"Every day that I get up, I pray that the furnace is working," Mom said. "And I pray that Donald Trump won't be our president. I just pray real hard for our country. And for everyone in this family. I pray and pray..."
"Are you ever afraid that you'll sprain your prayer muscle?"
"I know you think you're a funny person, Greg, but you are not. You are not funny."
"No. I am not funny."
"Someday you are going to meet your maker. And when that day comes, when you meet St. Peter at the pearly gates..."
"Will Santy Claus be there too?"
Mom gave me a stricken, horrified look. "Please, please don't joke like that. It's not funny at all!"
"I like to believe that Santa has a good sense of humor. I mean, with the bowlful of jelly and all."
"When you meet St. Peter, you'll--"
"Yes, yes. St. Peter and the pearly gates. Come on, Mom. It's kinda silly, isn't it? I mean, haven't we moved on from that sort of stuff? It's such a reductive, childish view of--"
"Greg, please tell me you at least believe in something. It's important to believe in SOMETHING."
"I'm going to law school."
"I'll pray for you."
"And I'll pray for you, too."
"You're just like your father when you talk like that!"
"The lowest insult imaginable."
"No, I don't think that way about your father. I don't have anything against him myself. I'm just mad at him for what he did to you boys."
"Mom, we are old men. We're OLD. We don't care anymore. All this stuff happened decades and decades ago."
Mom thought a moment. "Yes, it will be forty-four years. I only wish your father had been more open with me, about what he wanted. I thought our marriage..."
The furnace made a sound. Mom stopped, shot me a terrified look.
"It's the devil," I shrieked softly.
"Can you go down and check, please?"
I went down the creaky steps, afraid that pirates or smugglers were down in the dank dark. The furnace pinged. I looked at it. Then I went back upstairs.
"I looked at it. I think it's time to start praying."
"I'll do it! Don't you dare..." Mom pushed me out of her house, and then got to praying extremely hard by watching TV.
And now your Bracket Update!!!
It looks like Todd's Gas wasn't enough to hold off a crazy Taiwanese lady. Better luck next time, Todd's Gas!
Next week is the final four showdown between fluffiness, Ukrainian orthodox priests, Lucy Liu, and evil laughter. Place your bets!