Marsha looked at her dark brown toast and felt the muscles on the back of her neck start to squeeze. “Larry, I said light toast, this is dark.”
Larry looked over the top of his glasses, dropped a cup into the dishwasher, and straightened up. “I set it on level 2, just like you like it.”
“Can’t be, this is as dark as night.” Her curt reply cut the air.
“See for yourself.” Larry nodded over his shoulder.
Marsha jumped up with plate in hand and walked to the toaster. Indeed, it was set on level 2. She took another slice of bread out the package and put it in the toaster, two minutes later it popped up lightly browned. “You musta fiddled with the dial when I wasn’t looking; when I did it the toast came out perfectly.”
“Whatever.” Larry picked up the sports page held it in front of Marsha.
Marsha pulled the paper down. “Look, just set the stupid toaster on level 2 light, and let it go!”
Twelve-year-old Billy stood by the kitchen door watching his parents, then turned and walked to the door. He quietly opened the door and stepped onto the porch.
“Hey Billy, lets roll. Vacation Bible school starts in a few minutes and my dad said he would drive us.” Billy’s neighbor Justin was standing on the sidewalk in front of Billy’s house. “Come on.”
“I don’t know if I am going.” Billy’s voice trailed off.
Justin walked toward the porch. Both boys winced when the sound of a breaking dish echoed through the window. “Oh, I suppose you’re going to yer grandma’s. “
“I don’t know. I suppose I should.”
Justin motioned for Billy to follow. “Come on, we’ll go to the church then dad will drop you off at yer grandma’s afterward.”
“Yeah, let’s go. I can’t stay here.”
An hour later they were in the Sunday School wing of the church and were about to settle into the morning activities when the Billy’s grandmother came into the room. Billy thought she had a stern look on her face.
Mrs. Smith the Bible School instructor indicated for Billy to go with his grandmother. Billy noted a tear running down Mrs. Smith’s face.
Billy’s grandmother gasped his hand and rather than leaving the building she took Billy to the chapel where the pastor seemed to be waiting. He was seated on the back row of the dimly lit room.
He motioned for Billy to sit beside him. Then, he asked Billy to open a pew bible and find John 1:5.
Billy did as instructed and pastor put his hand on Billy’s hand. The Pastor said, “The light shines in the darkness; but the darkness has not understood.” He cleared his throat. “Billy, when times are darkest, the light giving radiance of the Lord Jesus Christ shines though.”
Billy was confused but sat silently.
“Billy, your grandmother has some news for you, but when she is finished, please come and see me I will be right here.”
Billy’s grandmother reached down and took Billy’s hand and they walked toward the front of the chapel.
A few streets away Justin’s mother stood watching police string yellow ribbon around her neighbor’s lawn. A television news crew truck was parked along the curb and a tall antenna was pointed toward the sky. Two police cars were parked in the driveway and an EMT transport truck was backed up to the front door. A beehive of activity seemed to be taking place.
A pallid faced news reporter was finishing up her broadcast. “It seems this was a case of light verses dark toast. A tragic end. Nancy Innman, Channel 12 News. “
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