Because of Faith – 1


People… the sewage of the planet… everything we touch turns to crap. I’m ashamed of my own species. In another life, I’d prefer to be a roach over a person again. Look at us, on a Friday night, midnight creeping upon us in a couple hours and majority of us are stoned, or drunk, or both. We are bringing the house down to Hades in a place I envision more as a monastery. Probably in the old west it was one.

The white paint on the wall is blotchy and chapped in various places. In a few spots, the paint is completely peeled away to reveal the cement underneath. The dark brown wood, just a hue away from black, ceiling looks rough like dead bark— feels like it too. I know because I scraped my head on the door post, which is made from the same wood in the ceiling, when I walked inside. All the doors are for somebody about 5’9” which poses a problem for a man as myself that stands at 6’5”. All the windows are crystal stain class with a Spanish cross design dead center. The perimeter wall, white as well, has evenly spaced intervals of simple crosses hollowed out like glass-less windows. Can you say religious?  An archway on the roof, near the front, suggests at one time a bell hung from it, but now it’s an empty space for the wind to rush through. And here we are… in this musty, dusty house of God, a house built for the purpose of spreading the plague of organized religion,  now  celebrates pride and rebellion to the corrupt rhythm of dark, satanic forces.

Really… what does God, if such an entity exists, think of this house now? Probably every soul in here tonight is damned to hell. Well ,bring on the fire! Let this house burn down to the dwellings of demons! I’ll make my bed with brimstone and my covers with maggots.


Alastair puts his hand on my shoulder as he places a red plastic cup filled with cheap booze into my hand. Pot smokers don’t need aftershave; they just use odor-neutralizers that mimic the scents of clean linen and/or a tropical breeze. A potent combo of a stenchy, skunk-like odor and a chemical-made aroma of lavender engulf my nose. Redness sulks in the whites of his eyes and a carefree smile serves as a billboard of his cloud-nine mood.

Not that I’ve ever drank piss, but as the expression goes, “this beer tastes like piss” and smells like lemon flavored vomit. But YOLO right? I wonder how many beers it will take to get me drunk?

“So mate, whadda say ‘bout bein’ me Dublin wing man?” Alastair says squeezing my shoulders. As if the force of his hand will make me say yes.

Pretending to be Irish to get numbers from girls used to be fun. Majority of the time, Alastair and I would find a lot of good laughs out of it. We couldn’t believe women actually fell for our bull crap. Then Alastair discovered American women loved mysterious foreigners. So being an Irishman was no longer a silly game to dupe girls in a non-harmful way, it became a game-changer in the hunt for picking up women and taking them to bed for the kill. I of course never had the balls to something SO LOW, but leave it to my brother to break the world record for being a jerk.

“Pass.” I answer.

“Eelp a bbrrrothereh ouh mahe?” He says, still keeping his melodramatic Irish accent intact.

He sounds more Australian than Irish, but better some girl find him out and throw a drink in his face. It’ll be so worth watching that disaster.

“Like I said bro, I’ll pass.”

Cursing under his breath, he leans into my ear. Whispering, he tells me to, “Look at the bird in purple by the stairs.”

Casually, I look over that way, turning my head ever so slightly so I’m not caught staring at a stranger like a stalker freak. A beautiful black woman, with a  rich, deep complexion ,blemish free stands clothed in a “Barney” purple, skin tight, cocktail dress. Her legs mighty like Serena Williams, but with a more delicate weight resembling the legs of Beyonce. Her on fleek, long black hair rests on her shoulders. I can see why Alastair wants her, she is his fantasy come true. All the bumps, as in chest and rear, are in the right desired areas.

“Look who she be haavin’ a chanwig witht?” He adds in my ear.

I notice the black goddess’s lips moving to the rhythm of a well enjoyed conversation, and then my eyes follow the direction she’s talking in… Kelsey Cadence.

I am a man of no faith. Nothing or no one can be trusted wholeheartedly, one hundred percent. Scientific theories are bound to change. Someone living today will die tomorrow. Humanity gets dumber and dumber with each passing generation, and who’s to say robots won’t oppress us, if we still exist, one day. I guess if I had to have faith in something. I have complete faith we’re all idiots, except for Kelsey Cadence when she’s onstage.

The real world ceases to occur for the couple hours she is under the spotlight. Suspension of disbelief happens as she tells the story the playwright envisioned in the far reaches of his imagination. The highs and the lows of whatever character she portrays, become your highs and lows. Right from the rise of the curtain to its fall, she’s your tour guide as you take the tour of the drama you paid good money to see.

In high school, she was a bright star shinning among burnt out lights. No one had talent that touched hers. In my book, as far as the Old Pueblo goes, no one still has talent that compares to hers.

If my brother wasn’t a dweeb, and if he didn’t flunk out of high school, he would have been in Kelsey’s graduating class. I think they’re the same age with legal eligibility to actually drink what’s inside these red plastic cups. I bet if she saw me now, she wouldn’t recognize me.

She wouldn’t remember I helped build the sets her junior year of high school. She wouldn’t remember that I ran the spotlight during her stint as the “Beastly Beauty”. She wouldn’t remember I was the stage manager for her last high school production, when she was a Juliet who couldn’t compare to Shakespeare’s greatest Muse.

Rumor had it, she got accepted into the Yale Repertory for Theatre, on a full scholarship, but she rejected it to stay in town. All because she couldn’t part from her loving boyfriend: Felix Salinger. In high school, he was the star athlete as the starting quarterback. (The star QB of a 0-win team and a bunch of loses team.) He was lucky to make second string QB at the U. It helps that his uncle is the athletic director at the U. He doesn’t have a chance at going pro. So unfortunately, off the stage and in the wake of real life Kelsey Cadence is as much a moron as the rest of us.

And for what? Is she a fool in the name of love? Love isn’t even worth it!

Miranda dumped me the day after graduation… okay, it was a mutual split because according to her we both “wanted to see other people”, but I honestly thought I’d be with her until I croaked. I even considered one day of saying the big, “I DO” to her at the altar. Maybe not at an altar, because I don’t think I could resist the urge of pissing on it. But I wanted to marry her in front of a certified person to marry people. And not that I believe in marriage, because I don’t really; I just wanted Miranda to know I’m not going anywhere. That with a vow of “I do… and death do us part…” I mean it and I’d spend every day forward making her the happiest woman alive, or at least as happy I could make her as often as I could. But all of that went to crap when she dumped me… when I dumped her… when we dumped each other.

Impatiently, he barks, “SO?! R u witht me brother?” as he smacks me in the back.

“Go find Willy to follow your scheme. I said I’ll pass.”

I go find a corner to drink in solace. I try not to watch my brother, flirting with both the black woman and Kelsey, but my eyes gravitated toward them. Watching their every move, wondering what they’re talking about.

What if Kelsey likes my brother? What if she gives him her number? I mean, I’ve seen her track record: Felix Salinger. Everyone in high school knew he cheated on her but her. It was kind of pathetic. I wouldn’t be surprised if he still cheated on her.

I’m relieved when the black woman takes Alastair’s hand and leads him away upstairs. Poor Kelsey’s left alone to drink her cheap booze, and to wait on Felix. I could go over now, and introduce myself. I could see if she remembers me. Of course, I doubt it. We haven’t been in the same room in three years going on four.

My obsessive crush formed on her the moment I saw her walk in the auditorium doors back in high school. I was a freshman, yet to meet Miranda and fall in love with her. Kelsey was explicitly late, but her very presence stole the attention away from Solomon, our Theatre Teacher. It wasn’t just because the house lights were out, making the seats dark and the stage lit up like the surface of the sun, but when she opened the door a burst of light shone in like a Hallelujah moment, and her long black hair was braided to the side, which was very Katniss. Silver, shimmery glitter dazzled her strong, Native American-like cheekbones. Her caramel skin brought elegance to her, an elegance that made her some earthly angel. What really captivated my very being were her eyes, the wide, almond shaped, ginger colored gateways to her soul. If love at first sight could be such a thing, that was the moment.

And as if that moment is revived now, she still encompasses the beauty of five years ago. I, fortunately, am less nerdy and less boyish. I could have a shot; if I went for it before I allow my nerve to reason me out of it.

I’m gonna do it! I’m going over there… I’m going over there now.

Maybe I’d get somewhere if I actually moved from this spot.

“GRADY!” A small, mousy voice screams below my line of sight. As I look down, tiny, petite Gracie gives me a hug. I can’t believe Gracie’s here, and I think it’s obvious she’s had too much to drink. Looking up at me she grins at me with a glossy gaze.

“It’s sooo gooood tooooo see YOU!” She slurs trying not to appear drunk.

Detaching her gripping arms, I pretend to be mildly interested in seeing her, “Yeah… you too.”

Attaching herself to my waist again, her head nearly in my crotch, she demands, “Dance with me!”

I look over to the stairs and Kelsey’s no longer there. My window of opportunity is gone. Who knows when I’ll ever see her offstage again?

As much as I hate to admit it, there’s never a dull moment with Gracie. Might as well dance with Gracie…

There’s an area in the backyard, closer to the DJ’s space, where people jolt, jiggle, and pulse their bodies to the hard alternative rock. Almost pop punk with a little rock opera so to speak. Bands like All American Rejects, Neon Animals, 30 Seconds to Mars, Muse, Dream Theater, and Paramore. The staggered sound of a heavy electric guitar and rapid, vibrating drum beats force my body to convulse to the cadence of the rocking music. As my focus drifts into the raging melody of the sick tune I get the sweet relief of not-caring-about-anything. For now I’m alive, for now I’m free. I close my eyes and the music tastes so much richer to my ears.

In the ten second pause for a song shift, the sound effect of a puking girl, followed by the very real prop of girl puke landing on my shoes, spoils my party animal attitude. With a bit of puke, in the corner of her gaping lip, Gracie looks up at me with panic-stricken owl eyes. That’s it… I’m cutting her off and sticking her in a ryde.

I pick her up and toss her over my shoulder. No one pays attention to Gracie’s kicking and screaming resistance as I carry her away. Wow, this party’s filled with bystanders! What if I was carrying her away to rape her? I can’t believe mankind! I can’t wait until a super bug pandemic kills us all off. It will be well deserved.

We wait outside the cross engraved wall for a ryde to show up. Gracie occupies the wait with puking her guts out in the dirt. She owes me sixty bucks to get new shoes. Granted, I got these for six bucks at a thrift store, but retail price for new shoes like these are sixty bucks… on sale.

The ryde driver pulls up to the curb in front of us. Gracie’s half way into the backseat when she scoots back out to puke on the curb. The ryde driver, speaking with a thick Mexican accent complains about her, and says if he drives us home, I have to pay triple the meter price, to cover the cleanup charge. I tell him he can kiss this fare up his pie-hole and I slam the door. That’s right! I don’t care if his window falls out of alignment. The ryde skids his tires as he speeds off.

So much for the ryde idea… I could take her home… If she pukes in my car, I’m billing her for that too.

During the car drive, she passed out, which made putting her to bed easy. I just tossed her in her bed. I placed her bathroom trashcan by her bedside, and I locked the door behind me. I left her keys on the coffee table in the living room along with a neon pink sticky note that clarifies she owes me sixty bucks. When she’s sober she’s pretty trusting, she’ll pay me without asking why.

Sleep isn’t a bad idea. I just kind of want to fall in bed as I am, but the looming aroma of ripe, cheap-booze-scented vomit reminds me to take off my shoes. On second thought, I don’t think I want to buy canvas shoes again. There’s no leak protection whatsoever. My socks are soaked with soppy, gross barf. The wet, sticky moistness left on my feet as I peel my socks off threatens to make me puke. Not looking helps. The bottoms of my jeans are ruined too. Pants-ing myself in the kitchen, I wrap the puky socks and shoes up in the jeans I once held dear to my fashion style, and stuff it in the trash. To prevent the puke smell from consuming the kitchen’s atmosphere I rip the trash bag out of the can, and I set it out back.

As if the puke got sopped up by the soles of my feet and made the puke course through my veins– I feel an utter grossness that embodies me head to toe. A quick shower should shake the feeling.

Anxious to get out of my remaining clothes, I toss off my shirt and leave it in the hallway. I drop my boxers right where I stand in the bathroom doorway. Twisting the knob of hot water only, I step into the tub. Water flows under and over my feet as the water in the tub begins to rise. Then I pull the lever to release the sprinkling drops of water from the shower head. The piping hot water tickles my skin with a clean sensation and I haven’t even used soap yet.

Without bothering to find boxers, I climb into bed. The moment I rest my head against my cushy pillow, my eyes grow heavy begging me to cast off into slumber. I allow myself to drift asleep as my body relaxes, releasing the tensions of my not-so-good night.

Thanks for reading!

Revised September 14th, 2019

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