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In the Name of the . . . , a Story by George Hook

By George Hook
As if the cycles of schismatic violence in faith that had torn Protestant from Roman Catholic and, more crucially to this night of nights, Roman Catholic from Protestant centuries ago are being revealed to her as merely preclusive skirmishes fought in the space of what came to only shards of seconds and minutes when set against this solitary moment on this date of all dates in this country town of Se Haute Indiana with its little more than 3,000 souls of all places that has somehow found itself drawn from across the span of preordained immutable destiny to become a millennial proving ground in a reemergent and evidently climacteric struggle between the Worded and the Wordless, she here and now bears witness to the inexpugnable walk of the True Father with each ready step—narrowly straight in its equable path like the soldered-bound arms of the cruciform doornails she has been wearing on a leather strap around her neck awake and even in her fitful sleep of late as if this home-wrought crucifix (encouraged throughout its forging by the True Father who fathered and guides the True Doors to Christ Choir in her church and who foresaw each member of the True Doors to Christ Choir wearing the eternal symbol of the ensanguined vehicle for the ancient sacrifice of the Son of Man as a metallic stamp of a link between the singers) that she is now fingering nervously had become the inspiriting key that might have opened the true doors for the boy to the choir and to their Jesus Christ—dropping in her mind with a thump of a shudder that astonishes the very earth itself into swelling and buckling under the commanding weight of the measured tread of the True Father though she in body experiences the lachrymose frowst around her where his footfalls are hushed by a thickly sound-deadening wall-to-wall purple carpet and his coming is heralded not with celestial battle trumpets and peals of sky-rending thunder but only by the faint accompaniment of trilled murmurs from prerecorded organ music as he who is also her father by earthly birth walks in the name of the truly sapient fatherhood of the boy in solemn question toward the False Father who has established himself across the room opposite her with his sacerdotal conceit standing out in the uniform blackness (save for the insidious touch of squared whiteness beneath the ridge of his Adam’s apple she sees that nags at her, as if it were the white of a mesmeric third eye that has been keeping everyone in this room under its sights the entire evening but now turns its aim toward confronting the True Father) of his mien that is the black of his cleanly dustless suit jacket, the black of the sharply pleated pants, and the black of the dress shoes polished like mirrors reflecting deep space that all together blackly form an ominous shape to be ceremoniously vestured tomorrow morning in a costume of silken and linen finery in brazen colours with sinister markings that will be more about dressing up an imperious showpiece of a heretical ritual that features a profanely gesturing performance by the False Father than about a solemn contemplation over what state the boy had finally entered even though he had surely been there along with the choir at every one of their scheduled rehearsals on those summer evenings in the assembly hall of the little white-on-white church in Vyrgle Indiana and afterward had been there among them sharing in the feast of pizza and JC Cola during their church basement gatherings and had also been there riding in the black-striped-canary-yellow school bus on the sun-swept highway of that July morning going to the Chicago Convention Center with them that did not mean he had been truly in their there as it were because she is remembering how his great and open smile would be lounging away in one of the pews like it was less a strong bench for worship and prayer than his personal couch for lazy reflection while the True Father was bringing them to harmony around the pulpit and how he was laying nonchalantly back when they did not actually have to be singing in the bus for their voices together in the soulful fellowship of merely talking or laughing to still sound like they were in a kind of intuitive hymn that had its part for each one of the choir to play to pass the long miles of time all the way to the city where he had appeared lifted out of his seat at the evangelical spectacular through their praying hands linked in a clasped togetherness of beseeching vibrancy and following their zealous whisperings that told him to come on down now to the main stage inside the galactic vastitude of an amphitheatre to exit stage right out of view until he and several others made ready would rematerialize in plastic beach sandals and transformatively cloaked in albescent garments that looked like ethereal smocks (she had been a bit surprised at herself smiling over the sight of him then, he who was usually all beat-rough bluejeans and weathered denim jacket now humbled so silly that she was wondering if they had at least left him his jockey shorts under there) and stand in line as one by one they would go up a metal ramp of stairs with the top fastened to a polished-wood deck on the brim of the mammoth outdoor swimming pool of a baptismal font brought indoors until the boy had let an aide to the starring evangelist of this day lower him from off the deck bare feet first into the sky-blue quiescence of the consecrative water and into the steadying hands of the evangelist himself who would bend the boy down to break the water and totally and incontrovertibly immerse his head beneath it as should have been done in the first place – what the True Father, pointing to the obvious right there before them in the King James Bible itself on the kitchen table at one of the late-night scriptural coffee study sessions of the True Father that the boy had been joining during his visits to her home to see her as a friend but not as a girlfriend (she would keep reminding him, and now she is left here to wonder because of this night tonight if any hopes of seeing more between them had been at the heart of his calling to the table and not the soul of the matter) had insisted be done for absolute salvation, despite whatever was inside the boy’s family Bible on the other side of the table, though judging from the distorted portrayals of the mother of the saviour that made her out to be some sort of a glittering demigoddess, ornate paperwork certifying the needless ministrations of vain sacraments, picture cards of Christian men and women of past ages who had become deceptive objects of reverence that sainted them above all other Christians to grant them intercessional pretensions that fooled people into praying through them to reach God instead of just praying directly to God like they could have done right from the start that the boy kept pulling out of (this English translation from the pig latin, she had thought, when she heard the boy say the book was something called the Vulgar, not from the original Greek that God had used to give the Word to man) the scurrilous Bible, it had never been meant for studying scriptures and verses as were the Bibles of her family, but was instead this glorified file folder holding all these insidious markers to apocryphal pages that promoted the worship of falsity – had it not been for that worldly church whose iniquitous strain of fouled Christianity had been passed down to him from his family of earthly birth who had cast vitriolic doubt on his transformation into a baby Christian that past summer of sunlit promise that has now darkened into the sepulchral murk of this late fall for she knew they had told the boy to go to the False Father with what he had been hearing from the lessons of the table and then accept the doctrinal lie about how pouring water on the brow of an infant served as enough of a baptism when the child hardly knew the faces of his parents let alone a lustrating rebirth in the face of Jesus Christ with all of that now bringing her to the wonder of being here at this fatal juncture of ending time where the foreordained Manichean showdown between the bad and the good and the light and the dark and what is of this world and what is of heaven has been apocalyptically charged into motion now that the True Father is closing on the False Father over the mystery of a question about what state of passing the soul of a common boy had entered at that instant of a second after the decrepit junker without license plates that he and his friends had been running wild like dirt-track racers swerving fast to kick up the grit-grey dust of the rougher backroads of Se Haute Indiana during this last summer of his paradoxical Christian rebirthood had lost control this fall when the threadbare tires hit an early morning ice slick from a sharp first frost and threw the junker wobbling and flipping like an infernal machine onto its roof and into the stagnant water of a roadside ditch as the rust-cracked undercarriage of the driver’s seat broke apart and sent the seat jolting and heaving backward to slam the knees and the legs of the boy sitting behind the driver into his hips and then crushing his chest as the cataclysmic force snapped his neck so that his body would be found later in the wreckage of his death trap lying in a mangled foetus position on the collapsed ceiling of the roof with his bruised and cut face down in the slime-encrusted seepage which is why she heeds now in this closed room of sombrous assemblage the magniloquent call of trumpeting angels and braying demons arising from out of the lowing sonance of taped organ music and feels the might of vast armies uniformed in black and white on the march to the epochal reckoning of the battle to bring all battles to an end in the resolute walk of the True Father that defiantly goes right past the parents of the boy and stops before the False Father where the True Father presents his hand and says for the whole world to hear “just wanted to introduce myself: I was his spiritual father” as she suddenly rises from the folding chair and cries “and he wasn’t having any of your Extreme Unction neither!”

George Hook: poet, writer, artist about town. Previously Arts and Letters editor of The Wall Street Journal/Europe.