“Saint Helen and the Spokanites” in The Spokesman Review


Paw Paw said it was just hippies on the mountain got smote. And fornicators. “Nary a Christian among them,” he said.

“What about my Grandpa Murphy’s camp,” I said.

“Closed,” Paw-Paw said. “And they was Catholic anyway – not Christian.”

“Catholic is Christian,” my mother said. “And it’s not just hippies up there.”

“So blame your lesbian governor,” Paw Paw said. “If that makes you feels better.”

“Dad,” my mother said.

“Lesbian?” I said.

“Everywhere,” Mee Maw said, “with their pantsuits and raucous talk.”

“Not like the good old days,” Mom said, “when we were all miners and loggers and prostitutes.”

“Prostitutes?” Garrett said, and Paw Paw said, “You don’t know a thing about the good old days.”

“Nor loggers,” Mee Maw said. “Nor miners. But it used to be –”

“Indians,” our mother said.

“And cowboys!” Garrett said.

“You don’t know a thing about Indians,” Paw Paw said, “nor migrant workers, nor any of the others you take up for.”

“Nor sodomites,” Mee Maw said. “Nor Israelites.”

“They’re just people up there,” our mother said, “like anywhere else.”

The light dimmed in the living room, the first sign of the cloud coming.

“And now His wrath is upon us,” Paw Paw said.


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