Thursday, September 7, 2006

It Profits Nothing

Based on a true story related to me by a friend...

It was by pure chance that my car broke down, I’m sure. It’d been a very faithful car in the past; serving me well, saving me gas money, getting me where I needed to go. Some people would like to call such a thing a coincidence because I broke down in front of a church, but I like to call it a mistake. I had no amazing conversion experience as some of the stories tell, and what’s more, I don’t intend to ever go back.

I’d heard that church people are known for their compassion. Seriously! So, I trudged the short distance across the parking lot, mounted the steps, and knocked on the door. It was opened directly by a corpulent man in the biggest black suit I’d ever seen.

“Can I come in?” I asked, keeping my voice rough, but quiet. I said it at exactly the same time as he said, “Welcome!”

It was an awkward moment. He stood there grinning like the cat that swallowed the canary, while my fingers linked and scrambled and sweated together behind my back. What to say?
“My...umm...my car—”

We did it again. This time I caught him mid-sentence saying, “Thank you for coming today; I’ll help you find a seat.”

Also awkward.

He waved for me to follow him and started to lead me toward some swinging doors where a woman stood with a stack of folded papers. I could feel her roving eyes taking in every aspect of me. I felt terrified as she approached me waving a long tee shirt.

“Here, honey: why don’t you put this on over your shirt during the service,” she suggested.
I stared.

And took the offered tee shirt.

The woman stuck out her hand and grinned a 100-watt grin. “I’m Dorothy. We’re so glad to have you in our service today.”

“My car...” I broke off. She’d already turned away.

The dumbly grinning man beckoned me on, but again halted before the doors. He leaned over and muttered something in Dorothy’s ear. I waited, cheeks flaming. Apparently, they were talking about me. Did they know about my car? If not, how should I interrupt and tell them? I really needed to get going.

Dorothy was approaching again.

“Honey, I hate to tell you this, but jeans aren’t allowed in the service. It’s disrespectful to the Lord. If you’d like to come with me next door, though, I can quickly fix you up with a nice skirt!”
She grinned like the canary before the cat swallowed it. Sort of twitchy and nervous.
I felt my blood burning; my legs trembled.
“I’d not like to come next door. My car just broke down outside—”

“Aww honey, what bad luck!” she crooned.

Mr. Can-Do-Nothing-But-Grin was busy scribbling something on the back of a folded paper.
“Here’s the number of a good towing company. I know the fella who owns the place; he’ll fix ya up nice. I’m ‘fraid he’s not a believer – that’s why he’s open today – but he’ll still do you a good job.” He grinned, and folded his arms atop his expansive abdomen.
I don’t remember how I got outside the doors; all I know is that eventually, I did. I turned and looked through the glass only long enough to see the Cat and the Canary looking towards the door and leaning together in conversation.
I knew who they were talking about.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

you wrote this in what...april? i remember seeing it. i'm glad you finally posted it!!! i liked it a lot.

Jenn Joshua said...

I think I actually DID write it in April! Thanks! - I'm glad you liked it...

K.C said...

Post that millionaire thing you showed me. I want to see the changes you made!

Anonymous said...

Are you SERIOUS?!

Anonymous said...

Wow...that's pretty neat. I like it.

D