The joke was that when they baptized her the water boiled just a bit- for just a second.  Of course such a thing hadn’t happened, but it was good fodder to bring about a familiar smile in those brief spare moments after the service.  The crowd moved with one pulse toward the doors and closer to the lunches waiting at various restaurants and simmering in countless slow cookers on kitchen counters. It had rained during the sermon, and the doors were opened to the bright wet asphalt and the hazy steam which rose above it.  Everything sparkled. A red Mustang roared past, tearing the silence.  And then, a moment later, the supreme silence returned, made holy by the rain.


Damn I drank too much I thought.  Too much for me was a lot- an awful lot.  And now with the soaked through sandpaper on my flesh and the tea kettle in my belly I had to keep it between the lines long enough to make it home and crash on my couch.  Usually I’m able to make it home before daybreak I wanted to think but instead chose to ignore it while I passed a church on my left.  I saw the people pouring out but didn’t really pay them any attention, as my head was full of nails.  I figured they were just as miserable as me.  At any rate, trying to fill the same damn hole, just using different cement.  If that’s not true… I ignored the thought.  Some thoughts just weren’t worth the trouble.  I do know that I’m miserable, but I’ll be okay in a few hours.


The white box with the black top next to the grey box in the green box exploded with little bursts of color, just as it did every time the same week.  The little boxes of white and red and green and blue began to shuffle off the grey box, splashing water as they went.  A red box moved mostly down the black track at about the same time.  I figured they were all just as precious and free as me.


The pain and the love and the sin and the grace and the truth collided and spun around the little ball of mud a bit more.  Some gained; some lost.  Some understood but never learned; other learned but never understood.  Some were cold.  Some were hot.  Some were good.  All were wrong.  All were different, but mostly the same.  They all schemed.  Some cared.  Some prayed; some cursed.  Some drank; some ate.  Some took; others gave.  Some cried.  Some laughed.  Some tried.  Some didn’t.  They all failed.  Some cried again; some stopped.  Some sought answers.  Few ignored the questions.  Some cheated.  Some stole. Some lied.  They all wanted happiness.  They all tried to find it in different ways.  Most didn’t.  Some had the map and never saw the treasure; others lost the map and found it anyway.  All were alive, but most were fairly dead.  They were all important.