The Veil (Flash Fiction)

“How long?” he asked.
“Awhile. Years.” Bob took a sip of his drink.
“And no one knows?”
Bob shrugged. “Well, there is a small handful. Too great to call no one, too small to call substantial.”
“Jesus,” he said, sighing.
Bob laughed. “Funny?”
He shook his head. “Poor wording. It wasn’t intentional.”
“No, I understand. Things happen like that. Words fall out.”
“Yeah,” he said, sighing again. He slammed down the rest of his vodka. “This has to happen? There’s no other way?”
Bob shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve thought about not saying anything at all and just letting things fall where they land. But it seems inevitable. And the longer you wait, the more upset people are apt to get.”
He waved his hand to order another drink. A double. “When?”
“Soon.”
“Do you want help? I mean, do you need me there?”
“I’ll need someone. Both sides of the family are going to get slammed at once. They have no idea what’s coming. It might get ugly. It’s nice to have a friend.”
“I’ll be there, man,” he said, grasping Bob on the shoulder. “I’ll be there.”
“I appreciate it.” Bob took another drink. “I’m scared. I don’t know what they’ll say. I don’t know how to say it.”
He nodded. “They’re gonna blow their shit.”
“Yeah.”
“Declaring to your entire family that you’re an atheist on Sunday isn’t easy for religious folk to handle.”
“Yeah,” Bob said. “Yeah.”

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