Date Published: January 2016
Comedy, jealousy and intrigue take center stage as a small town prepares for an ACLU lawsuit over a sign that reads FAITH, Hometown of Jesus Christ. A lightning-fast read, the turn of the last page will have you wishing your stay in Faith could have lasted just a few more days, or at least that you had picked up a Jesus-in-the-Box or a poster of the town’s super-hot mechanic Johnny Cain.
The town of Faith has found religion, and no one is happier than Father O’Brien, who was down to one parishioner. Now the confessional lines are blocks long, and the oatmeal cookie crosses are selling like hotcakes. At the 4th of July parade the mayor’s 12-year-old son survived the mock crucifixion with only a broken arm and mild head trauma. Everyone give it up for Faith, Hometown of Jesus Christ.
Someone’s plotting the town’s first murder and the mill has just been robbed of an ungodly sum. There’s a cross burning on a motel lawn and everyone is sleeping around. Yes, the town of Faith has got problems, but no one is more confused than Bobby Ray whose ex-girlfriend has just returned. Everyone, let us pray.
The trucker came down the rural road clocking a little over eighty-five and feeling damn well blessed. For the first thirty years the jobs they had come and the wives they had left. For the first thirty years he would have sworn to you that the devil had been chasing him all around. Those routes he took with a bottle of Jim Beam between his knees and a bag of cocaine under his seat. Those routes had a whore at every rest stop and a Bible in every motel. That though was eighteen month ago. That though was before the preacher’s daughter. Now he had a gig that was as steady as steady could be. Now he was hauling aluminum coffins for the good ol’ Woodlawn casket company.
Some two hours before he had broken through the night. The Sunday sunrise he took with a minister on the radio and a little while after that switched stations to confess all his sins to Johnny Cash. The small towns he passed they came and they went no longer than a three-minute song. Names you can forget but the abandoned American factories they stay with you well after those eighteen wheels have come to a stop.
The approaching hill it seemed a little out of place it looked more like the start of a rollercoaster ride. He downshifted into ninth and brought that rig to the top. From there he could see the aluminum spire of the church reflecting back the rays of God like a morning star. He was on the flat of the land again when he passed by the sign to the next town. It hadn’t been the first time someone had slammed on their brakes for a second reading and sure in the hell wouldn’t be the last.
He hopped out of the cab to walk the eight hundred feet back. His Black Cat hat he removed and ran a hand over his head to tame the few wisps of hair he had left. At that moment he wasn’t sure whether to kneel or whether to laugh. That sign he was staring at had two lines, one word above and a tagline below: “Faith, Hometown of Jesus Christ.” The town he decided to give
the benefit of the doubt and took to a knee. God he gave a few words of reverence and to Man he gave a smile for the audacity. Most runs are only remembered by the miles you leave behind but some runs you never forget.
Virginia Austin was born and raised in Chicago. When not writing, the author is an engineer for the nuclear plants in the Midwest. The author broke onto the scene in 1997 with the book, ‘Fated.’ After publication of ‘American Jesus’ by Cross Cultural Publications in 2001, Austin went on to write ‘Her Seventh Death,’ in which the screenplay was selected as a finalist in a Chicago independent film festival. She has also been published in Darker Times out of the U.K. Virginia Austin’s two latest books are ‘Faith – Hometown of Jesus Christ’ and ‘The Assassin and the Disciple.