Gracjan Kraszewski: American Believer

Southern Legitimacy Statement:  “American Believer” … is told through an antihero’s perspective and employs humor to ask deeply serious theological and societal questions. What do people worship? That is the story’s central question. This work is inspired, however loosely, by the style of Flannery O’Connor who created disagreeable, and at times grotesque, characters whose absurdity and arrogant unawareness helps the reader get at the larger point of the story.

 

American Believer 

I’m glad I’m not like these stupid Catholics, I think, as I stare at a picture my niece has just emailed me. What the hell is this, anyway? I check the subject line again. The Interior of Chartes Cathedral. Damned idiots. Probably took a long time to build this and for what?

That’s something I love about America today: we don’t waste time building useless bullshit. Look at Disneyland, or Las Vegas. I also know from personal experience. I see countless people, I mean a bunch of people, everyday, who come through the store where I work to get what they need; garbage bags, Tupperware, candles, pillows, plastic utensils, soda. All of this is useful. It’s practical.

I take a big swig of my Cherry Coke. Dumbass Catholics. How can they call themselves Christians? I’ve never understood that. All that ritual and statue worshipping and forcing people come to church. The last one really pisses me off. It’s not about going to church. True Christians know it’s about a personal relationship with Jesus. It’s about the Bible. Like my favorite Bible verse says, John 3:16, “The Bible is the truth and you can count on it.” I know that one word for word. It’s my favorite Bible verse.

A pop-up appears on my screen. Yes! It’s that cat video again. I love this! The guy who made this is a genius. You can tell even before watching it because it has 34,506,789 views. The People have spoken. The cat sneaks up behind a dog and then bites the dog in the tail and the dog shits on the floor and the cat runs away and the dog barks.

Oh crap, I’ve spilled some Cherry Coke on my keyboard. The Cherry Coke burns my nose, having gone through my nostrils when I was laughing.

I wonder if my niece is one of those Catholic communist fascists. Why the hell did she send me that email with that picture? If you’re going to email me something how about something good, like some smokin’ hot chicks? Of course a “good” Catholic like her wouldn’t send that because it’s sinful. Idiots. Don’t they know that once you’ve accepted the Lord Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior you can’t ever sin again?

Nothing gives me so much peace as knowing that no matter what I do I’m saved. I was with this hooker in New Orleans and after we got done she started crying to me about how she was going to go to hell if she didn’t change her ways and repent and all that. I told her not to worry, just say the words “I accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior” and she’d be saved, like me. She slapped me and yelled at me to get out. She was probably a Catholic. It is New Orleans, after all, that disgusting garbage dump city with all those Catholics, and foreigners, and Mexicans, and Asians, and the Mexicans from Cuba.

What would Jesus do? I’ll tell you what he’d do if he was president of the U.S. like the Bible says he’ll be on the Day of Judgment. He’d get all of the good Christians to get their guns and go fight anybody who doesn’t pledge allegiance to the stars and stripes. That’s what’s wrong with our country, not enough patriots anymore. I got myself a full American flag tattoo on my back and a bald eagle one on my chest just so if anyone ever has to ask…damn right I’m American.

I notice the time. It’s getting late. Only four hours until the Bills game starts. I have to get ready. As I’m putting on my face paint I think back to how those Catholics are forced to go to church, and every Sunday too. Who does that? Dedicate just one day to one thing like that? It’s an unhealthy obsession.

I pull on my special edition throwback jersey, the one I’ve worn for every Bills game the past 28 years. Every game! That’s what’s wrong with our country: people aren’t dedicated to things anymore. I don’t have that problem. I’m a Bills fan rain or shine, whether they’re good or bad. No matter what I’ll be at that stadium hours before to get my tailgating in and then hours after the game’s over. Every game of the season and now, thanks to the internet and TV, I can keep up on the Bills all throughout the year.

When Americans learn that success has no offseason and that in order to be great at something you have to fully commit, that’s when our country will be great again. And if anyone wants to know why I’m such a diehard Bills fan I can tell them that it’s really about America’s future, especially for the kids, and more importantly it’s about Jesus. Jesus is the one who told us to follow our passion, no matter what.

 

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Gracjan Kraszewski

Author bio: Phd candidate in history at Miss. St. University. Has published academic articles in The Polish Review, Idaho Magazine, and Religious and Sacred Poetry. Fiction published in Pilgrim, and on the Short Humour Site. Author of an (currently unpublished) absurdist-existentialist novel entitled “Job Search.” Fluent in English and Polish. Played baseball in college, professionally in Europe, and for the Polish National Team.