This was written for a contest hosted by a friend of mine, one that focused on songs as prompts for stories and poetry. Here are the annotations I included with my original submission:

Annotations:
Songs referenced:
Rag and Bone by The White Stripes
45 by Shinedown (word count)
Believe by The Bravery
Other:
“Religion is the opiate of the masses.” ~ Karl Marx
Religions as represented by their flags (rainbow)

I include those here because that is the context the judge was given, and context is everything.

Rag and Bone was the original prompt, but I was inspired by the concept of the contest to include as many songs as I felt fit. All three songs have similar kinds of grasping desperation, and that’s what I wanted to embody.

It was the confluence of listening to Rag and Bone for the contest and Believe from my regular writing playlist that solidified the idea of begging and being on the fringes of society and coming across almost like a caricature of a junkie, but for ideology rather than anything physical.

There’s some deliberate ambiguity as to whether atheism is the ground state from which one gets high or whether it’s a sharp drop from normal.

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