- March 2014
- December 2013
- June 2013
- March 2013
- September 2013
- From the Editor’s Desk
- Bloom Where You Are Planted and Where You Are Transplanted
- The Change Game
- Ten Tender Weeks: The Countdown
- The Chap Who Lives in a Flat
- Conspiracy Theory
- The Closers
- He Knows
- Surprising Steps with a Friendly Wind
- If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It!
- Walking the Talk
- Message in a Bottle
- January 2013
By Joe Moreland
I stood dramatically in front of the youngsters in my Bible study class as my “assistant” balanced one long board between two chairs that were facing each other across a distance of about six feet. I grabbed a corner of the long cape I was wearing with one hand and flourished it as I twirled my top hat deftly with the other.
Okay . . . so maybe the top hat half-twirled, then fell and rolled across the floor and off my makeshift stage. And maybe my “cape” was more like a dark tablecloth that was a little too long to be a cape and tripped me up as I chased the hat around, causing me to tumble off the stage after it. The kids still roared with amazement.
Well, it sounded like amazement to me.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” I announced once I was hatted (I know that’s not a word, but I’m a children’s minister and we’re allowed), “what you are about to witness is dangerous and difficult and should, under no circumstances EVER be tried by you at home! Yes, I’m looking directly at you Zack. May I have a drumroll puh-leaze?”
I hopped up on one of the chairs and carefully placed one foot on the board as my assistant began to beat out a makeshift drumroll.
“Do you have 911 on speed dial in case this goes wrong?”
“No, but I’ve got your mother on hold, just in case.”
“Good enough. I begin! Drrrumrrrolll puh-leaze!”
“It’s already rolling!” several smart-alecky children screamed from the audience.
Carefully, I began to slide my foot further out onto the board. A little more … a little more … until I was almost doing the splits.
“PUT YOUR OTHER FOOT OUT!” the ingrates shouted.
Slowly, carefully, I slid my other foot away from the safety of the chair. Gradually my weight began to shift onto the board, until … CRACK! It snapped like a cheap toothpick and I, for the second time that morning, fell crashing off the stage.
“I’m ALRIGHT!” I yelled as I bounced up (partly to calm their fear and partly to cover my blood curdling scream). “Hmmm. We may have to try Plan B instead.”
My assistant quickly brought out two identical boards that were strapped one on top of the other and placed them in the same position as the previous board.
Once again the drumroll began and I took my position. A little sweat ran down my face as I slid my full weight onto the double thick boards. Triumph! It held! Still standing in the center, I turned to my captive audience and began to take a little bow. That’s when I heard the creaking.
My audience was literally rolling in their seats (yes, literally) as my planks broke in half, dumping me head first into the front row of spectators. I tried to aim for Zack, but he was too quick for me.
Again I bounced up with a hearty “I’m OKAY!”
Actually, it’s a little fuzzy, but I think I crawled pathetically back onto the stage and began to cry uncontrollably as my assistant brought out the triple stack of boards.
The crowd began to chant. “AGAIN! AGAIN! AGAIN!”
As I stood at my starting point once more, listening to the drumroll and wiping tears from my eyes, I took courage from the incredible confidence and support the kids were showing me (yes, that is too what they were doing!). Tentatively, I stepped out onto the boards. Immediately, I could feel the strength was there to support my full weight and confidently strolled out to the center.
Once again I turned and faced the crowd and took a bow. As I began to stand back up, with a twinkle in my eye (at least that’s how I imagine it), I took a little hop.
“GASP!” came the sound from the audience. So I took an even higher jump and got an even louder response.
From the corner of my eye I could see my wife … errr … assistant shaking her head, and I wisely decided to not push my luck any further. Without further ado, I hurried across to the other side, hopped down from the chair, and immediately stumbled off the stage.
Standing once more, I faced my adoring audience. “So, children, what do you think is the point of this little lesson?”
Zack jumped up and yelled, “YOU NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT!!!” And then ran as my hat flew after him.
* * *
JOE MORELAND has been writing since about the age of ten and spent most of his formative writing years on scripts for various stage productions. He is currently working on a novel that has been in the works for nearly 25 years and will probably never be finished (just so he can keep calling himself a writer). You can read more by Joe at FaithWriters