Serious

If you like the idea of a postcard-sized narrative–a complete dramatic gesture with beginning, middle, and end in extreme compact form–then Postcard Shorts is for you. Here’s my “Serious,” along with a link to the magazine.

Who can ignore it when the pastor calls, my mother’s face charged with excitement. I’m in my uniform, getting ready, but thinking I’m straight with the pastor, I recite the Bible passages, do my homework, I know from Lutheranism. My mother, she has something up her sleeve, and so when Pastor Zehring rings the doorbell, I don’t know what to expect. They sit me down, there are cookies and coffee, and I know my mother is Serious. So is Pastor Z, who smells of cigarette smoke, and something like a far-off whiff of what my father drinks after a day of doing oil changes and brake jobs. We talk about nothing in particular. He says I’m doing fine in school, which relieves and upsets my eleven-year-old mind, since there’s nothing I can put my finger on, nothing like a scab to pick. It comes up half past five, and my mother says, he has a game, and Z says, fine, I’ll drive him on my way back, my mother nodding like it’s a plan. The man smokes, drives, and I look at my Wilson glove. I’d re-oiled it, all pliable and ready, I was Serious. We pull up to the park, the field dark green, my Giants in blue hats, white pinstripes, the big, bad Sox in black. Pastor Z says, and your mother and I were thinking you should consider the pastorate some day, and I say, I play second base, see, and I’m not bad.

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