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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Sit Down Comedy … January 18th, 2019

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Sometime back, but still in my retainable memory, I was invited to speak at a youth convention.

It started out slow, as those kinds of gigs often do until the audience realizes you are acceptable and hearable. It ended beautifully, with enthusiasm, passion and even a few tears. I was feeling so inspired that I turned to the gathered and said, “God, you guys look great.”

Afterward, I was greeted by the sponsor of the event, who seemed to lack my joy. He shared that he was greatly uplifted by the message I imparted to the students, but found the use of the word “God” in my closing to be a classic case of using the Lord’s name in vain.

OMG.

Move ahead a little while and it is such a common phrase that we have an Internet abbreviation for it.

I ran across the same problem over the years when I appeared in front of pristine-thinking audiences, using the word “crap.” Once again, move ahead, and I’ve even heard “crap” used in prayers: “Lord, save us from all this crap.”

We get nowhere with language by thinking that certain words are perverse, others are acceptable and a chosen few are supreme.

Let me give you an example:

I have a bottom. I don’t call it a bottom very often, because the occasion to use that word doesn’t arise, and I don’t feel the need to ever be that formal. So instead, I may say, “I’m going to sit on my backside.”

That’s about as vanilla as I can get. I refuse to use the word “tush.” Sometimes when I’m trying to motivate myself, I will say, “I got off my butt and finished dinner.” (“Butt” in this case is required to express to the hearer that a process was necessary to change my stationary position to an active one.)

I would never say, “I got off my derriere and finished dinner.”

Moving along, if I were referring to a woman’s attractive backside today, I might call it a “booty,” only to be playful. But I don’t think I would get the same reaction from her or anyone else by saying, “She certainly has an attractive gluteus maximus.”

Words justify us—meaning they make us come across clearly—or they condemn us—causing us to sound foul or overly cautious.

I have to be honest with you—if I were discussing the government of the United States in its present stand-off, I would certainly put forth this sentence: “The government should get off its ass and fix some things.”

I wouldn’t use “bottom” and I wouldn’t use “butt.” In this case, the word “ass” has a double meaning. It refers both to their languishing position as well as their attitudes, which prevent them from being proactive.

Do you see what I mean?

We need to stop this foolish, politically correct mindset regarding the American language. If a word communicates, it communicates.

For instance, I never say, “I’m going to have a bowel movement,” but I might say, “The baby did a poop.”

If I run across something that’s plain bull, I will call it crap.

If someone is being mistreated and bigotry is being fostered, I might spout, “What the shit is going on?”

If you feel that I should say, “What the potty is going on?” I think you’re either being insincere or you should find a time machine and join us here in the twenty-first century.

Stop looking for whether words are perverse, righteous, foul or sacred. Start noticing how they fit into sentences or questions that communicate the depth of our passion.


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1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Be Smart)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week …

To Be Smart

The vocal chords and the tongue have very little to do with intelligence. Surprisingly, the brain is also often a deterrent to being aware of the truth.

The best way to be smart is to be honest.

And the preferred path to honesty is to get rid of the fear of being considered out of step or not in the know.

So this week, try one thing to open the door to becoming smarter: That which you’ve seen and that which you’ve heard is the only thing you will declare.

In other words, if you read it on the Internet or catch wind of a rumor, restrain yourself. If you haven’t seen it and you haven’t heard it, don’t confirm it.

The most powerful part of your life is your personal testimony and journal about your own discoveries.

When something comes up that you have not seen or heard, simply reply, “I’m sorry, I don’t have much personal experience in that matter.”

It does not make you look stupid. For after all, the only way to look ridiculous is to pass along ideas which end up being false. The better way to come across intelligent is to let people know that you will only offer insight if you have personally seen and heard.

Other than that, you simply listen and see if you can garner some data which might be tested and proven to be true.

A great man once said, “Be careful how you hear.”

He also said, “The light of the body is the eye.”

True.

So take this week, and instead of going to the trough of the Internet or the news services to discover erroneous stories which you pander off to your friends, speak only what you have seen and heard.

It is a powerful way to look smart.

 

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G-Poppers … August 3rd, 2018

One of G-Pop’s children suggested that it be referred to as a “Pop-cast” since it was G-Pop doing it. Although terribly cute, endearing concepts like that often do not fare very well in the present marketplace.

But let us say that G-Pop’s children were thrilled when he started a podcast to share his humor and ideas all over the Internet.

Now, here’s the problem: The first question that comes out of anyone’s mouth when they discover you have a podcast–whether they’re interested or just polite–is, “What’s it about?”

Well, G-Pop’s podcast is on the most interesting subject on the entire planet.

People.

When dealing with people you have two choices. You can tell them what they want to hear, which opens the door to some popularity, or you can tell them what they need to hear, which has been known to empty many a room.

So when G-Pop started his podcast, “Good News and Better News,” he decided the key was to talk about the most practical things possible in the simplest, and hopefully, most humorous way, and perhaps, in so doing, Mary Poppins may be proven true–that a “spoonful of sugar” does “help the medicine go down.”

Because no human being ever begins their journey until he or she learns that there is the person you are, and there’s the person you want to be. If for some reason you decide to skip to the person you want to be, you have to lie an awful lot about the person you are.

And everyone knows what the problem is with lying: you get caught.

The minute any of us decides that we are not ashamed of the person we are, and do not walk away from the reality of our present situation, then we find ourselves in the position to negotiate–to seek and find ways to gradually become the person we want to be.

Because bluntly, you can’t save your soul until you find your soul.

So “Good News and Better News,” which is broadcast on Tuesday every week and available on all the major outlets, helps you to find your soul so you won’t be so frightened about the person you are and can keep a good sense of humor on the journey to the person you want to be.

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G-Poppers … May 11th, 2018

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G-Pop wants his children to know that there’s nothing terribly mysterious about the mystery of human relationships.

Basically, if you’re willing to show up without arrogance, some awareness of what’s going on, minus a personal agenda, then those who are like you–the human sort–will normally give you a chance to co-mingle.

Yes, it’s really that easy.

But we continue to stumble around acting like we’re a complicated traffic jam of cultures with deep-rooted traditions, making it difficult for us to include anyone else.

But if any of G-Pop’s children are curious, here’s a simple way of understanding how to get along with other people:

1. Find what is of interest.

Yes, topics come and topics go. There are times that subject matters are very important, and other occasions when they aren’t.

For instance, if you’re religious, no one is going to be interested in the story of a 3,000-year-old dead person. Faith must be for today.

If you’re political, what your candidate may decide to do with an endangered species in the Yukon probably won’t be as pertinent as tax reform.

It is necessary to stay current with what is of interest. Case in point: if there are seventeen people killed at a school, it is not the time to discuss gun rights. Likewise, if the Second Amendment is being threatened, it is not a good time to pander pictures of dead children.

Find what is of interest.

2. Be interested.

That means you might need to yank your gaze away from your iPhone. It may be necessary to listen and learn before leaping in to recite something you read on the Internet. You certainly should make eye contact with the speaker and turn your body in the direction of the conversation. Be interested.

3. And then suddenly, you are interesting.

No one will find you interesting if you do not know what is of interest, and have established that you’re interested. Conceit is locking in on your own devotion.

Truthfully, spirituality, which should be pushing us forward in our generosity of spirit, often clings to pillars in the past, unwilling to move and therefore ends up perceived ignorant.

And politics, which should be looking toward the daily bread of problems, is of little use if it is only rallying behind ancient, half-baked causes.

G-Pop wants his children to know that if they want to be successful with others, they should find what is of general interest, be interested and in doing so, become interesting souls themselves.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 37) Wishes… February 25th, 2018

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Turns out the Iowa State Fair is held in Iowa–Des Moines, to be exact.

Matthew was anxious to connect with Soos and find out what was going on with all of the articles sprouting up about movements and changes in the church.

He discovered the team was heading to Iowa, and decided to fly out and catch up with her. She suggested they make a day of it and walk around the Iowa State Fair, enjoying the visual treats and “all the yummy eats.”

Soos said she would meet Matthew at the food truck that advertised red, white and blue cotton candy. This made him grumpy–it wasn’t exactly GPS.

But upon arrival he quickly recognized that this particular truck was right in the middle of everything and very easy to spot. He looked around for a moment and then saw her, walking toward him with a huge funnel of something-or-other.

Like a twelve-year-old girl, she ran up, hugged him and handed over the concoction.

“It’s called a cheesy-fried-enchilada funnel cake,” she explained. She thrust it into his face, and Matthew found himself eyeballing instant cullinary death, but bit into it anyway.  As with most foods geared to kill the human race, it was absolutely scrumptious.

Soos had found a picnic table nearby where they could sit and talk–a stone’s throw from the hog pens. They sat down, and by the twelfth bite of the funnel cake, Matthew felt a bit queasy at the mixture of Mexicali and pig stink.

Begging off the rest of the treat, he said, “I traced all of these reports and stories about the churches back to you.”

She looked up, a little surprised but with a twinkle in her eye.

He continued. “I just had to come here and find out what’s going on.”

Soos stuck a huge bite of red, white and blue cotton candy in her mouth, and told her story.

It turned out that right after Morgan’s death, Jubal decided it was time to step out–be bold and not just repetitive. He explained that “good things stop being good if they don’t get better.” So one day after a rally, the team, which had now grown to eighteen travelers, was asked a question. “What do you think a Jesus wish list would be?”

Soos continued to explain that this stimulated a five-hour discussion. About halfway through, somebody started typing up the ideas, and the gathered accumulated twenty possibilities. After much discussion, they honed it down to a holy seven, which they called “The Seven Wishes.”

  1. Jesus would wish to bless children.
  2. Equality for women.
  3. Expose what’s fake.
  4. Heal the sick.
  5. Bring good news.
  6. Reward the truth.
  7. No one is better than anyone else.

Matthew sat and listened quietly as Soos shared her story.

“After they finished the list,” Soos explained, “Jubal said that if we want to address this effort, we need a little army, not just their soul patrol. I thought it was time for me to speak up, so I suggested that ‘good news stories’ should be planted on the Internet and other publications, discussing eye-opening, ground-breaking ideas that reinforce these seven wishes.

“Here was my thought. If people believed the churches were thinking about Jesus’ wishes, maybe the masses would be more likely to consider the churches.”

Matthew interrupted. “Well, how many did you do?”

“Let me see,” said Soos. “A story was released that the Catholic Church, along with considering women for the priesthood, would announce all the names of the priests who were pedophiles, promising to remove them from the ministry, and set in motion a deep healing for the victims.”

She went on. “Another story was that the Mormons, who for years quietly maintained a doctrine of the inferiority of the black race, were now developing a new slogan for the Latter Day Saints: ‘no one is better than anyone else.'”

Soos clapped her hands. “Here was one of my favorites. The Southern Baptist Church of America was offering an apology to the descendants of the slaves.”

“And,” she added, “the Unitarians, who historically did not believe in miracles, were commencing a new program for laying hands on the sick, to see them healed.”

Unfreakingbelievable,” said Matthew, shaking his head.

Soos continued. “Each story was carefully worded, cushioned with an opening statement such as, ‘rumor has it…’ or ‘sources say…’ or ‘notables within the denomination report…’ while never actually claiming that the information was solidly grounded in fact. The stories were so filled with goodness…”

Matthew jumped in. “You can’t tell me that Jubal went for this.”

Soos shook her head. “No, he didn’t like it at first. Matter of fact, he was standing strongly against it. Then I explained that as long as we were presenting the purity of what these churches say they believe, challenging them to follow their own doctrines, we were merely beckoning them to their own spirit.”

Matthew roared. “What bullshit double-talk.”

Soos was offended. “I don’t need your cynicism. I would like you to consider what’s happened. These churches found themselves in a position to deny the reports, but if they did, they were forced to explain why they were against the concepts. Or they had to make a claim that such movements were under advisement–and in so doing, open the door for their congregants to discuss freely.”

She reached over and touched his hand. “Do you get it, Matthew? People are discussing. People are questioning now because they care. Nobody cared before. Now it’s actually a topic–able to be discussed instead of the forbidden religion which should never be brought up during table talk.”

Matthew listened, unconvinced. What was the possibility of law suits? What if the plan were exposed, called them out for being the charlatans they supposedly were fighting?

Then all at once, Soos changed the subject. “I want you to try something before you leave the fair. It’s just around the corner, over next to the pig barn.”

Matthew was a little taken aback with the transition but played along. “Okay. What’s this special thing next to the oinkers?”

“It’s a huge roast pig leg on a stick,” said Soos.

Matthew winced. “Let me get this straight. So while I’m sitting, staring at living pigs, you want me to munch on a roast pig leg that’s been cooked?”

“Barbecued,” corrected Soos.

“Oh–barbecued,” said Matthew. “That’s different. I’m just curious, Soos. Would you be comfortable sitting in front of a daycare filled with children, chewing on a barbecued leg from a little girl?”

“How good does it taste?” she said, smirking.

Even though Matthew never partook of the pig leg, they talked on for another couple of hours, just catching up.

Soos had changed. She had probably hoped Matthew had changed also.

He hadn’t. The whole project was just a gig to him. He wasn’t ashamed. Somebody had to keep his feet on the ground while the others floated to heaven. That was his job–to be the grownup in La-La Land.

But there was something contagious about Soos’ spirit. As she told stories of city after city, where human beings joined together to escape the dusty sameness, she grew more and more excited.

It was nearly erotic. Of course, Matthew viewed everything through the sunglasses of sexuality.

He realized how much he had missed her. He had never found her especially romantically attractive, but on this day, the gleam of her skin, the sweet smell of her sweat, and the mustiness of her breath left him curious.

After the lengthy conversation, filled with laughs and thoughtfulness, Soos excused herself to leave. Matthew was waiting. He knew that if there was a connection with her–if she was interested in him, or if there was a possibility for a sweet fling–she would inquire as to when she would see him again.

It’s just what women do. At least, that’s what Matthew assumed.

Soos hugged him, kissed him on the cheek, whispered a verse of scripture in his ear, grabbed the rest of her huge Slurpee and jogged down the Midway, in a hurry to get back to what was her real love.

He watched her run away as the growing distance between them fostered a deep sense of loneliness. He had never considered Soos to be beautiful, but all at once, he could easily envision himself ravaging her in bed.

There was no doubt about it–she was going to make some man a wonderful companion, and one hell of a lover.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 36) An Audience with No Audience … February 18th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3587)

The highway leading to Heathrow Airport was completely jammed. Gridlock. For twelve kilometers, cars were lined up, unable to move, creating the worst traffic backup London had seen in years.

This fiasco was brought about by a rumor that the Pope was flying in from Rome to meet with the Queen, to discuss the uniting of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church again.

The rumor was false–but that didn’t keep people from chasing it, causing a frustrating day of travel through the Old City.

This was just the latest of a series of stories being reported about the Pope and the Catholic Church, put out by a new website: “Popedope.com.”

It was started a few weeks earlier with an article in the Sun Newspaper from the United Kingdom, touting an exclusive on an alleged meeting between the Pope and Jubal Carlos.

Supposedly, after his noontime rally in the blistering heat of Rome, a black town car from the Vatican rolled up, and representatives of His Holiness asked Mr. Carlos if he was willing to come and have an audience with the Holy Father.

Dressed in jogging shorts, a tank top, with tennis shoes and a baseball cap, Jubal climbed into the vehicle and headed off for this strange new opportunity. According to insiders, upon arriving at the Vatican, he was asked by the public relations liaison if he would be willing to have the interview videotaped, so it could be shown to a congress of Cardinals due in Rome soon.

Jubal refused. He explained that it was common knowledge that he did no interviews–and certainly none which could be edited.

The audience with the Pope was granted anyway, and the two met face-to-face. There was only one other person in the room–a young man studying for the priesthood, who was chosen to serve refreshments. (Therefore it was assumed that all the information leaked must have come from this newbie.)

In the Sun article, detail after detail was reported about the conclave of the two unlikely men, both preachers. The Pope arrived in a simple gray tunic, wearing sandals. He wasted no time posing a question to Jubal:

“Where do you find disfavor with the Catholic Church?”

Jubal took the moment to share his heart. “When something is stuck, the instinct is to make an effort to move it–whether it’s mud, ice or snow, people join together, put their shoulders and backs into it to escape the rut. The Catholic Church today looks like the Catholic Church of the sixth century. Right there you can see there’s something wrong. Life has evolved. Generosity is growing. Tolerance is expanding. Yet the Catholic Church allows androgynous men to parade around with incense, believing in magical potions. If the Gospel is not about people, then at least it should be about ideas. If not ideas, then generosity. If not generosity, then hope. The Gospel cannot be about maintaining a religious practice which was not even begun by its founder.

“For Your Holiness, I will tell you–if there was a First Pope, his name was Jesus, not Peter. And as the First Pope, his lifestyle, goals, wishes, humor and direction would preclude him from ever wearing a crown and glorifying himself.”

At this point, the writer of the article stated that the Pope remained completely silent. At length, the Holy Father asked Jubal to come forward, laid hands on him, blessed him and gave him a hug. He left Carlos with one closing thought.

“I don’t know,” he said. “If I were younger and foolish, I might be you.”

When this piece was published in The Sun, the English people were ablaze with conversation about true spirituality, a living God and the possibility of purpose coming from heaven. It had been decades since the British had made room in their daily thoughts for the Divine.

After that, story after story after story popped up everywhere. One announcement from Popedope.com suggested that the Pope was on his way to America to ordain some women to be priests. The next pronouncement alleged the Pope would stop off in San Francisco to hold mass for the gay community. Of course, all the stories ended up being erroneous but nevertheless, a door had opened for great conversation.

Instead of people looking at the Church with sleepy eyes, challenges were hurled through the air.

“Why don’t we join together?”

“Why aren’t women priests?”

“What is the function of the Church?”

“Why do we have all this ceremony?”

When Jubal Carlos was asked if such an audience with the Pope had actually occurred, he responded, “You know I don’t take interviews. Why are you asking me for an interview?”

This further fanned the flames, as each news organization interpreted the answer to their favored direction.

But there was one sure thing–people were not antagonistic against God. People were not bored with God. People were just very weary of being given the same answers over and over again.

Matthew watched all the bewildering unfoldings and thought to himself, “What a damn good idea. Take the news media and use it as a counter-culture, or maybe even a counter-irritant to existing religious practices, to get people stirred up. Would a comprehensive look at the life of Jesus favor the Catholic Church, or introduce fresher insights?”

In the midst of his musings, he made a few phone calls to friends who were in the know and were able to check out Internet matters which would normally be forbidden due to privacy laws. He was able to discover the founder of Popedope.com.

A single user with a one-word name: Susannah.

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