65 - Jambaliar


You take a single bite and you know immediately that this is objectively the worst jambalaya you have ever eaten in your entire life. You throw the bowl to the ground; it lands perfectly face-up, spilling nothing. It is as if the jambalaya is possessed by an evil, flavorless demon. Realizing you have been set upon by the Trickster, you spit the foul concoction out, and while much of it clears the sidewalk and falls onto the car in front of you, a small portion dribbles onto your white wife-beater.

You are filled with righteous fury.

“I didn’t pay no ten dollars for no damn devil rice!” you proclaim to the line in front of the church. Several members of the congregation turn to look at you with faces of concern, confusion, and a little bit of fear.

You walk hurriedly to the front of the line; your rapidly moving legs pull your American flag shorts into the crack of your buttocks. You push the old lady at the front out of the way and point an accusing finger at the man standing behind the fold-out table you bought the jambalaya from. “What are you tryin’ to pull here, mister?” you demand, poking your finger into the man’s chest.

The man behind the table takes a step back and adjusts his white collar. “I’m sorry my child, what seems to be the problem?” he asks feebly. His face is serene but terror hides behind his eyes.

You raise your eyebrow and remove your sunglasses, letting them hang from the RealTree camouflage band you have them attached to. You lean over the table and grab the old man by the shirt, pulling him closer to you- slowly. When your noses are nearly touching, you explain in a chillingly even tone, “The problem is you sold me the jambalaya of Judas Iscariot, betrayer of man!”

A voice chimes in from behind you. “Are you okay, pastor?”

The old man behind the table looks over your shoulder, speaking to the owner of the voice. “It’s all right, Barbara.” He returns his attention to you. “Sir, I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

You slap the pastor forcefully on the left cheek and he falls to the ground. Various shrieks and screams emit from the crowd behind you. The old woman you pushed out of the way faints, but is caught by a younger man before she hits the ground.

You nimbly hop over the table and stand over the pastor. You once again direct the index finger of judgment at him. “Sellin’ for charity don’t give you the right to infect people’s bodies with the chicken and sausage of the Morning Star, pretender. I catch you out here again, I’ll rip your sheep’s clothing from your body and toss you in the pit, you hear me?”

“What are you talking about?” begs the pastor, his face no longer serene.

“You know exactly, mister. You will dwell now and forever in the cast-iron pot of the Lord, or I will find you. Heed these words.”

Your daily work done, you return to your El Camino and start the engine. Hank Williams blares from your radio as you speed off, and you thank God for giving you the strength to vanquish yet another false prophet.