I'm in the graveyard, at my mother's grave, when I see my brother
approaching from the entrance. He's probably taking the shortcut
through the graveyard back to the house that we share. I haven't seen
him in a couple days since he works third shift and I work
second—today's my day off—but he looks the same as
always: short greasy black hair, glasses, some pimples here and there,
a plain black T-shirt covered with white hair from our Jack Russell
Terrier named Nietzsche, baggy jeans with a couple stains, and a pair
of old muddied sneakers. The dog's a purebred, but I call him a mutt
Today my brother's carrying a small white plastic bag from Frank's
Gifts, so I know he just wasted a bunch of money. Frank's makes their
money by selling anything that is racy and shocking.
—Tell me you didn't just spend your whole paycheck on a bunch
of crap from Frank's, I say when he gets within earshot.
—Yeah. I got some great stuff, though.
He sets the bag on the ground when he gets close to me. I can see that
it's full. He pulls out the first T-shirt, which is white with black
letters. It reads:
—Dumb, I say.
—No wait. It gets better.
He lets the T-shirt fall to the ground, which is still soggy from last
night's rain, and pulls another one out of the bag. It's also white
with black letters. It reads:
—That one's dumb, too.
—I got one more. Look.
I'll be your rapist
evening. Can I
you something to
—Those are all stupid. How much did you pay for 'em?
—I spent fifty bucks. It's worth it, though.
—That's a third of your check. We've got bills, you know. And
where are you gonna wear those things?
—What? Since when do you go to church? Besides, they'll kick
—That's the experiment. It's a social experiment.
—What do you mean?
—I'm gonna go to a different church for the next three Sunday
mornings—the last service, the most crowded—and see
if they kick me out because I'm wearing one of these shirts. And if
they try, I'll tell them that I haven't put money in the collection
plate yet and see what they do then.
—They'll take your money and then kick you out.
—It'll be worth it just for the looks.
—But you'll have to get up early.
—Yeah. Well, I'm gonna head home. See you later.
He bends down and stuffs all the shirts back into the bag before
trudging off toward the house. I stare at mother's gravestone, which
has some bird shit on it. I regret that I don't have anything to clean
it with, though I'd have to kneel down if I did, and I don't want to
get my slacks dirty. I look at the headstone and remind myself to bring
some flowers next time.
Jordan's fiction has appeared or
is forthcoming in THE 2NDHAND, Hobart, Keyhole, Monkeybicycle, Dogzplot, Pindeldyboz,
Storyglossia, Word Riot, and others. He edits decomP.
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200904reverence.htm
Photo detail on main page courtesy
w i g · l e a F