I don’t mean to be critical, but my little sister has become one of those Jesus Freaks. Ever since she got involved with the high school youth group at Come All Ye Sinners Pentecostal Church, she’s been preaching to me about how the End Times are at hand and I need to get saved before the trump sounds and the safe people get whisked up into the sky and I’m left behind to suffer trials and tribulations and… She corners me and gets on a roll. I tell her I’ll just grab onto her ankle when the time comes, but she doesn’t think I’m funny.
Last week she laid it on the line. “Mike, if you die tonight, do you know where you’ll spend eternity?” I told her I’d be cool with hanging out at JC’s Bar & Grill indefinitely. They have sixty kinds of beer and serve a mean meatball sandwich. She gave me the stink-eye—almost an exact replica of Mom’s “I’m so disappointed in you” look.
So now I feel guilty. I tell her I’ll accept her invitation to All Ye Sinners rodeo-themed “Round ‘Em Up” cookout this weekend. How bad can it be to have a few hotdogs and chit-chat about Jesus? I mean, I don’t have anything against the guy; I just don’t think we have a lot in common.
Halfway through my second dog I spot a super hot girl who looks to be in her twenties, like me, so I sidle on over and we chat it up for a while. She asks if I’m new to the church. I say no, I’m here with my sister, the little evangelist over by the lemonade. She laughs and they exchange a wave of recognition. About an hour in, we’re having a pleasant time and I ask her if she’d like to head on over to J.C.’s with me and have a meatball sandwich. I’m a little surprised when she agrees; after all, she’s at a church barbecue and we just met. But she seems normal enough, and I have a feeling this could go somewhere.
I’m on my second beer, enjoying my sandwich, when she takes a long draw on her diet Pepsi and leans across the table to dab at the meatball sauce I’ve spilled on my favorite T-shirt. I see this as a good sign of more intimate possibilities, so when she says, “Let me ask you something…,” I lean in about an inch from her nose and say, “Shoot.”
“Mike, if you die tonight, do you know where you’ll spend eternity?”
Traci Mullins loves the art of flash fiction and has been published in Flash Fiction Magazine, Dime Show Review, Ellipsis Zine, The Drabble, Fantasia Divinity, Flash Flood, and others. She was named a Highly Recommended Writer in the London Independent Story Prize competition.