Sandy and the Lord
by Tim Coe
Sandy has only been awake for ten minutes when the Lord gets mad at him. Sandy is still in his pajamas, the blue ones with the stripes, and he is in the middle of a mug of coffee, and the mug explodes. Sandy is standing barefoot in the kitchen. Coffee gets in Sandy’s eyes, and on his blue striped pajamas, and in his hair. It is hot, the coffee. The Lord is mad at him. Sandy steps backwards and squints. There is a sound in his ears. The lights turn off.
Last Sunday at church, Sandy sat in the front pew, and he brought his own Bible. He sang along loudly with every hymn, even the one he didn’t know, even the one that was not in a key that Sandy could sing in. Sandy said ‘Amen’ and ‘Hallelujah’ when the pastor pounded the pulpit with both fists, and Sandy closed his eyes and raised both hands to pray.
‘Lord,’ Sandy said, ‘thank You for this day.’
Now, with the lights out, Sandy is scared. He stumbles into the living room and flips the light switch up and down four times. His feet leave little spots of blood on the white carpet.
When he was eleven, Sandy went to a boy’s birthday party. There was chocolate cake, and streamers colored like Easter candy. The boy wore bright green pants with an elastic waist. After everyone sang ‘Happy birthday to you, dear Charles,’ the boy wanted to play a game. He turned out all the lights and said, ‘You are all Indians.’ The boy’s mother turned on the lights and made a loud noise with her mouth. She took something away from the boy and made Sandy and everyone else go home, saying, ‘Please do not tell your mothers about this.’
The Lord is not done. He is angry, like bees. He is not idle. The house shakes, and two windows shatter with a noise like screaming. Sandy sits down on the piano bench and takes off his pajama shirt, which is wet and brown and warm with coffee. He throws it onto the couch.
White bits of the ceiling come down. Sandy holds his bare left foot in both his hands and picks a piece of coffee mug from it. The house shakes again and Sandy goes into the bedroom. His bed is unmade, and there is a pile of laundry by the open closet door. There is a poster on the wall for a band he has not heard of. The poster shows a blindfolded woman holding a hammer. Sandy’s reading lamp falls over and breaks.
Sandy’s mother is dead. His father can no longer watch television without crying and is in a home for the elderly. The home is the color of dried mustard and smells damp and Sandy tries to visit whenever he is nearby but does not stay long because it makes him sad. Every morning his father puts on a suit and ties a full-Windsor knot and then lies under the bed for two hours. The elbows of his suit are becoming shiny.
The last time Sandy visited his father, his father was eating vanilla pudding. ‘Vanilla is a natural aphrodisiac,’ his father said.
Sandy works in a law office. He files papers there. He has a desk that is surrounded by filing cabinets, and there are more filing cabinets across the room and still more filing cabinets in two rooms in the back. Every one is filled with thick folders of Xeroxed photographs and long stories with no endings. Sandy’s boss is a man named Taylor who gets his hair cut every two weeks. Taylor tells Sandy when to eat, and when to pee. He wears shoes that squeak on the floor.
The house shakes some more. One window cracks but does not shatter. Outside the sun is up, and a grey man is mowing his lawn. Sandy lies on his bed. He looks down at the hairs on his chest and at his bare feet. He hears all of the faucets turn on, and knows that they are pouring blood. Sandy closes his eyes and knows that the roof is caving in. The shower is filled with worms, and all of his cereal boxes are filled with razor blades. The piano is on fire but is not consumed.
Sandy hears the floor crack open. There is a roaring sound, loud and slow, and red, like wings. It is like freeways, like jackhammers, like all God’s bright and burning wrath that has been withheld. There are needles and snakes. There are sounds. There are scorpions, Sandy. Oh, Sandy, Sandy. Oh, what will you do.
About the author:
Tim Coe lives in San Diego, California, unless he has finally moved back to Chicago, Illinois. Really, only time will tell. He worked for and wrote for Kodon Magazine at Wheaton College, which is in the Chicago area, so that bit makes sense. His work has previously appeared in Word Riot.