Author: BriAnna Monique

Because of Faith – 10

RECAP

Grady found his brother Alastair on a tour stop about 4 and half hours from Tucson, AZ. Grady was going to tell him Kelsey was pregnant and having a baby girl. But Alastair was a different man than when he left the Old Pueblo. After stopping in San Francisco of all places, every band member became Christians after hearing believers worship on a street corner. In Vegas, Alastair and Peggy got married. Now, at every gig, they share the Gospel of Jesus Christ after their set… The crazy part is that they’re playing bars and people are choosing to follow Jesus too. Grady saw it with his own eyes.

Alastair and the band even have a job opportunity waiting for them in California with a church when the finish the tour. Grady hadn’t seen his brother so happy in such a long time. Not really thinking it through, Grady lied and said he was the father of Kelsey’s baby.

Way back when Kelsey first found out she was pregnant, she thought Grady was the father because Alastair pretended to be an Irish man from Dublin, Ireland named Grady. He brought Kelsey home to Grady’s and Alastair’s house and left in the early morning before Kelsey got up. Alastair asked Grady to let Kelsey down easy and because Kelsey was Grady’s secret high school crush, he allowed Kelsey to think they spent one night together. On the day she told him she was pregnant, he told the truth… but Grady could easily say he lied.

FAST-FORWARD

Grady got back to Tucson in the early AM hours after seeing his brother on tour. He said up until Kelsey got up for breakfast. Before she could even start her pot of steel cut oatmeal, he sat at the kitchen table and told he lied. That she never slept with his brother, but indeed slept with him. At first, she laughed thinking he was joking around. But Grady used his acting skills like a pro. He began to cry and spun some story of how he didn’t want to mess things up with Gracie and thought of becoming a dad freaked him out.

Kelsey went off on him, packed up her stuff, and called a taxi and left the house not telling Grady where she went. But he ran into her again, when he went to Gracie’s apartment to break the fake news to her. Gracie smacked Grady in the face and told him they were done.

For three weeks, Grady didn’t talk to either one of them. He stopped helping Vera out with the Children’s Theatre. In acting class, Gracie shunned him socially. So did all her circle of friends.

In the fourth week, Kelsey came by the house one night. She handed him a bill for hospital room fees and doctor fees due before she went into labor. She had no insurance and no extra money in savings. She went to DES to get on welfare but waiting in line was taking forever and if she didn’t leave when she did, she would have been late to class. Since she was on scholarship, she couldn’t afford to mess up academically.

Grady made her dinner and they discussed how they could pay for things. He had an insurance from working at the bar. He told Deus he was becoming a father and he got promoter to manager and a huge pay raise. He could afford to pay all the house bills on his own now and put money into saving.

Jokingly, Grady said it would just be easier to get married and put both her and the baby on his plan since it was enrollment season. Desperately, Kelsey agreed. Then she mentioned after they were married, they could visit her parents and they would probably buy things for the baby.

For a split second, Grady thought about the repercussions of his lies. If Kelsey ever found out, she would NEVER speak to him again. And why was he so compelled to lie like this? Was he lying for his brother or for himself? Then something surprising happened. She kissed him. Afterwards, she confessed while they were living together and he was dating Gracie, she was falling for him. And now that they were having a baby together, she wanted to try and to make it work. She admitted rushing into marriage was foolish, but she witnessed how he and Gracie never fought over religion and if Grady agreed to raise the child Christian, she could handle being married to him. If they couldn’t make it work than that was fine, but she needed to try.

A week later they got married at city hall, just the two of them with a court clerk as a witness.

They cleared out Alastair’s room and turned it into a nursery fit for a princess.

At Easter, they attended Kelsey’s parents house for lunch. Kelsey’s parents acted like they never kicked her out and they kindly welcomed Grady into their home. He was afraid to tell them he wasn’t Christian based on some stories Kelsey told Grady about her parents. They didn’t leave until the late evening and the wrote the newly wed couple a check for 10K before they left, with stipulation 5k would go into a savings account for the baby.

Life was good until Kelsey woke up in pain in the middle of night mid April and she was experiencing some bleeding. By the time they got to the hospital and they were seen, the baby had no heartbeat and was not moving. The doctors weren’t quite sure what happened. The doctors said they would know more when they could do an autopsy. The 3D ultrasounds and other tests gave inclusive results. Due to the emotional trauma, the doctors sent Kelsey and Grady home for a few days and she would come back for a late term abortion.

To make matters more strenuous, Alastair came home unexpectedly, the day procedure was scheduled.

10

“What you doing here? You can’t just barge in?” I snap in a loud whisper. Kelsey had slept in the bedroom alone, and I slept on the couch alone. It was hard to be around her. All she did was sleep, cry, pray, sing, and repeat. She hardly ate anything. And since I wasn’t able to offer words of comfort, I thought it was best to stay away.

“Relax man, I have a key.”

“Where’s Peggy? Why are you here? I thought I was sending everything to you.”

“Turns out it’s cheaper for me to pick everything up for us and haul it back. I already got her things in the truck. I came for my stuff. Is everything okay?”

I didn’t know how to tell my brother his baby was dead. I didn’t want to lie to him right now. Crying uncontrollably, he folds me in his arms. Then he leads me to back down on the couch where I proceed to tell him what I did.

As a Christian now, I expect him to condemn me. To remind me of how awful I am.

Lovingly, gripping me by the shoulders he asks, “Is Kelsey up, I’d like to pray with her?”

That’s shocking. I thought for sure he was going to be judgmental and remind how wrong it is to be a liar. I’m not sure if she is up.

“Let’s go see if she’s up together.” Alastair says pulling me up from the couch. He nudges me to go before him.

When we enter my bedroom, which is much different now. Kelsey put plenty of a woman’s touch all over the room, getting rid of most of my things. It’s looks like grown, boring people dwell in this room like an old, dull married couple. Kelsey wasn’t in bed. She walks out from our closet, fully dressed and with a smile on her face.

Excitedly, she rushes over to me. “You’re never going to believe this.”

She takes my hand and rests it on her pultruding belly and instantly a rapid thump from inside bumps my hand. “She’s alive!” Kelsey rejoices.

I don’t understand. I was there. From when Kelsey bled out in bed at home, to hearing the silence of no heartbeat from ultrasound at the hospital. How is this possible.

“God gave her back to us!” She hugs me by my neck and pulls me as close to her as she possibly could.

“This is incredible! Hallelujah God, You’re amazing Lord!” Alastair gives praises to God to.

At the hospital we see the same doctor and he doesn’t understand. The run a whole bunch of tests Kelsey appears to be a lab rat. The same doctor who told us the baby was dead, stands before us with an expert team of second, third, fourth, and fifth opinions and says the baby is alive and healthy. One doctor says, “It’s a miracle.”

I can’t process this? Like this kind of thing supposedly happened in the Bible if the accounts in are true. A life resurrecting from the dead… like Lazarus or the Jairus’ Daughter like Alastair explained to me in the car ride home.

Kelsey has strict instructions to take it easy, but as soon as we enter the house she starts cleaning. Then when she’s done she’s cooking and while she talks to her mother on the phone. Alastair goes through the shed in the backyard to pull out his things and I help him load the truck.

I keep waiting for him to say we need to tell Kelsey the truth. I keep waiting for him to give me an ultimatum that either I tell her before he lives or he does or something like that, but he’s talking about their music project and the album the band is about to record. Maybe I was delusional early this morning and I didn’t confess the truth to him.

Finally, I can’t take it. I drop a box of his box in the rocky dirt to get his attention.

“You okay Grady?”

“You’re okay with me living a lie? You want to dip out on your responsibilities and leave me here to raise your kid?!” I holler not caring if Kelsey overhears because I’m so blinded by an unquenchable rage within me. “You hypocrite! You say your changed but you’re not!!!”

Alastair gently sets the box he has down and walks up to me, keeping a calm composure.

“How would you like to break the news to her? And what is your goal? Do you want to divorce her? Do you want to stay married? Do you want to raise the child or do you want me to?”

“Well, don’t you want to raise your kid?!” I snap.

“Grady,” Kelsey says. I look over to the sliding doors connected to the kitchen. Well, my subconscious desire to get caught in this lie got fulfilled. “Why would you lie to me… again…?”

Of all the things I could say to excuse my actions… none make me feel validated. I just shrug my shoulders.

“Who is the Father of my baby biologically?”

“Alastair,” I say as my brother says, “I don’t know.”

We both look at him like he’s crazy, but we let him explain.

“I remember pretending to be Grady and taking you back to our house. But I have a rule, I don’t sleep with girls who are drunk out of their mind. I knew Grady liked you back in school, another reason why I would never touch you. The minute you laid down in my bed, you were asleep. So yeah, Grady lied to you, but you’ve been lying to him if you claim that night was the night you conceived.”

Wow! My brother is the least hypocritical of us all! Kelsey is the big fat liar.

“Okay!” Kelsey screams turning away from us. Crossing her arms as she turns back, she explains why she lied, “I hooked up with Felix later that week trying to get back together… A month later when I found out I was pregnant, I told him because I knew we didn’t use protection. He said I was a lying whore and even if he was the father he wanted nothing to do with the kid. He said since I was practically homeless, I should just abort the kid…” She breaks out into tears, “Part of me thought, I prayed to see this Grady guy again, and if he was willing to help me raise this baby that it had to be his…” Looking straight at me, “So when you told me Alastair really brought me home, I freaked out… Because I didn’t want you to ask for a paternity test… because deep down… I knew you or Alastair wasn’t the father…”

Tilting her head back, gazing at the sky as if she’s looking onto God, “Are you happy now?! You did your part so I’m doing my part…” She looks back over to me, “All prayed why she was dead in my womb was ‘God if you give me back my baby, I’ll confess the truth. I’ll go tell Grady. I’ll go tell Felix. God please… give me back my baby…'” She sniffles and wipes her nose with her hands. She goes on to say, “My mom says God would never answer a prayer like that… so I added this based on a conversation we had last week Grady. You said the reason why you don’t believe God is real because nothing happens today like the way it did in the Bible, except for maybe Christians being hypocrites like Pharisees and Sadducees. So I said God, bring my daughter back as a miracle if Grady’s heart may perceive You to be God through such a miracle.”

I have the urge to refute everything, but I can’t stop thinking how if science didn’t bring the baby back to life, then only something, someone like God could do that. But she lied, and I lied, and everything is so twisted! This sounds like made up story posted on some random blog on the internet. Yet this was happening to me.

I think. God, if You’re real, speak to me now.

Grady. I hear from behind. I hurriedly look over my shoulder knowing no one is there. Grady. I hear again beside me. I look to my left, where no one stands knowing no one is there to see the neighbors fence. “Grady.” I hear my brother say.

“That’s Him calling you. It happened to me a few weeks ago. Weird, isn’t it?”

“I just need to go for a drive.” I rush past Kelsey to get my keys that I left on the kitchen counter.

Kelsey says, “You shouldn’t drive when you’re emotional. And we need to sit down and talk.”

“You want me to sit down, hear the Gospel for the gazillionth time, and accept Jesus into my heart because you prayed some prayer and it came to pass! You’re liar, how do I know you’re not making up what you prayed?!”

After I grab my keys, I make sure I slam the front door shut so she knows how pissed off I am.

The moment I get in the car and slam that door shut I hear, “Grady,” as clear as another person in the car. I look around knowing I won’t find anyone.

“God?”

I AM. I hear deep somewhere within my core. As I begin to weep I see a flash. I see my mother, a young version of her. She wears a white robe in a meadow I can only describe as heavenly. The light is so pure and everything feels so peaceful. Suddenly, she seems right in front of me and I hear her say, “I’m here with Christ. The only way you can join me is with Him. Join me Grady.”

My door open up and my brother reaches in to pull me out yelling for me not to drive off. He takes the keys from me and flings them away. He holds me on the ground as I helplessly ball my eyes out. He says he saw me getting in a car accident if I drove off. For some odd reason, I believe him. I tell him I saw mom. I tell she wants me to join her.

I don’t even realize I prayed the sinners prayer until me and my brother say in unison, “Amen.”

I feel different. Like how I used to feel around Gracie. How warm her hugs were, except that warm peace comes from within me. I feel different. Like I’m clean and for once I have peace of mind. A calmness that is true dwells inside of me. I am saved.

EPILOGUE

On May 25th, Faith Bridgette Timmins was born a healthy 7 lbs. and 7 oz. at 7:00 pm. It took some time, but Kelsey and Grady worked things out. They decided to stay married. Felix learned the truth about his daughter and still wanted nothing to do with Faith. He signed away his rights and on June 1st, Grady legal adopted Faith.

Sure there were a lot of transgressions. Sure, the two biggest Christian witnesses in Grady’s life up to his salvation were not living right, but God still used them to shine light in his life. And mainly because of a baby girl named Faith, being resurrected to life in the womb, Grady Timmins saw the miraculous power of God and believed in Jesus Christ the Son, and finally found His way to the Father.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

Yes, THIS STORY HAD AN OUTRAGEOUS TURN OF EVENTS… but it is way different than the original plot. Grady was more of a monster with little conviction at all. Kelsey was more innocent. Alastair wasn’t so holy so quickly.

There may be a lot of elements in this story that seem like it would never happen in real life, but I took several testimonies I heard about when people encountered God, placed the same incident to a different setting and we got what we read in the story!

Today is the three year anniversary of when I found out my best friend almost died in a tragic accident. I didn’t find out until the evening that she was in life-threatening condition, but earlier that day the Lord led me to pray for her and to pray that she is covered by the Blood of Christ. I did it without hesitation. When I heard days later how she survived that accident, it was the hand of God upon her life.

Unfortunately, after all that she is still not back in the Body of Christ, but I based the vision Grady had of his mom in heaven from a vision I had of me and my best friend about 4 years ago. I believe she will come back to God and be set free all that binds her now.

If you read this story and are a fellow saint, join me in prayer for all the prodigals that may return to our Lord and our Savior today and this year! If you have any unsaved love ones I come into agreement with you that they shall be saved in Jesus’ name! AMEN!

If you don’t believe in God but your ready to find out if He is real. Pray this prayer:

God of the universe, if You’re real, please prepare my heart and Holy Spirit convict and convince me that Jesus the Messiah is the Way, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. I choose this day for You to reveal Yourself to me so that I may know the truth. Amen.

Amen mean so be it, or it is true or so let it be true… When we say Amen at the end of a prayer we’re confessing what we ask for will be done and have confidence God will do it. I always tell people to be careful what they pray for because God will answer it!

If you read this story and you’re convinced God is real because you have heard the Gospel several times before. Then all you have to do is repent. Re-acknowledge Jesus died for you on the cross, that His blood redeemed you, and now you are alive with Him to have relationship with God and live a purposeful life! Say, “Amen”. Find a church that teaches the Bible. Start serving when that church lets you. Find a mentor. Find a mentee. Read your Bible, pray, give, and learn to fast. And spend everyday in step with God! He walks with you. He talks with you. God loves you!

 

Because of Faith – 9

RECAP

Grady and Gracie have been dating successfully for a while. Their secret? No religious or philosophical discussions. She goes to church on her own and he never asks her how it was.

One night they went to the theatre to watch a production of the “Taming of the Shrew” and they saw Kelsey Cadence in an unpredictable role– a janitor at the Renegade Theatre.

And Grady did something he thought he wouldn’t really have to do. He invited Kelsey to come move in with him until his brother returns from his band’s tour.

FAST-FORWARD

Gracie and Kelsey attended the same church. Together, both decided to join the women’s Bible Study Group on Thursday evenings and they’ve both been growing in their faith.

Kelsey just passed the 22 week mark, well into the second trimester. She was having a girl and wanted to name her Faith or Hope. She wrestled between the two names that were the most encouraging words to her in the English language.

Grady managed to track his brother’s band down through social media. Fintan’s Flood was playing at a dive bar about 4 and half hours away from Tucson and he planned on going to see his brother to tell him fatherhood was coming Alastair’s way.

9

As the sunsets I drive into a small town fit for lumberjacks. Hills of pine trees decorated with log cabins and small business with the occasional big gain business to shop at or eat from.

I pull into the parking lot of the Fox Hole, off the main road, which doubles as the highway. I see Dougie’s blue, beat-up minivan with the trunk door hanging high open.

Alastair comes out from the back of the bar and he looks different. He shaved his beard off and his hair is kept neat. His clothes look clean and he looks happy. A glare from his left hand catches my attention and I notice he’s wearing a gold band.

There are 3 places my brother will wear a ring. His thumb, his middle finger, and his nose– but for a man who doesn’t believe in marriage never on the ring finger would he ever where a ring.

Peggy comes out from the bar behind him and she looks well kept too. Jeans without holes, a red and black plaid short-sleeve turtleneck. I try to look at her left hand, but her back faces me and it makes it hard to tell.

I was going to wait until after the concert, but my curiosity is so insatiable within me. I conclude my brother is married and I want to find out if it is true.

Slamming my car door as I get out, both my brother’s and Peggy’s attention.

Brightly, my brother smiles and holds out his arms.

“Grady!” He exclaims, hugging me closely.

When I don’t hug back, he takes me by the shoulders and explains why he hasn’t been in touch.

“I lost my phone and I couldn’t remember your number. And you don’t have any social media accounts, so… I thought about writing you, but never being in the same spot twice, I figured why write? You’ve been getting the deposits in your account, right?”

“You couldn’t remember my cell number but you remembered my bank account number?”

“I wrote that down, man.” Alastair chortles.

“Yeah, I’ve been getting the money.”

Alastair pulls out his new phone from his back pocket and asks for my number. As I give him my number I think about how to break the shocking news to him.

Once he has my number, he takes Peg’s hand and clears his throat. Peggy rests her head in his shoulder and smiles giddily. “You should also know, Peggy and I got married.”

That was pretty obvious from hundreds of feet away. I’m not sure how to respond to that…

Granted, I would get married without telling Alastair, we’re not that close, but he got back together with Peggy for his band– not because he loved her?!

“There more to everything but we have to keep setting up for the show. Would you mind helping us?” Alastair dares to ask me.

*****

The bar packed to the brim with fan and yet-to-be fans of Fintan’s Flood. I stood at the bar, feeling out of place not being the bartender.

One song confused me as I listen to my brother sing lyrics to a new tune. The words of the indie alternative rock unsettle me.

“I was dead until you found me/I was numb on the inside/Then Your Love pursued me/I came alive within my soul//Let my life read like a letter/A letter of Your Love/Let my life read like a letter/A letter of Your love/ Your love that saved me”

As the musical interlude is lead by Douggie on electric guitar, I remember worship songs I’ve heard Gracie play in her apartment. Sometimes, when I go to pick her up, if the door is unlocked I walk right in and some song about God’s love plays. Sure, maybe my brother is being mushy and the song is about Peggy’s love, but I seriously doubt it. I can picture Gracie saying right now that she can sense my brother is different.

She wouldn’t need to say it if she were here. Everything about him screams SUPER DIFFERENT!

My original brother is so Anti-Christ, Kelsey would have never talked to him. I’m talking about a man who joined the Satanic Church to get laid. And how is my brother going to manage marriage? He is such a free love, anyone, any time man harlot. And drugs… he loves pot, shrooms, acid… he’ll try anything and do anything but meth, crack, and heroine. Maybe he had to change his image for the band, but I’m just losing my mind. He couldn’t be “saved”…

At the end of the show, he says, “Thanks for coming out tonight. For those of you who don’t know, me and the entire band got radically converted when we were in San Francisco. We started this tour and I did not believe in God at all. I was raised by fine atheist but even on her death bed, she reconciled with God, and I remember her holding my hand right before she went to her eternal home, and she said ‘Forgive me’. I had no idea what she met by that and I was angry thinking that if there was a God He wouldn’t have allowed her to die like that… Bottom line, we don’t want to impose anything on you, but if you want to hear our testimony and hear the true Gospel of Christ Jesus, we’ll be at the bar enjoying club soda, ginger ale, and water. Please join us if you want to prove to us God isn’t real. We love you all.”

I sat the furthest away as I watch my brother share his testimony to a group of ten or so strangers.

The band was in SoMa in San Francisco. They just got done playing at a bar. They just packed up the van when they heard worship music from a street corner, the song was about the love of God. Next thing Alastair new, he and the band were amongst a spectating crowd. Many onlookers mocked them and spit on them. Some people were actually putting curses on the band.

Alastair thought back to the day his mother died. How she asked him to call a preacher named Maynard Strikes. They didn’t speak long and he prayed with her. The pastor came out and said she made her peace and will be with God. Then he left. He said I showed up just as mom asked for his forgiveness.

“I started singing what they sung and I began to feel something happening inside of me.”

Alastair and his band joined that worship band at a 24 hr waffle watery and the worship band gave them a crash course on the Gospel 101. Alastair and the rest of Fintan’s Flood made the decision to follow Jesus and have never been the same ever since.

Peggy takes over and shares the gospel. All within ear shot are engaged, intrigued about God, but mainly how passionately she spoke about God. I can’t stand to look her in the eye. I feel like something stronger than her soul is peering into mine.

I do wonder, like from time to time, is God REAL. And if He is, why was He so stupid to make us? He gave us an awesome planet and we’re about to torch it all to hell and none of us really care about each other.

I love Gracie for me. She brings me peace. She makes me happy. She makes up for the missing things in me and makes me complete and because I cannot afford to lose her, I put up with the religion.

Gracie wasn’t always pure and perfect. I know in time we’ll be intimate in bed. I may have to cough up a promise ring to get her to bed but I won’t have to get engaged or marry her right away. And because of the happiness that woman brings me, I would marry her, just so I could return something in gratitude for all the goodness she is for me.

When Peggy’s asks who wants to accept Christ tonight, everyone’s hand goes up but mine.

This is ridiculous. I came up all the way here to witness a freak-show!

Douggie hands out Bibles to everyone who just accepted Christ and gives them a list of nearby churches they can check out.

Even Douggie was different with his beard finely trimmed and no eye liner. He still dressed like a pink rocker though and kept the hot pink in the tip of his faux hawk.

Alastair comes up to me and asks, “What do you think about what she said man?”

“I think it’s a load of crap. Let me guess, you could only find a Christian Label to sign you?”

Alastair pats me on the back, “It’s good to see you brother.”

I just want to blurt it out right there that he’s about to become a father, but he says they got a deal to record music with some mega church in Cali, and they’ll serve on staff for a bit to cover the recording costs. It’s because of the worship band that led them to Christ… It’s the mega church they come from.

“So when the tour wraps, we’ll be moving to Cali. Do you think if I deposit the money in your account, you could ship out my things? We’ll be closer to Cali when we wrap than AZ.”

“Sure.”

If God was real and my brother was really connected to Him, wouldn’t God give Alastair some urgency to come back to Tucson, for his kid?

“Tell me why here bro? If you wanted to say hello you would have hacked our social accounts and said so. Is everything okay?”

“No…” I sigh. “I going to be a-a Dad.”

“What?”

“You have a girlfriend?”

“Um, she’s not my girlfriend. One night stand but she is living at the house… I came to ask if I could turn your room into the nursery, so can I?”

In total shock, he says, “Yeah. No problem. I’m going to be an uncle?”

I laugh and he joins me. Odd how we laugh for two different reasons.

“I’m having a girl. Might name after mom.”

“Wow… Do I know the mom?”

“Do you remember Kelsey Cadence from High School?”

“Kelsey who?”

“I might marry her. Living together is going well.”

“Well, make sure you’re in love before you decide to spend a lifetime with her.”

We stand in silence. I wait for “revelation” to drop on him to uncover my lies, but nothing does.

A fan that just got converted asks to speak with him. Alastair tells me to hold on, but I take this time to take my exit. I decide to drive straight home, because now, I have to make Kelsey fall in love with me.

Driving I realize I’m being a lunatic. I can’t break up with the woman I love, marry a stranger, and raise my brother’s kid just so he can live his dream. I mean, this is mainly why I’m doing it. With how different my brother is now, religion will make him give up music to settle down and become a family man. Well, I couldn’t be certain, but he is my brother. I was the one with the heart and religion makes men softies, he probably had double the size of my heart now. California would be in his dreams. I need to ensure it is a reality. This will be best for everybody. In the long run, I just have to trust my gut, even if religion says it’s faulty.

Because of Faith – 8

AUTHOR’S NOTE

At the current pace of the story, we’ll have a novel several months from now. Originally, this concept was meant to be a book, but for the purposes of this blog, it is now a series. Here on out how this story is told will SHIFT. Lots RECAPS, and some FASTFORWARDS to essential moments.

RECAP

Grady and Gracie are officially DATING! Wait, is that a good thing? Grady is an atheist and Gracie is a re-dedicated Christian. Will their feelings for each other be enough to build a relationship that can last?

Kelsey lives in a scuzzy motel room invested with roaches. Grady gentlemanly offered his house for her to stay since she was pregnant with his brother’s baby, so she says… But she rejected his generosity not wanting to be a charity case?!

FASTFORWARD

School, work, and dating went well for Grady. Every free moment he had he spent with Gracie at her apartment or his house or going out to theatre, to movies, to restaurants, and to random places. For the first time, in very a long time, Grady was happy.

Abstaining from sex was rough though. There was nothing he wanted more than to be as close as two people could be and kissing passionately was not enough. And flying solo on his nights alone wasn’t satisfying either.

Two months passed and Grady hadn’t heard from his brother, so therefore, he hadn’t spoken to Kelsey.

All three of them, were going to help Vera out with the Children’s Theatre but Kelsey backed out. However, Grady and Gracie have been Vera’s assistances and love it!

Section 8 will start off with Grady and Gracie celebrating their two-month-anniversary at the Renegade. A Black Box Theatre located downtown in an old warehouse. They watched the Renegade’s production of “Taming of the Shrew”. They see Kelsey in a surprising role at the theatre.

8

“That was SO GOOD! The next time they hold open auditions, I’m coming. I need to work with this director.” Gracie says, taking my hand and inter-locking her fingers with mine as we make our to the lobby.

“Want to go grab desert? I kinda want a milkshake.” I say.

Ignoring my question, she pats me in the gut with her program and asks, “Is that Kelsey?”

I look across the lobby and see who I think is Kelsey too come out of ladies restroom with a plunger.

Before I mumble, “Yes,” Gracie already left my side and rushes over to her.

I stand back and watch Kelsey resist talking to Gracie. Blurting out loud enough to get everyone to stare, Kelsey says, “Just leave me alone!” Then she storms off down the hallway.

By the time I reach Gracie, Kelsey vanished.

“She works here on the janitorial staff… I tried to ask if she found a better place to stay and she just told me to back off.”

“Yeah, the whole room noticed.”

“We should wait around until she’s free and see if she needs anything. Ask if she’s seen a doctor yet… you know?”

“No.”

“Gray,” Gracie stares at me trying to provoke the good side of my humanity.

“If she wanted our help, she would have taken. She clearly wants to deal with this on her own. Who knows if she’s still even pregnant?!”

I rest my hands on Gracie’s shoulders and pinch them gently, trying to prevent her from tensing up. One thing I’ve learned about her is that she would tear off her left limb for people, if it meant helping them in the darkest hour of need.

“I just can’t stand by and do nothing Gray. She’s practically family now.”

“No she isn’t… not until my brother’s name is on the birth certificate and he signs it. And even then, she wouldn’t be family… the baby would be.”

Titling her head back against my torso, she looks up at me. “You need to find your brother and tell him. Once we get him to talk to her, then she may let us help her out.”

She turns around and folds me in her arms. Her warms hugs have the power to bend my will to hers. “Okay,” I cave as I rub her back. I’ll make a serious effort to hunt my brother and his band down.

As we head for the door, Kelsey comes back to us, appearing out of nowhere. We wait for her to speak first.

“Actually, can I take you up on that offer to stay at your house, Grady?” Kelsey says.

“Sure…”

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

.

Because of Faith – 7

RECAP

Grady Timmins may be the younger brother, but he was way more responsible than his rocker big brother Alastair, who just left town to tour with his band: Fintan’s Flood.

Grady finally scored a date with Gracie, his college crush, but on their first date (well sort of date, not quite) drama off the stage blew up in his face. Kelsey Cadence, his high school crush said she was pregnant and thinks Grady was the father. The only problem was, Alastair pretended to be Irish using a mighty convincing accent and used his brother’s name as an alias. In the dark, the bearded, pale, tall, lanky brothers could easily be mistaken for each other. But Grady sort of helped perpetuate the lie by letting Kelsey think they spent the night together the next morning… Yep, Alastair brought Kelsey home to the house he shares with his brother.

At least Grady had a chance to come clean that Alastair was likely to be the expecting father. Who knew if Gracie can get past the scheme he pulled on Kelsey with Alastair and give him another chance. Or maybe he finally had a chance at Kelsey’s heart, but would he want to be with her considering it may come with baggage.

That’s the thing… It’s like a 99.9% sure thing Kelsey was on the fast track for mommy-hood. Kelsey grew up in a religious conservative home and though she was no perfect angel, she went to church every Sunday and was very pro-life. She probably wouldn’t get an abortion.

Things left off with Kelsey asking how she could get a hold of Alastair and Grady couldn’t even get a hold of his brother because Alastair’s cell had an automated message it was shut off.

7

Kelsey doesn’t have her own car and due to the strong likely hood she’s the incubator for my future kin, I agree to take her home. And even though Gracie drove herself to the theatre, she insisted to ride with us to Kelsey’s. I chauffeured them across town as they sat in the back.

If silence could echo, it reverberates from front to back in my tiny car. Everything was just awkward… Was I going to have to track my brother down or do I press Kelsey for clarification. Was there a chance at all Felix could be the father?

 I pull into the parking lot of a pay-by-the-hour or pay-weekly one story motel, on Miracle Mile, the prostitute and druggy district.

“Thanks…” Kelsey says as she opens her door.

“You don’t really live here?” Gracie asks.

“It’s all I can afford right now between school and my acting commitments.” She explains.

I look at her through the rearview mirror. She looks down, too ashamed to look at Gracie.

“Gray, she can’t stay here. Let’s help her get her things and you can take us to my place.”

I must have looked at Gracie like she was a lunatic via the rearview mirror because she was quick to defend herself. “She’s my sister Christ, I can’t let a pregnant woman live in this hell whole.”

“Shouldn’t you discuss adding a roommate with your roommates.” I remind her.

“It’s fine really. I paid for next week already.”

“Why are you here Kels?” Gracie prods for details.

Kelsey sighs and shut the door. Tearing up, she sniffles as she inhales. “My parents didn’t support my choice to major in Theatre… and they didn’t support my relationship with Felix… because he was Catholic.”

“Isn’t your family religious?” I ask.

“Gray, leave her alone…”

Kelsey chuckles faintly as she wipes her nose. “It’s alright…” She takes both her hands and tucks the sides of her wavy hair behind her ears. “They’re Pentecostal Holiness…”

“Damn… that’s rough…” Gracie ironically curses.

“What does that mean…? Isn’t religious just religious?”

“Clearly not, being Muslim isn’t the same as being Jewish and those are two religious affiliations.” Kelsey retorts.

“Actually, those are cultural dynamics too. And if all of us were born in the Middle East, we would most likely be Muslim… or Jewish…”

“You know what… I don’t feel like arguing… Now that you have my number, can you just call me when you get in touch with your brother… I need to know what he wants to do.” And angrily she gets out and slams the door. Gracie leans forward to stare me straight in the face. I can tell she wants me to go check on Kelsey without ordering me to do so.

Grudgingly, I go after Kelsey. I think that’s what attracts me to Gracie the most, she makes me painfully aware of my humanity and reminds me why it is worth it to be a good person. I suppose people who are good at being Christians are really good at caring about people and meaning… Sometimes kind tolerate people seem fake with their caring attitudes.

I watch her barge into a room with a missing number. A faint dusty, adhesive imprint leaves a barely visible 9. The potent aroma of skunky weed swirls in the air from the neighboring room. A cockroach crawls out, from the creak in the door, to the room Kelsey just entered. A high pitched scream curdles from behind the door. I try to rush in to check on her but the door is locked.

Pounding on the door I yell, “Are you okay?!”

“I’m fine…” She hollers back, her tone muffled by the door. “Can you just go? I’m tired.”

“Can I come in?”

“I don’t really want you to…”

“Well, um… I just thought…” And before I can say more, the door swings open and Kelsey steps back outside shutting the door behind her.

Sobbing she plants her face on my chest and folds me into her embrace. Mumbling she says…”I know… don’t. …no.. e… I just… ee… d… a ha..ug…”

To avoid getting lectured by Gracie later, I gently put my arms around Kelsey and I couldn’t feel more awkward. I don’t know why she is crying…  Did she see a bug?

“Who knows how long my brother will be MIA but Gracie and I meant it earlier… You don’t have to go through this alone. You can come stay with me at the house.”

Kelsey backed up letting me go. She used her hands to wipe her eyes dry… “I can’t take your offer, I’m not going to be your charity case.”

“Whatever you pay here you can rent out a room.”

“I need to be by the bus line, I don’t have a car.”

“My brother left his truck behind, you can drive that, if you have a license.”

Biting her thumbnail, she ponders. “If we did hook up, and you were the father, would you be this nice?”

Smiling uncontrollably I blurt out, “I’d marry.”

She laughs so I laugh off what I said. I can’t believe I said that out loud… would I really do that?

“Aren’t you dating Gracie?”

“Wait, how do you know Gracie again?”

“Church… I’m not part of the holiness movement anymore. Non-denominational is my speed. That and Vera…”

“So…” And without letting me extend my offer to stay at my house again she speaks.

“I can’t be your charity case… thank you though.” She gives me another hug and then returns inside her scuzzy motel room.

When I get back in my car, Gracie smacks me upside the head. Then she climbs through the middle of the front seats, to settle into the passenger side.

“Whatever you said wasn’t compelling enough. She can’t stay here bae.”

“Since when was I your bae?”

Then on an atomic level the silence bomb drops again making things just weird between us. Apparently, tonight was a date anyways.

She breaks through the quiet drawing a breath before she speaks… “We could date if want to, but we need to have some ground rules…”

“Like what?”

“No sex. Not unless we get married one day… And I mean no sex at all…of any kind…”

“How would we be any different than glorified platonic friends?”

“Huh…” she sighs. “Like my faith is important to me Grady, and I’m taking it more seriously now… but I can’t deny how I feel about you… We might not have much of  chance of making it, but I’d like to give it shot.”

“I’m never going to believe in God.”

“You should never say never, but let’s never talk religion when we’re together either.”

“You act like I’m agreeing to this?”

“I’d like you to consider it. I have such strong feelings for you I don’t know if I can handle just being your friend anymore…”

For song long I wanted to call Gracie mine. To say that she’s my girl. Yet, I’m totally freaked out. When I dated Miranda it was great at first, but she dumped in the end because I wouldn’t convert to Christianity and she couldn’t do life with a non-believer. Someone she was “unevenly yoked” with…

Is love strong enough to go beyond such drastic differences? And Gracie’s friendship means so much… I can’t lose that.

Catching me off guard she kisses me stealing my breath. Then she rubs my cheek and looks into my eyes and says, “We can still do that… a lot…”

I haven’t had this much joy in so long. So long I’ve forgotten. There is a warmth she brings when she’s in the room. I may hate myself for doing this, but… “Okay, let’s date.”

She beams the brightest smile and kisses me again to seal the deal.

Then she settles into the front seat and buckles herself in. I start the car and joke, “Your place or mine?”

She hits me in the shoulder playfully.

“Ouch, no I’ll take you back to your car… Can I plan our next date?”

She rubs her fingers through my hair, and says, “I love surprises…” as I drive down Miracle Mile, where I miraculously started dating the girl of my dreams.


Thanks- Grady

Mirror

Mirror, mirror, set before me

Show me the things I dread to see

That at heart I can be naïve

My melodramatic side

Is a genetic trait I cannot hide

And all these pet peeves I have about my own flesh and blood

Are the very traits that stream from my soul like a flood

This mirror called my family

They are everything I am

The good, the bad, the ugly, the sad

For some wild reason seeing this truth left me grateful and glad

How blessed I am, not cursed

To be the product of such diversity, immersed

In the likeness of generations pasts

With an inherited lens from ages that has managed to last

And many could say that I am stuck with this carnal nature of my DNA

But there is another NAME of a family to which I belong

And by that NAME I’m a new creature, not perfect but strong

I’m not ashamed, filled with guilt, or wrecked with pain

I see the world with nothing to lose but with everything to gain

Not for a lifetime of glory that will fade like a vapor before the mercy throne

But for eternity with stored treasure called souls, like jewels in the crown of the greatest love I’ve ever known

Mirror, mirror, my kin

I’m not held in chains by your sins

The next generation that I will bear

Will not be caught in death’s snare

Designed by the blood oath of our fathers and their fathers

But instead the next generation will have the lineage of a different Father

The bloodline of a King

The best part makes me want to sing

All that gunk I mentioned before

All the stuff I saw in my reflection that displayed who I am to the core

Will still be a part of me, free from the shackles of carnality

The good, the bad, the ugly, and the sad

Will be balanced and be as they should, so well it will look like a fad

So thanks again and again a thousand times yes again and again

To God be the glory forever and ever, AMEN

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall”

I see the woman who answered the call

A call to be part of the Christ’s Bride

A call to be a child of the Most High

Above all, to know the one who created me to be HUMAN

The creature I see staring back at me is  NOT…

A beast

A monster

A harlot

And definitely NOT- QUOTE – “ONLY HUMAN” – END QUOTE, which is really SUB-HUMAN

I am Human-Female

There’s nothing gray, twisted, or wrong with that

Mirror, mirror, I am beautifully sculpted, totally original, by Creator God- Father, Counselor, Friend, and Lover

No other created thing could be any better

Than the Self-Existent One

Spirit of God make me more and more WHOLE like YOU, WHOLE as shown in the life of Jesus, Your Son

 

 

Because of Faith – 6

I sat inside an old office space supposedly transformed into a black box theatre. The stage was a plank of mahogany wood a few inches off the ground.  The entire platform may be the size of an apartment living room. On a built-in extended wall, were two doors, one on the left and the other on the right as the only stage entrances and exits. I haven’t been backstage but it must be cramped.

The walls are pitch black. Black drape hangs from the ceiling on each side of the stage. The seating are black, pleather cushioned chairs and divided in three sections around the stage. A part to the left, the largest part in the center, and the smallest part to the right.

The house seats are spackled with a sparse crowd. Mostly silver-haired folks, which are probably the season ticket holders that keep this hole-in-the-wall theatre operational. The young faces in the room seem familiar. I think I’ve seen them around campus or at the bar.

As the house lights go down, I hear, “I’m here!” Gracie just arrived. I look over my shoulder and see her apologizing to the House Manager for being late and pleading to be seated. He obliges her and lets her in. “Thanks, Ricky!” She whispers loudly.

Gracie runs down the aisle and plops down on my lap, at the end of the third row, to climb over me to get to her seat. I would have stood up to let her in, but she acted too fast for me to move.

The potent aroma of lilac and honey engulfs my nose. She smells great and even though its dark, I can make out she is fixed up to impress someone. She straightened her wavy locks and the contour on her face makes her look grown as opposed to her natural youthful self. Restraining myself from hitting on her will be difficult tonight.

I did ask her if she wanted me to pick her up. I figured we could have grabbed a bite before coming to the show. She said it sounded too much like a date and therefore declined my offer.

I remember clearly a few weeks ago I was a potential boyfriend in the hallway at school. She and David whispered about me assuming I was soundly sleep. I give up. Let her keep me in the friend zone, but I really do need to find a girlfriend… I’m not only lonely but dirty videos aren’t anything like the real deal.

Gracie put her hand on my thigh, a little higher up than usual and she leans over to me and whispers, “I’m excited.”

The actors take their place in the ghost lights and Gracie decides to rest her head against my bicep, if she were taller her head would be on my shoulder. Okay, maybe she changed her mind… I’m still boyfriend potential?

The lights go up and down center stage stands the most beautiful woman in creation. Kelsey Cadence. I hold my breath without understanding why. Around a month ago, she was physically in my living room, suffering from the walk-of-shame as she waited for her ex-boyfriend to pick her up. I still can’t believe my brother betrayed me and slept with her.

The play opens with Kelsey’s character giving a monologue that’s like a prayer out loud. She could look anywhere in the audience, but she chose to look at me. Our eyes lock, and I can see the fear in her eyes. Her character needs to get far away but she’s broke, isolated, and she’s never traveled outside her little town. She’s interrupted, by David’s character who looks sharp in a mid-1960s suit.

“There you are Faith!” David-in-character says rushing over to her.

Turning toward him in a flirty way, ‘Faith’ acknowledges the man approaching her, “Deacon…”

Only three cast members ever take the stage. The third member a man with blond hair and blue eyes called Canon.

The lighting sticks to blue hues. For the set, big black blocks are staged to be a staircase upstage left, a bench centerstage, and a ledge downstage right.

Deacon is a guy in seminary school, but he’s a rapist. He lures women with his bible talk and good guy act, and rapes them in a park. Faith suffered physical abuse from her mother and sexual abuse from her father as a child. When she meets Deacon, she runs away with him hoping to escape her terrible life. Cannon narrates majority of the story. He mainly whines about how there are more posers in the world claiming to be children of God than actual children of God… he also kind of serves as Faith’s guardian angel. At the climax of the play, when Faith thinks about killing herself, Cannon appears and gives her hope.

However, Deacon appears to spoil the hopeful mood. In a struggle for the gun, between he and Faith, the gun goes off and Deacon ends up dead. Faith flees and returns home. The play ends with no real resolution. She’s on her knees praying for forgiveness and a chance at a better life. Then right before the lights go out, Cannon appears, standing behind her. This time she can’t see him. His final monologue implies she’s pregnant and that the child is her second hope next to her faith in God.

Okay… between the lighting, the staging, the set, and the acting it was entertaining and it wasn’t total crap. If anything, it was immensely thought provoking. Cannon made some interesting points about religious people, yet he and Faith were so faithful to a flawed system. I think I kind of liked it. A unique Theatre-of-the-Absurd-Genre production.

After the show, out in the lobby the cast came to mingle with the audience over wine and mini-snack-foods. Gracie got trapped into talking with her acting instructor from childhood, Vera. As a little girl, at the Invincible Theatre, Gracie took acting classes during the school year and was involved in Theatre Day Camp over the summer.

Vera’s dried out, matted umber brown hair stays up because a crown of pens locks her hair mats in place and though she’s really fit physically, her tanning-booth darkened skin looks rough like leather. When the woman laughs, she sounds like a goat with a duck vocal box… I think. I am just annoyed. And she smells like incense… I hate that smell.

I’m a good six feet away and I can still smell Vera. The merlot’s not bad. I love how no one carded me. I barely look legal. Then again, I only card people at the bar I think are at risk getting caught by their parents or the law, other than that Deus doesn’t really care if I card customers or not. The goal is getting the coin and cash. He only cares about the money.

“Gray!” Gracie calls me over. Only because she’s my friend, I drag myself over to her and the strange woman.

“You rang,” I joke…

Gracie laughs flirtatiously and then explains why she summoned me, “I was telling Vera you did stage crew back in high school… Funny thing… she’s looking for a stage manger to help with all the children’s theatre productions.”

No. I’m definitely saying no. “Kelsey and I are helping too as teaching assistants.” Gracie adds. “You should join us.”

“Grady?” I hear a half-excited, half-shocked shrill from behind me.

I turn around and Kelsey Cadence rushes to wrap me in her arms. Sighing partly with relief and partly with enthusiasm, Kelsey confesses, “I’m SO glad you came!” Abruptly, very repentantly, she removes herself from my person and asks, “Did you come with a date.”

“Ah…” I sigh. Not entirely sure why.

“Kels, you know Gray?” Gracie asks Kelsey.

While I say, “Sort of,” Kelsey talks over me to say, “Kind of…” bugging her eyes out in a comical fashion. I think she’s a little nervous.

“I always thought Gray was short for Grayson.” Kelsey admits combing her fingers through her voluminous dark hair. Then she crosses her arms cloaking herself with a subtle attitude towards me and Gracie. “Well, um…”

“Wait,” Gracie’s countenance grows confused. Baffled she points at me and says to Kelsey, “This is the guy who pretended to be Irish and lured you into a one-night stand?”

“Whoa!” I snap snatching her pointing finger. “Lower your voice and actually—,” before I could defend myself, Gracie aggressively frees her hand from my grasp, takes both Kelsey and I by the arm and drags us back into the Black Box Theatre for privacy.

She sits us down in the front row, in the center seats. Little Gracie clings her torso by crossing her arms and she stands before us on the stage, with her hips cocked to one side.

Facing towards me but with her gaze looking down, Gracie says, “This is why I was hesitant about dating you. You drag everyone to hell with you and I didn’t want to be one of them.”

“What did I do?” I ask her. Trying to assess what is going on I ask Kelsey, “What’s happening right now? I should have said this at my house but Kelsey—,” and she cuts me off mid-confession that I did not sleep with her. 

“I’m pregnant.”

That is definitely something no single man wants to hear in his last teen year.

Involuntarily I say, “And you think I did that to you?!”

The back of Gracie’s hand smacks me like a freshly fired paint ball pallet in the shoulder. Clutching my shoulder I cry, “Ouch,” even though the blurb of pain is several seconds gone now.

Tearing up, Kelsey explains, “My fiancée and I weren’t together that much in that way… when we did we were safe you know… and well, that night I don’t remember much…”

“No one raped you okay,” again, my lips have a mind of their own. Why am I defending my brother? I don’t know what he did, or what they did that night… Other than the fact he used my name to pick Kelsey up.

Wiping her eyes with her hand, she sniffles, “I’m not saying you did… like my ex was at that party and I saw him with another girl… the girl he cheated on me with… and I wanted to make him jealous, so I got drunk and I was determined to hook up with the first guy that flirted with me… Or at least make Felix think I was going to hook up with a total stranger…”

“Kelsey…” I say, pausing trying to figure out how I can explain my brother knocked her up if it wasn’t her ex Felix.

“Kels,” Gracie says stepping over to Kelsey and crouches low at Kelsey’s feet, “Grady can be a jerk sometimes… He learned from his prick of a brother, but deep down,” she reaches to take my hand and caresses the back of my hand with her thumb, she comments, “he’s the sweetest, most faithful guy I know.”

“Kelsey… I should have been honest back at my house, but we didn’t spend the night together… My brother…”

“I may not remember a lot but I vaguely remember a Grady picking me up with an Irish accent.”

“Birdie got picked up by your brother,” Gracie chimes in, “She’s really upset he hasn’t called her.”

“Why would I lie? If anything I would say, ‘Yes, I’m the father’ so I could have a chance with the girl—,” I stop myself before my lips could get me into trouble with Gracie before we ever finish our first date?

Gracie furrows her brow and glares at me, “Kelsey is the girl you were madly in love with in high school? The one that had no idea you existed?”

I forgot I told Gracie about Kelsey a few times, without dropping her name.

“Yeah, okay.” I say.

My stomach tightens and I feel like my heart lodged itself in my throat. I can’t be here. I have to go.

“Don’t lie,” Gracie orders.

“I don’t think he’s lying…” Kelsey says.

“Yeah… my brother brought you home and asked me to see you out… He’s a jerk… sorry…”

“We went to high school together?” Kelsey questions not remembering me at all.

“You were in the same class as my brother. I was two grades behind you.”

“You kind of look like this kid from stage crew, Timmy, but he was skinnier and wore glasses.”

“That’s me. Grady Timmins, aka Timmy.”

Suddenly her eyes got huge like an owl and she forced me into an unexpected hug, “Timmy! You dated Miranda. She did say you were a sweet guy.”

Her hug is unique. Snug like being wrapped in a blanket and peaceful like my mother’s embrace. She backs up to let me go, but I keep holding on a little longer. I didn’t realize how much I missed my mother’s hugs…

When I finally let her go, she wonders, “How do I get a hold of your brother?”

Good question. He didn’t pay his phone bill. I can’t even get in touch with him and I haven’t heard from him since he left. He could be lying dead in a ditch somewhere.


#storysunday_rol

COMING SOON “B/C of Faith” on Audio, until then read Grady’s Saga piece by piece.

Because of Faith – 5

Deus, who’s actual name is Tom, pats me on the back as he tells me congratulations. As I walked in the door, he just decided to promote me to bar-manager/bartender. He’ll pay me a couple more dollars an hour and he feels comfortable enough to leave me alone to handle the Dive, the name of the bar, on my own. What is it with everyone abandoning me today? At least here I’ll be surrounded by drunks.

            Deus, if you couldn’t notice by the name, is cock-headed. He thinks highly of himself and as the most dedicated atheist I know, he lives not only to discredit religion but to mock God as if he’s almost real. What Deus thrives on more is pissing people off. If a court would allow him, he’d change his name to God or Deus, but no judge is that immoral. Out of respect for peoples’ religion, I call him Tom, and he’s okay with it. Aside from his son, I’m the only who can call him by his birth name.

            Well into his sixties, he sports a long white beard, and shoulder-length predominantly white hair. And usually always wears all-white. White slacks, a white short-sleeve button shirt, and white flip flops. I think he takes the mockery of God too far, but I think what once was a gimmick to him became his notoriety. I once went to a hardware store with him, because he had to make a few repairs at the Dive, and workers and customers at that place knew who he was. People will do anything not to be forgotten.

            “The place is all yours Demi-Deus Dos,” Tom chuckles handing me a set of keys, “Tonight should be slow and clean up should be quick. Lock up will be a breeze.”

            I watch him leave the Dive a little stunned. I haven’t worked here a full three months and I’ve been promoted. I didn’t think I’d actually get the bartender job. I applied for the heck of it. I wasn’t even sure I was legally old enough. Some people say you have to be 21 in AZ, others say 19 is okay. If Tom was a normal human being and not the freak he was I would rest easy that bartending age is 19, but Tom doesn’t exactly follow the law on a daily basis. The only statute he follows to a T is the status of the Dive’s liquor license.

            “Can I commit commandment 6?” April, a loyal drunk, asks from her usual seat at the bar behind me.

            Yes, Tom is that sick. He’s dedicated a drink to each ten commandment. Thou shalt not kill is an easy one to figure out: Bloody Mary.

            April, who’s old enough to have given birth to me, flirts with me as I make her precious drink. Telling me about how she goes wild for Irishmen and the thing or two she could show me if I give her the chance. I guess it’s really not flirting… She’s blatantly open and honest about things she wants to do to and do with me.

            The woman’s a heavy smoker and reeks of cigarettes, her dark, black hair is frazzled and thin, and she’s covered in faded tattoos. I’m not really into girls with tattoos. They’re gross. I’m definitely not in to women who smoke, double gross! I loved my mother, I still do, but I never had the desire to screw her, therefore I will never screw that woman. But I do let her think she may get somewhere someday… Did I mention she’s a mighty generous tipper?

            As I tune April out, talking about her days as a stripper, I look around the bar and there are only two other people around. Both regulars: Harold and Shannon. Harold’s a navy vet from Vietnam, so he didn’t see much action, but he sure acts like it. Shannon is a dude, and if I had a girl’s name I’d drink a lot too. He wears black attire; he never takes off his shades, and drinks nothing but Jack Daniels. I think he’s trying to be the incarnate of Johnny Cash. Instead of singing a song about A Boy Named Sue, it can be a song about The Man Named Shannon.

            Only a few more customers stroll in out before close. The loyal drunks, by no surprise, are too wasted to drive home. I had to confiscate their keys and call all three a cab. Cab drivers will drive drunks home for free and then the next day, drive them back to their car for free too. I always feel bad the cab drivers have to do all that work without pay, so I just give them fifty bucks from the tip jar. Tonight, since business was slow. I’m only giving out twenty to each driver.

            Clean up was easy. Quick restock of the bar. Quick wipe down of a few tables. And lastly a quick mop. Lights out, lock all the doors, and I was home a little before two in the morning.

            My alarm goes off at six, as it always does Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, but I don’t get out of bed until 6:45 am. I don’t bother to shower. I might even skip food, but when I step into the hallway I smell the makings of cooking pancakes and frying sausage, which means Peg is here. Entering the kitchen, the strong aroma of French Vanilla Roast coffee engulfs my nose. A mug filled with fresh brew is offered to me by Peg, who I might add looks beautiful this morning. Her sun-kissed blonde hair braided into a fishtail. Her face made up with light blue eye shadow and a glossy, glittery rose pink lip balm gives her thin lips some volume. Wearing her own pair of tattered, faded blue skinny jeans, she wears one of my brother’s green Henley’s, the sleeves are scrunched up above her elbows, and the bottom hem of the shirt nearly meets her knees like a super short dress.

            I can’t refuse fresh brew, especially when tiredness threatens to take me back to bed.

            “Sit down. Let me fix you a plate.” She says.

            Why resist her hospitality? I take a seat at the bar counter, on a comfy, cushy stool instead of the table. Leaning forward, propping myself up on one elbow, I slowly sip the dark, yet smooth roast. Again, I’m King Odd… I love the bitter, tart taste of coffee.

            Seconds later, a plate piled high with five, fluffy pancakes and four big patties of sausage I try not to have a heart attack prior to my first bite. Peg sets the bottle of cold syrup in front of my plate. She remembers that I’m the only person on the planet that doesn’t like hot syrup.

            As I wolf down breakfast, determined to leave at a decent time so I’m exceptionally late to class, I just have to know, so with a mouthful of food I ask, “Why are you back together with my brother?”

            Peg chuckles obnoxiously as she starts cleaning the dishes she made. For a moment, she ponders over the question staring at the running water from the faucet. Finally she admits, “I don’t know.”

            I nearly choke trying not to laugh. After I endure a coughing fit to preserve my life, I chug some lukewarm coffee to wash down the remnants of food. As I finish up my food, I listen to Peg rationalize her decision to get back together with Alastair.

            “When we met for coffee last Saturday, he told me how lonely he’s been. That he hasn’t even been able to use his childish antics to chase after other girls. That I’ve been the only one on his mind for the past few months… It was the most honesty I’ve ever seen come from him, and somehow I just knew things would be different this time.”

            Wow, my brother is the god of bullshit. He told Peg exactly what she wanted to hear to swindle her back into his arms. If hell is real, there’s a special place waiting for him there. I don’t have the heart to tell her that Alastair picked up two chicks Friday night… one right after the other… I’m not going to focus on how disgusting that is… She could be right, things could be different this time. They could break up even faster once she learns the truth.

            Alastair walks into the kitchen and waltzes over to Peg, folds her into his grasp, and kisses her without taking modesty into consideration. Peg starts tittering from embarrassment over their PDA and she gently nudges him away. Still hugging on her, gearing up for another kiss, Alastair says, “The van’s all packed. We just have to go pick up Dougie and Sly.” Sly’s the second guitarist for the band. Traveling the country in a Dodge Caravan with four people and a bunch of music equipment is going to get cramped. Glad I’m not going.

            I don’t really do well with goodbyes. Finished with breakfast, I stand up and try to take my dishes to the sink, but Peg races over to me to steal my dishes. As she cleans them off, Alastair squeezes me into a quick, snug embrace. After a couple pats on the back, he releases me. I guess we’re both not good with goodbyes. He doesn’t say anything to me. Walking away he informs Peg he’ll be in the van waiting for her.

            Drying off the dishes she just cleaned, and putting them away, one after the other, Peg says, “He’s gonna miss you. You’re the most important person in the world to him.”

            “Huh,” emits from my lips. He may say that but he never really shows it.

            Peg takes a second glance to make sure she didn’t miss a dish. Satisfied, she follows me to the front door. Seizing the opportunity, she too hugs me goodbye and says, “I’ll make sure he calls you.” Softly, she pecks me on the cheek ending the hug.

            I take a moment to watch them drive away before I get into my car. It’s official… I’m a loner now.

            Circle time just began when I burst loudly through the door. It’s not like I could help it, the door is loud. Gracie gestures me to join her side. Then she’s fast to boast about her friend, David Marchetti, being in a Late Night Show at the Invincible Theatre, and that her and I are going opening night of the 27th of this month.

            “Cool, what’s it called?” Geoff asks.

            I shrug my shoulders because I have no idea. I met two people in the production and they left out the title.

            “Waiver… as in a waiver you would sign to relieve any responsibility for a sky diving company if you get injured or die.” Gracie explains.

            “Is that what it’s about?” Geoff wonders.

            “No… It’s about a woman struggling to break free from a life of abuse and reconcile her faith. I hear it’s a little Theatre of Absurd. I just know the acting is going to be phenomenal!”

            The remainder of class muddles along. As does the rest of my day, and day after day, week after week here after, I go through the motions slightly detached from the world. If I could, I’d sleep all day and all night. I’d sleep my way into a coma if it was possible. Keeping the house is more important to me than my own sanity, therefore attending school and work outweighs my desire to escape life through R.E.M


Coming Up w/ Grady from B/C of Faith

Suddenly, a presence looming behind me makes me feel self-conscience. Am I standing in a weird position? Does my hair look alright? A deep gurgle vrooms from that looming presence and a question follows, “You don’t like the script, huh?” I here David ask.

            He steps around me and stands beside Gracie. She reaches out to him and he swoops in her an embrace, lifting her high off the ground. Once he sets her down, talking the speed of a fret train, she tells him everything she loved about the play, which is everything. Once David confesses how he struggled for months to write the script, I suddenly know why Gracie loves everything about it. He also directed the play… no real surprise there. Some actors aren’t meant to write and direct… they’re just meant to act… but some think they can do it all.

            “Grady?” I hear a half-excited, half-shocked shrill from behind me. I turn around and Kelsey Cadence rushes to wrap me in her arms. Sighing partly with relief and partly with enthusiasm, Kelsey confesses, “I’m SO glad you came!” Abruptly, very repentantly, she removes herself from my person and asks, “Did you come with a date.” She looks around past me, directly at someone, and gazing over my shoulder I notice she’s eyeing Gracie, probably wondering if she’s my date.


Thanks- Grady


Hello! As mentioned earlier, thank you for partaking in #StorySunday.

Grady Timmins, Tasha Turner, Ann Taylor-Talmadge, and Cleo Swan are some of the recent characters featured in stories @ briannamonique.blog …

I’m BriAnna Monique, the author of every original story, and if you enjoy what you read on #StorySunday, I’m glad and that warms my heart.

Come back every Sunday to read more!

If you’re a fellow saint, I pray the Father keeps you. If you’re not a saint yet, I dare you, ask God if He’s real and I know He’ll reveal Himself to you.

Be blessed,

BriAnna Monique Williams, blogger