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Corners of Opportunity



The Bible-shouter group arrived too late to occupy the four corners in the heart of downtown Zenna Falls. Their weekly Saturday morning spiritual spouting spots were taken up by people seeking work. On one, stood an older man, wearing a herringbone sports-coat with leather elbow patches.

He held a sign, “Retired English professor…Willing to work under the table…metaphorically.” Another corner was covered by a man so skinny his clothes looked like they were hanging on for dear life.

His sign said, ”Will work for organic food.”

Standing on the third corner was a young couple holding guitars, with a sign held up by a music stand, “Willing to sing one Captain and Tennille song, but only one, please.”

A middle-aged looking woman without much other descriptive qualities stood at the fourth corner, holding a sign that said, “Will visit parents in nursing homes, and pretend I’m you.”

“Damn it,” said the group’s leader, under his breath, fearing his followers might take that as a signal to use wicked words. “We gotta get our anointed positions back. That’s the best spot in town to proselytize to the sinners.” One follower, who saw the situation as an opportunity to follow his real leader, his stomach, said, “Let’s pray on it over a bagel.”

The Bible-shouters, about a dozen in strength, went into the Corners Bagelry to devise a devious plan to get the four employment-seekers off their corners. They ordered plain bagels and butter. They didn’t want to be seen as being self-indulgent, like ordering the blueberry bagel with cream cheese. The group leader began to run his fingers through his white scraggly beard. As he was combing out fragments from his last supper, a devilish smile came over his face. “Brothers and sisters, I know the way.” In unison, the others cried out “Alleluia.” They often used the word “Alleluia,” as a sign of relief from not having to think outside the Bible.

“Here’s the plan,” said the leader. The others leaned in, like they were in one of their prayer huddles.

“We’ll hire the professor to sweep under the church pews.”

One follower spoke up, “Good idea, they really stink.”

“Then we’ll hire the organic food guy to clean the chicken coop, and let him eat the wild strawberries growing around it.”

“Maybe we can get the singers to play a song at the church,” said another.

“No,” said the leader. “A Captain and Tennille song would really bring down the rafters. We can’t afford the repairs. They can go with the nursing home lady and sing. Won’t matter what Captain and Tennille song they choose. The words don’t make any sense to begin with. Perfect match.”

“Who’s gonna hire the nursing home lady?” asked a follower.

The leader responded, “She can go see my Ma. We get her corner, and Ma gets her prayers answered that I’d visit someday.”


This story was written by Dan Allen, who lives in Oswego, NY, with his wife and two dogs.
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