Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)
TITLE: Job's New Outlook
By Nancy Bucca
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Where is he hiding?
I hold my breath. Can it be?
I open the door.
Before me stand three guys I haven’t seen for ages, come to visit me.
The first is Billy Tallshoe, self-made clown on stilts, whose idea of humor burns my funny bone. Behind him skulks Ed Fuzz, allergic-to-everything boy with tissues coming out his ears. Last of all is Stan Scoop, news junkie joined at the hip to his paper.
One look at me turns their faces to ash.
My cheeks begin to sizzle. Do they find me that repulsive? Or is it just a sudden case of germ-o-phobia?
Come on, guys! You know I’m ninety nine percent non-contagious.
“But what about that one percent?” I see them think.
So what’s on your mind, guys? Tell the truth.
Their eyes jump everywhere, leaving the ball in my court.
Against my better judgment I invite them to the living room for a lovely chat. Billy tiptoes carefully past me, like an elephant on a tightrope. Stan squeezes in behind him, dipping to a low profile. As for graceful Ed, he trips on the threshold, flying right into me.
For one freak second our faces mash together. Next thing I know he’s in the bathroom, cranking the tap.
In the meantime Billy and Stan take seats across from me on the rug, Stan with his face buried in the sports section while Billy searches his pockets for some who-knows-what.
My fingers do the Morse. Talk to me, guys. What are you thinking?
Billy finds a pack of rubber bands, which he shoots at unseen flies. One green bullet hits my chin, popping a boil.
His silence sparks my anger. “Watch where you’re aiming,” says my frown, missing his pupils by a mile.
Abruptly Billy’s eyes pop open to a stare, zeroing in on me. Full of apology, I hope.
Turns out he’s looking at the dog, who just snuck in the room to have his belly rubbed. I pull my pet into a hug. He wriggles loose and leaps into my persecutor’s arms.
Give me a break!
Stan tosses me a breath mint “to spare poor Fido’s sniffer.”
How callous can you get?
“His name’s Sergeant,” I snap.
“Strange name for a collie,” he replies, nose glued to the comics.
My ire runneth over. I rip the paper from his face. “He’s not a collie,” I snarl. “He’s a Labrador retriever/golden mix.”
“Innocent mistake,” protests Stan, recoiling from my red-hot halitosis.
“No, it’s not!” cry I. “You said it on purpose! Ever since you guys came here, all you’ve done is insult me!”
“Ah-choo!” sneezes Eddie, fresh from the lavatory. “I object! By the way, what time is it?” He glances at his watch.
“Just ‘cause I’m no dog expert, he goes ballistic,” mutters Stan.
“I fail to see what I’ve done wrong,” adds Billy best-friend stealer from beneath the squirming mutt.
“Me neither!” chime in the other two.
A scorching argument ensues, filled with accusing daggers. With brutal honesty they magnify my stinking sin to the level of an ax murderer. “Stop sinning,” they say, “and God will dry those putrid sores.” Insisting on my innocence, I lift up the germ theory of disease, urging them to consider causes invisible.
In the midst of this verbal battle I again see their faces turn to ash.
I look up to see him standing there in brilliant light, radiating truth and love.
Our minds meld. We connect, just me and him. Face-to-face. Mouth-to-mouth. Heart-to-heart. The fire in his eyes taps into the desire in mine, reducing me to sackcloth and ashes.
“So,” he asks in that still small voice of his, “what is it that you want?”
Humbled, I whisper quietly, “All I want is to see Jesus.”
He holds out to me two nail-scarred hands.
I look at him in awe. At last I understand.
In that instant He vanishes. Looking about, I find my sickness gone, my heart made whole, and three astonished fellows on their knees begging God for mercy.
It matters not who's right or wrong. He's everything.
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