Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CLUMSY (04/11/19)
TITLE: Smooth as Silk
By Jack Taylor
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I had visualized the whole encounter to make sure I had it down perfect. Pastor Dirks had even coached me twice. I had watched him share the gospel flawlessly from the pulpit Sunday after Sunday so I recruited the best mentor I could think of. And now my watch gave me five minutes until Jessie’s whole eternity was about to change.
Jessie showed up two minutes early. I was watching the peacocks and taking a slurp of my drink so I didn’t even notice when she sat down. “How nice of you, is this for me?” she asked.
My sip was halfway down and I started choking. Not just cough, cough choking but gagging and choking like I was about to die. I felt my eyes bugging out of my head and my cheeks turning crimson. When I turned toward Jessie and spewed a mouthful of macchiato all over her perfectly white blouse the writing on the wall was done.
Jessie jumped up from the bench and in doing so squeezed the cup she had in her hand. The lid popped off and the contents erupted like a volcano onto her perfect brunette curls and down onto her new jeans.
“What in the world are you doing?” she screamed.
I wiped my mouth with the back of my arm and tried to stand up to face her. I cleared my throat and started. “Jessie, if you were to get hit by a bus on your way home and die would God let you into heaven?”
“What?” she yelled. “Are you insane?”
“Well let’s say it was a car or a train?”
She threw the cup on the ground and stomped her feet while trying to wipe the gunk off her jeans. “Oooh, I can’t believe I went for this,” she said. “I sit by you in one math class and you help me with one problem and I think, ‘that Jimmy seems like a nice guy.’”
I try to help her get the macchiato out of her hair and she slaps my hand away.
“Are you nuts?” she says. “What are my friends going to say when they ask how this all went? Jimmy was so busy watching the peacocks making out that he spit his caramel macchiato out all over me and then he asked me about getting hit by a bus.”
I took a step back. “It didn’t exactly work out like I practiced it.”
She took a step forward with her finger threatening to go up my nose. “You practiced this? You practiced spewing your drink and asking me if I was going to die?”
I sat back down on the bench. “No, no, no. I practiced trying to tell you that you weren’t good enough to get into heaven on your own.”
“Now, that’s a real game changer. I’m not good enough to get into heaven. I’m good enough to get spewed on and to get hit by a bus but not good enough to get into heaven.”
No matter how hard I tried to visualize the right response there was nothing coming to mind. Jessie’s macchiato covered curls struck me as funny. Several of the kids and their mothers were gathering around.
One offered Kleenex to wipe up the mess. They all empathized with her and completely ignored me.
“What a terrible accident,” one mother said. “What happened here?”
Jessie stared at me defiantly. “He spewed his drink all over me and then told me he hoped I would get hit by a bus.”
Now, every mother stared me down. I could only think of one thing to say. “My pastor told me to help her realize that she’s not good enough to get into heaven. He said if I really cared about her then I had to tell her.”
“I’ve got a mind to talk to that pastor of yours,” the mother said.
“Wait a minute!” Jessie broke in. “You did all this because you cared about me?”
“Okay, I’m going home to change. When I get back you better get this right.”
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