Judgment Day was first published in the MacGuffin in the Spring of 2017 issue.
George smiled as he put his candy bar and can of pop on the counter.
“I’m giving you my bike Ed. You’ve always liked it and I want you to have it. I put it on your porch.”
Ed scowled at his friend across the counter.
“What the hell are you doing George? For god sakes, you have a doctorate in chemistry.”
“I don’t see what that has to do with anything.”
“It’s just that it doesn’t make any sense.”
“Look, if you want to know more about chemistry you’d talk to me right?”
“If you have a leaky pipe you call a plumber. If you have a faulty switch you call an electrician. If you need a foundation laid you call a contractor.”
“So you have faith that all these people know about something better than you. That’s all this is, faith in someone who knows better.”
George continued smiling and Ed continued scowling as he rung up George’s purchases.
“I don’t know. It just seems odd for God to pick May 22, 2011.”
“Would any date seem less odd?”
“You should come. Pastor Matthews is having us meet at the church at eight this evening to start praying. It’s not too late to seek redemption.”
Part of Ed wanted to shake his friend and call him an idiot, or laugh, or punch George in his self-righteous face.
“Thanks, but no. I have lots of things I need to get done.”
George took his change and walked toward the door. As he opened it he turned back.
“I’m going to miss you Ed. You’re a good egg.”
Ed let his scowl relax.
“If you wouldn’t mind, say a few prayers for me George.”
“No problem Ed.”
“See you later.”
George didn’t hear. He was already out the door, walking up the street, whistling.
Ed closed the grocery store at six and went home. George’s bicycle sat on his porch. He ate dinner alone in front of the television and fell asleep in his chair thinking of his friend praying with the rest of the fools at the church with its padded pews and grape juice instead of wine. The next day he mowed the lawn, trimmed his hedges, and watched Sunday Night Football by himself. On Monday morning he reopened the grocery store promptly at eight.
George was the first customer to arrive. He walked in whistling and got a gallon of milk from the cooler and brought it to the counter. Ed stared at George for a moment but said nothing.
“There was no milk in the house.”
Ed nodded, rung up the purchase, and handed George his change. George started to leave.
George turned with his hand on the door and a smile on his face.
“You forgot your bike on my porch the other day.”
“I was wondering where I left it. Thanks Ed.”
“See you later George.”
“See you later.”
George walked out the door whistling.