In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “What a Twist!.”
The Sunday school rhyme reverbed in his thoughts. His youth was spent seeking relief from his soul tortured experience of faith, he was not a believer, nor was he convinced the preachers, and his followers were either. But the stories were good. He listend to them, morality, eternal life, redemption, sin, and good, and some love. But once the stories ended and the class was out for the day of faith. He saw too many of his peers, those being raised by the believers commit acts against those very teachings and they lived with their parents in their houses, and had images of a Jesus, glowing, and looking toward some light beaming onto his face. Sometimes they spoke of evil manifested as some devil guy and he lived on the Indian reservation.
In his mind, the rhyme went over and over…”One, two three…the devil is after me, four, five six, he’s always throwing sticks, seven, eight, nine, he’s always drinking wine, nine ten eleven, we all get to heaven.” It looped on and on…like he was on an elevator with no buttoms or doors but rising, rising into some shining light. But it was not an elevator, it was more like his body was rising into the space between sun and stars and then his body falling through the nothingness of darkness.
Even when he spoke to others in his personal space, the rhyme was chiming in between the spaces of conversation. He heard them, but was able to maintain the conversation and tasks at hand. Distracting but he learned to cope. Always coping…eat, sleep, drink, sticks, get rid of the sticks and drink holy water. He “borrowed” the water from St. Joe’s an abandoned church near the intersection of a small town he had trekked though on his way back to his birthplace, a little town, long deserted after the logging industry had cut down all of the forest and milled all of the logs into lumber. Those memories were old, like him, coping was getting old too. So, he quit. Put a plug in the jug. He returned to his hometown near the Indian reservation. They were ready for him too. Put him in a room with a bed and a painting of a valley,and a man with a shiny face. It was beautiful and he felt drained. Depressed.
It was that time again, his space was growing small, the clock on the wall tick tocked, windows hazed with grime, wall paper yellowed. A crack in the plaster led into an abyss. This time he did not follow the dark line.
“Mr. Redder, Mr. Redder, can you hear me?” She asked, “I have been assigned to your case. I’ll be your casemanager for this season. Do you know what day it is, Mr. Redder? Can you hear me? We need to prepare you for your discharge. We have your sticks, your wine, how are you feeling this day? We have much hope that you will not be returning this time and that you will fulfil your social contract and you must remember that the old tales are not worth much in these times, so, use yours with great certainty! We are counting on you!” She handed him the clipboard and he signed with an X. The casemanger walked toward the door and turned to him,”You know your place in this world.” She exited the room and he could hear her footsteps clogging down the hallway. His spine tingled and his eyes burned while he felt the rawness of his scalp in a couple of places near his forehead. Dang, everything, nothing had changed. It was this way everytime he was released from this infernal space. For him there was no hope to spread his wings and fly, to feel fresh water on his face, cool wind in his hair, eat fresh salmonberries, to breath in life. He blinked his eyes and slipped out through the crack of an open door and into the growing twilight. This time he was hoping to find those old friends at the campfire near the summit of a mountain he knew existed because he had heard a story about it under the bridges in the cities and everyone had shared a story around the warmth of a fire. The time he was determined to learn those old tricks. Darkness came, and he thought of his friend poking holes into the sky with a stick.