By Amy Mahon
Teenagers at New Calvary Church in Fort Walton Beach, FL are prepared to beat the summer heat after a presentation by the chapter of local goths who gave them tips on how to stay cool and hydrated. The day started with the black-clad teachers asking if the students knew the telltale signs of dehydration and how many ounces of water they should drink daily. The presenters then picked up guitars and began an alternative-style song about self-destructive habits, such as not drinking enough water. “At first I thought this was a bad idea, but then they began playing and I thought, wow, this isn’t your usual boring lecture on how to beat heat stroke,” remarked Delaney Palmer, 15. Participants received an official Beat The Heat certification at the end that can be used at any summer job much like a First Aid certification.
“My dad always told me that if I stood too close to a goth the devil would jump out of them and inhabit my body, too,” says Wyatt Smith, 17. “I came in prepared to proselytize my faith like the church taught me to do with anyone who is different from me or makes me feel scared. But the presenters taught me that sometimes when I feel hungry that my body might actually be thirsty, and to drink water instead of eating. By the time they left I wasn’t possessed by any demons, but I possessed new insight on how to care for myself. I’m glad God brought us all together to learn these life-saving tips.”
“I used to think that goths were weird or creepy, but our presenters were very kind and helpful,” says Caleb Boaz, 18, a recent graduate of Sanford High School. “From now on when I work at my local summer camp I will begin each day with a glass of water thanks to them. I wasn’t scared by them and they weren’t evil. It got me thinking – do I miss other opportunities to connect with people different from me simply because they wear all black, or crop tops, or rainbows?"
This annual event is one that the local goths look forward to as well. “As a vegan activist and musician, I care about the community,” says Raven Luna Belladonna, the local goth who organized the event. “I may hate people, but I don’t wish them any harm. These are just kids who don’t know anything else other than what their parents or pastors told them. As Floridians who don’t pass out every summer while wearing all-black in scorching weather, we thought it would only be right to share what we’ve learned over the years with the younger generation.” She even demonstrated how to find the perfect shady spot under a tree to read passages from Camus without breaking a sweat.
“Whenever I meet someone who wears necklaces that look like they could impale me, I immediately begin to pray,” says Talia, 16, who is president of Horseback Riding For Jesus at her high school. “But the goths didn’t corrupt my mind. They told me that eating cucumber, watermelon, and other foods high in water content in the summer months is good for me.” She says she was also amazed to learn that Raven’s septum ring doesn’t get hot in the sun and burn her nose.
There was minimal pushback from one of the white male participants who did not want to give his name. “Miss Belladonna tried to lure me into her sin with her chains crossing over her plump breasts. This event opened the door to perversion. I keep wetting the bed when demons visit me in my dreams, I broke up with my girlfriend to resist the temptation to sin with her, and am now even more committed to believing that all women are promiscuous so that my hate can bring me closer to God.” He then said some unprintable comments about women but was interrupted by his mommy calling him to come over and watch Tucker Carlson with her.
Raven Luna Belladonna, left, encouraging a participant to drink a glass of water.
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This piece was originally written for Second City Online Training Center's Writing Satire For The Internet course in May 2022.
Images from Adobe Stock