Hi folks, this story is based on the Concrete Blonde song of the same title. Listening to the song might help you enjoy the story more, but it isn't necessary. From now on when I do s story about a song, I'll try to give you a warning on my twitter page so you can listen to the song beforehand. I'm grateful to Mikothebaby for her usual incredible editing job. She has also taken over my brain and has me watching NASCAR and drinking cocoa.
As I opened the doors to the church, so the long phalanx of people waiting outside could enter, I nodded at the preacher standing in the pulpit. Besides me, he was the only person who knew what was about to happen, or so he thought. I looked across the church and saw that my wife had noticed the exchange between the reverend and myself. She smiled nervously. I guess she didn't think that I liked him much. In her mind though, any contact between the two of us was good.
As the hundreds of church members watched, a long line of people, mostly black, who wore long choir robes, slowly filed into the church. The murmuring immediately stopped when a woman at the head of the line raised her hands and in the loudest, purest voice the church had ever witnessed, began to sing. Her voice was so powerful that it carried throughout the church even without amplification of any kind.
"Whoah oh oh, Ja-yeeeee-zusssss. Pleee-eeez forgive meee-eee." She paused for dramatic effect. " ... For the things ah'm about too-ooo-ooo-ooo ... Saaaa-aayyy."
At that exact moment, I felt like the Phoenix; the legendary bird of fire that rises from the ashes and burns every fucking thing in its path to the ground. My eyes narrowed and yet I smiled. But it wasn't a friendly smile. To reference this type of smile, think shark, think wolf, think the Grinch ... just before their moments of triumph.
Several of the bastards within these walls had done me wrong and the day of reckoning had arrived. I aimed my remote at the pulpit and the large screen behind the preacher dropped down from the ceiling and lit up. He looked at me strangely because all he knew about was the choir that was walking slowly through the church. Music came from the speakers arranged around the church and the choir responded as they filed through one door and arced towards the other.
The congregation had never heard music like this before. It wasn't any form of southern gospel. In fact, it wasn't a religious song at all. It was very heavy hard rock, almost metal. Some of them opened their mouths in shock. Others started bopping their heads back and forth in time to the music or dancing.
This was my moment so I milked it. I raised my hands and started to dance too.
The vocalist, who had reached the center of the church, started in on the song's first verse. If the preacher and his congregation had expected a hymn to the glory of the Lord, or an uplifting song to lift the faithful, they were shocked. It was a song about that other aspect of the bible; VENGEANCE. Almost every mouth dropped open as the short fat woman, sang in that same powerful voice. Her tone had changed, it was no longer respectful. It was conniving and nasty. Even I was amazed at her ability to phrase and deliver the song with exactly the emotion I felt.
"I killed you in my mind today. I cut you up, I watched you bleed."
"I killed you in my heart today. For everything you did to me."
"I murdered you a hundred times. I shot you dead and never cried."
"I killed you in my mind today. I laughed and watched you die."
The preacher stuttered and started to say something but then noticed people staring and pointing at the screen behind him. I watched his face intently as he turned to see what they were all staring at.
Okay, before this gets too far along and you guys all sentence me to hell, let's go back to where this started. Or at least to where it all started for me. Let's go back three weeks exactly. I'm an average guy. There's nothing special about me. I'm so average that my name is John Smith, which is one of the most average names in the country. If I needed to disappear, I wouldn't even have to change my name because there are so fucking many John Smiths that I can just vanish.
I'm five foot ten, I weigh a hundred and eighty five pounds which is again, average. I have brown hair and brown eyes. I'm thirty five years old, which isn't too old or very young and once again makes me ... average. I married my college sweetheart and we've been married for thirteen years.
As I said, this all started on a Sunday, exactly three weeks ago. Sundays are my favorite days of the week. Before you go too far, let me stop you. I'm not religious. Before today, the last time I had my ass inside of a church was ... well it's been a long assed time. I think that church is fine for people who like church. I just have other things to do on a Sunday. I spend my Sundays handling two very important things year round. I wake up very early on Sunday and go out and do my longest run of the week.
I love to run. I started in high school and ran track all through college. Now I run marathons and local 5K and 10K races. On the average Sunday during the summer I might run 16 to 20 miles early Sunday morning before the heat of the day hits. Running extremely long distances takes a lot of the glycogen out of your system, so when I come in from my run I'm in no mood to go to church. I spend the bulk of the day depending on the season with football, baseball or NASCAR, with the odd track meet thrown in when I can find them. This is a serious bone of contention with my wife, because she practically lives in our small town's church.
By the time my legs recover, it's usually about an hour or so before the sun goes down. That makes it the perfect time to wash my car. Washing my Mustang is my second big Sunday activity for most of the year. I enjoy doing it and it takes me a good couple of hours at least to do it. I should point out that my wife hates my car. In the interest of equal time, I should also point out that I don't give a fuck about my wife hating my car.
Don't get me wrong, I love Kim, but over the past thirteen years that we've been married, things have settled a bit. We started out hot and spicy like most couples. We were so in love that we couldn't be away from each other for even a few minutes. Over the years, we got comfortable with each other which isn't always a good thing.
We developed hobbies. Mine, of course, are running and Mustangs. Hers are the church and charity work. We both also agreed that we should put off having kids for a while. According to the schedule that we set, this year would be the perfect year for us to start. I'm thirty five, so I'm settled and responsible enough for fatherhood. She's thirty one, so while her biological clock hasn't started screaming in desperation just yet, she's primed and ready.
She also doesn't really have to worry too much about losing her figure because it's already gone. For the first ten years of our marriage, she dieted and tried to keep herself pretty for me. Now the only time she even thinks about putting on makeup is when she's going to church or to do some work for a charity.
My running keeps me slim and trim. The fact that I love her, means that she doesn't have to worry about whether she's picked up a pound or thirty.
Anyway, three weeks ago, I'd decided to do my long run on the trails out near the local quarry. It would give me a change of scenery from the loop I usually run around the local park and also give my joints a break from pounding the asphalt road surface. The grass and dirt of the trails were softer and more forgiving.
I drove out there and had a good run. In my excitement over running in a new area, I forgot to bring my usual drink and after run snack. The first thing you guys should probably know is that I am not a world class athlete. I don't follow a strict diet and I don't always eat healthy foods. My usual after workout snack is a bag of chips and a wild cherry Pepsi. In my mind the chips are carbs and they also help replace the sodium I lost during the run. If you've ever really looked at Powerade or any of those other shitty tasting sports drinks, most of them are just sugar, water and a few electrolytes. So if I drink the Pepsi and throw in a banana, I'm good and I don't have that shitty sports drink taste in my mouth for the rest of the day.
So I pulled into a local gas station for a Pepsi and a bag of chips. I looked like hell. Or at least like a thirty five year old guy who'd just ran twenty miles and didn't have his Pepsi.
I looked around the convenience store part of the gas station and grabbed chips. They didn't have wild cherry Pepsi. I had to settle for regular Pepsi. As I stepped up to the counter, I recognized the woman who worked there. Shit, we live in a small town so pretty much everyone knows everyone else anyway.
"I guess you didn't go to church today, huh?" she said. Jane Foster, the woman working the station had been two cycles behind me for most of my life. When I hit high school, she was in elementary school and so on. She was about eight years younger than me and four years younger than my wife. That put her at about twenty seven and she really didn't look it. Maybe not looking her age was why they gave her that weird nickname, Poke.
She had brown hair like mine, but where mine was just brown, hers somehow was shiny and full of different highlights. Her hair just looked fucking sparkly. Her blue eyes also didn't hurt much. In fact, she was just the cutest thing to ever crawl from between her mother's thighs.
.... There is more of this story ...