Why me, Lord?
What did I ever do to you that you should send your boys after me like that. Them Mormon boys, I mean. If I didn't know you better, I'd say you were the Devil. All that temptation across my path. You sure know what you're doing. No way I'm going to sail right past.
"Good evening," this voice says to me. My eyes run up his six foot hunky frame to the skyblue eyes and the flood of blonde hair, all in place.
"Good evening," I smile back at him. "What are you doing here?" I say, knowing how to carry the ball.
"Missionary work," he says.
"Oh really?" I say, the first bit of real insincerity creeping into my voice. "What kind of missionary work?
"For the Mormon Church."
"Oh yes," I say. Time to drop the ball. My packages are getting heavy and I've got to get the rice into the microwave or it will be midnight before I have my supper.
"Have you ever heard of it?" he asks.
Well hell, the rice can wait. Such innocence. Such charm. Such good intentions. What's not to love about this fellow?
"Sure I have, hasn't everybody?"
"Can I talk to you about your religious life?"
"You can, but you'll be disappointed."
"Because I am a gay man and I know you guys don't approve of that."
He's handsome, the vision of self-confidence, and probably looks great on the rugby field, but this slows him down. He stares at me for a minute. I guess he's trying to figure out whether I'm putting him on. Finally he responds.
"You're right. We don't approve of that."
"And that's why I think you'd be wasting your time. You'd be better off talking to somebody you approve of."
"I'm sorry. I don't mean to be rude. But I think what your doing is something you could grow out of."
Now it's my turn to lose my speech. Not rude at all. Arrogant, maybe, but not rude. All twenty-one years of him travelling from Utah to Chigasaki to tell this old fart how he's going to grow.
"I'll tell you what," I say to him. "I'll make you an offer. If I grow out of homosexuality before I die, I'll leave all my money to the Mormon Church. How about that?"
He smiles. "Can't argue with that."
"And if you grow out of the Mormon Church, you leave all your money to my lover in California when you die."
"I don't think I could do that."
"Why not? If you leave the Mormon Church you won't have any reason not to leave your Mormon biases along with it. What do you say?"
"I don't think so."
"It doesn't seem right."
"What have you got to lose? One of us may grow. If it's me, I will reward what you treasure most. If it's you, you reward what I treasure most."
"But I can't make any agreement like that. It would be wrong to talk like that about losing my faith."
"And me my soul, young man. And me my soul. Top of the evening to
"Good bye, sir."
Got the rice in the microwave and it's only 8:30. And the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the stereo. "I need thee, every hour I need thee... Come, come, ye saints, All is well, all is well..."
Damn those hunky zealots sure do sing pretty.
February 3, 1999