Really. Walking away? Really? Elder Kilham wasn’t about to let a promising contact walk away. Especially one who didn’t understand how Nacho Doritos fit in with the Word of Wisdom. It was time for some gentle persuasion and teaching; or at least landing a phone number and teaching appointment. On the other hand, Elder Rooch had moved from panic to guilty bewildered entertainment. Kill’im had completely snapped. The kid was wound up backward and overly tight and now was chasing down something that didn’t want to be caught. It was like the mouse charging the lion. It made strange, wonderful, tragic sense and he, Elder Dylan Rooch from Mesa, Arizona would be there to see the wonders of Elder Kill’im’s spiritual/physical suicide. Maybe Kill’im wanted to die in the service of the Lord. This was his jihad moment and his martyrdom. Whatever this is it’s going to be fun to watch.
The soft slap of flat-soled dress shoes follows him. What an oddly feminine sound, like Grandma hurrying across the kitchen linoleum. Focused Grandma. Grandma coming for an explanation. Mentally dropping a gear he picks up his pace. Grandma’s feet slap the wax a little faster, harder. Passing through the automatic doors he expects the rhythm to slow and fade. Nope. Only difference is the scratch of concrete instead of the slapping of waxed floor. What kind of git was this dude? There was a girl he knew in high school. She had wanted to “find her bliss” and pursued her bliss with a religious fervor. She would paddle around behind the young man she thought possessed that bliss until he would surrender said bliss not to thrill himself but to simply be left alone. Bliss Girl would then set out to burn his car to the ground or break his parent’s windows until she saw her bliss appear somewhere else. Where she picked up the term “find her bliss” was still a mystery. The question now was if Elder Kilham was going to try and light his bike on fire when he left.
“Sir?” Scratch, shuffle, scratch, shuffle; concrete on flat bottomed shoe. Elder Kilham skipped a sidestep to try and get into his field of vision. “What you say if you knew that the Lord had a living prophet on the earth right now? Would you want to know what that prophet’s message is?” Ignoring the sidestepping boy was getting difficult. The little shit was determined. The bike was parked in painted island at the end of a row, not wanting to stop traffic he paralleled the front of the store and waited for a break in traffic to cut into the parking lot proper. The kid was on the parking lot side of him now, shuffling and scooting.
A simple push would land Elder Kilham in front of a pick-up or minivan. Just a little shoulder. More like an elbow. the kid really wasn’t that big. Oops–sorry, he must have tripped. The kid was like a gnat or a mosquito buzzing alongside trying to get purchase and take a bite. Should he get swatted was the only question.
“Maybe we could stop by and meet with you this evening,” Kilham continued, “We have great message we’d love to share with you.” Kilham’s heart beats faster as the man stops. He stops. Holy smokes he’s going to give them an address and phone number. This could be a golden contact. A spirit the Lord has prepared for them. For him. In his head he was already writing his blog entry about a potential baptism. Finally, something his folks could share at church, the Lord at work in the world. Three months in and his first serious cold call investigator.
“You’re the bicycle guys right?’ It’s not the question Elder Kilham was expecting. There’s an unnatural pause. He continues, “You know, you guys ride the bikes everywhere? Book of Mormon guys–like the musical?”
Elder Kilham was stumped. Unready to answer. Elder Rooch jumped in, “Yup that’s us. Around here we get to drive a car though. Things are too spread out for bicycles.” Wary of what Kill’im might say he tried to take control of the situation. “We appreciate you paying back there. It was really very kind of you.”
Looking at Elder Rooch it appears he needs more than groceries, his eyes are sunken and have dark circles under them. Life with the little weasel was sucking him dry. Pity flows into his heart. Imagine believing God wants you to put up with this other kid. “It was very Christian of you!” Kilham chimes in looking to get the conversion process going again. “Just what a disciple of Christ would do!”
This kid was an idiot. Time for a lesson. A jacked up Chevy 4×4 pickup is rolling slowly toward them, tires grumbling, heading to the exit of the parking lot. As it starts to pass them he reaches out with his free hand and grabs Kilham by the tie and yanks. Kilham pulls back but not as far as to hit the Chevy. His tie pops off and he watches as it’s casually tossed into the bed of the passing truck. The Missionaries are speechless. It was an impossible to expect action. Kilham’s tie rides away in the back of the truck. A twenty dollar bill appears in the hand that cast off the tie. Stuffing it into Rooch’s pocket behind his name-tag he looks at the elder of the two. Dumbfounded Rooch nods and looks at Kill’im.
“Go back in and buy Junior a real tie.” Walking away there’s no look over the shoulder and no words thrown after him. Get to the bike. Get feet up and move on. Putting his lunch in his saddlebags he looks to see how the boys are. Kilham is throwing up, Rooch is smiling.