"The Dragnet Zone"This is the city. A city of battling dogmas headed in the same direction. It’s a place where every church door hangs its credo out on a neon shingle, proclaiming their own version of the Good News. But I was soon to find out there was a cancer growing...a disease that would wreck the lungs of anyone breathing its rancid aroma. Like mold growing behind flowery wallpaper, there were dime store theologians preaching their own self-centered divisive drivel. The only hope for this city was a fresh breath of Godly humor and a space helmet to filter out that nasty heretical smog. There was only one man for the job. Eddings. Eddie Eddings. *Dun-da-dun-dun!*
The pastor of the Neon Good News Church of the Concrete Jungle, Toby Rainbarrel, was leaning against the door of the sanctuary, smoking a filtered cigarette. He had a gift for blowing smoke rings in the shape of Vermont. I tipped my red and white stripped Dr. Seuss hat, and said politely, "Lung dime no see!"He grabbed his chest and fell down dead!I buried him on the spot and left on the first bus to Memphis.
BUSTEDI slid into a side street and proceeded down it cautiously. Seconds later I caught sight of the neon sign that marked my destination: Denny's Dime Diner. I took one final look at the clear night sky, breathed a prayer, and pushed the door open gently.The acrid smell of Benny Gin and cigarette smoke hit me full in the face. I stifled a cough and wrinkled my nose in disgust. Why would any theologian - even the bad ones I was tracking - choose this place to hatch plots?I went to a shadowy corner and sat down in a chair, quietly, so as not to make any noise. I surveyed my surroundings.The place was dingy and very poorly lit. There was no one else around save for two men seated in the opposite corner, drinking and talking in hushed tones. They apparently had not noticed my entrance. So far, so good. These were the men I was after.I looked up at the low hanging rafters above their heads. Somewhere in the woodwork was the bug my agency had planted. And in my pocket was a special earpiece that granted me access to that bug. I popped it in and listened intently."Good news," said a gruff voice I instantly recognized as Sammy Pelagius. "The machine's up and running perfectly.""That is good news," said a syrupy voice belonging to Mr. Willfreed. "I am ready, too. The necessary equipment for the drop is in the briefcase under our table."There was a murmur of approval from Sammy that suddenly turned into a frenzied sputtering. He sounded like he might cough up a lung. When he regained control of himself, he said, "Just so's there are no misunderstandings, let's go over the point of the mission one more time."Willfreed sighed. He was obviously getting annoyed. "Using the machine, I will be transported to the time of the Apostle Paul. I will then locate his letter to the Romans and eliminate the section we now know as Chapter 9."Exactly," said Sammy with an approving nod.I'd heard more than enough. I placed the earpiece back in my pocket, and simultaneously switched off the recording device it was attached to. I got to my feet and strode over to the conspirators."In the name of the CIA (Calvinistic Investigation Agency), I'm placing you both under arrest for willfully utilizing time travel technology with the intention of tampering with Biblical doctrine."They looked at the gun in my hand, and then at my face. I grinned."You know," I added in a confidential tone, "it wouldn't have worked anyway. For one thing, Romans 9 isn't the only scripture passage to proclaim Calvinism."For another, the doctrines of grace are God-inspired, which means whatever part you removed would find its way back in again somehow or other, because God wanted it to be there."Lastly," I concluded with a wry smile, "I happen to know that Paul had a pet lion - a rather fierce beast with little patience for intruders."
Blogger is back up and running after almost a full day. I am not sure if the comments will be re-posted. There was a third story that is missing in this challenge. Sorry for the problem and the inconvenience. As much as I would love to have it rewritten and back on this post...don't bother if it's too much of a bother, brother.I just hope this never happens again. I may have to repost my Thursday entry. Right now, I'm just waiting to see if they will completely restore everything.