The thought of going through another bag of cookies to find the meaning of happiness was enough to make Dick sick. So, Dick compromised and set out to eat just a half bag of cookies. When he got through the second row of Oreos, he was still less than satiated, so, he thought it couldn’t hurt to eat the other two. The cookies at least made him feel physically full, he hoped maybe they could do something to fulfill his mind and/or soul. They didn’t, but that didn’t mean they weren’t delicious.
Dick was morbidly obese, he would be the first to admit it, because there was no getting around it, the man was fat. No one was closer to Dick’s fat than Dick, yet, emotionally, Dick hated his fat, which kept him distant from it. He didn’t like being fat, but, he was an emotional eater and Dick was an emotional guy.
“If I put this energy into something positive, I’d be great at something, cause, I am a great eater. Not, the greatest, but, definitely great.” Dick then wondered what he wanted to be great at. Nothing came to mind.
Suddenly, a knock at the door. Dick wasn’t expecting company, so proceeded cautiously to the keyhole. Peering through, he saw a conservatively dressed couple, each holding some kind of thick book. Dick opened the door.
“Come on in!” Dick welcomed them.
The man and woman were literally taken aback, taking two steps back at Dick’s exuberance.
“We’re here on behalf of the Church of The Weeping Redeemer,” the man began.
“Yeah, I know, come on in!” The man and the woman looked at each other. The woman shrugged.
“Ok, thank you,” the man said as they entered Dick’s apartment.
“Would you care for some Oreos?” Dick asked his guests who sat awkwardly at the edge of Dick’s dilapidated couch.
“No, thank you.” Again, the man spoke for both.
“Mind if I help myself?” Dick asked, his hand already digging around in the bottom cookie row scraping up scraps and crumbs. Dick then chewed his nails, licking the black cookie dust off his fingers.
The man, who went by the moniker, Brother Jerald, wore black pants, and a plain white button-down shirt with a black tie. Sister Kate wore a plain black dress with a thick white belt. Brother Jerald opened the Bible and began to read from First Corinthians: “I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful-”
Dick cut him off, “Why would you rejoice I was made sorrowful? What kind of doctrine is that?”
Brother Jerald looked up from the holy book. “I hadn’t finished the verse, if you let it, the verse will explain itself.” The man went back to reading, “I rejoice that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance, for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.”
“What the hell is that?” Dick wanted to know.
“This is Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.”
“Are you two Corinthians?”
“No, we’re Canadian.”
“Doesn’t she talk?” Dick pointed at Sister Kate.
“I talk,” she said.
“Say something,” Dick demanded, “convince me I’m wrong and I need to join your church of the Sobbing Oyster.”
“The Church of the Weeping Redeemer,” Sister Kate corrected. “And you need to join our church because God wants you to.”
“He does? How the hell do you know?”
“God speaks through Brother Jerald and me. He speaks though anyone who accepts His love and follows His commandments.”
“How much you make with a speaking engagement like this?” Dick asked.
“I don’t get paid for this. I do this because it is the will of God.”
“You work for God pro bono, huh? You just gave me a great idea, sister, thanks a lot.” Dick had visions of knocking on doors, getting donations for some church he would cook up later. To celebrate his great idea, he got up and got himself a fresh bag of cookies. “You sure you don’t want some cookies?” He offered the bag to the man and woman who both sat with their ankles crossed neatly.
“No, thank you,” the woman spoke for both. She watched, disgusted, as Dick ripped into the bag and began shoving handfuls of cookies into his mouth. Black crumbs came spewing from the sides of his mouth as he chomped on the cookies. “You should really slow down eating, it’s not good for you.”
Dick stopped chewing. This was the first time anyone had ever corrected his eating. He felt a mix of shame and attraction to the shame and the woman who had shamed him. He put the bag of cookies down and made up his mind then and there to join their church.
“Alright, damn it, I’m in,” he told them. “Do I have to get baptized, circumcised, what?”
“We’ll just baptize you, don’t worry,” said Brother Jerald. He handed Dick a pamphlet with more words of God, along with directions on how to get to the church. “Here, read this and you’re welcome to come to a service this Sunday.”
“Will you be there?” Dick asked Sister Kate.
“Yes,” she confirmed.
“Then, I’m there.”
“Wonderful,” Brother Jerald stood. Sister Kate followed suit, then they were all standing, moving toward the door. “We have service at seven a.m, ten, and noon.”
“Which do you go to?” Dick asked Sister Kate.
“Noon,” she said, though she always went to the seven a.m service. She hoped God would forgive her her lie.
Dick would show up the following Sunday at noon, four pounds lighter, to be disappointed not to see Sister Kate. He sat through the service, wondering where she was, contributed nothing to the collection plate, and left the Church of The Weeping Redeemer, heading straight for the supermarket to pick up enough bags of cookies and cans of chili to get him through the day and night. By midnight the heartburn would be worse than the heartache.