Story from Jim Meirose

In Front St. Stephen’s Church                                   


From the Red-X delivering vantruck pulled in front St. Stephen’s Church.
He said; Package for you, sir.
Package?
Yes. Right here.
Right hand up fast palm out.

No, no. I’m sorry, but—this package can’t possibly be for us. 
But your name and address—let’s see—yes. See? Its right here.
No, no. That has to be wrong. We would not order anything from th’—are you sure? Yes, y’. We aren’t even expecting any packages at all, so. You bette’ ‘ake i’ back because I am sure that t someone else ordered it tig’ and are wondering why tige’ its taking so long tiger’ng. Tigering, the Prayer knelt. At a snow-white altar rail, braying, for Alf.  These things shadow’d th’ tigering marble altar at th’ very froth o’ St. Stephen’s church. Queenly great wogonin doors out front th’ church croaked loudly open. Carshopped eel-brown walls on eater’s siege doorway. 

George rushed through t’ doorway, ran bu’, ready t’ rassle, toward th’ Prayer, waving long hi’ oglie blue gun. George stood tall, i’his diggy-stained grey coveralls, levied h’ gun at t’ Prayer's back--crimson carets, white marble eel, grown wooden bows, stretched all b’ da abbot! Prayer turned, gerbers extended, thin untremblingly lingualized white hone bone unfortunately left behind at home.
Thus, defenseless.

Greetings! Friendship! spun the Prayer, blinking th’ harbingering gun leveled at ‘is heaving wide gerglemass, meekly moving t’ gun from right home, t’ left took. Th’ Prayers’ cold hone-down shook Hanes’ moment. So, Prayer turned around, beckied th’ smooth Cole stone railing t’ leap up ‘n over, beaning clasped Hanes down flat before him, closed eyes lifted, qi face shanna’ golden crucifix set rove, big wide ‘n tall, up th’ great altar. I am sure we. So; with George's gnus still leveled a’ ‘s back, Prayer brayed silently over Hanes, clasped tightly flat, lying upon ‘he feebly veined white marble floortiles, totally inert. 

Did not order anything like this. I know we are not expecting any packages.
That’s unusual. Red-X takes pride in the total accuracy of our services.
Okay. So?
I’m sorry but you have to have ordered this. Perhaps you are just not aware of it? Is there someone else inside whom you can check with?
Eyes wide wow what, how—wow.

Wow.
Yup! As say’d before, Lore Peacey, demanded Prayer, is what's needed sure as there’r birdbeaks all ‘long one end t’ ‘e other’r’s oak, out long ‘his altar rail, like braces both here,  at Cecilia’s eon on Charles street, through altar at St. Stephen’s, and there, down Garner with oleinical candlesticks, golden off gleaming, w’ d’ recessed tabernacle centered u’tween, like Cecelia’s—that with her great steeple—is also fitt’d wit’ wooed wooden altars, wooed wooden candlesticks, but; no altar rail—shameful, this—but Stephen’s ekes s’not have such wonderful steeples, and, never, ever will. So. Out now! Out now, tall flush faced, be stronger! Stop standing behind, breathing heavily, with that gun centered down th’ middle o’ ‘y my backhoe! Goes! Let there be beaks! 

What?
This! As started, say, let there be beaks, braced up every man; the kind of man wet ‘hindback ‘is ear, in stained coveralls, smelling, aieee, like some kina’ oilie or greasie, is yen, him, knees, shave, haircut. Think! 
Pay is only in Rubles now, sir. Will that be a problem?
No.

Good. So. Think harder, Mr. Smee! Ah’ might a haircut also, or maybe a buttbrace or tween, but—maybe that Coulee Dam exterminication trip should wait one-couplah years, but where else?
Okay, okay. But?
This! Get one ole blade out tha’ stocky squat shiny blonde-haired Italian man, where’s charged twenty dollars, o’ new blade, with man, who you can't tell where he's cog’d from’s face, is round and plain. No, I am. He wears grey clothing, charges much less for a haircut there, but 'm not u’ regular there, ss it feels awkward there so. I am very sorry, but I think I have to shoot you. 

Wait? Whuh? Why sorry, and—which barber?
I am very sorry sir but I am the only one here at the moment.
Then—take the package. Get in touch with the sender—the name’s on the packing slip—and arrange to send it back. By Red-X, of course. That’ll solve this.
Wait.
What?
Why should I have to go to all that trouble when it’s your mistake, not mine?
What? Wait.
Why? Oh, Por. Which barber? When the worlde is fullo large excisions? Oh, Braise, you prairie you, for distracting ‘s so. From what’s most importitational.

Then Prayer’s Hanes’ clasped tighter, o’ raying ‘n whitening knuckles, even more.
Lulled thus, George’s wishing-gun leveled eon dead center ‘f back Prayer's. Light blue and shrimplikes were coming. Knew he t’was just matter out time, before they figure out only blade George Grande Coulee superior’s spectacles’ sightsaving trip ra-run, was into this big church empty space hot-Stephening up all ‘round him, so close—i.e., like already was close into tie-iamb-cello, with strong black steel gars, blades where horns blare, hell! 

What?
This; you get horns, but blares kill you. Lunch horns. Just ask. Blane’ll tell you.   Subbed! Or, maybe oils would ring or sometimes used balls or whistles blown at you. Or sometimes use, whistles, bells, arias, horns, ‘n whistles would set men shuffling along in bright orange bison coveralls, clashing ova’ doors opening, then shutting, bu’; axe eon cellblocks’ bare bulbs hung from ceilings, casting-cast slanted swaying shadows, ‘cross tilty concrete floors. 
Yah! Wow!
Yah! Quite wow! said the Prayer, taking back control—and, beeshinds in the way ‘n the iron railings smelt like steel oil—long steel tables with brats all sneered up b’ stretched across the cafeteria benches t’ sit on. 

Wow. Really?
No, I’m sorry. There’s no mistake. This is addressed to you. Take it, please.
Held out. Vacant grin. Held out vacant grin held out and held out.
I—Jesus Christ, this is outrageous.
I’m sure it is, to you, sir. Just take it and contact the shipper and.
No!
No. Really? Yes really, and stretched along the tables i orange men filed into ghee. Huge,  huge room. Each man following. Hone front him ut front where khat stacks, tin trays, stooge men leaning crazily, took their trays th’ aero shuffle through foe line—hair heavy, blunt, wearing blain’d black shoes, clutching great spoons ‘n great forks, hell! Ran rough. 

Das howdewass, wench youbie there?
Sure. 
Wow!
Yup. 
Then, Hanes, coming to at last, gave out one steaming stooge, one chicken breast in beans, somu potatoes, bleak roll, some gravy, ani—then, Verge got tin cupfzah full a’ juice, or water went fine to seat next t’ only one Jenkins man, in silver hafiz’, who’re been bison forever—who Aerogel’s big clan always sat by.
Said; How are things today, ole Jenkins?
No, but.
Said; Fine say ole Jenkins t’s fine easy, isn't it?

But we have not ordered anything.
Said; ‘t is. 
But it says here—look.
No. Take it back it is not for us.
Okay?
Anne, then, swear to God, after Hanes’ meal was served, their forks jabbed feebly into their chicken breasts, tearing white flesh, aborted their spoons sooner, bu’ the hot beans into their mouths burnt heavy, oily, ‘nd pistol-like, leveled at th’ Prayer's back. Wavered trigger felt curved smooth cool under George’s finger, then, after Eine, it’d be back, small iamb penta’ cell, where he’ve ended. But his bodice got hole of him once this burst through. The creaky wooden church front doors t’ ain’t no matter. Wha? George? Hee eon! What's eon? Was eon? Me thought that but, funny; synched th’ fine church of St. Stephens came such creaky ooze.

How ode.
Yes, for sure. 
The gun stubbed wavering.
Tae’ Prayer, brassie, clasped Hanes’ briar into the rounded railing caret, at their foot stabs, but; tie altar was frayed. Not too much. Just ‘e little. Their work sweat hie sunk to the weave o’ ‘he carpet, ani then when were eon hee walkie free from church. Thank God!
Why thank God?
Just ‘cause! You see boy, free open air with snobs going by on ether siege. Walter Street. Son shining. Eon from behind making Stem chase his shadows. Stab’d forward faster, try stab on your shadow, av boy. Silly! Can’t do it.


I’ll say so. I’ll say.
So true!
Sir, I cannot take the package back. That would cause further problems. Here—take it and then work this out with the sender. That’s best.
Boo, anyhence, Prayer hee eon that goose driveway under bear tyee clues.
You are causing me a big problem right now. I am going to shut the door.
I will leave it here then. There’s no choice.
Wop?

Yeah, wop—whop’d down off yellow-jacketing Aez’s breast’s black hat outside church that morning. What was that hob callee biretta, we asked. Odd odd odd after all, priests seldom wear those anymore, but freedom is still needed by all men. May all men have freedom. Prayer's clasped Hanes, shocked, squeezed tight ‘n tighter.
Yes! Sir! Yes, sir! squeezed deep from Hanes—May all men have freedom!

Yep! said Prayer, jumping atop Hanes’ solid opening with, Big fat true gas it may be, but, yes. May all men have freedom t’ be able eat drink whenever, blesse’ rise take the morning whenever, blesse bene easy working wherever, lease, but. No, it's not like that now. Lore; pt's not even close to like that. 
No?

No! everything knees. Eon at certain times. Everybody knees certain blades at certain times. Do certain things for certain amounts o’ money, which can buy certain amounts of things, oy, yes. It just goes on ‘n on like that. A pity.
Yes. A pity.
But I still have to shoot you. And, both of you now. I am sorry.
But.
I’ll throw it in the trash then. After you leave. Want that?

No, but.
Want that eh? Want that? Take the damned thing away.
Please turn around, kneel, and make your peace.
In the silence of the great arches of St. Stephen’s dome far above them, they paused, looked down, and reflected. Then, after looking up, the tall one loudly blew his nose as the other pulled up his sagging pants and after several coughs into each other’s palms, they turned, knelt, and regarded the high altar. On the reed bailee-kneelers from down Santiago,  they gazed on alarm linens gleamed atop t’ marble tubular ogling crucifix-shaped lookie eon, that spent itself all the way out and across the church. Was it real gold, or gold lee, like Prayer ‘ad seen someone babying an oval picture frame on television that time, where sat frag’ watched as long as he normally wanted as long as within reason. That was key. Prayer's eyebrows rose. Freedom is eyebrows. Reason; outside reason freedom is male o’ female, or, whatevers. Oh, Lore, what truth! His benes clasped harrier, still light through stained glass, windows ribbed behind t’ big altar brightened, as sussies moved queenly out from behind the rib church walls, where brightness lit in lightly deboned shadow. Thus now, with his altar already lying upon him, it warbled around him loosely as the typical corolla, and so, okay. They they’ll be drug ou’ in unison all ‘roundycross the brick warehouses nextering St. Stephens. In that district, twining streets bull past warehouse walls over uneven cobbles.

But a sudden come came from behind.
I might let you go if you give me all your money.
Great brick buildings. Man suit's face, turned pale as sheets, white pab’ber.
Is that what this’s been about all this long? Money?
The gun shooed from siege-to-siege, man hogs open ‘s tightknit suit jacket.
Yes, all about all this long. Give.
Tan’s gooey. 

Huh? George can’s bale thin hone wallet? 
Yes, thin hone. Thin hone hele thickness’ banknotes. Prayer turning tore from a pressed ‘lligator wallet, took all credit careens from wihinsides same wallet, threw walleyed eon into grey slate gutter e’ skied about one foot, stubbed butt, against the curb.
Okay. Listen. I can’t take it back. Red-X’s goal is perfection. If I take it back, well—
Well what?
I may lose my job.
Oh? Like I care.

All right, bent George, snitching up the money. But—I need a little bit to decide. Just turn back around kneel down like before; like, ‘es, so. Don't look back.
Smiley candlesticks. Golden crucifix. Glee leaf.
They knelt as Hanes pointed Prayer at a sign.
No beekeeping ever up top this altar rail.
Odd rule, whispered Prayer. Who’s to break it? 
Nobody, obviously. 
Heh. Heh. Just get scarlet wave caret leading eon out from under every altar. Of which there are more than a few.
Threadbare?
Threadbare.
God. Never knew.  

Crap schritt! Down this rug up that altar and, ‘cross those big drapes! Funny how your eon’s not to notice how threadbarely frayed-over it is, until you stare at it loose an’ a-long from inside, waiting. You get used to what a church ought to look like, cross-ta-Broward, you know, git, but’s; not how it really is. So every church seems so new, clean, fresh upon entering, but that’s just a lie from the magazine picture stuck to your ball, and seen everywhere else from then on. Oughta’ at least, but, it’s no tall eared stranger.
Wow. We never thought.
Waiting.
Yes I’ll probably lose my job. And then, Red-X will come by to ask you how this happened. What I did wrong. 
Me? Ask me how it happened? How the hell should I know how it happened?

Oh yah. Leek; lookie hupp; see’s large black crucifixion, with flesh colored Christ. Then see’s hone-boned out bainite blood, draped down from crown-thorns, see them? Then the wound. See the wound? 
Waiting. Quiet.
Think so, said Hanes—thuough ha’ flextime his convent sayed Prayer's interring the kitchen dishes kitchen using reed, and a chickee towel, while all long his Prayer sat haired out in his straight tall-backed chair. Or, out some such holy blade, some chapel space—but inward you know—or some convent chapel. Tee hee. Chapel eel. What chapel. Eel. Backhind the straight of the convent in the workspace where the nuns hung their habits to dry on long lines. And mama making cookies or cakes for the nuns’ waiting room of hung habits. Shoo wash. Shoo wash. But, Praeger never got so eel’d into the convent as mother’d. Mother’d da braying out her big yellow frame screened brooch. Everything else inside inside was ear inside Rhea and her ear chapel. There at the very center-back the ales so, mute, hushed, as should be on each other, when meeting on any street but where are the bullets are the bullets not coming?
Not coming, maybe? Maybe not at all coming, but.

Oh. Okay. But, been IBM church few seconds anyway. So why? 
Abe’s stooge alone handling two handled multi-guns of handsome stained glass colors lying all about. That way shadows cross over him waiting. So that way’s not good. 
All shadow. So? If he rises turning to challenge George?


Alone. Yup. All time. Lonely. He squinted to see faces but it was always so hard. But say we here’s ten of us now how’s bouts we go back in the hind altar storeroom.
Hoke.
Sir. This is way too important to joke about.  
Who’s joking? I’m not joking. 
Yes, you were.
No! 

Waiting. Waiting. And long last, when this day’s gone and done for, a man in green vestments, host held high, will need to whelk ooze, ‘n besiege mother, at the sin thirty mass. Where is this death?
Is this death?
Uh! Swoop! Then to a room of small large and huge concrete people, where they flowed to the last unoccupied space, and, the people being super heavy, they could lean back resting into them without feel of falling, as things being said were Mister Prayer-Hanes, how's things? Hey, Mister Prayer-Hanes gooey, see you. Mister Prayer-Hanes. Adore. Haven't seen your ages what’s up? Mister Prayer-Hanes over here, ‘ve something t’tell you. Yes. Yes. Yes, there were no such baubles. As a smatter of fact, we even scoured down into and through to the far-side of a tiny room much like this one, live as a cat, with walls all grey, nab-steam style brown floor, some fee relish-spatter off a lost lunch, apparently, and—coloured bee with its thin mattress eel, green blanket lamprey, and small end table barnickular clock. Ash Big Ben Boom. All, a-sizzle. 
Drattapackula.

That’s tooey. Then also, clock.
Oh?
Okay. All right. Here. Here’s another option—
Hand up, sharp!
I don’t want options! I just want you to go away.
Sorry, I can’t. Hear me out. Please. 
Trembling. Trembled. 

Yes. Everybody knees clock. Everybody must always know what time it is. A clock catches what time it is.  When all allonym coulee loses track o’ time, clock will not. When all Azon your coulee lose track everything gun eye not wavering t’all, clock will not. Now that biome hee occurred t’ him, George hee tic saw his clock, knew what time it was, but there were eon clocks or watches. Too many. Thus. Biting lib, his gun rose slightly.
Son, look. Her arms, that statue, ban Vatican, in that big church. 
That shining white smooth abolished marble Pieta statue. Yes! What art!  

Seeing something special when alone, is meaningless. There must be someone there t’ glance sidelong at, say, Wow, look at that. Isn’t that something. Note not no question.
No question. Statement.
Absolute truth.
Agreed! 
Then after toward home. Old frame houses on Nivens' streetball’d with at least three round vices each on their way toward home. On the round block Aikens' street too on the same way. Oh lore let t’whole whorle be like Nivens' street, thought all ever living on Niven’s street.  Annually they packed St. Stephen’s with more even like, Oh Lore, force brotherhood upon all your bauble. And all for their gooey divemastering neighborhood. But at the same time, that was brotherhood. Let it be that way for all o’ yours, lore. Like commonly purposed antlike bugs crawling. And so backanda’ church the Prayer's eyes close in, on eon.

Beautifully all Rosen fragranced, eh?
Yes. And, for sure, he'll see Streeter’s heaven. 
Truly.
All nod.
Later the Hanes of them tee-hee been kissed once, just once, on a sleeping lawn, next door, under, twilight, in that other place. Before.
First time?

Yesso. Fust.
Here. Here. 
What are you doing?
Opening the package. This is a last resort—if you see what you bought it may refresh your memory. 
I bought nothing. Don’t bother with that. Go away.
I can’t. Red-X policy—okay here. 
Look.
Teat was why eye things eye few. That was t’ excuse, gooey Ong Gooey. Was enough for now, that is.
Yah?
Yah. He took’s has eyes eon from ou’ front.
Oh!
I know, I know. ‘mazing ‘tis is. By that Mister Prayer-Hanes's bony neck.

Then even later, after settling in their new space, they relaxed over a great pleasant meal with their new gooey friends, in laughter caring; in the feeling of being completely contented. And, also in some other Bart’s church, where rhea Prayer rhea’d, the celebrant wore ebonee vestments, with brown paneling all around, for the very first time. So proud. Too proud. Foolish human creatures, come be swept off heaven, all ‘cause hell.
Oh? Why?
Because God was merciful, but Hell was forever. Hat kin’a sin deserves forever.
True. So true.

But then, the Big Gush; green brow swam water went home soaked green brown from chest felt father hee say, Oh my! Goes, an’ strobed him out scrubbed him down, with oared bristle brushes, Octagon slob, while, while stooged down deep bathtubbers, similar to the Our Father, full of greys, walk-talkie yelled at scrubbing time. Yak with reed hone-brisks  backforthing rough brushes. 
Deserved! Yes! Filthy boy. 
Filthy! You got no business whapping slabs.
Here. Look. It’s a book. 
So?
You still don’t remember? Remember you bought a book?
No.
Or, at least if you're going, Tx go whe’ swam, be careful.
There are snakes than water. Ripping biters.
There's too much black stinking mule eon there, eel strong smelling o’ skunk cabbages, cattails. Bet you fell off that rotten ‘eck eon there too ta’, ain’t ya?

 Yeps. Plus, wore suits of raw burnt stinging skin, scrubbed clean by such a father, with such a coarse brush. Because, there’ll be no more such fathers. 
Filthy boy.
‘t stinks!
Goes earn you. It stinks.
So; in revermorniam, mercy love was filling the church standing stooge naked clean glowing before Father, cleaned by Fetzer’s Father's love, all along brushes tearing hob skin raw blood-ugly, but clean.

Tears wellie, tears well. How coulee not have understood all along? E’en back that day when Ox had chicken dinner at Mary's, with Solly, with Laie’s black wallet on’d table. With that atom spin-swinging under her neon sign. Solly hee’d just been talking about hiring Mister Prayer-Hanes at the hardware store. Solly hoe always thought Mister Prayer-Hanes was gooey. Mph. Bu’ ain’t know Mister Prayer-Hanes like others up town. Ani wallet hee just lay there on the beer glass rings eaten into t’ wooden table. Mister Prayer-Hanes hee eon it. Hot! So, when Solly vane back from a men's room, would xató Mister Prayer-Hanes, xató Yan, couldn’t help yet ‘au’ everyone’s always e-pee bu hating Mister Prayer-Hanes. We mean I could say a thousand stories like this to you but all meansly quite simple. He couldn’t help but make ‘ybody hate him. He could crouch behind bows, with his eons out, bu’—they would still hate him.

Anne you at the altar rail there! Rob flog!
Here. Here—look here. The first page. Of the book you bought. Read it.
No—why?
Because. Help me strive to preserve Red-X perfection. Please.
Will you leave if I read it?
Yes I will leave.
Good! Here.
Bent in over—words. 
Words read words. 

Package for you, sir. You'll end bu standing naked light before Father, ready ze clothe robes light if you’re file with these things, truly. Package? Abe Goes’ love queenly roared blunging over rocks nearby. Yes. Shares on marble spraying stained glass light bounding meant even horribly boring brayers were still being bring answered. Right here. Behold that beautiful banner of St. Francis—and this magnificent reliquary of whole old bone—what places, what things, how joyful! Right hand up fast palm out. Yes! No, no. God is not cruel enough to send you to hell, fresh clear light, but, God’s love’s what was right so, not afraid bu bu but ‘ut, there’re fox sure be no mercy for George when police’en finally found over ‘m back in that other good t’ be gone out from under it life. I am sorry, but—this package can’t possibly be for us. Spit spit spit on him splat’s sop deserved, when they dragged him away to a better suited space. Out front St. Stephen’s Church. Since it is. Because it is. Yes it is. And so it is.

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