Thursday, January 8, 2009

The terribly true story of Gospel Sue and Pee Pants and the time my soul was saved

When I was four I was kidnapped by a Christian music personality named "Gospel Sue."

There was a really strange family that lived in our neighborhood when I was little. They had a giant bell attached to their front porch that they would ring when it was time for their kids to come home for dinner. That wouldn't be so strange if we lived, like on the prairie or something, but we lived about 20 minutes outside of New York City and it was 1984, not 1884. Their youngest, Danny, was my friend but even at 4 I knew he wasn't one of the "normal" kids. They were super religious and had all kinds of rules about what kinds of games their kids could play. Danny wasn't allowed to dig in the dirt. I don't even remember the fucked up reason he gave us for that but we just continued digging to China without him.

They had two twin teenaged daughters named Heidi and Bambi. I shit you not, Bambi. Who names their kid that and doesn't completely expect them to grow up to be a stripper? I'm pretty sure the girls were already up to something with the Albanian drug dealers who owned the pizza shop around the corner. They made awesome pizza.

Anyway, one day Danny and his family invite me to a "puppet show" and ask my parents if it would be alright for me and another kid from the neighborhood to join them for about half an hour. My parents, obviously oblivious to the general weirdness surrounding this family, agree. They should have known something was up. His parent's faces lit up with crazed smiles like they'd just heard we'd declared war on Albania or that doing blow was a good way to restore your virginity.

They took me and the other kid with sucker parents into their Jesus mobile and we were off to see the puppets. On the way we stopped to pick up their "advisor." The door opened and I was almost knocked unconscious by the smell of knock-off Chanel number five. A sparkly blue mass of blond curls and mascara slid into the truck. She leaned down close into my face, smiling wildly and said "well hello Darling, my name is Gospel Sue" and poked the tip of my nose with her long, squared off claw nail.

I tried to do a Google search for a picture of Gospel Sue to show you guys, but I guess her confession that she was once told by the blind, bastard child of a whore that one day she would be known the world over as the "Messenger of the Spirit" didn't quite work out. I have done my best to create a composite image of what she looked like. I think it is a pretty fair representation.

The other boy from the neighborhood and I were instructed to get down on the floor of the truck. We weren't given an explanation, there was plenty of room in the truck for us to sit. I was 4, I thought my best friend was Big Bird, I didn't think to question why we were sitting on the floor so we did it. The rest of the trip seemed to take a very long time and I occupied myself by picking at the sequins on Gospel Sue's pants.

Finally we got the "puppet show." Now, I don't see how this could be really true, but I swear I remember that the place they took us to was an abandoned hot dog factory. I remember walking among the machines in the dark and the whole place smelling exactly like you would expect an abandoned hot dog factory to smell, like ass.

So they took us down into the basement of the hot dog factory (and this is another hole in my story because do hot dog factories have basements?) The basement consisted of three large carpeted rooms. The other neighborhood boy and I were escorted by Gospel Sue into a room with three other confused looking children while Danny and his family went in to the main room do to do whatever they did in there; roll around in loose hot dog meat probably.

Gospel Sue sat us down and proceeded to tell us that we were so lucky because they had brought us here to be saved! We were in terrible danger and she was going to lead us away from the danger. I assumed this was some kind of prelude to the awesome puppet show we were about to see so I laughed a little with anticipation. Gospel Sue's head whipped around, her eyes narrowed, and she said "there is nothing funny about your soul burning in hell for all eternity is there? Don't you want God to love you? Or would you rather have your skin burn up in a fire and never get to see your parents again?!?" I think that was the moment I realized there would be no puppet show.

She made the five of us kids get up and stand in a circle and hold hands. She held my hand and dug her nails into my hand and began shouting "God forgive us! God, Jesus forgive these children their sins! Their parents might be damned to Hell for their wicked ways but must these children suffer?"

She held our hands up over our heads and instructed us to yell "Please save us from the fire God! We don't want to live forever amongst the hellfires of Satan with the sinners! Forgive us Jesus and save us!"

I had no idea what this bitch was talking about, my hippie parents were from the church of "be nice to other people" and had never mentioned hell, but I was there yelling my head off to be forgiven. It seemed like the right thing to do. This Satan character sounded like a bad dude and I wanted to see the goddamned puppet show like I had been promised. Some of the other kids were not as enthusiastic as me. A few kids were crying and asking for their parents and the boy from my neighborhood had peed his pants. Gospel Sue stopped holding his hand after that.

This shouting business seemed to go on for a while. After a while I got tired of it and started lifting up my dress to check out my Wonder Woman underoos and tried to remember if I even liked puppet shows. By this point Gospel Sue was wriggling on the floor and had been singing Amazing Grace over and over again for about an hour. Pee Pants had gone into some kind of over-traumatized coma and was lying on the floor, straight as a stick with his eyes closed twitching a little. One of the other kids had turned over all the chairs and was playing some kind of war game with himself. He occasionally stuck his fingers out of his fort and made shooting noises while pointing at all of us. A little girl in the corner was scooping dirt out of a plant then carefully sprinkling it into her hair. She looked like she might have eaten some as well.

I looked up as Danny walked into the room and told us we had to go now. We shook Pee Pants awake and got out of there. Apparently we were leaving Gospel Sue to continue her worship. As we got back into their truck Danny's parents asked Pee Pants and I if we'd had a good time. It's fucked up but I think I might have actually told them I did have a good time because that was the polite thing to say. Pee Pants, sitting next to me on the floor of the truck, remained silent.

It was pitch black when we pulled into my driveway and my parents came running out of the house yelling. Danny's dad mumbled some bullshit about the puppet show taking longer than they had anticipated and drove off with my dad yelling at him about how he was going to rip his fucking head off and shit down his throat. My mom was crying and asked me if I was okay. I said "well I guess because my soul will no longer be burning in hell with you and Daddy." Then I showed her how to lift your arms and kick your legs and say "Jesus suck the sin out of my bones!!!" so that she could be safe too.

After that day I wasn't allowed to play with Danny any more. Pee Pants got moved to a different school after after he developed some compulsion to pull out all of his eyelashes and hair and then eat it. Danny's family eventually moved after his sisters ran off with the Albanians. I pretty much got over the whole experience but I do notice that my eye will begin to twitch uncontrollably whenever I'm in the presence of either gospel music or any type of puppet. Oh and I still ask Jesus to suck the sin out of my bones, but really, who doesn't?


alyssawajoshywa said...

You are the best storyteller of our time. Maybe even in The Land Before Time.

Erm.....Dinosaurs were on the ark.

HannahBanana said...

This. Is. AWSOME. I had a couple of similar experiences, sans the hotdogness. And also the dirt-eating.