Thursday, May 02, 2013


I was very young and I'd just watched "Fantasia" and the thrill of watching "Night on Bald Mountain," which my mother would have never let me watch had she  been there was still in my mind when we were driving home in the rain. Squinting through the rain-spattered windshield, the red brake lights ahead of us reminded me of the writhing flames and little demons from Disney's animated short.

"They look like the devil," I said, pointing.

She turned to me, her face paling. "What?"

"The red lights, they look like devils."

Panicked, my mother rerouted us.

The Preacher's apartment was sparse and cheap, like all apartments of the recently divorced or sober. He gave me a soda and peanut butter crackers. I was left alone for an hour to watch television. I could hear the usual muttering that meant my mother was praying. After a while, they came back into the living room with its black pleather sofa.

"We're going to pray on you," the man explained, and I didn't say no. They put their hands on me, and prayed to banish the servants of Satan. I wondered if he had any more peanut butter crackers and when we would go home.