Reason To Believe

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He never had to do anything like this before, and truth be told, he was both befuddled and his crank was yanked to the max. What is this? Some crazy sort of Sisyphus thing? What did he do wrong to deserve such a fate? The task at hand was to write about what you believe in, technically called “the E-Z ism schism 1065A” form.

Benedict Downey, Ben for short, was called down to Cook County Circuit Court for a mandatory test. He was told on his phone that it would be both brief and painless. They lied to him.

Two hours had passed, as he finished a paragraph on his belief in God and religion on the computer pad, everything he wrote vanished. He cursed out loud as a pop-up filled the screen: Write from the heart. Do not insult us further with tripe.

Ben gripped a handful of his hair and tugged. Then, out of frustration, he kicked a file cabinet. He grabbed his pained kicking foot, yelped and hopped about. He uttered, “Ai-yi-yi, grape nuts.”

He heard snickering from behind the thin walls. He frowned. If there was one thing that really grabbed his proverbial goat, it was being monitored. He spotted the camera in the upper corner of the room. “Eat me. I got this.”

He picked up the tablet, and clumsily typed: I believe the children are our future. Teach them well—

The screen flashed: Copyright Infringement! Ben sighed and blurted, “Fuck,” under his breath.

A voice from the camera said, “Language.”

Ben paced about, “Language this, ass.”

He stopped abruptly, as a jolt of discovery animated the neurons between his brain to his fingers to the pad. He stabbed the screen with his pudgy fingers. He typed: I believe in myself.

The machine dinged correct. The screen prompted: What else do you believe in and why?

Eight miles away, through the forest and traffic, his scream of angst could be heard clearly.

Believe

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