Most of the morning sunlight was spent by the time the first cup of coffee was poured.
Jeremy stretched his arms, grabbed air as he opened and closed his fists. A long, wide yawn engulfed his face. He had been up most of the night reading and generally considered dawn more the beginning of sundown than the start of a new day.
George The Cat picked a delicate path from one corner of the kitchen table to the other. No one tsk-tsked him away.
Lori leaned across the table toward Jeremy and placed a plate of steaming hot pancakes in front of him. As she rose slightly from her chair, his eyes drifted up toward her cleavage.
She wore the sheerest gossamer top beneath which her nipples stood upright and firm with the chill late-morning air. She sat next to her boy friend, Murry, who had nailed her twice last night.
“Mmmmmm. Those look good enough to eat,” Jeremy said.
“Eyes off mah woman,” Murry responded in mock anger. His mouth was full and a few pancake crumbs flew from his lips as he made a mad slap at Jeremy’s knuckles with his fork.
Mike, another roommate, groggily ambled into the room wearing just a pair of pajama bottoms. Silently, he filled a cup from an urn on the counter as Cathy followed behind. She, too, plucked a mug from the shelf, held it out to Mike for filling. She wore Mike’s matching pajama top and nothing else.
Although the breakfast area was beginning to get crowded, not every member of the household had arrived. There were four sleeping areas in the three-bedroom house including an attic inhabited by the reclusive Thor.
The doorbell rang.
Steaming hot cup to lips: “I’ll get it,” said Mike who was nearest the living room door. He returned a moment later trailing two young men who each carried a leather flap-top briefcase under their arms.
“Hey, look what I found, guys,” Mike said with a wide grin and unrestrained pleasure in his voice. “I don’t think they’re selling anything,” he said brightly.
“Yah, they are,” said Murry who rocked his head backward to emphasize his point. Mike, on the other hand, looked at the newcomers with what can only be described as absolute glee.
Nearly the same age as their hosts, the two contrasted sharply with the members of the household. The young men were dressed identically in black two-piece suits, white shirts, thin black ties, shiny black shoes. Both wore their blondish hair short, very like a crew cut only slightly longer and each held what looked suspiciously like a bible in their right hand. Alike in so many ways, one distinguishing characteristic differentiated them from one another: the color of their eyes. Bright blue irises versus deep brown.
“Do join us in our cozy corner of the world,” Mike said as he swept his hand toward two vacancies at the table. He remained standing. “I’m pretty sure you don’t want coffee, but a glass of orange juice perhaps?”
Quick nod of yes from Blue Eyes as Brown scrutinized Mike, Murry, then Jeremy, Cathy and finally Lori who was already reaching behind her inside the refrigerator for the juice pitcher.
The proselytes were used to abuse and such hospitality was unusual, one might say unorthodox. Brown was not without distrust. This was the twentieth door they had knocked on that morning and the first at which they had been able to speak more than two words of greeting. Being in Service to the Lord was not without its trials. But when Mike pulled open the unlocked entrance and Brown Eyes delivered his warm greeting, introduced himself and his companion, he had been startled, almost bewildered by the response.
“Great to meet you guys,” Mike’s hand shot out to grab and shake each in turn furiously, sincerely. “Come in, come in. We’re just sitting down to eat. You’ll have a captive audience.”
And, they did, indeed. No one got up to leave when, after initial introductions, Brown plunged into his rote description of the sorry state the world was in and began to correlate this with passages from Revelations. He opened his Good Book and directed their attention to Prophecies where, after pausing to glance around the room, his eyes straying back to the two women, said: “Balac has been taught to cast stumbling blocks before his children such as adultery.”
Cathy and Lori looked blank. Neither woman considered that the comment might be directed at them.
“In John we read the prophecy and learn that the time is at hand,” Brown intoned.
“My personal favorite is the Alpha and Omega part,” Murry said sotto voice to Lori. “It’s coming up.”
“I am the Alpha and Omega, beginning and the ending saith the Lord,” Brown continued without countenancing Murry who suppressed a smirk, nudged Lori in the ribs.
“Then John talks of repentance and to do the first works,” Blue eyes piped up. He was obviously trying to curry favor from his cohort, but the comment sounded half-hearted at best.
“Ah, Caliban speaks,” Jeremy muttered. Brown Eyes talked tirelessly for perhaps ten minutes straight without further interruption from the household. The dishes were cleared away, the sink piled high by the time he invited them to begin bible study classes, perhaps around this very table.
Jeremy knew the bible thumpers were trying to close the deal and, before his housemates had an opportunity to respond, said: “The object of that would be?” The question dangled in the air.
“In order to save your mortal souls,” Brown replied with complete equanimity.
“But as I understand it, your faith says only a certain number will be saved,” said Mike. “There are a limited number of soul tickets available, right? Twelve times twelve times twelve.”
“I see you’ve talked with some of us before,” said Brown whose distrust was about to be legitimatized. “But it is times twelve five times,” he corrected Mike.