Two Writers and a Movie Walk into a Bar for the Twenty-seventh and Three Quarters Time

Fiction by thomas micheal

This is why Michael never went back to that coffee shop again. It was a busy weekend morning when the hostess asked Michael politely if the gentleman might share his table. She was trying to save the large tables for big parties.

Michael didn't mind. He had his newspaper and his coffee, and his breakfast wason the way. The two men showed up about the same time every Saturday. They shared the table even when it wasn't busy.

They found that they had a similar framework for the main questions. It was not known how life started, but the conversation they were having seemed proof enough that it had come about somehow, somewhere, and the basic oneness of life, with cells and DNA, pointed toward a single origin.

In the same way, the two men seated at the table had progressed toward the level of organization required to have breakfast, read the newspaper, and discuss whatever came to mind.

The table sharer thought a newspaper article about a series of Marian visitations in Spain, verified by the Spanish police, proved the existence of God.

It floored Michael that any man could not see the boundary of faith--it was just too much. To Michael, it seemed obvious that miracles were within stories and only there, that a monotheistic God didn't do anything.

True, believers Jewish or otherwise had that vital belief in a God that entered history, but for Michael there was always a perfectly good explanation, and so more narrative, the reductionist kind.

Take, for example, the Exodus story through which the freeholders in the hill country of Palestine united, maintaining independence for a couple of centuries until their country was finally crushed by the really big players, the powerful city states of the twin river valley to the east.

The truth of the Exodus story shrinks in importance when we acknowledge the unification that resulted, even as God is abstracted to the point of non-existence, and all of this would be fine, except last night Michael's bedroom was bathed in a light so intense that he had to shield his eyes until it decreased slightly, and he was completely awake as a walled garden was revealed a woman in a long flowing robe who opened her arms, and turned the palms of her hands toward Michael as the soothing trees and flowers swayed in the wind, and she said, "It's by His blood,” and the light dimmed, and went out, and Michael was afraid, and he didn't tell anyone.

Published 1st March, 2023.

. H O L D E R . R E W A R D S .