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“No, Not John. It’s Jack: Not-Quite Christian in a Place Called Cucamonga?”
On September 28, 1673, Evelynne Gambitonne sentenced her pet lovebird, Apple, to death, having convicted her of the crime of treason. The sentence was carried out the following day, albeit symbolically, as—she would later explain to her friends—Apple was her only real friend, and so of course she could not actually execute the bird. And the treason was minor, really. Evelynne had been practicing her French obscenities, and Apple had picked up on some of them, blasting merde! at Evelynne’s mother upon her entry into the room, causing, understandably, some difficulties and necessitating quick thinking in Evelynne’s native Portuguese.
The day my mother caught me trying to smoke her cigarettes (Mores; Jesus Christ can someone explain those?) she declared me finished and complete and ready to fucking just do it then, huh? Me huddled in the warmest part of the bathroom, while still near the window and the fan, on a snow day after I’d run out of anything else to do. It was an actual snow day, a blizzard locking us all in. Go, she said. She bundled me, layers and scarves and gloves and hat and coat and hood, and pushed me out the door. Neighbor Jeff, who had a crush on my mom, who drank beers with my dad, had shoveled the walkway, the sidewalk. The path was clear to the bus stop two houses down. I trudged, unsure what just happened.
Evelynne hadn’t been trying to swear, not really. They were just the words people would teach her, and she went with what was available.
The bus stop was only mostly filthy. No more than usual. Doritos bags, mostly. And a small booklet. A little comic. The cover with a nervous man on the left, stark sans text on the right: “THE CHOICE,” and J.T.C. lower right, sans too but small.
Jack Thomas Chick was an American cartoonist and publisher...