Thursday, November 25, 2004

Don't Drink the Water

Part of the main plan behind the revival meeting is that everybody in town has to be presented with the Gospel. Whether they respond or not is secondary (and the game is rigged so that few if any will), but they have to hear it. To that end, Rev. Gantt has to go around and persuade bars, restaurants, and businesses that will be open during the time of the meeting to tune in the radio broadcast (there's a financial incentive if they do). Here's what Gantt finds when he walks into Brooke Adams' bar, The Point.

A large muscle-bound man stood behind the bar, wearing a sleeveless t-shirt. The name Rudy was written above his left pectoral in laundry marker ink. As Gantt stepped up to the bar, Rudy, his voice deep but genuinely curious, said, “What can I getcha?”

“Nothing for me, actually, to drink that is. Would you happen to be the owner of this bar?”

“Nah, that’d be Brooke Adams. She’s back in the storeroom doing inventory. Want me to get her for you?”


“Sure you don’t want anything to drink? You’re looking a little flushed. Ice water?”

Gantt hadn’t been in the bar a minute and already he was sweating. He considered the offer of water, but the thought of drinking anything in a bar turned his stomach. “No thanks, I’m good.”

With Rudy gone for the moment, Gantt took his handkerchief out of his inside coat pocket and mopped his forehead and the back of his neck. As he began to put it away, he changed his mind and took the coat off entirely, laying it on the barstool beside him. He stuffed the handkerchief in his pants pocket.

An old man wearing a green flannel shirt and John Deere baseball cap stepped up to the bar beside him. The man placed an empty pilsner glass on the bar and looked up and down its length.

“Seen where Rudy went?”

“Back to the storeroom to find Ms. Adams. He should be back in a minute.”

“Thanks.” The old man looked Gantt up and down, applying the same scrutiny to him as he did the absence of the bartender. “You’re that preacher guy from the park, arencha?”

Gantt did his best to smile; the beer fumes coming off the man kept his stomach spinning. “That’s right. Coming to the main event this evening?”

“Ha!” The old man barked. “No offense, but I don’t see that happening, no sir.”

(daily word count: 1,942 words; total word count: 53,474 words; words remaining: n/a)