The French Revolution

by Brian Mihok

Judith was a bed wetter. Judith was a first-year college student and she was embarrassed that she wet the bed. She had a condition. She knew she should not be ashamed of wetting the bed because it was a condition. Conditions are nothing to be ashamed of, her mother said. Sometimes, in Professor Sheridan's European Civilization course, Judith had to sprint out of class because she was at that moment wetting her pants. She brought her bag with her everywhere because in it there were extra pairs of pants. Judith owned dozens of pants that all looked the same. They were an ashen denim. They were on sale at the department store. Judith and her mother compromised on the ashen denim. Judith wanted black so the dark spots weren't as noticeable and because black goes with everything. Her mother wanted light gray and some of the colored denims that were very cute she said. Everything will show, mother, Judith said. It wouldn't if you wore that special underwear, her mother said. That's not underwear, mother, Judith said.

Professor Sheridan introduced a group project that she claimed would be real fun. Students were to make camp in the classroom using old tents and eat stale bread like soldiers of the French Revolution. You will learn that emergency is in the eye of the beholder, Professor Sheridan said. She was directing this at the complaining students. The students who were unknowing worshipers of the negative. The students whose first impulse was to sigh. Judith's first impulse was to urinate and she had no control over it. On the first night of the French Revolution Judith asked to be put in a tent near the door. Professor Sheridan asked if Judith was claustrophobic. During the night Judith had to leave the room five times. On the fifth time she took a pillow and when she was done in the restroom she sat outside the classroom door. She leaned her head against the wall. French soldiers marched over the hills outside Versailles. They shot at people in the village. The battle turned and the soldiers were on the run. They were beheaded and paraded around. Some had conditions like Judith's and most of them went in their solider pants. In the morning a few soldiers walked into the hallway. Judith straightened her sore back which led to pressure on her bladder. She ran to the restroom. Afterwards at the sink, the water was hot and she pulled her hands away. In the mirror she was wearing a muddy bicorne hat. It belonged to a soldier from Orléans named Richard. Richard had seven sisters. His three brothers were killed during the Jacobin takeover. He had seen much of France as a soldier. Richard was stranded in the hallway now, without his hat, and confused as to the direction home.