The women at the welfare office, the twenty-six year-old, Sonya if I remember right, the one from one of the rougher ends of uptown who managed to get an associate's degree and a job as a dental assistant, never needed a dime of government aid until the recession hit. She was assured that the suffering was all a test, and that the suffering was the point, to see if she's worthy to go home, and that the test never ends. The white and the rich go to church to learn why Jesus loves them better than other people. The brown and poor go to church to learn the the test never ends, and that this is how it should be, so stay calm. The neighbors who have been on food stamps their whole lives ask Sonya why she doesn't have children yet.
Papa Manic believes in Jesus. He says that he fought the war "fifteen years ago I was in that war you know." This would have been Iraq I, in which Bush the elder freed Christian Kuwait from the Moorish hordes. Manic was just past thirty then, so maybe or maybe not. He's not conciously lying at any rate. The passion of a believer tells him he was in the Gulf War. "You gotta fucking kill evil, if you ain't willing to kill evil when God tells you it's time than get the fuck out!! I'm for real on that shit. I assured him that I was for real on that shit, and that I wasn't just camping out with the black homeless for amusement.
Purvis too; gay, alcoholic, crack-addled, estranged from his elderly mother, firmly believes. His sisters have assured him that they'll let him know when his mother goes home to the Lord, assuming that she gets there first, before his eyes get any yellower.
Sarah, the one who stood in the middle of the bike path at Lincoln Park while begging me for a cigarette, telling the bikers who nearly bit the dust avoiding her to eat her ass. Sarah rode the bus from a South side shelter to Lakeview looking for work. She was being paid for 'giving some company' to an Iraq II veteran who came back with a missing arm and a mental twitch, likes to torment her with a knife apparently. When she asked me if I believed in Jesus I said I was a skeptic. She spent ten minutes asking me how I couldn't be afraid of hell and I told her I was afraid of death gin general sure. "How do you know there ain't no hell? How do you know, how do you know?" "I don't know. That's what a skeptic is. One who doesn't know what he doesn't know." Finally she asked me if I came from a Christian family and I said I was Catholic. She took this as a no and went into the old Calvinist spiel of how "the Bible is a guidebook that comes straight from God and the Catholic church and the Baptist church and all of these churches are fucking up the roadmap right, think of it as a roadmap. now imagine you're lost right, and you need a map; now are you going to trust the person who wrote the map or are you going to call some motherfucker who's just guessing? You know most people think you go to heaven for being good but not one of us is good we are all sinners and we have all fucked up........" She left me with a God bless and a Chick tract, the one where Satan dresses up like the Great Pumpkin and goes Freddy Kruger on some town.
Walter wanted to know if I had a problem with black people. I said no, I just didn't talk very much. This assumption by those who enjoy conversation for its own sake is universal and that those who don't partake with them simply must be stuck up is my greatest pet pieve. I remember my parents chiding me for growing noticibly anxious during extended family talks over dogs and priests that had been dead for twenty years. My natural introversion became militant and I came to distrust the smiling and effervescent, so here I am. But I listen as well as a wiretap. What could I possibly add to your passion to kill for Jesus anyway?
But there was no convincing Walter that silence wasn't tantamount to derision. He exhorted me to go to the Washington library and look at all the records of how many white people had secret white blood and vice-versa. "Adam and Eve were black." "Jesus looked like us." "I believe in the Bible. Some people are athiest and I believe in God, that's just my preference." "Races have always been mixing. The history of Italy, Italy is real close to Africa, the Moors." "Who is the purest race anyway?" "Caucasion, or Caucoid." "white people believe in this fallacy about race. You know what a fallacy is right? I said fallacy." "Thomas Jefferson." Barack Obama." "I have the same intellect as you. I just want to make sure that you fucking know that."
Liz was raised Muslic and has no religious preferences. "But I believe in god with all my heart and I know he's wqatching after you and I know he gives me the strength to stay clean." She gives me a God bless every night, either in person or via text. I do sleep better for it, so who cares if it does any real good or not? She sleeps better when I tell her I'm keeping safe. Mom sleeps better when I tell her I'm safe.