120 Cheep Cheep Cheep

As they did their self-appointed inspection of the church each week, Myrtle Minosa and her sister Thea enjoyed an unrestrained exchange of views, a respite from their endless round of publicly meek service to the all and the sundry in their pastoral care. They had to be sure, as they went from room to room, that they were alone but as that perception was second nature to them now, after years of listening at doors, the quick hush and the candid vocalization flew freely. This Tuesday morning, they ignored their more typical, humdrum Plenty For All gripes; they had a new target. Chapter 120 Cheep Cheep

“Did you see that Kathy showing off up there onstage? Parading like a prom queen? Disgusting.” Thea led the waltz, as they entered the auditorium.

“At least you couldn’t see her tits. When she’s with Herb, she sticks out in a church t-shirt that’s six sizes too small for her.” Myrtle was unaware that her suffering husband had himself selected the size that Kathy was to sport in his presence.

“She must be a terrible trial for him, throwing herself at him that way. You’re lucky he’s so loyal.” Thea reassured her smirking sister. “I mean, she’s so fake. That hair! At morning meetings she looks blank, like nobody else is there. Here she’s all smiley and happy. And she can’t sing a note right, either. Everybody in the choir said so.”

“I think she must be stupid, or slow. How can it take that long for anybody to learn a few miracles, I ask you? They’ve been holed up for weeks now.”

“Bet she’s trying to make it last longer, to tempt poor Herb. And, it’s not just Herb she’s been tempting, either.”

“I know. Herb said he’d found Linwood up in her bedroom, last night.”

“Alone? Not?…”

“They were praying – ha! Herb’s a fool if he thinks that.”

“What did Herb see?”

“They were kneeling, or something. He ordered the boy to leave, he said, and warned the woman. I demanded an explanation from Linwood this morning. All he said was that she was the answer to his prayers, whatever that’s supposed to mean, and that she was ‘nice’ to both he and Timothy.”

“Nice, he calls it? Can’t Herb dismiss her or cut her pay, or something?”

“Not without trouble. She’s paid out of a separate account set up by Thuss. And he’s too good to be true, too, if you ask me. ”

“He’s flashy, not like Herb. Herb works hard. People are way too taken in by flashy, in my opinion.”

“But what else do you know about her?”

“Well I do know something, but I’m not the only one. What I know is that I heard Linwood boasting to Thaddeus about kissing a blonde – I think he said ‘kissing’ but now you’ve got me worried – at our storage place. I didn’t hear it all, of course, though I tried too. Something about a pizza. That didn’t make any sense, kissing a pizza. Do you think Kathy is the blonde? She’s so old. Could it even be possible?”

“A whore in my own house, seducing my husband and both my sons.”

“Sons? Not Timothy, too?”

“She was huddled up with him the other night looking at porn on the computer, I’m sure of it, now. It’ll be your son next, if you’re not quick.”

“Sister!”

“This is what comes of letting into our midst a harlot who keeps shocking underthings in drawers and puts nasty, cloying scents in my bathtub.”

“You found those upstairs? You searched her room?”

“Wouldn’t you? Stinking candles everywhere, too.”

“Come on! And I still haven’t told you what Erin told me. Timothy’s been asking her a lot of questions about getting a job with Thuss, and if there were other positions open. And even worse, Thaddeus and Linwood were asking her about how it was to get away from her family, what kind of things she did without parents around. Poor, innocent Erin didn’t understand what they were talking about, she confided to me, as she was so, so happy to be back amongst us again after all the corruption she saw at her college. Myrtle, something must be done.”

“Erin is most suitable for the new position. I told Herb so and that’s why he hasn’t recommended anyone else for it. The job belongs to Erin, not an upstart floozy like Kathy Doyle.” Myrtle, as a sensitive wife properly would, increasingly discouraged Herb’s unwanted personal attentions but she drew the line at his making a fool of himself at her expense. She had far too high an opinion of herself as Mrs. Pastor to allow that to happen, not right under her tiny and domineering feet. Her family history was private, an unopened book of tyranny and merciless fidelity, not available to strangers and harlots, nor to sisters either, not in its entirety. “There must be some way to get rid of her, and fast.”

“She doesn’t look to me like she’d scare easy.”

“She should learn to be afraid of respectable people like us, and not be putting ideas, or whatever else, into young boys’ heads.”

“It’ll have to be more than a hint. She’d never take a hint.”

“A push, then. A big push. To get the message through to her. A little pebble in a sling shot would just bounce off all that pile of yellow hair. Never get near her forehead.”

“And she could sweet talk any lions, in any den, easy.”

“The walls of Jericho will have to collapse before she’d notice a thing.”

“Let’s blow the horn at her then, and hope she’s standing on them when they fall. But how?”

“We’ll go along to that rehearsal, the one for the miracle of the fishes. Bring Erin, too. I don’t trust Herb and Petersen to fend off her calculating claws.”

************

Simon Peterson owned a speedboat, the ‘LakeSea of G’, docked at his riverfront condo downtown. He and his wife had purchased the condo when they retired from his manufacturing business in Waukesha, thinking that they would enjoy life more as empty nesters in the city than all alone in the big house in the same old subdivision. He was glad he’d bought when he had; then, the dock was an $18,000 upgrade. Today, the same private dock was running at least twice that amount.

A view from across the river of a condo dock. Despite it location along the public MilwaukeeRiverwalk, these docks are privately owned by individual residents or associations. sresidents

A view from across the river of a condo dock. Despite its location along the public MilwaukeeRiverwalk, these docks are privately owned by individual residents or by associations.

His wife liked to shop. Many days, when she hopped the train to embrace retail Chicagoland, he took off for a day in his boat. Increasingly, he went on days when she was home, too. It was a great place for an uninterrupted read of a few newspapers as well as an unsupervised nap. To make up for his twinges of guilty conscience for his idleness, he occasionally offered days on the river or the lake to other members of his church. The Petersons didn’t attend as often as before, when they’d had kids, but they kept up their membership, and gave generously. Pastor Minosa had called him just last week to see if he’d be willing to share his boat for use in the church’s upcoming Miracle Tour. If it worked out, there might be multiple times over the summer but there would be only a few people on the boat each time. All highly controlled, and all he’d have to do was be captain. Unlike his more socially skilled wife, Si didn’t know how to refuse. He was on tap for what they were calling a rehearsal, this evening. Four of them, Mrs. Minosa confirmed, would meet him at his publicly accessible, RiverWalk dock at 7:30.