Friday, June 1, 2007
There are two of them ascending the steps to my front door, wrapped in a shroud woven of the Holy Word and sweat beads; long wool skirts shifting left and right against their panty hosed-calves. Their presence is announced not by the gentle rapping on the door, but by inflexible clodhoppers amplifying their chaste footfalls against the concrete.
Henry, in typical older male fashion reminiscent of our fathers, is splayed out on the couch in a striking pair of boxer briefs; he hurriedly stuffs a pillow onto his lap and coaxes me to get the door.
Balancing my kid on my hip, I open the screen door and nervously greet them. I learn that they are Mormon sisters which intrigues me as I have only ever encountered the elders; they had not intended to stop at my house but happened to notice Chooch at the door and that little asshole smiled at them, which I guess is the Mormon code for “Someone in here needs some savin’! Come on down!”
I think I’ll make my child a Tamburitzen as his future penance.
I like to humor solicitors by feigning interest. Especially the Mormons, who have always amused me so. They provide me with human contact, doses just large enough to keep my society membership card from being revoked. And sometimes it does end up being interesting! There were two Elders who swung by once on a Saturday evening, many years ago, after I spotted them walking past my house and hysterically screamed for them to come say hi. They allowed me to video tape them as they commented on the party debris covering every flat surface of my living room. “The Christmas lights are lit, there’s beverage on the table, looks like a party to me!” the one hollered, channeling his best frat boy dialect which he probably picked up from the WB, while the other Elder stood nervously to the side. Then the bolder one took the camcorder just in time to pan onto me as I stumbled drunkenly onto the sidewalk, tripping all over my halter-topped slutiness. He was my favorite Elder. Strangely, I never saw him again. And after all that flirting, even?
However, I have a really terrible tendency to laugh in their faces, only partially because I’m an asshole. From birth, I’ve been tagged as an Inappropriate Laugher. Even when I actually was religious (truth!) and cheered when I was blessed with a Sunday School teacher who deemed it necessary to give us exams, I would still rip open the insides of my cheeks with my molars in awkward attempts to stop laughing during mass.
So when one of the two sisters enters a coital-like trance and begins her spiel, I start to relive the day Henry and I attended baptism class. It’s like my bottom lip is trying to mount the top one, like humping earthworms, causing them both to contort in jackass-y smirks and lewd leers. I laugh hard and try to project it all onto Chooch, hoping they’ll interpret my uncomfortable display of giddiness as the universal sign for a mother’s joy. Look at me! I am so happy to be the mother of this sticky kid that I just can’t stop twisting my face into sneers better reserved for serial killers! Oh-ho, will the laughter never stop?
They pause in between glory be’s to acknowledge my giggles with interjections like “Yeah! Uh huh!” as though I’m that delirious from their recount of Joseph Smith’s vision that I am losing my mind in a God-loving fervor.
And then, as I’m in the height of my seasonal lesbianism, it dawns on me just how hot this here Sister McRae really is, with the natural highlights sparkling in the sun’s heat and her cute little sweater vest enveloping her in innocence. Her words begin to perform a strip tease on her tongue, grinding to the hottest ecclesiastical club anthems, and making me want to collapse in a fit of immature giggles.
A thousand knee-slappers whir through my mind, the kinds that have made the Elders crack smiles; but as past instances have pointed out, I can’t flirt with girls. My tongue gets caught and I end up spitting out sociopathic flag-raisers like, “I have cats!” (Another truth, and possibly one of my darker moments on the playing field.)
The more marmish-looking one asks me if I know that Mormons have a living prophet.
Do I. I’ve watched Big Love.
It is clear that she is the no nonsense, get-convertin’ one of the pair, so I deep-six all eye contact from that point and focus on Sister McRae’s perfectly plucked eyebrows.
During all of this talk of Joseph Smith and light pillars (which I already know about thanks to the last time I was approached), I have been inadvertently leaning back on the front door, causing it to open wider and expose Henry and his Fruit-of-the-Loomed nut sack. He is very unnerved by this because the ugly Sister keeps staring at him (he swears she is only looking at his face, and I kind of believe him because who’d want to gawk at Henry’s package?).
The couch becomes his Iron Maiden.
My cat Marcy slips out through the crack I left in the front door and proceeds to weave in and out under the stauncher Sister’s skirt, pausing underneath to look up. Marcy has a long tail, which is erect and wagging like a large feathered quill, dusting the cobwebs. I bet that’s considered first base back on the compound. Stifling back chuckles, I give Marcy halfhearted scoldings and fight the urge to regress to a fifth grade mindset.
Fifteen minutes and lots of unintentional laughs later, the pretty Sister picks up on my dire need to retreat into the house (or else her love for Jesus isn’t strong enough to keep her standing in the ninety degree heat for more than twenty minute intervals). She asks if they can come back another time. I happily agree because I love torturing myself. She pencils me in for Monday at 1 and gifts me with a church pamphlet, which I am told to study in the meantime.
I am sad to see that the Jesus depicted on the cover is of the gentle, lamb-cradling shepherd variety, one that I just had no right picturing in sweaty, pretzel-bodied trysts. No, a date with this one would probably be jam-packed with seed scattering and roof thatching. Maybe a few blessings before dinner and then a reenactment of the apple scene by the local youth group.
Unless there’s some back scratching and strawberry shortcake involved, I’ll pass.
Henry shot off a torrent of disbelief. He asks me things like why I invited them to come back and if I’m really going to attend their mass like I said I would. I ignore him as I flip through my Mormon study guide and laugh at pictures portraying loving families and content hand-holding parishioners.
I will undoubtedly spend my weekend daydreaming about what Mormon mass is like and how quickly I get myself blacklisted. Will they at least serve doughnuts and orange drink first? Can I wear a bonnet? I hope to make lots of friends there so I have more people to invite to future game nights. Then I’ll put them in a room with my friends who are adamant debaters of opposing religions and have them all sic each other.
At least they didn’t make me pray with them.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Henry is home from work early. On his way upstairs for a nap, he reminds me that I have a date with the Mormons.
By 12:45, my front door is barricaded, the windows pulled closed and robed by curtains, and the volume on the TV lowered. I’m on lock down. I even bite off one of my nails in a fretful fit.
1:00 comes and goes, and I feel abandoned and unloved. Am I so pathetic that even religious recruiters stand me up? I go upstairs in search of consoling from my napping partner, but he shuns me, so I return to the living room and make snarly expressions with my mouth until I’m distracted by a Ciara video.
The clock turns to 1:35 and my ears perk at the sound of Christ-like exaltations growing louder outside my door. I swear that I even hear the heavenly notes of harps helmed by cherubs, but it might just be the sound of my own angelic breathing. Suddenly, I’m consumed by an animalistic danger response and I flee to the bedroom, tripping over my flip flops on the way.
This is my mother’s fault. I grew up hiding with her in the attic as Jehovah’s Witnesses circled around our house like crows; PTA member Donna Thomas made spontaneous visits to try and get her to type programs or bake cookies or be a room mother; and my uncle’s insane girlfriend Stella would appear for impromptu cups of tea, her psychosis only thinly veiled as she choked on tears and hysterical laughter (she once hid under the bed for a week because she wanted my uncle to assume she had gone off and killed herself). I’d pretend whoever my mom had us hiding from on that particular day had shotguns and that if I lifted my head, my brain would explode like Gallagher’s watermelon and sound like a moist sponge as it splattered against the wall and dripped down into a gelatinous pile of blood and skull fragments. It was exhilarating.
As I spy between the slats of the blinds, Henry asks me through a sleep-coated slur what I’m doing and in my best hushed tones, I inform him that the Mormons hath returned and I’m hiding. I haven’t even read their literature! The only term I learned was Aaronic Priesthood, and that’s only because it topped the list. I didn’t even complete the study questions at the end! Did Jesus’s Apostles know that an apostasy would occur? I don’t know!
Henry shakes his head and rolls over, rejecting me with his back.
I cower in the dark sanctity of my bedroom corner until I’m certain they’ve left. They pull out of the driveway in what appears to be a brand new Camry in golden hues, probably meant to mimic a halo’s tint. I then briefly consider converting, until Henry informs me that the car is likely owned by the church and not two Mormon hustlers who don’t have jobs. But then I start to think of other scenarios that could afford them a car, like drug dealing. Mormonism is starting to sound scandalously tempting. I could probably get used to the itchy wool caressing my thighs if it meant reaping the rewards of Christ’s drug deals. The scratchy caresses might even be an improvement on Henry.
Do Mormons engage in self-flagellation?
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
I’m hanging out in the living room with Henry and Chooch, enjoying a block of music videos that teach my son to call girls bitches and hoes and to fuck them barebacked to see if they really are a wonder woman. To keep our wandering child in one room, we pull out our chaise and use it to block the entrance to the dining room, since it’s too wide of an area for a standard baby gate to cross. Henry is presently laying across it on his stomach in a position he hopes will make him look younger than he really is. How is he going to slip his hand down his pants with his jock pressed against the chair? I wonder.
In my peripheral, I catch two wool-skirted smudges through the open front door. The Mormon Sisters have nearly reached the front porch, but I’m not opposed to obvious dodgings. In what feels like slow-motion, I leap up from the couch and lurch into a scissor-kicked hurdle over top of Henry’s lazy form on the chair. I pause briefly once I land, impressed with the height I reached on that one, but then I sprint like I’m being chased by the muthafuckin’ popo until I’m swaddled in safety’s sweet embrace at the top of the steps.
I hear the soft rapping upon the front door. I hear the door open. I hear Henry’s gruff voice. Though I can’t hear it well, I imagine his voice all but paints a portrait of his chagrined state.
I hear silence.
And then, Henry is standing at the bottom of the steps.
He hisses for me to get my ass downstairs.
No, I hiss back, slinking further into the shadows.
This is your doing, he seethes. Tell them you’re not interested.
But I won’t, and he knows he can’t make me.
He shuffles off to do my dirty work. I wait a few moments after I hear the closing of the door before I come out of hiding.
Henry tells me smugly that they’re coming back tomorrow. I hope they come in time to spectate the simulated baby sacrifice that I perform on Chooch. He loves it so much that he laughs until he vomits.
I love the thrill of the chase, the sensation of being stalked; I love how my heart palpitates wildly and I feel my blood rushing, in a nervous race to hide from the word of the Lord. Sometimes I call myself Susie and pretend that I’m in the Witness Protection Program. Other times I pretend my house is a forest bathed in moonlight and I’m fleeing from a chainsaw-brandishing Jason Voorhees, tree branches snagging my camp shirt and jagger bushes carving thin trenches into my flesh. What really provides good cardio is envisioning that they’re rapists saddled with 12-inch barbed-wired and hot sauce-ensconced dildos, pelvises thrusted and jutting, ready to penetrate.
I can’t wait for them to come back.