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Jeremy, Pivot: First Step

June 1, 2017

With the exhaust of his horrendous binge drinking still on his tongue, Jeremy walked into the church that Shannon had invited him to. As he walked in, he felt a weird sense of comfort. As if a good old memory came to console him, but he couldn’t remember what it was. The building was crowded with a lot of people across a spectrum of age, with every other person wearing some sort of medieval torture device around their necks. Cruel, perhaps, but Jeremy understood that it stood for Easter or something. As he entered, people were greeting him with huge smiles and hearty handshakes. This was strange to him, he was used to people greeting him with, what he would call, a real response with no bull shit. Awkwardly, Jeremy made it inside and into a pew. He was overwhelmed and by just people greeting him with a hi and hello. He knew he was not going to have a good couple of hours. As he sat there he felt the people talking behind him, Can they have smelled the booze off of my breath? He thought to himself, Shit… He didn’t find the courage to mutter the word to himself. That’s when somebody hit him in the back of his head.

“What the fuck?” Jeremy said aloud as he receives a second blow to his head, however this time the hit was much harder.

“God’ll forgive your language, but I certainly won’t,” Shannon says playfully as she walks around the pew to sit down. “It’s good to see you showed up.”

“Felt bad I ditched last time, and I dunno…” Jeremy pauses with concern for his future.

“Don’t worry about it.” Shannon shrugs as more people start to walk in and sit down. The place was casual, nobody wore suits, but there was a statement about dressing decently. Half-ass it to God, Jeremy supposed. As he sat there he started to look at the people who were walking in, he recognized a few of the men and women from the Oak Barrel. Huh, you’re into this? He thought to himself. Then the Pastor walked in, he was the only man who was dressed to the nth degree and was wearing a microphone on his ear. The Pastor had a childlike quality to himself where the girls in high school thought he was cute, the girls in college that he was like their boyfriends, and the older women felt that he was adorable. Jeremy felt like he was a friend that he knew for a long time, especially with the way he talked.

“So, how is everybody this Glorious Morning?” The Pastor asked the congregation with the disdain and referendum of a dubious miscreant with a regard towards being sardonic. The congregation ate it up, along with every word he stated from that point on. Jeremy felt morbidly mournful that he was here listening to a man who loves the sound of his own voice more than what he was saying. I’m tired, he thought to himself.

“What about her?” Shannon pointed at a girl in another pew.

“What?” Jeremy responded.

“Her, look,” Shannon says as she continues to point.

“Misdirection, that’s where this world is going towards! We’re losing ourselves! Losing our minds and our staple in this country!” the Pastor says as he garnishes his language with extra emphasis on certain vowels.

“She’s cute, you should go talk to her.”

“Wha..? I don’t know her.”

“Not yet, but you will. If you go talk to her.”

“Isn’t that weird?”

“Weird? Hell no. People meet in churches all the time, stupid.”

“Look at the world! It’s worse! I SAY WORSE! Then Sodom and Gammora! I know this because I’ve seen it. I’ve seen the horrors in this world.” the Pastor praises himself in his head as he states these words.

“I don’ know, I hadn’t really…” Jeremy responds to Shannon.

“Don’t be retarded. You never know unless you find out.” Shannon retorts as Jeremy growls enough for her to hear him. “OOH! What about her?” Shannon points to another girl sitting with her family. “She’s really cute!”

“She is, but she also looks like she’s 14, I think God’ll smite me for that,” Jeremy says.

“I dunno, I heard Mary was 15.” Shannon sharply shoots back.

“You’re gross.”

“Just look at yourselves! You’re a part of the problem! The problem is our culture! Our ideology! Our WAY OF LIFE IS BEING TAKEN AWAY!” the Pastor projects his voice past the audible echo and vibrates the glass in the windows. He feels that this is his best sermon to date.

“Oh, I know!” Shannon lets out just loud enough for Jeremy to hear. “I’ll introduce you to Pauline’s kid, Ashley. She’s cute, really cute.” Jeremy doesn’t know what to say about this, he wouldn’t mind meeting a girl, but one from church? Nervousness enters the pit of him. Shannon, during this time of his silent reflection, is searching. She is looking for Ashley. “I see her Mom and Dad, but not her…” Shannon whispers as if she happen to be on a secret mission. Jeremy, in a nervous pity, gets even more into his funk after he hears the words Mom and Dad. However, his fear disappears once he realizes that Shannon cannot find her.

“You can’t let that Demon in! GET IT OUT! GET OUT SIN! GET OUT, DEVIL! GET OUT OF-a HE’A!” the Pastor goes over the line on this one.

Once the sermon was over, Jeremy decided that it would be best if he made a quick leave, Shannon felt differently and grabbed his arm and pulled him around to meet everybody. During one of these mundane conversations, he finds his mind wandering until he hears Shannon speak out loud about the sermon itself.

“I hate these kind of sermons,” Shannon says as Jeremy snaps out of it. What? Fills his mind. “You know those sermons.”

“Oh, Shannon, you are a character.” A woman of about Shannon’s age says as she stands next to her husband.

“Have you met my nephew? This is Jeremy. Jeremy, this is Phil and Pauline.” Shannon says as she covertly winks to Jeremy. The fear now enters him quicker and faster than ever.

“N-nice to m-meet you.” Jeremy somehow evacuates his throat of these words.

“You too,” Pauline responds with a gentle handshake.

“Nice to meet you, sir.” Phil sternly says as he grabs his hand and shakes it with weak vigor.

“What are your plans for lunch? Pauline? Phil?” Shannon asks.

“I think we were just going to pick up some chicken or something. Take it home.” Pauline responds.

“Oh, that’s boring. Why don’t we all go somewhere, it doesn’t have to be a fancy place, but I don’t want to go to a hole in the wall.” Shannon suggests.

“Phil, what do you think? I’m not so sure.”

“C’mon! Don’t be boring. Let’s go to that small Nick’s Diner on Fifth.” Shannon then goes on to say. After some playful prodding and tactical bullying, Shannon and Jeremy are leaving to their separate cars. “You’re welcome,” Shannon says quietly to Jeremy as they part ways. To Jeremy, everything happened so quickly and strangely that he is having trouble buckling his seatbelt. 3 tries, he shouldn’t have failed once. For fuck’s sake. He thinks to himself as he drives off.

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