“The Warm Fuzzies” — Chris Adrian

Read Biblioklept favorite Chris Adrian’s story “The Warm Fuzzies” at The New Yorker. Excerpt–

There was a time when they had been just the Carters, and not the Carter Family Band, but Molly could barely remember it. There was a time when her father had been a full-time instead of a part-time dentist, and her mother had been the dental hygienist in his office, when they had all gone to regular school instead of home school, when the family car had been a Taurus instead of a short bus, and when Melissa hadn’t even been born. Then her parents woke up one morning—without having seen a vision or having experienced a dark night of the soul—with a new understanding of their lives’ purpose. They both took up the guitar, never having played before, and started to praise Jesus in song.

There was a time, too, before they made albums or went on tours or appeared in Handycam videos produced and directed by their Aunt Jean, which aired (rather late at night ) on the community cable channel and then, eventually, on Samaritan TV, when Molly liked being in the band, and liked being in the family. She had had Melissa’s job once, and had danced as enthusiastically as Melissa did now, and had felt the most extraordinary joy during every performance, whether it was a rehearsal in the garage or a school-auditorium concert in front of three hundred kids. Then one morning two months ago, she had woken up to find that the shine had gone off everything. It was a conversion as sudden as the one her parents had suffered. She had come to breakfast feeling unwell but not sick, and was puzzling over how it was different to feel like something was not right with you and yet feel sure you were in perfect health, but she didn’t know what her problem could be until she noticed how unattractive her father was. It wasn’t his old robe or his stained T-shirt or even how he talked with his mouth full of eggs; he wore those things every morning, and he always talked with his mouth full—it was just how he was. She kept staring at him all through breakfast, and finally he asked her if there was something on his face. “No, sir,” she said, and a little voice—the sort that you hear very clearly even though it doesn’t actually speak—said somewhere inside her, He’s got ugly all over his face.

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