Not Long Tales … October 8th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4191)

9.

Write Before My Eyes

At age twenty-five, just shortly before his wedding day, Nathan Merced decided he wanted to write a novel. Energized by his romance and a bit greedy for some notoriety and profit, he envisioned a book showcasing all of his art and much of his heart.

Now, nearing his fortieth birthday and a father of two, he returned to the dream, determined to once and for all pen a lasting tribute to immortalize his name and offer credence for his time on Earth (or words to that effect).

Staring at the page, with the working title, “Monstrous,” Nathan paused, considering his byline. What name should he use for his book? He had never favored pen names—how would people know it was you who wrote it? Nathan Merced was a solid handle, he thought, but it didn’t have that three-name flow common to writer—like Edgar Allen Poe.

He thought about using all three of his names: Nathan Edward Merced. But suddenly, Edward sounded very common. He decided to transform Edward into Edvard. So now typed on the page in front of him was:

Monstrous

A Novel

By Nathan Edvard Merced

And the morning was the first day.

Coming back after a lunch (which he tried to make continental and light, so as not to bulge his brain with fat grams) Nathan felt his best approach was to conceive a work with a popular theme—of course, nowadays that would be science fiction or a graphic novel. Bringing up something about the Apocalypse would be a plus. Bouncing a few ideas around, he decided to write them down, just in case one of them fired up the ferocity of his writing thrust.

How about a book where a human becomes a monster, while simultaneously, a monster from an alien planet becomes a human? Yes, yes…then they mysteriously meet somewhere in the middle of their transition, and in those few hours of complete similarity—one being half monster and one being half human—they fall madly in love, only to move away from each other as the human becomes more monster and the monster more human, until finally, the human (now monster) kills and eats the monster (now human) whom he or she had once loved.

Nathan sat back and considered. It could work. It could really work.

But did he know enough about monsters to write about one? He laughed. Since there really weren’t any monsters, anything he made up would be fine. No one could challenge him, citing the “Book of Monsters.”

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. He had told his wife he needed to be left alone, so assumed she would answer, running interference. But the knocking continued. Finally, Nathan’s next-door-neighbor, Jack, was standing outside his bay window, pointing to the front door. Nathan heaved a sigh of despair. Apparently, his wife got caught up in some temporary difficulty and failed to be the watchman required.

So Nathan waved at Jack, slowly stood to his feet and walked to the front door. He welcomed a man who was obviously agitated. He invited Jack into the study where Nathan had just been involved in writing the Great American Tome. Before he could offer Jack drink or even seat, the man launched.

“My daughter Cynthia,” he began frantically, “I need help. I need wisdom. I came to you because you have more education than me. You’ve got some sort of degree, don’t you?”

Nathan sat down slowly in his desk chair. “Well, I’ve got a bachelor’s in fine arts.”

“Perfect,” Jack said quickly. “That’s more than I’ve got. I thought you maybe could help—here’s the problem. In high school, my Cynthia’s history class has been studying the 1970’s and she has become obsessed with Patty Hearst.”

Nathan frowned, trying to remember the name. Jack, seeing his confused face, offered, “You remember her, right? That rich girl that got captured by the Symbionese Liberation Army.”

Nathan’s eyes grew wide. “Listen, Jack—you obviously know more about this than I do.”

Jack objected. “That’s only because I looked it up. I thought I should at least know the name of what was destroying my daughter. Do you understand? My beautiful, young daughter, Cynthia, came to me today with a headband tied around her head and insisted that from now on, we should address her as ‘Scratchy.’”

“Scratchy?” repeated Nathan, trying to keep up.

Jack shook his head. “I don’t know. I don’t know why she wants to be ‘Scratchy.’ She’s read up on all this stuff, she knows all the details. She even knows what Patty Hearst wore the day she was abducted. Nathan, for her sixteenth birthday, she’s asked for an Uzi.”

Nathan chuckled nervously. “Come on, Jack,” he said, trying to sound reasonable. “She’s a teenager. It’s a phase she’s going through.” He motioned to the page on his computer. “Listen, I’ve got some work going on here. I think you should back off—don’t do anything to either discourage her or encourage her.”

“Did I tell you the worst part?” jack responded impatiently. “She is advertising—posting on the Internet—asking for someone to come and kidnap her.”

Nathan crinkled his brow. “Oh-h-h. That’s not good.”

Jack sat, shaking his head, staring at his hands, not saying a word. Thirty seconds of silence went by, creeping up to a minute. Nathan, realizing that Jack was awaiting some kind of guidance of divine proportion, finally responded gently, “Hey, Jack…”

Jack stood up, and Nathan rose, too, speaking. “Listen,” he said, “I am gonna help you with this, but not right now. I think I told you last week. I’m on a jag. I’ve hitched a plane. I don’t know how to explain it, but I’m really buzzed about writing this novel, and here I am. See? I’m sittin’ here and it’s happenin’. We’ll talk about Cynthia later. Just go home, lock all your doors and keep an eye on her.”

They arrived at the front door. Jack turned and looked at Nathan like a desperate man on his way to the gallows. “Okay,” he said slowly, “if you say so. But I don’t think I can keep crazy people from attacking my house to snatch my daughter.” A quaver invaded his speech as the last word was spoken.

Nathan nodded his head, walked over, patted him on the back—but literally pushed him out the door and on his way.

Nathan quickly returned to his computer, trying to regain the energy of his monster-human story. He was on the verge of coming up with an idea concerning how the sexual parts of the emerging monster and unfolding human were difficult to…what would be the word? Well, he decided, let’s go with “reconnoiter.” But their love was so strong that somehow, they found a place for everything.

As Nathan turned back to type up the ideas that were eeking out of his brain, there was another knock at the door. He was stuck. He now knew his wife wasn’t home to sidestep the danger, and he didn’t want anyone else doing jumping jacks to get his attention through the bay window, so he eased to his feet and went to the front of the house, peering through the curtain to see who had come to invade his privacy. He recognized him immediately. It was the new minister from the church down the street. (Nathan had only met him twice. Church didn’t come up often on the Merced schedule.)

All at once, the minister winked at Nathan, glimpsing his peering position behind the curtain. Exposed— “made,” as they often said in police dramas—Nathan pulled the curtain back to its former position and stood tall for a moment, trying to remember the preacher’s name. He remembered that when he first met the fellow, his name reminded him of donuts. Powered? Glazed? Jelly-filled?

Unlikely.

Nathan went to the door and opened it. Fortunately, the minister, well-trained by his seminary, solved the problem. “Hello, Mr. Merced,” he said brightly. “I hope you remember me.” He reached out his hand to Nathan and continued. “I’m Reverend Thomas Duncan.”

Nathan laughed inside. There it was. Like Dunkin Donuts. He shook Duncan’s hand but decided to keep the conversation at the door instead of letting it spill out into the house.

The polite parson, realizing he had not been welcomed inside, began to launch on his mission. “I don’t mean to bother you, but I’m contacting all the church families because we have a…how should I say? Well, I guess it’s a crisis.” He quickly added, “But also an opportunity.”

For a crisis, Nathan felt forced to invite the minister in. They walked back to the study where the novel had been on the verge of being unleashed, Nathan perched behind his computer, hoping to create a visual for not talking too long.

The young minister perched and explained. “We have gotten information about a refugee family from Central America. They were just rescued from the Atlantic Ocean. You see, Mr. Merced, they were so poor, so frightened of military retribution, that they made a raft—to the best of their ability. Although I have to be honest. I don’t know how they would have any information on how to construct such a vessel. But somehow or another, they got together a raft and launched it into the Caribbean—all six members. Mom, Dad and four kids, the oldest being twelve.”

Nathan was frustrated. He felt a long discourse coming on and he was not in the mood for it. He could just feel the inspiration dribbling out of his body. Here he was, on the precipice of writing the first paragraph—or maybe even chapter—of “Monstrous,” and he was being held captive by an overwrought reverend. Yet Nathan had no idea how to shut the man up, so the soliloquy continued.

“Well, as you probably guessed, they got the raft past the tides and into the ocean, but it began to fall apart. The family members ended up clinging to it, holding on for their lives. As the story goes, they figured out a way to catch fish, or some sort of sea life, which they broke apart, shared and ate raw. On hot days, they licked the sweat off each other for moisture, and when it rained, after the storm passed, they would remove their clothes and wring them out into each other’s mouths to achieve hydration. After six days on the ocean, they were rescued by a fishing trawler, begged for asylum and arrived on the mainland of the United States with no place to go. When the notice of their plight went out on the Internet, I immediately contacted the authorities and offered our town, and said that our church would provide this family lodging for two weeks, until they could gain their admission, get assistance and make their way to becoming part of our great country.”

Even though Nathan was absorbed in his own concerns, the tale was so compelling that a tear came to his eye, yet he bravely fought it back in respect of regaining his muse. “Listen,” he said, “we can’t have a family near here. You see, the problem is, Pastor, there’s a girl who lives next door and she’s kind of crazy right now. She wants to be abducted by…what should I call them…scoundrels. I don’t have time to give details—but I don’t think this is a good place for this lost family, but I will tell you what I’ll do. I’m gonna sit down right here—right here at my desk—and I’m gonna write you a check. Yes, I’m gonna give you a donation to help these folks.”

Nathan grabbed his checkbook from the drawer, took his pen and scrawled the gift. He ripped it out and handed it to Pastor Duncan, who said with as much vigor as he possibly could, “Oh! Twenty dollars! Well…that should help.”

Nathan interrupted him. “That’s what they say, Pastor. Every little bit helps.”

The startled preacher responded, “And this is just that. A little bit…”

The young pastor quickly stood to his feet, shook Nathan’s hand and headed for the door, asking him as he walked, “If you have any other people you know or ideas, please contact me.”

Nathan, a bit ashamed, confused, yet a tad irate over his donation being trivialized, tried to change the subject. “Hey, preacher,” he said. “You know how I remembered your name?”

The minister shook his head. Nathan chuckled. “Donuts. I remembered ‘donuts’ and that’s how I knew your name was Duncan.” Nathan laughed.

The minister smiled. “Huh,” he said. “I never heard that one before.”

There was no more conversation.

Nathan’s mind was already floating back to his computer and the pastor’s focus began to float to the lost souls who had floated his way.

With the departure of the cleric, Nathan gleefully shut the door behind him and ran to the computer to resume his quest for the Great American Novel. He hadn’t even made it to his seat when his phone buzzed. He glanced down at the screen. A text from his wife. He wanted to ignore it. He wanted to purposely set it aside to demonstrate his devotion and dedication to his mission. But after all, it was his wife. How could he ever explain to her that he had declined her text?

So he punched the button and the text came up. “Son arrived at school dressed in drag. Meeting required immediately. 2:00 P. M.”

Nathan wanted to throw the phone across the room, but such actions always ended up costing money, only offering temporary satisfaction. He glanced at his watch. Twenty minutes until two, and the school was ten minutes away.

He shouted at the walls around him, “How the hell am I supposed to write a masterpiece in this environment, where I am constantly interrupted, and I don’t have the chance to transform small ideas into great ones? My God! How did the masters ever achieve their successes, surrounded by sniveling mortals?”

He finished his little speech, so enthralled with his boisterous outburst that he quickly typed onto his screen the phrase, “sniveling mortals.” He would certainly want to use that later.

He decided to take ten minutes—ten holy minutes, ten consecrated minutes—and see if he could add to the already burgeoning possibilities of “Monstrous.” But rather than being inspired by his efforts thus far, the plot line began to mock him.

Who would be interested in a half-monster and half-human, getting busy?

How would he sell the book to kids under fifteen once it was dubbed too racy? They would certainly read it, but they would download it from their friends, and he wouldn’t make a penny.

And finally, the worst realization. What kind of name was “Monstrous” for a novel?

He was so discouraged.

Why couldn’t Jack take care of his own daughter?

Why didn’t the preacher start somewhere else to seek aid?

Why didn’t his son choose Saturday to experiment with women’s clothes?

A sense of gloom, and then doom, fell upon him like a pelting summer rain. He closed up his computer, heaved a sigh, stood to his feet and walked toward the study door, turning for a moment to address his computer.

“Good-bye, old buddy,” he said softly. “I don’t think I’ll come again. There just don’t seem to be any great stories left to tell.”

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Catchy (Sitting 60) Debriefing…August 5th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3755)

Unable to get his head around Jo-Jay’s tales of abduction, Matthew made the decision to fly into Washington, D.C. and meet with five very confused but elated friends.

Each of them had purportedly encountered similar imprisonments, leaving them suffering from amnesia except for a very specific name, which each was intended to retain.

Matthew did not want to fly to Washington, D.C. by himself. Shortly before he received the phone call from Jo-Jay, the latest blood count numbers had come back from the doctor. They were not good. His liver was not repairing–actually getting worse.

This was probably due to the fact that Matthew was continuing to drink. When the doctor discovered that Matthew was not pursuing a tee-totaling lifestyle, he explained that it would soon be necessary to pursue a transplant–or Matthew would no longer be able to remain cynical, but rather, would be quite dead.

With that rattling around his brain, he did not want to be alone, so he asked Leonora to accompany him to Washington, D.C. She was completely unwilling–until he set up an audition for her as second oboist with the National Symphony. Even though Leonora hated not playing first–feeling that the classical masters chose the second oboe part to lose their inspiration, she still felt it was a good career move, and a good step for her in advancing her dreams. She agreed to travel along.

Yet she adamantly refused to attend the meeting with Matthew, Carlin, Jubal, Jasper, Soos and Jo-Jay, feeling she would be out of place, and that after the fiasco in the Las Vegas hotel suite, they might hold a grudge against her atheism.

Matthew assured her that they weren’t that type of people, and said she wouldn’t need to stay if she felt uncomfortable. To ensure she had autonomy, Leonora rented her own car upon arriving at the airport in Washington, D.C.

It was clear to Matthew that there were many roads of communication that needed to be opened in the days ahead if he was ever going to have this lovely woman as his partner.

The two Vegas souls arrived in time for brunch, which was beautifully set up at Jo-Jay’s house. It was light but delicious, tasty but small, and consumed in no time at all.

After a few moments of conversation, wherein all five Washingtonians exhausted all of their knowledge about oboes and double-reed instruments, Carlin spoke up.

“Matthew, we’ve asked you to come here because of a very strange set of events. Considering how this whole project has been tinged with the bizarre, isolating one thing as ‘strange’ might seem a little redundant…”

Soos broke in. “But honest to God, this one is strange. This is Twilight Zone freaky.”

Leonora furrowed her brow. Soos turned to her and said, “Do you know The Twilight Zone? You know–Rod Serling?”

Leonora neither acknowledged nor denied awareness. There was an uncomfortable moment while six people waited for one person to emote.

Jubal jumped in to fill the spot. “Well, it was. It was creepy. Let me summarize so I don’t bore anyone. All five of us…” He motioned his hand around the room.

“Yes, all five of us…Well, I guess I’ll use the word ‘abducted,’ though it wasn’t by aliens…'”

Jasper cut in, laughing. “Well, they were alien to me.”

Everybody nodded except Leonora, who was staring into her cup of tea.

Jo-Jay spoke up. “I’m not good at explaining things, but I have listened to everybody’s story, so let me summarize the details we have in common. Each of the five of us were taken against our will and flown by airplane to another location. We were given drugs which didn’t do any harm to us, but for some unusual reason, refreshed us. We were interrogated…”

Soos interrupted. “And this is where it gets different. For instance, I was interrogated by a woman in a clown suit.”

Carlin noted, “My guy was a fat Alfred Hitchcock-looking fellow wearing a ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost’ mask.”

“I was interviewed by a football player,” said Jubal, “with an unknown uniform–at least unknown to me–with a mask over his eyes.”

“Mine was a little kid,” injected Jasper.

“And that leaves me,” said Jo-Jay. “My interrogator was dressed as an angel. A very dark one, wearing a black hood. It was scary shit.”

A silence fell over the room which Leonora filled with a heavy sigh, shaking her head. Matthew realized he was losing the attention of the woman he loved–or at least lusted after. He thought about trying to include her, but decided it might be better to just hurry the meeting along so they could get out of there.

But before he could speed the conversation toward a conclusion, Leonora stood to her feet and said, “The food was delicious. I shall not stay for the stories. I have an audition in two hours, and I am going to go practice and prepare. I’m sure you understand.”

She turned on her heel, and without saying another word, walked out the door. Matthew wanted to follow her, afraid of the separation.

At that moment, Matthew hated all five people in the room, and counting the Father, Son and Holy Ghost–make it eight. He was extremely tired of the whole project. He was sick of being sick.

Carlin sensed his desperation. “We won’t hold you long, Matthew.”

He continued. “I was given a name. Terrence Eldridge. I have Googled him, studied and tried to get as much information as I could. Turns out he’s a fellow who has started a new movement in the black community, to escape what he considers to be the racist term, ‘African American.’ He wants to give his brothers and sisters their rightful place in this country. He wants to call them ‘Amerikin.’ From what I read, he is powerful, dynamic and completely unknown.”

Soos jumped in. “Believe it or not, the name given to me was Michael Hinston. You may not know it, but he was recently exonerated of all charges. He’s been given a clean bill of health by the Congressional investigating committee. His testimony before them was speckled with spirit and humility. He’s in a good place. For some reason, he is my mission.”

“Mine,” said Jubal, “is a guy named Milton Crenshaw, who lives in South Florida. That’s not the name I was given. I was given a word. ‘Jesonian.’ When I typed that word into Google, this fellow’s name came up–with a self-published book that seemed to have gone nowhere. So I assume I’m supposed to go talk to him and find out what he’s trying to communicate with his new word.”

Jasper laughed. “Well, of course, I was given the name of a comedian. Mickey Kohlberg. He’s a Jewish fellow who has taken it upon himself to take all the material of Jesus of Nazareth and rework it into a standup comedy routine, which he has entitled ‘Dying Laughing.’ So I’m off to see what he’s all about.”

Jo-Jay looked around the room. “Well, I guess that leaves me. I was given the word careless.’ Of course, dumb girl that I am, I thought it was the normal word, “careless,” but then I discovered there’s this consultant to the rich–a young man in his early thirties named Careless. His goal is to teach these very wealthy people how to redeem their sense of worth through giving–intelligently. I’m set up to meet with him next week.”

Matthew sat for a moment. Carlin started to speak, but Matthew interrupted.

“No, I don’t need to hear any more from you guys. You do understand, this just sounds like a crock of shit. The smartest thing I could do is run out the front door of Jo-Jay’s home and throw a hand grenade behind me and save the world a lot of trouble.”

“Now, I’m not much of a church boy, but I do remember that when the Apostle Paul was talking to a king one day, the monarch got done hearing him and said to the Apostle, ‘Too much learning has made you crazy.’ Do you see my point? You guys have gotten so involved–so convinced that you’re going to change the world–that you’ve just let your minds go nuts.”

Jo-Jay stood up indignantly. “You know me better than that, Matthew. You once called me the most level-headed person you had ever met. Not woman. Person. Sometimes, though, all the answers don’t fit into a bottle of booze.”

Carlin also stood to his feet and pulled Jo-Jay toward him. “That’s enough. We’re not here to hurt our friend…”

Matthew shook his head. “You’re not my friends. I could use some friends. Did you all even know that I have liver disease? Did you know that I need a transplant? That’s what they told me right before I came here. And if you did know, how much would you let that interrupt your lives as you try to save the world for Jesus?”

“Did you see that woman who left? I love that woman. At least I think so. If she weren’t so goddamn obnoxious, I’d tell her. But the way she is right now, she’d just use it against me. You guys don’t have an answer. She hates your guts.”

He shook his head. “I know what she’s going to do. She’s gonna ask me to make a choice. Am I going to be with her, or continue to be in this ridiculous adventure?”

“And what would you say?” Soos asked meekly.

Jubal countered. “Hush, Soos. That’s none of our business.”

Matthew stood and walked toward the door. He stopped short. “Jubal, you said a mouthful. It’s not your business. Not because I don’t care. Not because I don’t love you guys. But right now I need someone to love me more than they love Jesus. Do you fucking get that?”

Carlin nodded and said, “We do.”

“We do what?” asked Matthew.

Carlin smiled. “I’ll just leave it at that.”

Matthew craned his neck from side to side, relieving tension. “Listen,” he concluded. “I’m sorry. I’m not myself. It sounds like a great punch-line, but keep in mind–my liver is dying. And I’ve got a conversation waiting for me with a very angry, talented, intelligent, sexy woman. And I’m outgunned. I would ask you to pray for me if I believed those words would go any higher than the ceiling. So let me leave it like this–I’m gonna live through the next twenty-four hours. I’ll let you know how much damage was done.”

He turned, opened the door and was gone.

Five startled, loving, confused, bewildered, exasperated, terrified and worried people peered at one another, anxiously.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 26) Amaze On … December 10th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3517)

She struggled to regain consciousness as the sweat poured off of her forehead into her lids, burning her eyes. She closed them tightly, trying to think, which was virtually impossible because her head was throbbing.

Where was she? Who was she, for that matter? What was going on?

Her whole body stung with a variety of wounds. Gradually she opened her eyes, blinking away the perspiration, to stare down at herself. She was lying flat on her back, wearing a bra and what appeared to be cargo shorts, pinned to the ground by a very heavy snake.

Horrified, she resisted the inclination to stand up screaming. As the snake crawled across her belly, she felt the undulations of its skin against hers, propelling itself forward.

She nearly went crazy. Instead, she forced herself to wait. She waited until the snake had stilled itself, and then, in one swift motion, she grabbed it with her hands, leaped to her feet and threw it into the air. She hadn’t realized how heavy the snake was, so it didn’t go very far. She scurried quickly away to what she hoped was a safe place.

Looking around frantically, she realized she was in a jungle. She had never been in a jungle before, but from everything she had heard or read, this appeared to be a rain forest. The heat was suffocating and the humidity so high that water was dripping from the leaves. The ground beneath her was teeming with life, giving an eerie sense of continual movement.

As she looked down, she saw that her legs were covered with little black bugs, which she tried to remove and as she did, tiny red welts remained as residue. But she patiently pursued the task.

On her left, she noticed a small pile of supplies. She rummaged through a knapsack and found two large canteens, which she opened and discovered held water. There were also power bars, a flashlight, matches and a map. On the map was a note, scrawled in magic marker, which read: “Compass in front pocket of knapsack. Walk north. You will find civilization.”

Stunned, terrified, abandoned, Jo-Jay burst into tears. How did she get here? She thought back to the last thing she remembered. She had gone to a Thai restaurant to meet up with an informant, who was supposed to give her a contact on the CLO and a fellow named Joshua.

Arriving at the restaurant, she was greeted by a lovely woman of Eastern extract, who motioned Jo-Jay to follow her down a narrow hallway, through a door and some hanging beads. Jo-Jay recalled pulling back the beads.

And then… well, now waking up with a snake on her chest.

As she stood, convinced she was doomed to die, she conjured the words of her Grandma, who explained that the only truly priceless gift in life was in all circumstances finding a reason to be grateful. This gave Jo-Jay a blessed laugh, considering how little there was to be grateful for out in this wilderness.

But she did have water. And apparently her abductor possessed some sort of conscience, to spare her life and give her a fighting chance to become suburban again.

It then occurred to her that the longer she stood there, the more the communication in the animal kingdom would view her as a target instead of a participant. So she grabbed the compass and knapsack, located north and started walking.

Three hours. Five hours. Was it seven hours? It seemed like even more. She trudged through the jungle.

At first she was totally horrified by the tiny stings on her legs and swatting at the creatures that tried to suck the moisture from her eyeballs. But she finally calmed her spirit and energized her body. She stopped every hour or so to eat a bite and drink a little.

When it occurred to her that evening was coming, she realized she could not survive a night in the jungle.

Suddenly she had an instinct to stop and listen. Over the sounds of chirps, squeaks, hisses and howls, there was another vibration–actually kind of a mumble.

She thought it resembled human voices.

She quickly turned in the direction of what she hoped was life. As she stumbled forward, she emerged and found herself in a clearing. Fifty yards across the expanse stood a man, woman and two children.

Jo-Jay screamed, “My God, my God! I need help!”

The man turned and ran toward her as the woman followed and the children trailed. When they arrived, she related her story–as much as she knew.

They listened intently, and then explained they were the Paulsons from Winterset, Iowa, missionaries to the local tribe, and were clearing off this section of jungle to build a church.

Jo-Jay tried to explain her situation and her own mission, which seemed to confuse the provincial Paulsons. She calmed down and then simplified. “I need to get back to America as quickly as possible.”

Reverend Paulson explained that four times a year, he drove their big truck three hundred miles into Brasilia, the capital, to get supplies, but that he had just completed the journey last week and there was no fuel for the truck.

Jo-Jay asked about other transportation. None.

Airplane. None.

Boat. No water that would take her anywhere she wanted to go.

She felt hopeless. She couldn’t stay with these missionaries until the next supply run. She needed to get back.

Something was very wrong–some danger in the air, which she needed to relate to her friends.

Questions cluttered her mind and suffocated her thinking. Why did they spare her? Why did they abduct her? Why did they feel it necessary to take such drastic measures for such a silly little thing as a bunch of Jesus rallies in the United States?

Then one of the children spoke up. “Papa, we do have fuel.”

Jo-Jay pursued. “Do you? Do you have fuel?”

The reverend nodded his head. “Yes, but it’s for us to survive for the next three months.”

Jo-Jay giggled, baffling the family. “Tell you what,” she said. “If you will drive me to Brasilia, I will guarantee you all the fuel you want, and as a donation, will pay for you to make another run of special supplies for your congregation.”

Reverend Paulson stared at the woman before him, adorned only in a bra and cargo shorts, with a doubtful, furrowed brow.

Jo-Jay looked down at herself and laughed. “Listen–I usually dress better than this. I have the money, if you can give me the time.”

Right in the middle of the clearing, the Paulsons knelt in prayer, as a family, as Jo-Jay, slow to join in, caught the idea and knelt down herself.

Papa prayed. “There are no accidents, God the Father. We know this. So meeting our friend today has to have some meaning. You told me that I cannot take that which was given for your work and give it away for others. So I come to You and ask which is more important–this woman’s request, or taking care of those you have commissioned to us.”

He kept his eyes closed and remained silent. The family joined in the profile. As Jo-Jay listened, she assumed he was going to take care of his own. It was only logical. After all, some crazy woman comes out of the jungle, you don’t follow her like she’s a freakin’ Pied Piper.

After a few moments, the reverend opened his eyes. The family peeked out to see if it was time to stop. Reverend Paulson looked at his wife and children, and said not a word. One by one, a smile appeared on each face and they nodded. He, the last of the four, smiled and nodded also.

He turned to Jo-Jay and said, “God wants us to go to Brasilia.”

They wasted no time. They hiked three miles to their camp, climbed into an old truck and drove through the jungle, making their own road as they went.

Jo-Jay became quiet, thinking to herself.

For heaven’s sake, what the hell is going on? 

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Confessing… July 25th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2643)

XII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

I suppose I could lie and tell you it only happened one time. But there’s really no sense in confessing to error if you’re going to leave out important details.

Actually, it was the fifth time that my wife and I slipped out of the house after we were sure that our four-year-old and three-year-old sons were sound asleep, and drove ten miles to see a movie, and returned to joyously find our young boys still deep in sleeper land.

But on that fifth time, something changed.

Apparently there was a noise that awakened our two little fellas, and they started screaming and hollering for us–so much that the neighbors, who lived just below, called the police. So when we arrived after seeing our movie, we found the house vacant.

There was no note–no explanation. So we weren’t sure if our children had been abducted or vanished in the Rapture.

Being in our early twenties and extremely immature, we went downstairs and pounded on our neighbors’ door to find out what they might know. Without opening up, they explained that the children had been taken away, and that the best thing would be to go to the local police to find out what was going on.

I remember having the audacity to be angry. It didn’t even occur to me that we were the ones in the wrong and that my boys had been taken away for their own protection.

We spent the next four hours searching for anyone who could give us details, only to discover that our guys were in foster homes and there would be a hearing about the case in six weeks.

Six weeks.

We were devastated.

Honestly, it took us about two weeks to settle down and realize that we had made a very bad mistake, and that we were the ones who were in the wrong instead of slighted.

I will never forget those forty-two days without my kids. And going to court was very painful.

The accusations were strong and had it not been for four weeks worth of tears and repentance, we might have recoiled and gotten viciously defensive, ending up losing the opportunity to become Mom and Dad again.

But because the judge found us to be truly sorry, we were given a second chance.

I remember the day we picked up our two boys. They were a little frightened of us, partially because they had acclimated to a new environment and also because they had been told that we had deserted them.

It took a long time to build back trust.

Although this story seems to be an extreme–something some folks would swear they would never do–I must tell you that the inclination to find undesirable paths when each of us feels inconvenienced gnaws at the conscience everyday.

So even though I am ashamed to share this story with you, I use it as a cautionary tale to myself, to remind my ever-present ego that simply because I can get by with something and have a really good plan on pulling it off, does not make it right.

 Confessing Josh and Russ

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