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The Cold 2 (an ephemera story)

parking pass

They left the car with James, so his namebadge said. 20? 17? Young, with just a handful of years of driving to his credit, to be sure. Maybe he likes getting paid to drive lots of fancy cars. Only fancy cars got valets. Poor people couldn’t afford going to places that needed valets. They had to park their cars on their own, just like every other thing they had to do in their lives.

Janice and Bill didn’t have a fancy car. It wasn’t even theirs. A 1987 Ford Festiva, faded brown. The rust spots blended in well, and they were small. It belonged to the community, same as everything else. Share and share alike. Even their clothes were community property. Everybody gave what they could and borrowed what they needed.

There was a truck, and a van, and a handful of sedans in the parking lot at the Ranch along with some smaller cars. The keys were in the ignition of every one, ready for anyone who needed them. There was no fence, or a gate around the lot. If any neighbor, not officially part of their community, wanted to borrow one, they could. They never did. They were always invited to Friday supper at sundown, and Sabbath morning services in the barn, but they never came.

The car was just enough for the mission. Not too big, not showy. It was reliable and didn’t call attention to them. That was important right now. They needed to blend in, invisible.

Tonight was the opening of The Nutcracker. Plenty of people, plenty of excitement. It wouldn’t take long to do what they came for. High emotions made the viruses act faster. Calm people didn’t get sick. Everybody at the Ranch prayed for at least four hours of every day just to keep their spirits in the right place. Well, that, and to get the Messages.

A Message came to Zeke last week. They were to focus on public performances next, no more hospitals. They had to send a Message that such goings-on were sinful because it took away from studying the Word. What would the LORD think if He came and found them all laughing and going on, not on their knees in prayer, but giving standing ovations to some singer or actor? Who of them had ever healed a blind man or raised to girl from death? Not a one. Why did they deserve applause for their “work”? The LORD never got applause. He got ridicule and death. It was time to reset all their priorities, give them all a mental adjustment.

Two by two they went out, some to the ballet, some to the movie theater, some to a play. They had their pamphlets and their plagues. Sure, they prayed for everyone there, that they would turn from their sinful, self-serving ways. They would die either way, saved or not.


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