Thursday, December 13, 2007

One themed flash fiction by Wayne Scheer

The Kindness of an Atheist
by Wayne Scheer

Jenson DuPree peered through his living room window and spied the hunched figure of his neighbor, Miss Florence, shuffling up his walkway, a Bible in one hand and a foil wrapped package in the other.

"Shit," he muttered aloud. She's come to save my soul and raise my cholesterol. He thought of not answering the door, but knew Miss Florence lived alone and waited for him like a child eager for daddy to come home from work. Most of the neighbors, including her own family, avoided her, especially when she toted her Bible. Letting her into his home was the last thing he wanted, but offering the old woman kindness was the right thing to do.

Soon after he had moved into the neighborhood, she welcomed him with a pecan pie and an invitation to attend her church. He thanked her and told her he didn't attend church. "I don't believe in God," he said.

She turned red and began to tremble. Fearing she would pass out right there on his front porch, he invited her in and offered her a glass of iced tea.

Since then, most every evening, she appeared at his doorstep to read him a verse from the Bible, as if it were her earthly duty to save him from eternal damnation.

"Good to see you, Miss Florence," he said, opening his front door. "Please come in."

Today's offering was sweet potato pie and readings from Revelations. The passage she chose for him dealt with the nonbeliever doomed to a lake of fire and brimstone. She squinted her way through the passage, her hands shaking more than usual.

He toyed with the idea of reading to her from information he had received from the Council for Secular Humanism. Instead, he assured her she had lived a good life and didn't need to worry about hell. She allowed Jenson to pat her hand for a moment.

When she pushed herself up off the sofa to go home, Jenson saw how unsteady she was. He took her arm and walked her next door to her house.

Back in his home, he called her son who lived nearby and told him that his mother wasn't doing well. The son thanked him for the call and said he planned on stopping by over the weekend.

Jenson warmed a pot of vegetable soup and brought it to Miss Florence.

Author bio:

After teaching writing and literature in college for twenty-five years, Wayne Scheer retired to follow his own advice and write. He's published over one hundred stories, essays and poems on line and in print. Some of his flash fiction appears in flashquake, Flash Me Magazine, Shine Journal, and Poor Mojo's Almanac(k).

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