Sûrah XL
THE BELIEVER
"But their faith could not avail them when they saw Our doom."

40
ONE LESS GOOD CHRISTIAN

Distorted by Auntie Daisy Jane's thick spectacles are reflections:

  • sit-coms

  • soaps

  • commercials

  • midday movies

  • news at noon

  • et.al.

in random, silent juxtaposition (she has turned the volume off)—remote-control affixed (with rubber bands) to her easy chair's armrest. Bored, she hums. She pokes the buttons like a blind musician, fingering an accordion; virtuoso of the LCD, Auntie makes the pictures jump, creates a montage as she skips around, her voice the sole accompaniment, entertained more by her power to choose than by any program watched, while disenchanted less with visuals than with ear-offending sounds: the lies, the tasteless jokes, the simpering banter—crude in her assessment—are a testament to the fact that evil is as evil does and those who call their actions "Christian" misconstrue the term.

Jesus was a pacifist, Auntie Daisy Jane insists, and therefore would not countenance most of Man's behavior. Nor would He condone the Bible's primal lust for blood—Exodus and Leviticus notorious for "put to death" denouncements. From "whosoever doeth work on the Sabbath" to "whosoever lieth with a beast," Exodus doth impose a sentence of execution. And Leviticus 20 [9 though 27] lists several more transgressions that require the ultimate penalty for "adulterers and adulteresses" onto "familiar spirits and wizards" (these latter two, evidently, gone extinct).

A draught bestirs the lace of Aunties' ragged antimacassars. Perchance a door has opened of itself, no doubt downstairs, where an apartment has been vacant for as long as she... correction: her nephew and that foreign fellow just moved in below...

"A man also lieth with mankind, as he lieth with a woman" is a capital offense according to Leviticus—Joey's topsy-turvy therefore of concern.

DAISY JANE

"Joleena," Joey calls himself. Confused, that boy is. Troubles me. God does not play tricks upon His flock, not pranks like these. A boy's a boy; a girl's a girl; there should be no two ways about it.

Game show, talk show, true confession, kid's cartoon, an infomercial pass in rapid-fire succession. Deaf and dumb, the tableaus wink—projected upside-down in Auntie's half-moon bifocals.

DAISY JANE

Satan's work. To take a soul as sweet as Joey's is and tweak it... makes me wonder. We are all of us God's creatures; why confound our basic needs? "Judge not lest ye be judged." Good counsel.  "Love thy neighbor as thyself." But show some common sense; our privates were meant for procreation. Babies are the upshot, when a couple couples properly.
Who's that listening?

Auntie cocks her right ear... then her left... detects no noise... other than 'white' noise: outside traffic, inside fridge, the kitchen clock with its tick-tick-tick... (peripheral vision all but blocked by her high-backed chair).

DAISY JANE

"Love," they say, "is blind." A Christian ought to love completely. Doctor King held Christians, White and Black, to their namesake's gentle code. Killed him for it. Typical. Why does violence trump the peaceable?

Sure her words are overheard by someone, Auntie—sideways—leans, suspects a presence just behind her yet espies none, settles back, assumes an apprehensive posture as her spinal column stiffens, as her intuition yields to proof; the headrest sighs. Fists bracket it. Fingers dent the imitation leather deeply, jointly squeak, provoke their quarry to intone a hymn intended to ward off evil,  lyrics uttered with a frail (if steadfast) quaver.

DAISY JANE

♫Rock of Ages cleft for me,
Let me hide my...♫

Palms to cheeks / a sudden twisting motion / SNAP!