Even after the incident with Ricky's instrument, I still sort of believed in God. I invoked him one time while being bullied, not long after my mother brought me to Florida.
I was playing in the lot across the street from my house. They were building another duplex there, and I was building in the sandpile they kept for mixing with cement, using sand and scraps of wood to make castles. After being lost in this for some time, I glanced up, and noticed a couple of kids coming down the other street. One of them was Brian Collier, kind of a vapid-looking older kid, a northern transplant like I was. I knew he hated me, but I didn't think anything of their presence because I was in the open in broad daylight, and didn't imagine they would mess with me where everyone could see. Nevertheless, Brian and his friend came up and started kicking over what I'd built.
The idea that I would resist this was absurd; as far as my internal knowledge was concerned, I would get beaten up, although I'd never actually been beaten up before. Instead I just got out of the way. Brian called me a pussy. I was shocked.
Calling him anything back was also ill-advised. Instead I said:
"Don't you believe in God?" The implicit question being "aren't you afraid of going to Hell for this?" They just laughed. It was at that moment that I started to understand that nobody really believes damnation applies to themselves.