Her new room wasn’t ready yet when she returned to the Inverness. That was just fine, she told Jordan, shivering in waterlogged clothes. She left the lobby and went past the bar, which was unmanned and off-limits by way of red suede stanchions. Teeth chattering, she poured herself two coffees in the self-serve lounge and tried to do a little work.
Nothing from her boss. No email. No check-in. No “don’t bother coming in Monday.”
Between refills of the hot motor oil the café had to offer, she began researching funeral parlors. Most were closed, unavailable to book.
Like the dead had nowhere to go, either.
Continue reading “Accommodations, Pt. 2”
It’s been three weeks since the debate at Radio City Music Hall.
And tonight, Benjamin Dunwoodie hugs a beach pail with his thighs and dry heaves into it. Only a thimbleful of bile plops out into the bucket. There isn’t much left in him; he hasn’t been the same since Tanzania.
“I am certain you understand our… disappointment.” Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 12)”
XIV. …And Be Content with What You Have
Three years before the Tanzania affair, Gideon Dodd thanked the man at the hardware store as he dropped two copies of a key into the preacher’s hand.
He paid for the discounted wood scraps in his cart — they’d make nice whittling — and turned onto the road that led out of the city.
In his two-seater sports car, he wound up and down hills, listening to contemporary Christian music, humming along. About twenty minutes away from the nearest gas station, he turned onto a gravel drive and led up a steep incline into an unpaved parking lot. He parked, put on the emergency brake, and stepped out into the muggy summer air.
Breathing it in, he smelled lilac and fresh-mown grass.
Whistling, the wind ruffling his collar and short sleeves, Gideon walked past a weathered and cracked sign reading CHRIST SANCTUARY NON-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCH. While he tucked his aviators into his breast pocket, he didn’t even look at the rented yard banner that said WELCOME AND GOD BLESS OUR NEW PASTOR, G DEON D0DD. Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 11)”
VII. Therefore My Harp Is Tuned to Mourning
In America, five years before Gideon Dodd would don the very same outfit to honor his deceased wife, he straightened a black tie and practiced a somber punim in the mirror of his grandiose dressing room. A woman at the mahogany door spoke to him as though she didn’t see he was wearing headphones. But she saw.
Most would not have even registered the brief flicker of Dodd’s eyes up, left, and back down to the silky wad in his fumbling hands. But Maria Gutierrez was more observant than most. She knew he saw her. She knew he recognized her. Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 10)”
III. Weep Bitterly for Her Who Goes Away
Six days after Gideon Dodd’s sermon about Truth — and about his wife Tamera’s infamous interview with Maria Gutierrez (not yet Stenson) — he returned home late from an elders’ meeting.
He was hungry. He was thinking about playing catch with his boy, maybe, after dinner. (Not that James had yet caught anything, or thrown much.)
Humming a hymn, he opened the door on an empty house. In houses as big as Gideon Dodd’s, emptiness like that can almost be a punch in the gut.
There was a note. Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 9)”