PLEASE don't kill me for this.
“Finally, I’m finished!” I smiled and leaned back so I was lying on the art room floor. I wasn’t worried about dirt or anything—I was already covered in paint. I closed my eyes in exhaustion. I had been working on this project for a whole month, and it was finally as near to perfect as it was going to get.
I jumped up and squealed when I felt the soft bristles of a paintbrush sweep across my cheek, leaving a bright streak of green paint. “What was that for?” I laughed and grabbed my own paintbrush to leave a streak of red on the jeans of my partner, Rachel.
“Why did you work so hard on something that’s just going to be burned anyway?”
I admired the painted wooden cross, my eyes following the trails of blue swirls and gliding over the elegant bold black script. I shrugged and turned to her. “I don’t know. Art is art. Everything I paint gets the same amount of attention.” Rachel laughed.
“Better be careful. They’ll think you’re a ‘lic.”
“Lic” was short for Catholic.They were immoral people. No one was sure why they exist, but there were theories. Once, Rachel and I went down to the school basement and found some old history books. According to those, Catholics used to be one of the most popular religions. There were even Catholic presidents. We closed the books and never said another word about them, but I still thought about them sometimes.
I took a hair dryer and started drying the cross. “Of course I’m not. That’s crazy. I still can’t believe Catholics exist. I mean…it’s not like they’re born that way.”
Rachel smiled and took a second hair dryer out of the supply drawer. “I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter. We’ll go up and be with God when she calls us, and those stupid Catholics can be whoever they want to be in hell. Hey, did you do the homework for Chemistry?”
We talked about school and which teachers we liked or didn’t like until the parade bells started ringing. “Oh, no! I thought we had more time!” I helped Rachel lift the heavy cross and we put it on a cart. The annual worship parade was going to start any minute, and we had to get there in time.
“Hurry! Don’t forget the gas!” Rachel started racing the cart down the hall as I grabbed a can of gasoline and a lighter before following her. We made it to the line just in time and the boys on our float helped lift it up and set it in the stand.
One of the boys, Jason, whistled. “That’s some piece of work you did. I’m almost sorry we have to destroy it.” I climbed on the other boy’s shoulders and started pouring the foul smelling liquid on the top of the huge piece of wood.
“Don’t be; remember: ‘That which glistens isn’t always made for heaven.’” He grinned and I tossed him the lighter. The line was moving now, and we had barely made it. “Want to do the honors?”
Jason turned the silver wheel and stood on his toes to reach where the gas was trickling down. In a second, flames were leaping up towards the sky. We had made sure to make the rest of the float non flammable, and stood back as the embers calmed a little. We each took our places next to a fire extinguisher—just in case—and waved to the cheering crowds of people. You could tell exactly which ones were Catholic—they were the only ones not smiling.