The Vacant House of God

Tom was in pain; pain was in Tom.

He ended up having to take five ibuprofens in the space of about four hours in order to destroy the pain, doing a number on his heart in the process.  But his heart was a tough old bugger and could take it.

Tom obediently joined Soonhee in her sojourn to church as he did every Sunday, putting on a suit so he’d look dapper for the horse race and dinner he’d been invited to attend afterwards.  He thought it might also help distract people from the deep purple crescents reminiscent of a death camp survivor under his eyes.

The minister’s sermon was incredibly moving–slow-moving, that is.  Luckily, they arrived late, as was their custom, which cut it a little shorter, although not short enough.  Tom regretted not having brought his yoyo, boomerang, or remote-controlled helicopter toy to play with during the church disservice.  It would have given him something more constructive to do than come up with silly anagrams for “Mother’s Day.”

When Soonhee leaned towards him with her bible (the church was strictly BYOB–“bring your own bible”), prodding him to sing along to the hymn, he found that the perfume she’d poured on herself wasn’t enough to cut the stench of her morning breath.  Why couldn’t she ever brush her teeth before they went to church?  Would God approve of such a breach of personal hygiene?  Maybe God suffered from halitosis too and considered it a tribute.

Tom didn’t even bother lip-synching the lyrics, which were in Korean anyway.  He wasn’t in the mood for hypocrisy and didn’t have the energy besides.  He might as well have stood with his hands in his pockets, reared back, and executed a roaring, jaw-breaking yawn.

At one point during the pastor’s interminable sermon, Soonhee showed Tom the passage the slick-haired buffoon (meaning the pastor, not Soonhee) was referring to on her smartphone, which at least was from the King James Bible and had some pizzazz.  But the words themselves were troubling.  

One of the verses, from 1 Timothy (Chapter 5, Verse 6), read as follows:

“. . . but she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.”

No wonder Soonhee has so many hangups about sex, Tom thought.  The poor kid’s been brainwashed to think it’s evil.

Luckily, the force of desire was enough to override the prudishness of dim-witted Tim.  (Incidentally, my dear Timmy, don’t you think it’s a little greedy to insist on having two books in the bible instead of just one?  Selfish bastard.  Go find yourself a new hobby besides writing such misogynistic, life-denying twaddle.)

Tom had no such moral reservations about lust, maybe because his sex life had become virtually nonexistent after eleven years of marriage.  The pastor’s wife, who was always there to greet them when they came scampering up the steps to the church, looked fairly fit for a woman of sixty, and desperation as well as his own aging had helped loosened Tom’s own standards, at least when it came to the realm of fantasy.  He suspected that the pastor was probably not exactly a Casanova himself, or even a Romeo.  He was a man who’d OD’ed on the spirit at the expense of the flesh.

Would it have been appropriate for Tom to have come onto the man’s wife?

“Fancy a shag, love?”

He imagined she might not react too well to such a request.  

But at least it would have made God laugh.

Especially when Soonhee sheared Tom’s balls off with a chainsaw.




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