His knuckles showed the signs of a life of fighting, about as much as the mushed nose broken once too often or the scar tissue under the eyes. Four careers before forty, not what most people know about? Rex O’Neil journalist, then adventurer of the paranormal, to minister of a United Church of Canada…one sadly that garnered new congregants under his ministerial lead (a Designated Lay Minister) but not enough from the local neighbourhood to replace the monies of the Greatest Generation passing away, the Baby Boomers jumped to the local Evangelical Lutheran Church because they had the money to keep a building.
Funny thing with the outreach work almost qualified for a government grant to keep the doors open, and a heritage designation, but yeah then the hail storms of the summer came. Golf ball size hail through the stain glass, and the rotting roof finally giving up the ghost. The sanctuary became sealed off. O’Neil, and the last 20 congregants began meeting in the basement, until the boiler blew and the sewers backed up. Used his office until that night…
Some say it was a crooked land developer, others a new gang trying to move onto the drug trade in the area. Despite or in spite of the collapsing building, Francis of Assisi United Church was still being seen as a beacon of hope in the community. It was metaphysical bible exploration night. A chance to explore ancient stories, drink coffee, eat donuts and talk about life.
It was what created the rubble of the office Rex is standing in now. The broken computer monitor where the SUV shattered through the plate glass window and wall, through his desk. Papers everywhere. A white file box is what he had to collect belongings as the condemned signs became screwed on, and the metal gating went around.
The SUV sent the 7 others scattering. Rex’s shoulder still has the stitches from the first bullet. Two shooters, thank fully they were the only two causalities, thanks to quick response time from the police. But the hail of bullets was enough to scare off the rest of the church members.
Rex picked up his journals, his ratty edition of the Good News Bible. The hiking boots crunched through the pieces of glass. Rex scratched the stubble around his scalp, catching his reflection in a broken mirror on the floor he notes the gray coming in to his goatee. “40 happening, and starting over once more.”
Rex stands in the doorway looking at the carnage, the new beginning, looks like it is time to start back to the second type of work he had done, paranormal adventuring allowed for him to stay in the neighbourhood, but drastically lower his overhead by working out of the second bedroom in his apartment as an office.
Besides, the church presbytery kind of frowns on moving around staff that literally destroy buildings, so it wasn’t like there was a new pulpit awaiting his unique skill sets. But first, Rex wanted to discover who had actually sent the shooters into end the church’s life.
Rex stands outside of the collapsing building and stares in through a broken stain glassed window, a metaphor for his journey thus far.
Casablanca droned on in the background as John poured his fourth cup of coffee in the hour. It had been a long morning leaving little to the imagination on what was to come in the future for him. His throwback flip phone laid on the kitchen table waiting a text or call from his long term friend, Rick, to discover what one outcome may be. Yet nothing had been decided yet, next to it opened into Christian gospels was a well work Bible, that as a defrocked minister John was not certain that he believed the mythologies of any more in relation to the Cosmic Story that was life and discovery. Yet in times of crisis it was the most familiar narrative to lean upon.