Standing at the window sipping his fourth shot of Jack Daniels Wayne pondered the infinite cruelty of the universe. He had been stuck at his sister’s place in Little Rock for going on six weeks due to financial matters that didn’t go as expected and he was not a happy camper. In fact, he had come to the conclusion that life was one large meatball of misery. With extra garlic.
He downed the remainder of his shot and was about to pour another when a knock on the door announced unexpected visitors. Realizing that any break in the tedium of his daily ennui had potential he went to door and opened it. He was confronted with two earnest looking young men in starched white shirts and ties, their hair neat and tidy, their shoes shined.
“Hello boys, to what do I owe this visit?”
“Hello sir, we’ve come to talk to you about salvation.”
Wayne, being a bright spark sized up the situation and decided to roll with it. “Well how about that? I was just thinking about that very thing! Come on in, can I get you something to drink?”
They looked at each other and stepped into the living room. “No thank you sir. It’s nice that you’d like to discuss this with us.”
Wayne grinned and waved them to the sofa. “So where shall we start?”
“Well sir, it’s very important for people to think about their place in eternity, you see – “
“Their place in eternity? You mean like the going to heaven or hell thing?”
“Well yes, you see the fact is – “
“The fact? You’ve got facts?”
“Oh, indeed we do.”
Wayne unsnapped the sheath on the back of his belt and brought out his hunting knife and began cleaning his fingernails with it. “Well now isn’t that something. See, I’ve always figured that facts in matters of this sort are kinda thin on the ground. But then again, I’m always open to other opinions.” He waved the knife around for effect.
“Well…anyway, perhaps we should come back another time to discuss it.”
“Oh c’mon guys, by the way, what are you names?”
The exchanged a look. “I’m Tom and this is Phil.”
“Tom, Phil, let me ask you a question, aren’t you boys taught that lying is wrong?”
“Well now let me tell ya something, I’m real good at reading people and I know if you boys left now you wouldn’t be coming back. Now isn’t that a fact?”
Phil cleared his throat. “It’s just that we have other duties and we – “
“These duties are more important than talking to me about my salvation?”
“Well sir, it’s just…”
Wayne scratched the tip of his nose with the knife. “Just…what?”
“Look, never mind that, let’s change the subject.” Wayne got up and walked over to the front door and locked it. He came back and gave a big smile to the two boys who were now fidgeting. “It just so happens that I’ve been all around the world and I’ve been privy to deep dark secrets about how to achieve eternal salvation. Like I said, I’ve been thinking about that today. I’m gonna let you in on a secret.”
“Sir, really, we should be going. We have all the information we need.”
“Now what makes you think that? See, here’s the thing, I met this holy man in the Caribbean many years ago and he outline this ritual involving sexual congress with a goat which you then said some words over and then slit it’s throat. It just so happens I’ve got a goat in the backyard and I’d be honoured if you’d – “
Both boys bolted for the front door, their eyes wide with terror. Wayne was faster.
“Hey now, it’s impolite to leave without saying goodbye, I thought you Witnesses were big on manners.”
“We’re not Witnesses sir, we’re Mormons,” Phil stuttered as Tom fumbled with the lock.
“You are? Well hell’s bells, why didn’t you say so? I’ve go no time for Mormons.”
Wayne undid the lock and opened the door. He had never seen two boys run so fast. He went back to his Jack Daniels and sat down with a sigh to watch a soap opera.