he Wretch Thing
By Voni Harris

I don’t suppose Grandma would approve of this…creative accounting. The thought came to him unbidden as he slid the sheaf of receipts into his desk and locked it.

But his boss would. And that’s what mattered.

However, he couldn’t shake the thought of his grandmother. She used to pick him up from Mom’s and take him to church with her every Sunday, back in the day. He was only 12 when she died.

He couldn’t explain it, but sometimes he just randomly thought of her, even now. How she would always pray for him. Play hymns on the radio. Talk to him about Christianity.

The problem with Christianity is the whole wretch thing, he thought, as the words to the hymn Amazing Grace came to mind. He remembered them the same way he remembered the sound he and his friends would make with their fingernails on the chalkboard at school when their teacher was out of the room.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…that saved a wretch like me!

What was the sound of grace?

And just what did he need saving from? Nothing he could see, that’s for sure.

Anyway, I am not a wretch, and I can very well save my own self if I need it.

He had been saving himself, taking care of himself, his whole life, from the time his Dad left to the time he’d been “downsized” and then lost his home. The time when his baby girl died of cancer. No one, not even his mother, not even his wife, stood by him.

No one.

He picked up the phone to call Celia. She was always up for a quick hook-up when he got in these stupid introspective moods. He grinned. Friends with benefits. Worked for him.

The phone rang. Yeah. That was it in a nutshell. The problem with Christianity is the whole wretch thing.

The End


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