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Friday, June 17, 2011

A Sure Thing

           To close out my week's tribute to the great Flannery O'Connor I offer you a short piece of fiction that I've prepared specially for this occasion.   This is by no means as good as O'Connor's writing, but the story was inspired by it.  I hope you will enjoy it.





                               A Sure Thing

           When the Preacher heard that Old Man Sweeney's demise had been prognosticated by the doctors at the VA hospital, he decided he should go to call on him.  It was late in the afternoon when the Preacher found the grizzled Old Man sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of the run down house.

           The Old Man scowled, "If'n yer here to tell me bout Jesus and me gittin' saved then I don't wanna hear none about it and you can jest turn around 'n go right now."

           "I heard the news about your cancer and wanted to see how you were doing."  The Preacher pulled up a tattered cane chair next to Sweeney and sat down.

            "I'm jest fine and I ain't goin' nowhere."  The Old Man gazed at the dirt road that led to the highway beyond their sight.

            "Mr. Sweeney, I hope you're with us for a long time," the man of God said in his best pastoral voice, "but I thought you might like to reconsider what Jesus can do for you after your time on this Earth."

            Sweeney sat forward abruptly and glowered. "Listen here Preacher--there ain't no Jesus.  Never is and never was.  You ain't seen 'im.  I ain't seen 'im. Jest cause you read about some Jesus in a story book you read on Sundays don't make it true.  What makes you so certain there's Jesus if you ain't never seen 'im fer yerself?"

           Spittle flecked the Old Man's peppered chin whiskers as he looked at the Preacher expectantly waiting for an answer.  A unseen peafowl screeched somewhere in the distance.  The Preacher wanted to say something about having faith, but decided there was no sense arguing with Old Man Sweeney.

           Changing the subject, the Preacher said, "You out here waiting on someone?"

           Sweeney spat.  "Waitin' on the government man.  He's bringin' me a check for ten thousand dollars."

            The Preacher tilted his head with a questioning look on his face.  "A check for what?"

            "Some sort of 'sessment--I'm not sure fer what.  I sent in my hunnert dollars processin' fee and they said a government man would bring me a ten thousand dollar check right to my door."

             Exhaling a deep sigh the Preacher said, "How do you know they were from the government?"

             "They said so.  That's what they tol' me and I know they're comin'"

              "Mr. Sweeney..." the Preacher's voice drifted off in exasperation.

              Sweeney clenched his fists and blurted, "What are you sayin' Preacher?  Are you callin' them liars?  The man from the government said they was comin' and I believe 'im.  If you can't believe in the government then who can you believe in?"

               The Preacher settled back into his chair pondering the scene before him.  The sun setting behind them cast a shadow of the rickety house across the barren expanse of land that passed for a front yard.   The dirt road led away from the house and disappeared into the dusty horizon.  The trees stood silently beside the road as though awaiting the arrival of a long awaited guest.


          If you missed my earlier posts about Flannery O'Connor this week, I hope you will go back and check them out.   And by all means please read at least one or two of her stories to see what you think.  I'd love to hear your thoughts after you have done so.



*****

37 comments:

  1. This was excellent Lee. most enjoyable to read.

    Enjoy your week-end,
    By Sunday my memories of my wonderful vacation will be over I have three more poems left that I can look back on and reflect.
    Thanks for your visits.
    Yvonne.

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  2. Nice story. Interesting, the different things we can't see but choose to believe in.

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  3. beautiful story, Lee, as always, O'Connor would've been proud!

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  4. Wonderful story. Sad, but true. Thanks for introducing me to the O'Connor world.

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  5. What a telling tale. I liked it very much.

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  6. I LOVE this. The tone, the setting, the voice, awesome! You really captured the essence of Flannery O'Connor. :D

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  7. You have your style, Flannery has hers. This piece is very beautifully written & has all the qualities 1 finds in literature.

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  8. Good short Short, Lee.

    Keep the faith!
    [:- )

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  9. Nice story :) Your words and writing is great.

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  10. Very good story, although I was left wondering "Was it the gov'mint?" I agree with you that Flannery O'Connor is an extraordinary writer who's underappreciated. I think it might be because she's considered a "Southern" writer.

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  11. At last language I can understand, said the middle-aged southerner. But not fair did the old man convert, did the government man come? If'n yer not going to tell me, jest turn round 'n think again. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  12. I LOVED this!! Voice, story, meaning, everything. Great job. :)

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  13. I really 'preciate y'all stoppin' in today ta leave yer comments. Course, I ain't 'splainin' nothin' about this 'ere story. If'n you can't see fer yerself then I guess you can believe what you wanna believe.

    Lee

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  14. This was a wonderful read, so visual that it put me right smack in my dad's home town and great-grandma. A beautiful way to end my hectic Friday. I love Flannery O'Connor, she was a favorite author when I was in school and I have not read her in a long time. I'll have to go back and check out some of her work.

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  15. I did go back and check them out. You did a wonderful expose Arlee. A lot of interesting info.

    That was an excellent story on faith. Thanks for sharing it.

    .......dhole

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  16. Truly a great story in the O'Conner style! Loved your response to the comments! Thanks! Pam

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  17. I do like O'Connor's style. ANd its amazing how people claim they don't believe in Jesus because they've never seen him, yet believe just about anything else based on assumptions they believe is truth.

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  18. Wow, you did a great job. I enjoyed reading it. Felt like I needed an iced tea to sip while enjoying the sentences.

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  19. Wonderful story - you got it pitch perfect!

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  20. That was wonderful Lee! You created a very memorable and believable character with a touch of irony in the story. Well done!! :)

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  21. Lovely little tale, Lee. This was a very atmospheric rendition - I could clearly hear the creak of the old chairs and feel the dryness of the air. I wonder, did the preacher tell the man the truth about the money or did he leave the man to vainly hope for a profitable outcome?

    Excellent storytelling! :-)

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  22. Thanks for the comments today so far. And just speculating, I don't think the Preacher was going to have to say much since the Old Man is going to find out soon enough. I wonder if the Old Man will now start to reassess what he puts his faith in?

    Lee

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  23. Well Done Lee~ Amazing how our view needs to be tilted at times!

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  24. Really enjoyed this, Lee. Thank you!

    Hope you're having a good weekend!

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  25. Hello Lee. Thanks for your visits by the way.
    I have a friend who is a self proclaimed atheist, he's very funny. One day he was talking to me and saying how great it was to talk to me because, even though I'm a Christian, I listen to what he has to say and am willing to look at life with an open mind.Well a little later I wanted to quote something that is written in the Bible but as soon as I said "There is a scripture" his hand shot up to his ears and he said " no no." It is very funny how he thinks that if I listen to him I'm open minded but there is no way he is prepared to listen to me. :)
    I quoted a scripture to him last night and for the first time he actually listened, there is yet hope, Ha Ha.
    You story is so descriptive, it amazes how we can paint pictures with our words. Very nice. God bless you, Geoff.

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  26. Good read, and I must buy the book. You had a great flow and imagery!
    A book about old radio stations (from thefeatherednest blog comment) is "Radio City" by Fannie Farmer (Fried Green Tomatoes). I think that is the title. Entertaining.

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  27. Great story :) I enjoyed it.

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  28. Very well written. I really enjoyed your attention to detail. Now I'm motivated to visit some of Flannery O'Connor's stories. Julie

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  29. BOID ~
    Chu get muh Email?

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  30. I loved it Lee! I could so see this scene folding out in real life. :)

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  31. I do hope all of you will look for some of Flannery O'Connor's literature to read her for yourself. Thanks for your kind comments about my story. And a special thanks to you, Geoff, for your related anecdote.

    Lee

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  32. Really nice writing and a great little story.

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  33. Lee,
    I love how she writes, and can't wait to give you my review when I finish her book! Thanks for keeping us reading!
    Take care,
    Lisa

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Lee