6th April 1974
Brad was having a good day. His shoulder bag felt lighter as he handed out plenty of booklets. He had a prominent spot right outside the bus station, opposite the burger bar and music store. The weather was in his favour too; a bit of spring sunshine meant people would saunter and be more willing to stop. When it was cold and wet Brad’s job was much harder because people would hurry past heads down and hands stuffed inside pockets. Then there was little chance of persuading them to take the proffered leaflet. Those days he would trudge back to the house defeated, his bag digging into his shoulder full of unwanted pamphlets. His supervisor would issue a reprimand and stern lecture about dedication and commitment.
After six months on the team, Brad felt quite an expert, he had learnt exactly who to target and his carefully crafted appearance helped reel them in. The surf dude look, with tanned fit physique, long blond hair and casual dress helped him stand out on the dreary provincial English street. He would sometimes try out an American accent as in the 70s all things American were admired by British youngsters. Teenage girls would spot him as they walked in twos or threes, chattering like flocks of impatient birds. His warm smile and greeting “Hey there how are you doing?” would make them pause curiously, unsure which one of them the cool older guy was actually talking to. Then a few carefully rehearsed words of flattery and it as simple to hand over the pamphlet and invitation to the group house.
Cheryl was having a bad day; well it was a fairly normal Saturday morning. Her mum stressing, the usual row about going into town rather than studying or tiding her room. Cheryl stormed off slamming the door defiantly, exams were months away, her parents so boring, She waited impatiently at the bus stop, angrily fiddling with the coins she had stuffed hurriedly into the pocket of her jeans. An only child, No one understood her, her mum and dad were much older and stricter than those of her school friends. Not that she had any real friends. The bus arrived, she only had just enough for the return bus fare and nothing over for when she got to town. She wished she had grabbed some notes as well as coins out of her mum’s handbag.
Cheryl saw the cool blond guy through the window as the bus turned the corner. He was chatting to a couple of girls. Cheryl thought if only she had a guy like that, she would have everyone staring in admiration. No chance though, even if he fancied her, mum would be nagging again. The bus shuddered to a halt and people got up to leave, jostling and pushing in front of Cheryl.
She looked for the guy on the corner, the girls had moved on and he was rummaging in his shoulder bag, a cool multicolour woven bag that stuffed your towel and flip flops in at the beach. She wished she could be somewhere far away from this boring town, on a sun kissed tropical island with palm trees.
“Hey there how you doing?” An unmistakable American accent, It took a moment for Cheryl to realise he was speaking to her and startled she could not think of a reply. His blue eyes looked right into hers and he smiled warmly, “Wait a moment, I have something here just for you”. His right hand was fishing into his bag and he drew out a brightly coloured pamphlet with a picture of a palm tree on the front.
“I live in a house right along the next street and we are having a party with cool music and food, it’s all free and it would be great if you could come, you are just the kinda girl we could do with in our group.”
Cheryl looked at the pamphlet curiously and felt quite excited.
“What group?” She said.
“Well come along and see, in fact I am just finishing here and we could walk along together its not far.” he smiled again and held out his hand.” By the way my name is Brad.”
“Why not,” thought Cheryl she tucked the pamphlet into her jeans pocket and followed Brad.
Brad smiled this was a good day fishing for The Children of God.
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