Rune Rofke - Glenn Emery
I laid low for the next week, trying to avoid Phil and Desiree and the others as much as possible. Phil didn’t seem to have any more work for me to do, or he just didn’t want to have any give and take with me. In any event, I gave up any hope of him paying me, even though he had said he would. I guess he felt he didn’t owe me anything after I blew up the engine on his little truck.
I focused instead on other people around town, including Mark and Maria. But it was becoming more and more obvious to me that none of these relationships were likely to blossom into spiritual children. They had no interest in God or spirit world or the Bible. Maria’s passion was her sculpture, and Mark had his girlfriend and his music.
On the last day of my fast, Kiyoko arrived for a short visit. She had sent a postcard earlier in the week saying she was traveling by bus to check up on all of us pioneers, starting with Carl, then Nina, then Carol, and looping back around toward me before heading back to Louisville. She saw all of them yesterday and spent the night with Carol in the boarding house where she was staying. Now she was here to see me.
I explained to her everything that had happened to me, about the night in the storm, the terrible detour to Chauncey with Betty Lou, how Mooney the looney freaked out when I got to the conclusion and threw a 20-dollar bill at me and ran away. How I was goofing around with some Christian witnessers but it got out of hand and before I knew it I had been given this incredible living arrangement without them knowing who I was, only now I was agonizing how to deal with it because I knew the moment I told them my relationship with them would be over.
The worst part, I told her, was I had come to believe these were the people I came to Athens to witness to. They had all the necessary understanding about the Bible, plus they were aware these were the Last Days and they were open to the Holy Spirit. But I hated deceiving them. I wanted it to be all out in the open.
I thought Kiyoko would scold me, but she didn’t. On the contrary, as she looked around my tiny house, she seemed very impressed. She didn’t even say anything about my beard.
“Of course, you must tell them sooner or later,” she said.
“Yes, I know. I want to very badly. But now I don’t know how.”
“You have a dilemma. What does your heart tell you?”
“Not to say anything yet. Give them a chance to know me first before I tell them about Father. I keep thinking if I were a missionary in a communist country, I’d have to be very circumspect or risk expulsion or arrest or even execution. I realize this is not the same thing, and maybe I’m rationalizing, but every time I make up my mind to come clean with them, something inside tells me not yet.”
“Then I can only tell you to keep praying and listen to your heart,” Kiyoko said. “And I will pray for you to. But don’t worry too much. You’ve done fine so far just by trusting your feelings, so I’m sure you’ll do the right thing.”
Kiyoko and I were sitting in the tiny living room when I saw Phil come down his back steps and toward my house with fast, deliberate strides. He blew in through the front door without knocking, which I guess was his right since it was his house, but I thought it was rude all the same.
He glared at us, me in a chair and Kiyoko on the sofa. “What’s going on here?” he bellowed.
“Phil, this is my friend, Kiyoko Bowman. She came from Indianapolis to see me.”
Phil didn’t move. He was upset about something. Then I realized he had seen this Oriental woman enter a short time ago and thought she was prostitute. He came barging in expecting to find us fucking. But Kiyoko was unfazed.
“I was just leaving,” she said sweetly, standing up. “I’m sorry if paying a visit to my old friend upset you. I won’t stay.”
Her manner disarmed Phil and he returned to his house in a huff. Kiyoko and I left a few minutes later, eager to get away from Phil. We walked around campus for a while, and I showed her a few of the sights I had discovered. She snapped a picture of me standing in front of the Class Gate.
We walked along the bike path and I pointed out the abandoned building by the river where I survived the storm. By the time her bus left, Kiyoko’s compassion and caring had removed an enormous weight off my shoulders.
I left the bus station and ran smack into Mooney sitting on a bench. I didn’t think it would be possible, but he looked worse than before. A short stubble of hair had grown where his head had been shaved, which somehow made him seem even more ghastly. He was blasted out of his mind, probably on alcohol and God only knows what. He was holding his head and absorbed in fathomless self-hate. I asked him what was wrong.
For a long time he didn’t say anything, but then he told me that last night he had allowed himself to get picked up by a homosexual because he wanted the drugs, and today he was filled with deep remorse. Apparently even Mooney had his limits of depravity.
I couldn’t imagine that this was the first time Mooney had allowed himself to be hustled in exchange for drugs and a bed, but this must have been an especially bad experience. He was consumed with guilt, dying from shame, which was an amazing thing to see in a man so thoroughly beaten down already. He started sobbing about the awful, unspeakable things he was subjected to.
If anybody needed Jesus, it was Mooney. But I couldn’t bring myself to say it because in my heart I didn’t believe that Mooney could be saved. Jesus might give Mooney some temporary relief from his torment, but in a few days or weeks he’d be right back here again. His spirit was much too weak. He had almost no will power. He was, as I said before, the walking dead. A zombie.
I went home and took a nap. I needed to get up at midnight to break my week-long fast, and I just didn’t have the energy to do anything else. I wasn’t worried about Phil coming to look for me. He hated me, but he let me stay at Pete’s insistence. So we had an uneasy truce. He left me alone, and I stayed out of his way. I’d be gone at the end of the month anyway.
Just before midnight I was awakened by a loud boom. It wasn’t an explosion. It came from the ground. I could feel a shock wave move through the house. It was an earthquake. Just that one, quick seismic adjustment, and that was it.
It was time to get up anyway. Once again, after looking forward to this moment for days, I suddenly had no desire to eat. I knelt in the tiny bedroom I had designated as my prayer room.
As soon as I started to pray, a strange force suddenly rushed into me, catching me completely off guard. It seemed to come up through the floor, up my back and all the way to the top of my head. I felt a powerful electrical current surging through me. I thought it would stop after a second, but it didn’t. Instead it grew stronger and stronger. I was convulsing violently, almost yanked to my feet. It wasn’t painful, but it wasn’t pleasant either. I wanted it to stop, but the current just kept pulsing with greater intensity until I thought I’d pass out. Perhaps it only lasted a few seconds, or perhaps it lasted for hours. I had no way of telling. I was in a completely different dimension…
I was in the center of a circle of people, arms lifted up, palms out, speaking in tongues...