Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Short Fiction--Iron John comes to Willowdale Church (ii)


Yesterday, Frank Knol, full of enthusiasm having been at a camp celebrating men and maleness, returned to his church steering committee, sure that Willowhaven Church had to change with the times. Only one member, the only woman, sort of gets what Knol is saying and thinking. 

In the second half of the story, Knol unveils his dream.
________________________        

"I think we here at Willowhaven ought to dream," Frank said. "I mean, are we so caught up in tradition that we can't change?"

"What, pray tell, is the dream?" Mona said, pulling her coat up around her shoulders.

"I didn't assume you'd like it," Frank told her. "But I want you to remember how we supported you."

"Me?" Mona said.

"Women," Frank hissed. Both hands, open palms, came up in front of him. "I propose we turn the youth room into a place for men‑‑open every night. Put a neon sign out by the basement door. A couple of tables. Short beer and wine list.

"A bar?" Mona said.

"A man wants needs a place like that, a place where everybody knows his name," Frank said.

"Cheers!" Butch said.

"Yeah, Cheers," Frank said. "A men's place."

Nausea inched up the back of Mona's throat. "You know, there are women in Cheers," she said.

"But they work there‑‑think once," Frank said. "What I'm saying is that in churches today‑‑and Willowhaven is no exception‑‑there's no place for Iron John."

"I thought he went to Westminster Pres," Butch said. "He used pitch for ‘em at least."

Frank stopped, shocked. "You mean they beat us to it?"

Mona reached over and grabbed Butch's wrist. "He's talking about the hairy man," she told him.

"The hairy man?" Butch's eyebrows furrowed. "In church? We got to have a place for a hairy man, is that it? Is that what I'm hearing here?" He wasn't angry yet, but he was well on his way to being annoyed. "We ought to have a bar down here for this hairy man‑‑is that it, Frank? Is that what you got in mind?"

“For too long, men have learned about being masculine from their mothers‑‑"

"This hairy man a preacher, is he?" Butch said.

"He's not a preacher," Frank said. "He's a prophet."

The only prophet Butch knew was Billy Graham.

"He says we have to go down into that dangerous water and bring up what we've lost‑‑we've got to rescue Iron John," Frank said.

"The hairy man," Mona corrected.

"Someone here give me a break and tell me who on earth is the hairy man?" Butch said.

Frank threw up his hands. "He's locked up in the castle, and the Queen's got the key."

"Where's the castle?" Butch said. "And what on earth does this have to do with Cheers?"

"Doesn't anyone here understand?" Frank screamed. He tried, quickly, to calm himself. "That water is feminine, see, Butch?—and we have to fight through the feminine to the Iron Man down below."

"Is this a war?" Butch said. "Are we talking war here?"

Mona put her hands up over her face.

"No!" Frank screamed. "It's the feminine in us!" he said, "not them," pointing to Mona. "The woman in you," he said, turning his finger toward Butch.

"You're saying I got a woman in me?" Butch said.

Frank stopped and sat back. He looked around—first at Alan Simpson, then at Butch, then threw a token glance at Mona, whose eyes were firmly placed on the ceiling lights. "Doesn't anyone here understand what I’m saying? We're talking major cultural movements here, and the church is‑‑as always‑‑" he stared at Butch, "Neanderthal."

Mona kept her lips sealed to avoid emitting steam. Alan Simpson was petrified, and Butch just shook his head.

"I've had it with the church," Frank said. "Ten years I've come to Willowhaven, but no one ever listens to my opinions. The place is medieval," he said. "I'm serious." He slammed his fist on the cushion. "If the church doesn't get the men, it'll be the end of civilization as we know it!"

"This hairy man," Butch said, "--what is he? He a Baptist?"

Frank's eyes fell. He pulled a hand up to his face, then stood, buttoned his coat with one hand and straightened his tie. "Listen," he said. "You're supposed to be long‑range here, aren't you? This is the planning body of this church, and I'm offering you this idea. Turn this youth room into a place for men. What better place for men than a church?‑‑that's what I'm saying. Let them come down here and find what it is they're missing‑‑"

"How is it exactly I got a woman in me?" Butch said.

Frank never skipped a beat. "What I'm saying is, take the lead here for once. Let's be a church and minister to men." He stared at Alan. "I got a vision here of the church that takes hold of culture with a vengeance in its teeth‑‑"

"That's it," Butch said. "We lost this dog somewhere in the woods. I was with you during that part."

Frank Knol closed his eyes, took a series of heavy breaths drawn deeply and with great difficulty from the pit of his soul. "Butch," he said, "it's a bloody thing for each of us to have to reach into that pond and find Iron John back again." He rolled up a fist. "But it's got to be done, and we can do it. We can take it back!" he said.

Butch grinned. "Oh, you're talking softball?" he said. "I'm tired of it too‑‑Willowhaven always gets pounded in that church league. I'm tired of that too."

That was it for Frank Knol. He stared, silently, at the ceiling, as if pleading for patience, then he raised his hands. "I'm leaving," he said, relatively composed. "I can't even talk to you. I'm taking my membership elsewhere." Without looking at any of them, he lifted his chin proudly and made an exit from the den of lions who hadn't so much as laid a paw on him.

Willowhaven, that night, lost a ten‑year member.

Once Frank was out of the youth room, Mona exhaled so deeply that the picture of the missionary family on the bulletin board across the room trembled visibly on its single tack.

"Did you understand any of that?" Butch asked her. "I didn't catch a word." He shook his head as if clearing his vision. "What I want to know is‑‑where on earth did that guy go skiing?"

The End

4 comments:

oakleyses said...

jordan pas cher, louboutin pas cher, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet online, tiffany and co, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin outlet, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, air max, uggs on sale, nike free, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, replica watches, jordan shoes, longchamp pas cher, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors pas cher, tiffany jewelry, oakley sunglasses wholesale, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin shoes, louis vuitton outlet, nike outlet, christian louboutin uk, nike air max, gucci handbags, tory burch outlet, nike air max, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, prada handbags, polo ralph lauren, replica watches, nike free run, ugg boots, prada outlet, polo outlet, burberry pas cher, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, sac longchamp pas cher, chanel handbags, longchamp outlet, nike roshe, oakley sunglasses

oakleyses said...

sac vanessa bruno, michael kors, ralph lauren uk, kate spade, nike blazer pas cher, burberry handbags, lululemon canada, nike tn, coach purses, north face, coach outlet, vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, uggs outlet, sac hermes, timberland pas cher, coach outlet store online, converse pas cher, replica handbags, hogan outlet, hollister pas cher, guess pas cher, mulberry uk, nike air max uk, michael kors outlet online, uggs outlet, nike air max, nike air force, true religion jeans, burberry outlet, ray ban pas cher, north face uk, michael kors outlet, michael kors, ray ban uk, oakley pas cher, new balance, michael kors outlet, nike air max uk, michael kors outlet online, polo lacoste, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike roshe run uk, hollister uk

oakleyses said...

herve leger, lululemon, reebok outlet, ferragamo shoes, wedding dresses, louboutin, longchamp uk, gucci, converse outlet, new balance shoes, mont blanc pens, nike air max, celine handbags, nike roshe run, hollister, nike trainers uk, p90x workout, beats by dre, mcm handbags, converse, nfl jerseys, instyler, nike air max, ralph lauren, valentino shoes, hollister, ghd hair, giuseppe zanotti outlet, abercrombie and fitch, vans, iphone cases, nike huaraches, baseball bats, vans outlet, hermes belt, chi flat iron, hollister clothing, babyliss, asics running shoes, oakley, soccer shoes, north face outlet, ray ban, mac cosmetics, timberland boots, bottega veneta, jimmy choo outlet, soccer jerseys, north face outlet, insanity workout

oakleyses said...

canada goose jackets, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, ugg pas cher, hollister, doudoune moncler, ugg, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, moncler, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, replica watches, moncler outlet, moncler uk, barbour, juicy couture outlet, barbour uk, lancel, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, swarovski crystal, pandora charms, louis vuitton, marc jacobs, moncler outlet, moncler, louis vuitton, swarovski, pandora uk, karen millen uk, canada goose outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, moncler, ugg uk, montre pas cher, toms shoes, moncler, supra shoes, links of london, canada goose uk, wedding dresses, canada goose, canada goose, thomas sabo, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, coach outlet