You Don’t Have To Be Like Them


This is one of the flash fiction pieces I recently wrote.

Two hours down the road my phone beeped, showing a text from my big sister Missy.

Just remember,” it said, “you don’t have to be like them.”

In the front seat Daddy cranked his head around and told me be sure to click that phone off when we arrive. “There’ll probably be an opening prayer, so keep quiet. Bow your heads and show respect. Maybe you’ll learn something.”

Mama fussed with her hair in the mirror as Daddy poked the truck down the highway, inch by inch. You never saw so many cars in your life. Daddy said there’d be folks from hundreds of miles away, maybe thousands, all come to bless this beautiful new building and give thanks to the godly men who built it.

Mama said she hoped there was enough gas in the truck and Daddy said of course there is, did she think he was fool enough not to fill the goddamn tank?

Me and Jeremy had the back seat to ourselves because Missy wouldn’t come, said she didn’t want to be around all them hypocrites. Daddy snapped that he better not hear her talk like that again or there’ll be hell to pay. Missy’s middle finger waved goodbye as she slammed the front door and stormed on out.

In the back seat Jeremy asked how much longer to the attention center and we all laughed.

“Not attention center DEtention center,” Daddy said. “Where they detain people before shipping ‘em back where they belong.”

Jeremy asked what’s detain mean and Daddy said it means lock ‘em up.

“Attention center’s pretty accurate too, though,” Daddy said. “You can bet it’ll get the attention of all them illegals and their freeloading kids.”

I peeked back at Missy’s text then clicked the phone off and watched the traffic, bunched up for miles and miles.

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