The first thing that caught her eye were his shoes. Although they’d been rigorously polished for the interview, they had no style. They were generic, lace-up, coal-black, rubber-bottomed shoes of the type you’d see on people in mental institutions. And he stuck them out in front of his body and towards the camera making his feet look even larger. The rest of his attire was casual but colorless. Tans and browns mostly. His glasses were also a generic Clark Kent style. She could tell he was scared shitless. Or … maybe he’d always looked that way. Yes, Brandy decided, that was David Josiah’s look.
By contrast, the bishop sitting across from him … on a throne-like chair! … was dressed in gold and silver robes as though he was about to give Mass for the Pope. But he was so ancient and badly bent forward that perhaps, Brandy thought, he was fixing to die and wanted go out in style. He babbled on cheerfully about priests who were retiring and nuns who’d gone to their final reward as if trying to unfreeze David. A blessing this, a blessing that. Everything was a “blessing” … even Parkinson’s disease. After all, God had blessed their beloved Pope John Paul with Parkinson’s disease. So David Josiah should feel equally blessed.
Upon mention of his favorite pope, David Josiah leapt into the conversation. Well, sort of. His mouth opened and words emerged as though spoken by a ventriloquist “Our blessed Pope John Paul used the blessing of his illness to perform miracles!”
The bishop’s mouth fell agape but then he quickly realized … David Josiah was not suggesting that he was personally going to perform miracles like John Paul. That would have been blasphemy! It was just a statement uttered out of necessity to join the conversation. The bishop waited for further explanation but the younger man had finished. “Speaking of blessings, I understand your wife is with you,” the bishop said.
Brandy had never seen a picture of David Josiah’s wife. Nora either didn’t keep pictures of her younger brother and his wife or didn’t want to share. All she ever heard was that he’d moved east, found a community of like-minded souls, and gotten married. Period. She’d often imagined David Josiah married to someone meek and mild like one of his beloved mice but Brandy was more often wrong than right about such things. Bring her on. End all these years of wondering what happened to David Josiah.
“Yes, my wife brought me. I have difficulty walking now.” This led to a discussion of treatments and outcomes but no wife appeared. Finally they got around to the real reason for the podcast: The books. The royalties would, of course, help sustain the work of the Helpers. All he wanted to do was spread the Word.
I am watching your brother, Nora … on a podcast, can you imagine? Solid, unquestioning David Josiah with a podcast! The whole of your family has blown away and there he is and he looks well taken care of. I just thought you might like to know. But I think I’ll stop the podcast now and I don’t think I’ll watch it again. Love Brandy
Note to readers: this is a continuation of a piece I’m futzing with Returning to the Pits of Bottomless Despair.