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My great grandfather was a Japanese Shinto priest –– Shinto is a religion that believes bad things are caused by evil spirits — so most of a Shinto priest’s job is spent keeping evil spirits away through rituals, healing and various practices.

Most people don’t believe in ghosts. But, I do. I do because they’ve bothered myself and my brothers from time to time. My grandmother used to say it’s in our blood. I don’t know. Anyway, about seven years back I was having some nasty run-ins with the supernatural and my momma got scared and bought me a sterling silver cross from Mexico with Jesus’s face engraved in it. She then had it blessed by a priest.

Since lacing it around my neck, I don’t get harassed anymore. I still deal with demons though. The ones I think up in my own head. The cross doesn’t help with that. Nor does the cross prevent me from forgetting about church on Sunday’s, nor does it prevent me from smoking cigarettes outside blaring bars, nor does it prevent me from drinking too much at those blaring bars, nor does it prevent me from going down on pretty girls.

And, I find it terribly ironic, because one day I’m going to die with it around my neck. My momma got it for me, after all, I can’t take it off. And, when I die, I’m going to knock on those pearly white gates and the god the Christians tell me about will say the cross won’t cut it.

And, then I’ll go down to hell and the devil the Christians tell me about will applaud me for my track record but say he doesn’t allow crosses down there. And, I’ll tell him to either let me in with it on or I’m fucking walking (because my momma got it for me and it’s not coming off). He’ll say no deal. And, I’ll tell him to go to hell.

And, then, I won’t be accepted anywhere, just the gray space in between heaven and hell. And, I’ll be one of those ghosts my great grandfather used to shoo away. I’ll be one of those ghosts my momma bought the cross to protect her baby boy from.

And, I’ll be alright, as long as there is a pen and paper and a few books within arms reach.

By Cole Schafer.

Originally published at .

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I write pretty words and sometimes sell things.

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