Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Inspired Passages ~ The Book of Joe

Another revelation. I think this one requires a little more background. Joe has written a highly controversial book that portrays his home town and its inhabitants in an unflatterly light. Now he's back in town after 17 years and has reunited with one of his high school buddies who is dying of AIDS. They go out for bender and he runs into his friend's mother after dropping him off at home.

"So, you're a famous author now," she says in the same tone she might have used to say, "So, you're a convicted pedophile."
"I guess so," I say.
"Well," she says disdainfully. "You won't find me reading that trash."
"If you haven't read it, how do you know it's trash?"
"I heard about it," she declares gravely. "And believe me, hearing was plenty."
"Well," I say, placing the book back on the shelf and heading for the door, "I guess that's my cue."
I head down the stairs, now noticing the crucifix and assorted Jesus artwork that occupies every available bit of wall space. Wayne's mother follows behind me, muttering something quietly to herself. As I reach the front door, she calls my name softly. I turn to face her. "Yes?" I say.
"I'm praying for your father," she says.
"And what about your son?"
She frowns and looks heavenward. "I pray for his soul."
"He's not dead yet," I say. "I think he could use a little less praying and a little more compassion."
"He has sinned against the Lord. He's paying the price."
"And I'm sure the Bible has nothing by praise for the woman who denies her suffering child a mother's love in his final days."
She flashes me a dark look, her eyes filled with the defiant righteousness of the dogmatically pious. "When was the last time you read the bible, Joe?"
"You won't catch me reading that trash," I say. "I've heard about it, and believe me, hearing was plenty."

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