Mom and I were at the local produce stand when an old, clean-shaven man struck up a conversation. He was wearing a double-breasted suit, though it was hot as shit outside. We would later recognize this as the first sign of trouble.
“So,” he said. “What church do you attend?”
I was five at the time. Our family wasn’t religious, but in rural North Carolina in the ’80s, a lot of folks broke the ice by talking about religion. Nobody asked, “Do you go to church?” as that was like asking, “Do you inhale oxygen?” It would’ve been stupid to answer “I don’t know,” as this only invited more questions. But it would’ve been suicide to say “nowhere” — this was the mark of the heathen.