A True Story. Mostly.
A knock on the door last week, too damned early in the morning…an older middle-aged woman with pamphlets and a bible in a floral dress and sensible shoes bearing close resemblance to Mrs. C, my tenth-grade typing teacher.
“Hello, I’m spreading the good word about a 3-day conference in–”
“Is this a god thing?” That momentum needed to be checked.
“Why yes, it is a 3-day conference in–”
“We’ve already got a grail!” Dodge. Parry. Non sequitur!
“What? I’d like to invite you to a three–”
“Not interested. Do you have encyclopedias?”
“Vacuum cleaners? Brushes? Steak?”
“Can you get students to paint my house real cheap?”
“I don’t think you understand.”
(Leaning into her space a little bit.) “Are you saying I’m stupid? I think I do pretty well with what I’ve been given. You don’t need to be mean about it.”
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to–”
“Maybe you should just try the neighbors; they’re real zealots. I hear they drowned a witch, last place they lived.” I lower my voice and whisper, conspiratorially, “It’s Texas. That’s where they’re from, and they definitely burn books–religiously, you might say.”
“Did you see what I did there? It’s a pun. They religiously burn books. Get it? I told you I was smart. Not that I’m an angel myself. I’ve done awful things. I’ve danced a bunch, and listened to Led Zeppelin records backwards, and between you and me, I’ve eaten more than my fair share of owls.”
“Yup. Lots of them. The small ones, particularly.”
“They’re fuzzy and sweet. A lot like peaches, really. They’re great on waffles, with some cinnamon and maple syrup.”
She looks over her shoulder at the street–no backup there–and turns back to me, squints a little, then opts to scurry away, looking worriedly over her shoulder, and skitters up the street, ignoring my “Have a nice day!”
Knock on my door, will you?