The middle-aged man staggered a bit, hiccupped, and belched loudly as he prepared to leave the Hunter's Roost at closing time. Thoughts swirled hazily in his muddled mind. When did I board this buckin' tin tub? Th' floor's tiltin' somethin' awful. He shook his head to try and clear it, but it made him want to throw up instead.
Dave the bartender, wiping down the counter, commented wryly to his assistant, "Ol' Harman is really in his cups tonight. He drank more'n usual." He went to shut the door Harman had left open and heard the inebriated man singing an off-key version of "Blow the Man Down."
"He must think he's back in the Navy again," Dave laughed as he locked up. "It's going to be chilly tonight, so I hope he makes berth somewhere soon."
Not long after, Harman stumbled up the steps of an unpretentious building on one of the village side streets and pounded at the door. In his fogged mental state, he believed it was his friend Ben's house.
"Benny always let's me in t' get warm 'n have a cuppa coffee," he murmured with another hiccup.
When no one answered his knock, he fumbled at the knob, which surprisingly turned in his hand. Shuffling inside, he groped unsuccessfully for a light switch.
"Benny musta gone t' bed already."
As his eyes adjusted somewhat to the darkness, he noticed a dim light shining near the front of the room above some type of lectern and a narrow cloth-covered table upon which stood an ornate cup and an empty silver tray.
Harman walked forward and lifted the cup to peer inside for something more to drink. It was as empty as the tray. Disappointed, he set it down and looked around.
"Hey, this is sure not m' buddy Benny's place. Where am I anyway?"
Another wave of nausea hit, and he dropped into one of the long wooden seats nearby. Soon his snores echoed around the room as he lay stretched on his side, facing the back of the bench with his shabby coat pulled close.
He was used to having some rather bizarre dreams, but this one really "took the cake." A voice seemed to come right from that small table up front, but he saw no body. A strange shininess covered the items sitting upon the cloth, and it was almost like he could hear some far-off, lovely music.
He strained to hear the words the voice was speaking. Whoooaaa! That alien or whatever-it-is knows my name! I hope this doesn't turn out to be a nightmare!
"Harman," the voice repeated, "I have something for you to drink."
I hope it's strong coffee, he thought.
"The cup I have for you is not the same as the one you've been imbibing these past several years. It's the choicest new wine. It may not give you the instant gratification you're used to, but it will bring you joy in the end. Instead of blurring your vision and clouding your mind, it will help you see and think clearer than ever before."
Harman was listening carefully. Funny, my brain seems to be a bit sharper already, just hearing about this drink.
"Your worldly cup overflows with unrest, confusion, deception, and ruin. My heavenly cup is brimming with peace, comfort, truth, and restoration. It's an intoxication of pure delight, not putrid drunkenness. Will you accept my life-giving libation, Harman?"
The invitation was irresistible to the man's thirsty soul, and he reached his hand toward the glowing cup.
A rattling sound jerked him into wakefulness, and a moment later a startled man in a shirt and tie was staring down at him still lying on the bench. Harman expected to receive a harsh rebuke and maybe be tossed out the door, but instead the man held out his hand.
"I'm Deacon Darby here at Cornerstone Chapel, and I just stopped in to turn on the heater before this morning's service."
Harman sat up and shook the proffered hand. "My name is Harman. I didn't know this was a church."
Soon he found himself going home with Mr. Darby for a delicious hot breakfast and then returning for the service. The spirited singing and the message of God's mercy and love further softened Harman's heart, so when the preacher gave a salvation invitation, Harman was first to go to the altar.
He glanced toward the communion table on his way forward. I'm ready to trade my cup for Yours, Lord.
"in his cups"=drunk
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