“Jesus can’t help you! Are you serious, Frank?”
Fifteen minutes before showtime, Cassie stormed into the previously peaceful green room where Frank lounged with the rest of her band, Bryan included. Josh chuckled at her outburst, though she ignored him. The other two musicians - Roger and Garrett - kept their eyes on the ground, though the bassist let out a small groan.
“What’s wrong, Cassie?” asked Frank, leaning back in a padded metal folding chair. His demeanor remained calm.
“What’s wrong?” She glared at Bryan for a moment then fixed her eyes on her phone. “‘Jesus can’t help you. Jesus can’t hear you. Jesus can’t save your soul.’ Did you know that he wrote this song?”
Frank looked thoughtfully at her. “Sure, I knew about it.”
“And you asked him to play for us?” She pointed at Bryan. “The guy who wrote what one reviewer called-” she glanced down at her phone again and swiped it a few times - “‘The quintessential anthem of skepticism and unbelief for a new generation.’” She locked eyes with Frank, again. “What’s the matter? Weren’t there any Satanists available? I mean if we’re going to bring in an atheist, we might as well go all the way.”
“Ha! Satanists! I bet those guys would be awesome to party with,” said Josh, grinning.
“Oh, shut up Josh!” Cassie snapped.
The drummer’s grin persisted despite Cassie’s rebuke. But Roger looked away from the gathering conflict. Garrett glanced up at the ceiling and shook his head.
Frank put his hands up in an effort to calm her down. Bryan had never understood that seemingly useless gesture, as if a person’s emotions could be swayed by the movement of another person’s hands. “Cassie, he’s a guitarist. He probably just wrote the music.”
Bryan cleared his throat. “Actually, I did write the lyrics, too.” He wrote most of the words to Cognitive Dissidents’ songs, which was a definite sore spot for Aaron. Only on the last two albums had Aaron began penning some lyrics, too; most of his suggestions were summarily vetoed by Bryan. Cassie’s eyes settled on Bryan before shifting back to Frank for an explanation.
Frank shrugged. “It’s still not really that big of a deal.”
“Yes, it is a big deal, Frank. He’s not a Christian, okay. I can deal with that. Everyone’s entitled to their beliefs. But he actively campaigned against Christianity and promoted Atheism.”
“No, I didn’t,” Bryan blurted out, earning another withering glare from Cassie. “The song’s just an expression of how I was feeling - it’s not designed to convince anyone to become atheists.”
“Really? Well, that’s too bad, because you were apparently really good at deconverting people. In fact, there’s an entire thread on Reddit Ex-Christian of people who heard your song and gave up their faith because of it - which I only knew because I googled the song and found the thread. So, congratulations, I guess.” Cassie’s voice was saturated with sarcasm.
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