Gather around, mothers and fathers, gather around. I have important news for you. No, I’m not selling anything. I’m simply trying to preserve the moral purity of your children. Now, listen close. One of these days, sooner than you realize, maybe even tomorrow, your teenage son or daughter is going to come home from school, and ask you just one question:
“May I have twenty dollars to buy this book on sex torture?”
If you’re anything like me, and I suspect you are, there’s only one answer you can deliver to them:
“Well, no, I don’t reckon I want you reading any book on sex torture.”
They’ll beg, and they’ll plead, and they’ll promise the sun and the moon to you, just to get their hands on this vile book. It’s titled Fifty Shades of Grey, this book, and its toxins are infecting the entire country, hills and valleys, cities and towns alike.
This is what the world wants. They want sex torture, and they want it bad.
But you can’t let them have it. Your parental duty is to keep them on the right path, the righteous path, away from the gutters and sewers of this degraded society which is our house but not our home.
That’s where I come in.
I did some studying on the subject, and I have determined an acceptable compromise, a way for parent and child to be once again in natural harmony. I’ve decided to abridge Fifty Shades of Grey, with all the important parts intact, and all of the sex torture removed. It took me over 14 billable hours of rewriting to accomplish this task, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the new version. As far as your children are concerned, it’s the same book, but instead of promoting degradation, it promotes virtue, honor, and dignity. My Fifty Shades of Grey can even be read to your Sunday School class! Matter of fact, I encourage it. I especially encourage replacing all original copies of the book with my version of the book, to restore purity to the youth of America.
So, without further ado, I present The Definitive Fifty Shades of Grey.
Ma and Pa only had one daughter, Ana, but you’d never know it by the way Kate sat in church with all of them. Ma and Pa took opposite ends of the pew and Ana and Kate were right there in the middle, whispering to each other all through the service, like they were sisters. They all but were, Kate being orphaned and living with Ana’s family thanks to Pa’s strong Christian hospitality.
It was a pleasant little country church, just like the one you’re reading this in, believe it or not. Its only downside was that it had clapboard siding, which of course meant it burned with startling ease. It had even burned down that last summer in a brush fire! Everybody tried to raise funds to rebuild the ol’ gal out of brick, but they couldn’t get all the way there, so they used that old clapboard siding yet again, and took the surplus collection to make the high school boys cut down all the brush for almost a quarter mile in every direction.
Those high school boys worked hard, Ana and Kate agreed – a rare moment of truth in their whispering, which was usually a mixed up jumble of lies. You might not call it lies though. You might call it “gossip,” which is a lie painted up like truth. Ana and Kate were both lifelong gossips, which is the worst thing a girl can be.
“These boys all look about the same after being out in the sun so much,” said Ana, using her hymnal to obscure her face.
“Except for one,” said Kate, doing the same.
“Are you saying a new model rolled in? Point him out!”
“Surprised you haven’t seen him sooner. All these boys is wearing white. He’s wearing grey.”
Ana scanned the room as fast as she could and found him in a heartbeat. Then she sized him up and a wicked side of her took interest right away, so she smiled a crooked smile. Kate wasn’t so sure though. She was uneasy.
“I don’t know why you’re so interested, Ana. Why would a boy wear a grey suit in this heat? A boy oughta wear a white suit, or even a black suit, but not in the middle all like that, all ambiguous like.”
“Oh, I agree, but… against my better impulses, I do believe I find myself falling for this boy.”
“Ana! You can’t fall for that boy! I hear his Pa’s a horse thief, and he ain’t go to church but twice a year, Easter and Christmas. I wouldn’t abide a boy like that, and Pa even less.”
But Ana was locked into her wicked imagination now. “Oh, never mind what Pa thinks.”
Kate’s mouth opened wide, like she’d just seen a battalion of ghosts. “Never mind what Pa thinks? Has your brain run off somewhere?”
“Pa’s old-fashioned. Tell me the boy’s name.”
“It’s Christian, I believe, but these are dangerous waters. He’s not from here. ”
Then Kate stopped whispering to Ana, because the pastor’s service was unusually nice. He was talking about how the body is a temple, and how you don’t belong to yourself. She wished Ana would listen, but Ana was staring at Christian the whole time. Then when the service was over, Kate went and talked to the pastor, but Ana went and talked to Christian. She played innocent, but she was bent toward wickedness.
“Hello, Christian. You know, I’m awful lonesome.”
He raised his left eyebrow and you could tell by his eyes that his intentions were not virtuous.
“I’m originally from the big city,” he said, and Ana was hooked. They carried on with sweet little nothings, neither of them meaning what they meant to say – that they meant to know each other, and disrespect each other until everything besides wickedness was sapped out of their hearts. After about half an hour, as they were agreeing to a picnic lunch on a hill where the brush hadn’t been cut down, Kate came back over and took Ana by the hand. She whispered again, but with good cause this time.
“I asked around. That boy’s Pa is certainly a horse thief, and he drinks to excess almost every night. The boy too. I heard from another girl that, well, what I mean to say is…” Kate was nervous.
“He doesn’t treat his body like a temple and I don’t imagine he aims to behave any different with yours. He goes all the way and then a couple miles further.”
“I don’t mind. I’m going on a picnic with him,” said Ana, greedily.
“Are you listening? If you went all the way and sat there he’d drag you two miles down the road. The boy’s no good.”
Ana stood her ground. She didn’t mind any of his wickedness. She wanted to be wicked. So Kate went on home with Ma and Pa. They had to peel lots of potatoes for Monday’s potluck, and Ana hated potatoes, everything about potatoes, especially peeling them, so she was eager to have an excuse to stay with Christian.
Then she went up on the hill with him and they disrespected each other.
“I heard you don’t treat your body like a temple,” said Ana on the way home.
“Oh, I do,” said Christian, “But I’m like Nebuchadnezzar.”
For many weeks they went on, secretly disrespecting each other, until Kate and Ma and Pa finally just stopped talking to Ana, because she had exceeded the limits of human compassion. All the while Christian bought her many fine things in order to keep her in wickedness, and disrespect her.
Finally Christian got the evil idea to take her up the hill one more time, and disrespect her worse than ever. He sent her a note that said if she went up the hill, he would rob a jewelry store in the big city and get her a monstrous diamond ring, and a necklace too, also with diamonds in it. He said to go there as soon as she read the letter, and never mind Ma and Pa and Kate and forget about virtue. All our righteousness is like filthy rags anyway, he said, to erase what remained of her shame.
And so Ana ran down the road as fast as she could, and set out to living in sin. “I’m gonna do the wrong thing, but it’s gonna feel right,” she kept saying as she ran, bile rising in her throat each time she said it.
But when she got to the hill, she found it was on fire and Christian was burning up with it. “Help me, I don’t deserve this, I’m not ready to go all the way to Hell just yet! I’m a coward! Help!” And when he said this, it sounded false – the notes were all flat. Ana realized that he could never escape the grip of Satan, but she yet had a shadow of a chance if she ran. And she ran away.
She ran as far as she could until she found a lonely place, and made a little shack in the loneliest corner of the loneliest place, and renounced wickedness forever. But your past always catches up with you, and that winter she took sick with pneumonia and she died, and there is no gravestone for Ana or any mention of her in a newspaper, because she fell in love with a sinner.