So Corny, the Prayers

The following six meditations are from the novel The Final Beast. The protagonist is Theodore Nicolet, a minister.

"SHE'S TRIED TO teach me how to pray, and I'm lousy at it. She's prayed for me. I thought I'd die when she started except she's so matter-of-fact—like the president of a woman's club. But it would kill you, Nick. They're so corny, the prayers. She admits it. She always says them to Jesus, and she says it's important to call him that—not Christ or Lord or anything—because Jesus is the part of his name that embarrasses people to death when they use it alone, just Jesus. She says that underneath that embarrassment is the part of us that's revolted by him. It's so damned queer. So you say Jesus to get that part out in the open where he can get at it."

"I've got to tell you about it because you're the first person I've seen since I got here. It's been so queer, Nick. I don't believe anything much, God knows, but sometimes I thought I could feel something happening. Once in the rain. She lays her hands on your head, and the prayer is really just her talking about you to him. She could be talking to anybody, nothing fancy. Once she even laughed because he already seemed to be doing what she was asking him to do, not a creepy laugh, but the way if a child does something especially clever. She said it was amazing what God could do on his own sometimes. What she asked him to do for me was to walk back through my memory, as though it was a long hall. She asked him to open all the closed doors, and to bless whatever he found inside. Is it just mumbo-jumbo, Nick?"

- Originally published in The Final Beast

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