We’d been going to church for a year when it burned to the ground on a Tuesday night. On Thursday, a volunteer called Mama to say services would be held at the VFW. Mama said thanks and hung up. That was the last I ever heard of church.
She sighs with the wonder of it all, considering how a first date and a daring confession on his part, “What do you think of men in drag?” transformed into her sharing Silky Maxwell with a stranger. They closed down the bar that night. The words tumbled out between them, and she told him about the photoshoots and sponsors, the videos, and the fans.
It was said that those who’d been there and received a ticket with a number, or maybe they selected a ticket from a deep bowl, or perhaps they heard a number read from a ticket and raised their arms with fierce intensity to claim it, received their true number at the event. Those people came away with answered prayers.
I asked him for cigarettes, taking a chance he’d want to be a cool dad. I stood on his deck later, focused on making a cigarette burn on the cuff of my jacket.
The brown paper fell away to reveal a cardboard cigar box and a folded white piece of paper. Primo Fine Cigars encircled an unimpressive red and gold foil seal. Jessie unfolded the paper and read the note in confusion. “Your turn,” was written in Crystal’s plump handwriting. She turned the note over, hoping for an explanation. It was blank.
The headlights were too low to be Ryder’s aging Silverado. I did not have other family left, or many friends in town, and none would have visited at this hour.
That summer, the brilliant bursts of muzzle flash replaced the on off, on off, on off of fireflies. With our fingers in our ears, it was beautiful in the dark.
The boy held two fingers sideways, squinting toward the horizon. “Thirty minutes,” he silently mouthed to himself, dropping his hand.
what’s your name
where are you going
do you need a ride
Best of all, I held empty glass globes that could be coaxed into illumination, and they would shine with nocturnal luminance as though they were the effortless, miniature twins of the sun.