TITLE: Cheesus Was Here
GENRE: YA Contemporary
Every Sunday, my town turns into a war zone and I’m left huddled in the middle. On one side, St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church hovers, ready to rake in the faithful. On the other, Holy Cross Baptist sends out a siren song, luring in congregants. I don’t want anything to do with either of them. Me and God, we’re not best buds these days.
No man’s land, occupied by those few agnostics, atheists and major-holiday-only observers, is a dangerous place to be. But I’ve got an excuse for skipping services this week. One even the white-haired old ladies can’t argue with. Probably.
Outside, St. Andrew’s church bell continues to ring, brassy and demanding. In answer, Holy Cross’s choir lead, Ellen Martin, croons out a gospel song through speakers wide as a barn door. The bell falls silent and Ellen draws out the last triumphant note of "Hallelujah." I start laughing. Score one for Reverend Beaudean and Holy Cross. Pastor Bobby’s arms must have given out while yanking on the bell pull. The weekly grudge match between the two churches is as much a part of Clemency, Texas, as the faded wood sign on the edge of town proclaiming: "Welcome Y'all."
I shove away from the convenience store’s counter, sliding my hands over the nicked orange surface, and count out my cash drawer. Time to finish getting the store ready for the day. This is my first Sunday shift and I raise a soda cup filled with Dr. Pepper as a toast.