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Heckler4Truth - Fri Sep 09 2011

08:50 AM #
Strange doings today.

08:51 AM #
Benjamin picked me up. He was excited for his first day as my "apprentice."

08:52 AM #
I reminded him that I wasn't teaching him to be a silversmith or to tan hides or anything -- that this was very metaphysical work.

08:56 AM #
We went to the pro-family rally, rescheduled from a few days ago.

08:57 AM #
The people running the rally were using the word "family" like a blunt instrument.

09:11 AM #
Especially the main speaker: a tall, thin but somehow jowly man, who I'll call Mr. Angry.

09:12 AM #
Mr. Angry's words about "the family" were all sweet and gooey; but he was a joyless sort, and seemed like the type who'd make his kids

09:12 AM #
march around the backyard all day wearing nothing but burlap.

09:14 AM #
I was about to engage Mr. Angry on several points, but as I was doing my minute to deep breathing -- to prep the diaphragm -- someone else

09:14 AM #
started razzing the man.

09:15 AM #
A RIVAL!

10:22 AM #
And this fellow was GOOD. A bit older than me, and quite handsome, really. (I am... not.)

10:24 AM #
His casual-neat wardrobe was perfect for the task at hand, making me question for the first time my strategy of THE SUIT.

10:24 AM #
[SIDEBAR: overstatement?]

10:25 AM #
Anyway, many in the gathering crowd were really rooting for him as he took on Mr. Angry.

12:41 PM #
There was even someone FILMING him! A man with a professional-looking camera. He focused ever closer on Mr. Casual-Neat. A star was born!

12:42 PM #
...This REALLY made me jealous, I am ashamed to say.

12:43 PM #
But I must admit, Mr. Casual-Neat was hitting the mark, questioning Mr. Angry's points with intelligence, vigor, and a charismatic warmth.

12:44 PM #
Mr. Angry was briefly on the ropes. Mr. Casual-Neat disputed his use of statistics, questioning his claim that the majority of young men

12:46 PM #
who grow up fatherless wind up as chronic masturbators. Mr. Angry had nothing to cite about his masturbation facts except, quote

12:47 PM #
"My hands-on experience with young men at our church." An unfortunate way of putting it, given the subject.

12:49 PM #
(And I know it's not fair, but these rhetorical contests are merciless.)

12:50 PM #
Segueing nicely on the mention of church, Mr. Casual-Neat went on to question Mr. Angry's interpretation of the Book of Leviticus.

04:33 PM #
And here Mr. Casual-Neat dropped a bombshell: he was a MINISTER! A pastor of a church! A man of the Lord, a kind, respectable man, and a

04:34 PM #
damned good-looking one at that, out there on my beat. It made me feel proud.

04:35 PM #
...But mostly THREATENED. I thought, "What if he's better than me?"

04:35 PM #
Alas, dear friends, he simply wasn't.

04:36 PM #
His argument over Leviticus was a tactical error. Mr. Angry was quite prepared on this point: very knowledgeable about the Old Testament,

04:38 PM #
especially the judgment- and punishment-related parts. His face softened a bit, and he made a flawed, but surprisingly reasonable-seeming

04:39 PM #
case about Leviticus' condemnation of Onanism, even allowing -- and this surprised me! -- even allowing for the fact that some of this might

04:41 PM #
be open to interpretation. The Reverend Casual-Neat was disappointing in his response: tepid, logically circular,

04:41 PM #
not nearly as versed in the Bible. "He must be a Unitarian," I thought.

07:19 PM #
He even misquoted one of Paul's letters to the Colossians -- misquoted badly, and it was quickly seized upon and corrected by Angry, who

07:20 PM #
had a whole mess o' Good Books on hand to prove it. The Reverend Casual-Neat had lost face. And with it, the crowd.

07:21 PM #
People were turning away from him, ready to re-focus exclusively on Angry. The cameraman, too! He had lost the Universal Eye.

07:23 PM #
Angry, emboldened by his victory, reverted to form: he got loud again, more strident, nastier. He looked like he was growing. It was scary.

07:24 PM #
And here's where I jumped into the breach, my friends. While I confess to a shameful Schadenfreude at seeing my rival the Rev go down,

07:26 PM #
I couldn't let the repellent Mr. Angry win the day. But how? Casual-Neat's strategy had failed.

07:27 PM #
And I knew less about the Bible than he did. Less than I should have, for sure. I curse my lack of preparedness. These were the BASICS!

07:27 PM #
I contemplated going home to do some studying.

07:27 PM #
But then...