Already Covered

KQsyn1501689039I was on my way to buy some tobacco when I saw the two women walking towards me. If I hadn’t been looking at their faces I would have noticed they were both wearing exactly the same clothes, and it was only when they stopped and one of them said in an Irish accent, “Good evening sir, can I just…” that I noticed they were both wearing name badges, and the name was the same on each badge, ‘Jesus Christ’.  I didn’t read what else was on the badge. ‘Jesus Christ’ was enough of a clue that these two women were candy–covered God botherers. Saleswomen for the biggest and most successful insurance company on the market.  They could have been Catholic, Protestant or Mormon, it didn’t matter to me. These guys were all the same – a joyful hereafter if you join our club and become one of us.

I was forced into the ways of Catholic religion from the age of five until sixteen – brain–washing, no choice. Original sinners, we were told, from the moment we came into this world, but I had stopped believing long before the school gates closed behind me for the last time.  On Monday mornings our teacher would give us a short, sharp shock by way of the leather belt across the hand if we hadn’t attended mass the day before. I soon worked out that I could tell the teacher I had attended the evening mass and she would be none the wiser having attended the morning service with the rest of my class.  And so I lied and spared myself the belt.

Religion made me lie, and not for the last time.  As a kid I found it highly ironic that the weekly confessional meant the fabrication of heinous acts I had perpetuated just so the priest would have something to forgive.  Maybe I was learning the ways of the world. In this racket, the insurance doesn’t pay out if you don’t keep up the premiums.

“Good evening sir, can I just…” She began.

I pointed towards her badge and then raised both palms in front of her.

“I’m an atheist.” I said, turning to walk away. “I was born without sin.”


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About the Author:

Garry Crystal is a freelance writer living in the UK. His short stories and articles have appeared in print and online including Expats Post, The Andirondack Review, Turnrow Journal, Roadside Fiction and Orato. His first book Leaving London is available on Amazon and other retailers now. View My Profile

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