This Id and The Odyssey; Episode 32
The Amen, It's Maine Episode!“Let us pray,” Billy Bopper said. “Sweet Lord Jesus, thank you for these souls. I commit them to your work. What is theirs is now yours and what is their’ is ours. Amen. Please pass the faith offering.”
A man with a gold plate walked among those on their knees. Some dropped in envelopes, others cash. Rich reached in my pocket and dug deep. He knew the Lord was with him. He had but one dollar. He placed the crinkled mass into the plate.
The man stood over Rich and moved the plate closer.
“That’s all I got,” Rich whispered. He scowled at first and when Rich looked at him with sorrowful eyes, he smiled and placed his hand on Rich’s shoulder.
Rain pattered on the roof as Billy Bopper took a seat at the alter and the preacher who introduced him returned to the pulpit. He said, “Let us consecrate our new brothers and sisters.”
Everyone was herded to a staircase that led to the basement. They were separated upon entering the basement - males from females. They were ushered into a room with whiter robes hanging on hooks and folding chairs in front of them. Everyone began to undress.
Rich had to defecate.
At the door was a pious looking big man with his arms folded. Rich walked to the door and when he reached for the knob the big man placed his hand over it. “Where are you going my brother?”
Rich whispered painfully, “I’m about to mess my pants.”
He opened the door and said, “To the end of the hallway and on your left.”
Rich rushed down the hallway and burst into the restroom. He made it just in time. A few minutes later he exited the restroom feeling somewhat better. At the other end of the hallway men and women filed from their perspective dressing rooms in white robes. At Rich’s end of the hallway was a door that led outside to where his bike was chained.
He planned an escape.
He tried the door and it was locked. He ducked back inside the restroom. No one could deny that he truly had to relieve himself. The odor was overwhelming. There was a pull-in window. Rich grabbed the lever and opened it. He had just enough room to squeeze out.
Rich unchained his bike and quietly walked it down the hill on which the church sat, keeping himself from the view of the congregated faithful milling about the front of the church. He jumped on his bike and peddled hard, putting as much distance as possible between he and Billy Bopper.
Rich stopped at a building he thought might be a doctor’s office. He huddled in the doorway to slip into his rain gear. He closed his eyes for a moment and said, “Thank you Lord for making a way out. Amen!”
Rich, on his bike, ecstatically raced through the streets of Concord not knowing if it were the spiritual uplift or the colon drop-off that made the load lighter. He peddled fast over a bridge at the Merrimack River and east on Old Dover Road.
Dover was his destination.
After an hour or so of furious peddling He settled to an easy pace. He saw a park with a shelter house. Rich was chilled but dry. He started a fire in the fireplace of the shelter house and warmed himself. He dined on a can of corned beef hash and a cup of tea. He checked the map and decided to go to Rochester rather than Dover.
While peddling toward Rochester the temperatures cooled and the drops of rain reduced to drizzle. In spite of the cold and drizzle Rich seemed to be driven and determined to be in Maine before he stopped for the day.
Rich hardly gave Rochester notice. He continued on route 202, following it northeast out of town. He crossed over a bridge at the Salmon Falls River and alas he was in Maine! “Amen!”
It was dark and he flicked the generator onto the wheel and rode on.
Safely within the borders of Main he coasted to stop a stand of pines. He raked a away the pine needles for a small clearing and built a small fire from dry twig and a few large limbs he hacked with his hatchet.
He heated a can of beef stew for supper and cradled a cup of tea in his hands. He watched the flames dance and smiled thinking about Billy Bopper. He listened to a Portland, Maine radio station. He was nearly there. This was his most exhausting and exhilarating day.
Rich shivered as the tea grew cold and the fire began to die. He stoked the fire, added more limbs, and wrapped myself in the sleeping bag. He laid down on in his tent and thought, “Perhaps tomorrow I will see the ocean. It is the gateway to the world and dreams. What lies beyond is hope. Why stop at the ocean - go beyond and explore.”
He slept and only woke once to relieve his bladder. He laid down again. “This is Maine,” he thought. “Who would have ever thought. If the police picked me up now and sent me home I would have a tale to tell.”
He smiled and drifted back into sleep. He dreamed of the ocean and surf. He and his dog Duke played on pebble beach.