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fiction

Porch Missionary

A knock on the door last week, too damned early in the morning…a woman with pamphlets, a forced smile, and a bible.
“Hello, I’m spreading the good word about a 3-day conference in–”
“Is this a god thing?”
“Why yes, it’s a 3-day conference in–”
“We’ve already got a grail!”
“What?”
“Never mind. You have encyclopedias?”
“But…what? It’s a 3-day…”
“Vacuum cleaners? Brushes? I could use a good brush! Steaks?”
(Confused) “Ummm?”
“You don’t have any of those?”
She shook her head.

“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 implying I’m stupid? That I can’t possibly understand? That’s hurtful, from where I’m standing. I think I do pretty well with what I’ve been given: the best that I can. You don’t need to be mean about it.”
“I’m 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. They definitely burn books–religiously, you might say–and other things. ”
A wink.
“What?”
“It’s a pun. I told you I was smart. Not that I’m an angel myself. I’ve danced a bunch and, between you and me, I’ve eaten more than my fair share of owls.”
“Owls?”
“Yup. Owls” A nod. “That just between you and me, mind.”
A step back, almost certainly subconsciously. She looks over her shoulder at the street–no backup there–and no witnesses–and turns back to me, squints a little, then backs to the edge of the porch stairs before spinning towards the street. A hand on the railing, and she’s gone. Down the rickety stairs, scurrying away, glancing worriedly over her shoulder, she skitters up the street.
I wave heartily, call after her, “Good luck! Have a blessed day!”