‘Trumpeteers’ by Mikayla Ávila Vilá
Photograph by Tom Bech
From Boston Review:
It’s summer when the tide goes out in King’s Bay, and by winter it still hasn’t rolled all the way back in. In that first day the marsh stays mostly mud, a thick, gelatinous muck with summer sea reeds shooting out in blinding green waves. Only backwoods countryfolk talk like nothing’s the matter, let the soup suck up their lures the way it used to suck up the rocks we’d hurl into it when we were younger and dumber and bored out of our minds. And maybe at the beginning they were bored out of their minds too, all still lining up at Carrie Bridge, same as the painting of the Last Supper hanging in the Sunday-school room at Pastor Adolfo’s Church of God of Prophecy, if Jesus and them all wore rubber boots and pants and underwear while eating flesh and drinking blood. Soon the Georgia sun has baked the topmost layer, made it look like the brownies Titi Cándi brought for the potluck two potlucks ago, the ones she’d made with baking soda and not sugar. The fishermen still go out, still in their rubber slickers, sweating enough you’d think they’d’ve brought the tide back in. They’ve got bowie knives tucked into belts with plastic snap-buckles, shovels slung over their shoulders to dig. The crust cracks, gives under the blade of the shovel, oozes out in a way that lets us split a ten since it doesn’t dribble out looking like pudding the way Primito swore it would. We waste time standing around watching them, the fishermen, bouncing pebbles across the heat-frozen rind of our newly retired marsh. There’s nothing else we can do.
Titi Cándi is convinced it’s the END TIMES, all caps, by that first summer Sunday, and when she drives us to church she makes sure to slow down on the bridge, just like the people in front of us have and just like the people behind us will, to sign the cross, before she picks up the gold-plated one she wears and kisses it like she’s Catholic—except we’re all a bunch of jean skirt–wearing Pentecostals. Dios llama, she warbles, puedes oir las trompetas. And we say, No, Titi, that’s the car behind us, ’cause we haven’t moved an inch for at least five minutes.
But as soon as the pulpit is visible, Pastor Adolfo of the Church of God of Prophecy says, It is the End Times!