84. An invitation

I went to answer my door, assuming it would be Jeff for supper. Pastor Bob (from The People’s Holy Church of the Gospel of the Bible, conveniently situated out on Highway 5) was standing there, his hat crunched up in a ball in his hand.

“Oh fuck. Well, you might as well come in. Have a seat.”

Bob wandered around until he found the most uncomfortable chair. “Happy Easter, Paul.”

“Hold the fucking phone. I thought you didn’t do the Jesus shit anymore? I saw you taking down the crucifixes. What does Easter have to do with your new regime?”

Bob paused. “You’re right, of course. Old habit.”

“I never understood the whole Easter thing anyhow. I mean, Good Friday is the important day: That’s when he was supposed to have died for your sins. Rising from the dead on the third day is just showing off, using the ridiculous to REALLY drive home the point. The faithful shouldn’t need that miraculous evidence, should they?”

He looked a little uncomfortable. “All good Jeffrites are revising our previous Christian beliefs, Paul. Mere months ago I would have risen to debate the worth of Easter with you.”

“Jeffrites? Are you shitting me? No! Don’t turn this into a thing, for Christ’s sake!”

“People will assemble for worship, Paul. It’s what we do.”

“Well, cut it out, damn it! You’re ruining it!”

“I’m sorry you disagree. I’m afraid your dismay may prove my visit to be worthless, but I will extend the invitation anyhow.”

I didn’t like where this shit was going. “I don’t like where this shit is going, Bob. What invitation?”

He shifted in his seat. “It’s like this. Our attendance has skyrocketed; we’re looking at buying a larger building for our lot. It would mean a great deal if we could get The Prophet to come speak to our congregation.”

Then the Grinch had an idea. “Speak to your congregation?” An awful idea. “That could be good.” The Grinch had a wonderful, awful idea. “Do I have total creative control over what I say?”

Pastor Bob looked uncomfortable with the question. “Can you curb the wharf language?”

I smiled. “Fuck, yeah.”

And then there was the knock on the door. I smiled again. “Prepared to meet your maker, Bob?”

I opened the door for Jeff. He held up a few large water bottles full of wine. “I figured this would be a good start for us. Hey, who’s your friend?”

“Jeff, this is Pastor Bob from The People’s Holy Church of the Gospel of the Bible, conveniently situated out on Highway 5.”

Jeff handed the wine to me, then extended his arms, offering a hug to Pastor Bob. “Brother Bob! Join us for dinner. I can whip up some more wine.”

Bob was shaking as he inched toward Jeff. “Lord! You are very kind to your unworthy servant. I … I … really must be going. I have church business to attend to. Thank you!”

And he bolted out the door.

Jeff shrugged. “He doesn’t really have business to attend to. But he did just pee a little.”