Short story by Neil Shurley. My favorite story I’ve written. Originally published in Rosebud Magazine.

Until it became time for me to enter elementary school, Mother and I lived in Vegas, where she cocktailed six shows a week at the Stardust. I spent showtime in a back room straining to hear the headliner’s act, although laughter and applause were the only real sounds that carried through the walls.

I’d pass the time reciting passages from the bible chapters Mother and I had studied that week. I took great pride in memorizing verses for the upcoming Sunday’s lesson assigned for my Beginning Christians class.

Before the show Mother would quiz me as she pulled on her little outfit.

“Psalm 23,” she would say as she wiggled into her fishnet hose.

“The Lord is my shepherd,” I’d reply, tiny fist gripping hairpins which Mother would extract one by one. “I shall not want.” Continue reading “Commandments”