly hairy chest and his heart boxer shorts. Moondog reached in the flap and pulled his rock hard member out, jacking it for dear life. Scott grunted in ecstasy as he gently sucked on Moondog's nipples through her bra like a newborn infant. He reached behind her and yanked at the bra snaps several times before finally figuring out what to do. Scott undid Moondog's bra slowly, delighting in the sight of her full bosums. He then reverently lowered her panties, revealing her almost hairless box and pleasingly plump legs.
Scott took some blankets from a pile near the window. He arranged them into a makeshift bed, then gently lay Moondog down on her back. Scott was so hard it hurt. He dropped his boxers quickly, revealing a small but very hard penis. Scott took a condom out of his wallet on the floor he never thought he'd use and hastily rolled it onto his dick. Lowering his body exquisitely slowly onto Moondog's, he kissed her with featherweight gentleness. The two virgins used their tongues to gently explore each other's mouths as Scott's rigid tool came into contact with Moondog's moist pussy. He entered her so slowly she was almost not aware of it. A sudden coo of delight assured Scott he was on the right track. He thrust forward a bit more vigorously as his cock exploded with sensations. At the same time Moondog moaned and thrust her legs forward in an attempt to drive Scott even deeper inside. He made love to her for two delightful minutes before his prick was boiling with cum.
Scott squealed in lust as he started to ejaculate inside Moondog. She let out an achingly beautiful moan of delight as she experienced her first real orgasm. Scott shot off a good seven spurts before finally collapsing on top of Moondog. The two lovers breathed heavily in the lovely sexual afterglow as they tried to regain their senses. Finally, Scott got up and put his boxers back on. Moondog reluctantly got to her feet and looked for her panties. The two lovebirds dressed slowly, sneaking furtive glances at each other. Finally, Scott broke the silence.
"What's your real name...is it Moondog?"
"Angy....Angy Moon." Moondog smiled at him revealing yellowed teeth.
"Angy, what a pretty name!"
Scott kissed Angy as they hesitantly made their way out of the bathroom. The hall was completely deserted, as was the cafeteria. Scott noticed what was left of Angy's roses on the floor as they passed by the serving area. Picking up an empty cereal box, he scooped up the red petals, which resembled newly fallen snow kissed with lipstick.
"You should keep your roses...they're good luck."
Scott handed the filled box to Angy, but she quickly pushed it back into his hands.
"You keyp. To 'member me."
"Oh, OK." Scott figured he would sleep with the box under his pillow.
The door suddenly opened and a concerned cafeteria woman poked her head in.
"We needed to close the cafeteria. And the police want to speak to you!" She gestured to Scott.
"That's OK." Everything was OK now that Angy was in his life.
The two lovers went down the long hill back to their dorm hand in hand. After being interviewed and cleared by the police, Scott transferred the rose petals to a shiny brown tin his mother had given him, originally holding delicious peanut butter cookies. He put the tin next to his pillow, dreaming pleasant visions of Angy all night long.
Scott awoke with a start. He had overslept, and the alarm clock didn't go off! He had promised Angy he would meet her for breakfast, and now he was going to be late. After taking the world's quickest shower, he literally leaped into his clothes and careened toward Angy's room. Rounding a corner too quickly, he bumped into Jane, who looked like she had just seen a ghost.
"Angy was just rushed to the infirmary. They don't know what's wrong with her."
"Nooooo." Scott let out a wail straight from the heart.
"I'm riding over there on my bike. Come with me!"
Scott followed Jane numbly to where their bikes were attached to a chain link fence. They rode as fast as their legs would pedal, each hoping their kind, gentle friend was all right. Scott screeched to a halt just as an ambulence whizzed by him. Mary, his friend from the study group was standing by the infirmary door, trying to stifle her tears.
"Angy had a mild heart attack. They think she's going to be OK, but she needs more tests."
"A heart attack?" Scott felt like someone had just plunged a knife into his heart.
"She's too young to get a heart attack!" Jane burst into tears.
The three friends embraced each other in a long hug, silently praying for Angy's recovery. Although they had only known the inspiring girl for a few months it was impossible to imagine how they would function without her. Scott was crying so hard he couldn't see. Finally, he forced himself to look at the sky. "Please God, don't take her, don't ever take her..."
Angy eventually recovered from her heart attack, but was never able to gain enough strength to go back to school, and eventually was transferred to a rehabilitation center in a different state. Scott wrote to her at first, but never received anything back, suspecting that Angy didn't know how to write. In due time he met the girl of his dreams, a handicapped individual named Jill. She had been in an accident at the age of three, and walked with a distinctive gait. Scott's experience with Angy had made him more sensitive to handicapped people in general. He eventually got a job as a psychologist working with special-needs adults. Jill and Scott got married right out of college, and soon had a baby named Zoe. Unfortunately, Zoe was born with part of her left ear missing. But with her gentle smile and heart of gold, no one noticed...
Twenty eight year old Scott Thunem relaxed in a reclining chair as he read the Sunday paper. Jill and Zoe were visiting a friend and he had the house to himself. In a way, he had the perfect life- a wife and a beautiful 5 year old girl, a wonderful job, and a comfortable home. Yet, he could not escape the gnawing feeling that something was missing.
As Scott glanced at the daily headlines, a small picture caught his attention. It featured a large woman with a flat nose and stringy hair. She looked vaguely familiar, and Scott searched the headline for clues.
"Woman loses her battle with Down Syndrome."
Scott felt rather than heard the scream escape his throat. Angy Moon, his beloved Moondog, had passed away. She was only 27. Scott read the brief article a hundred times before putting the paper down on the table. Then, he went into the basement to an area of boxes that had never been completely unpacked. After 15 minutes of frantic searching, he found the object of his desire. A stained tin that was covered with grease and grime.
Scott wiped off the tin with a moist cloth and went back upstairs. He passed through french doors to a large rose garden. Pausing by a magnificent specimen, he took the tin and gently pried the lid off of it. Inside was what appeared to be red dust, the remnants of Angy's roses. Scott started to cry as he shook the dust into the wind. He watched the tiny fragments flutter away in the gentle breeze.
"Goodbye Angy, Goodbye...I love you."
After the dust had completely settled, Scott felt more complete than he ever had been. And in his heart, he knew Angy's life had not been in vain.
For in her brief stay on earth, she had taught him, and all those around her, how to love.