Thursday, September 9, 2010

UNION BLUES (published in 6S volume III)

Preacher Bob’s sermons had been filled with words of hope and perseverance for so long that Junior lost track of the weekly messages; he wasn’t sure the Preacher even believed them any more. If this was supposed to be part of God’s plan like he told the congregation every Sunday, it wasn’t going too well – the unemployment checks had stopped fifteen months earlier, food stamps didn’t stretch far enough, and it was impossible to survive on the cash scraped together from odd jobs. His old man had gone to work every day for years, paid his bills, raised a family, and lived the American Dream on their tree-lined street in his little Cape Cod; Junior grew up picturing the same kind of life for himself. But that was before the Ford plant in Edison closed and left most of the storefronts in town boarded shut – before Mary took the baby and told him she was done waiting for things to get better. She walked out and it left the house with the kind of emptiness that wrapped its arms around him and squeezed out the last pieces of his dreams. Junior leaned back, closed his eyes, and took a long hard swallow from his Bud, thinking the Preacher needed to find something different to say next Sunday.