We grew up catholic for a chunk of my childhood which fortunately ended after my mom slept with our priest. Due to guilt and some loose traditions that still have their ways with my family, a few of my siblings still baptize their children in the catholic church.
My oldest brother called and asked me to be my niece’s godmother. Being the atheist shit head that I am, I accepted out of honor and pure irony.
Traditionally, godparents assume responsibility for the child’s religious education.
Traditionally, godparents are to care for the child if something tragic were to happen to the parents.
If either tradition still resonated with my brother, I highly doubt I would’ve been his first choice or any choice for that matter.
A day before the baptism, I went on a venture to find my niece a suitable gift.
Traditionally, the gift should symbolize the child’s dedication to the catholic faith, such as a bible or hideous cross necklace.
Because there was no chance I was going to buy any of that religious shit, I decided to visit the other side of the spiritual spectrum, the crystal store.
When I walked in, the witchy girl with smeared eye makeup behind the counter twitched her eye at me, “Hi.”
I hated this store already.
As I looked around, the clerks stare followed me as if I were to steal something. Her intuitions not too far off from my usual tendencies.
An old homeless man walked into the store shortly after, where she focused all of her shitty attention, “Sir, you need to leave.”
He walked up to the register, “I was just coming in to see if I could get some water for my jug, it’s really hot outside.” He placed an empty gallon jug on the table.
She stared at the jug in disgust, as if he’d placed a steaming pile of shit before her eyes.
“Sir, you need to leave or I’m going to call the cops. You’re making me feel threatened in my sacred space and I need you to respect that.”
He looked at her confused and grabbed his bottle, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to make you feel threatened, I’m just really thirsty. I’ll ask another store.”
I grabbed the man’s arm as he was walking away and turned to the girl, “Wait a minute. Seriously? I don’t know shit about spirituality but this should be that place and you should be that person. It’s a hundred fucking degrees out there. Is it that big of a deal to just go grab him some water from the faucet?”
She whipped her head back at me, eye twitching again, “No! I cannot just go get him some water! I’m the only one here and I can’t just walk in the back with you two up here.”
I laughed, “Okay well I have an idea. How about we walk outside, you lock up and we’ll wait while you grab him some water. Just so you can be sure that we don’t steal anything from your store.”
Annoyed, she reached her two dainty fingers out for his water jug, “Fine.”
The man and I walked outside the store. I reached in my purse and pulled out two cigarettes, lit both and handed him one, “Hey man, I’m sorry about this chick. I mean I’m sure you have to deal with assholes like this all the time, I’m just sorry about that.”
He nodded his head taking a drag from the cigarette, “It’s not your fault, I can see why women feel threatened by me. Men don’t necessarily have the best track records when it comes to violence against women and I’m sorry about that.”
I nudged his arm and we smiled at each other, “It’s not your fault either.”
Carefully making sure not to touch the man, the girl awkwardly handed him back his jug “Let’s not make a habit of this.”
He nodded at me, “Thank you ladies very much.”
I nodded back.
I was ready to get my gift and get the hell out of the store. To be honest, I didn’t even want to spend my money in such a place, but I was running short on time.
“Do you have any type of prayer beads similar to a Rosary?”
She rolled her eyes, “We have mala beads. Rosaries were actually stolen from the Hindus.”
I laughed, “ ‘Stolen’? That’s an interesting choice in word. Not adapted or inspired. So many words in this world and you choose ‘stolen’. Are you trying to sell items in this store or do you just enjoy insulting your customers?”
She shifted her shoulders. “Well I don’t expect you to know where mala beads originate from but yes, the ‘rosary’ was adapted from the Hindu prayer beads.”
I laughed again, “That’s much better. Now you know, I despise organized religion, and if I happened to be a die-hard catholic, I might’ve been offended by your poor choice of words, but I’m not, just your shitty attitude. Now please direct me to these ‘mala’ beads’.”
I saw a huge amethyst from the corner of my eye, “How much for that beast of a rock?”
She snickered at the thought of me buying the rock, “That ‘rock’ is expensive. That ‘rock’ is an amethyst geode and it’s $800.”
Not breaking eye contact, I walked over, grabbed the amethyst, and slammed it on the table, “Fuck the mala beads, I’ll take the rock instead.”
Around three in the morning, I put the rock in my passenger seat, buckled it tightly, and headed back to the crystal store.
I parked my car a few blocks away near the creek and launched the $800 “amethyst” through the front window of the store.
I jumped through the window and opened the register with the key that was left in the drawer.
I grabbed exactly $866 out of the register for the rock, $200 for the hell of it, and stole their most expensive “mala” beads.
When I was heading back to my car I saw the same homeless man from earlier watching me from the river.
I ran over with a huge smile and handed him the $200. We shared a quick laugh and by the time I got back to my car, he was gone.
My niece looked adorable the next morning at the ceremony wearing her brand new “mala” beads.
Lord, hear our prayer.