I woke up at about 6:55 pm. It wasn't my usual jolting-out-of-bed wake up. It was one of those where you wake up with your eyes still closed. I opened the eye that wasn't smashed into the pillow and saw slightly out-of-focus the time. I remembered that at 7:00 I was supposed to go to some guy's house whom I had never met and discuss a talk I'm supposed to give to introduce a song the choir is singing two sundays from now. I got out of bed, and put on a song that was roughly the length of time I had before I needed to leave.
"Golden Retriever" by Super Furry Animals. It was such a good song that I decided to listen to it twice.
7:05. I leave. I'm supposed to be at the guy's address -5 minutes from now. Lousy space/time continuum. I get to the street his house is supposedly on, but as I find the place where his house should be, all I see is Tanner Gregory's house, and then a big empty lot next to it. I drove back and forth on this street several times, looking in disgust at the non-existent house.
It's 7:15. I see Jessica Barry drive down this street and park not too far from the impression of one of my flawlessly repeated three-point turns. I see her walk toward a house on the other side of the street. I read the numbers of the house. 1123. My thoughts turned to the unfortunate postal worker assigned to this area. It would be very confusing to have to deliver mail to a house and an empty lot with the same address. I calmly parked my van after another three-point turn and began to follow her to the front door. Smooth, as always.
The guy (whose name is Bro. Packard, I later found out) let us in with a bow. Impressed with his hospitality, I decided I wouldn't embarrass him by mentioning the dog attached to his arm. He showed us in to some seats where a girl was already sitting. Jessica introduced herself very friendly-like to her, so of course I had to as well.
"I'matt," I said. I always have trouble keeping the m's separated in that sentence and still sounding normal.
It looked like she didn't hear me, or just didn't understand what I had said. I looked across the room and shuffled over to the only unpadded seat in the room and looked at my suddenly quarrelsome hands. We sat silently for a few minutes until the doorbell rang. It was Josh Larkin. He's my tennis partner.
"Hey Josh," I said with a welcoming smile.
He's probably still mad about last week's game, I thought. I don't see how he could still be sore about it though. It wasn't even all my fault. I mean, you'd think he'd learn to hit the ball back or even dodge out of the way after a few times. And besides, the doctors said that the bruising will go away within a few weeks. Some people just can't let things go, I guess.
Now I remember where I've seen Bro. Packard before. About a year ago I was part of a group that was supposed to make a stake movie and present it to the stake at some big meeting. I remember at one point being alone in Kody's basement with him:
"So, are you an actor?" he asked.
"Kinda," I responded.
"Do you think I've seen you in any plays?"
"Um, I've done a few, but I'm more of a free-lance actor."
At this time, Kody, Nate, and Adam came back into the room.
"So Mark here tells me that he's had a little experience in acting," said Bro. Packard.
Nate began "Oh, Matt. He's more of just a stunt man. I don't even know why he's here."
And the meeting went on like that.
I hoped Bro. Packard hadn't remembered any of that. But then again, I hoped I wouldn't remember any of that either.
My flashback was interrupted by Bro. Packard reading off who wasn't there yet. I was pretty bored until he got to a certain name.
"...David Ridge..." he read.
My eyes lit up. DAVE! But then,
"Oh, David called and said he can't make it tonight."
I turned my attention to the aforementioned dog. It was no longer connected to Bro. Packard's arm, but rather sitting between my legs. I began scratching behind its ears. It didn't really respond at all for a while. How long am I going to have to do this?, I wondered as I scratched harder. The dog abruptly fell over hard onto the wood floor. I saw its chest deflate and prayed that it would fill up again. I couldn't deal with killing an innocent animal. Not again. The dog lay there for several moments not moving at all. I looked around at everyone else in the room as if to say, "You all saw it. It came at me with a knife." Just as I began thinking out the detail on how I would dispose of the body, I was interrupted by a strange noise. I looked down at the dog and it had begun breathing again. Thank goodness. Then I realised that the sound was coming from the dog. It was snoring. Really snoring. And pretty loudly at that. The dog lay there snoring like that for the entire meeting.
The meeting was just to make sure we all knew how to use the topical guide and stuff. At one point, Bro. Packard asked me to read the piece I would be introducing entitled "Joy in the Morning." I began reading.
"There will be joy in the morning. Joy in the morning. There will be joy, joy, joy in the morning. Joy, joy, joy, joy, joy. There will be joy in the morning..."
And it went on like that. And that's just one of the four-parts I had to read. I looked up in the middle of my reading and looked helplessly at Bro. Packard. He just smiled and gestured for me to keep reading. Ugh. I finished reading what seemed hours later (I don't know the exact time because Bro. Packard had cleverly taken all the clocks from the room before we arrived) and looked up. Even the dog looked sleepier than when I had begun.
I went home very dissatisfied. I had to write some boring talk, I probably killed the man's dog, and worst of all, I had to do all of this without the reassurance of Dave by my side.
But who knows? Maybe there will be joy in the morning. After all, people die in their sleep all the time.