The previous installments of this story were known, in order, as “A Jogging Contradiction,” “The Good One,” and “Contrary to Ordinary”:
Her lunch with Johnny Jacklin left Eliza Evermore in what seemed to her a mild state of hypnosis. She was fascinated. She longed to see him again, but he made no more appearances at the ministry in the next several days. She spent a half hour searching the main frame for contact information. Johnny had no mobile device. She also discovered that he was the Reverend Roger Jacklin and wife Lucille’s only natural son. Roger Junior had been adopted. Neither bore much resemblance to his parents.
Eliza researched the younger brother, read all his reports from abroad and other epistles from those who worked with him or had been sent to report on his deeds. They all added up to a portrayal of an eccentric dynamo, a man capable of quelling unrest that sometimes placed his life in danger. At the same time, his mission assignments had been mostly of short duration. Either he placed himself in places too hot for him to handle, or he had the effect of heating them. He left in his wake impressive deeds but little in the way of lasting achievement. Everyone missed him, though. Everyone wanted him back.
Fearless and forthright. Always moving. Never content to stay in one place for long. Eliza was infatuated. She thought of him during her daily jogs, often in a sexual sense. He was single. She even gave up smoking for a while. Had Johnny been around, she might not have started back. Junior didn’t help. He’d gotten word of their “date” at Wendy’s. He visited her cubicle to assure Eliza that Johnny wasn’t the saint he claimed.
“Those bright baby blues of his? Little kids are running around with those eyes in villages all over the world! That’s why my brother Johnny Jacklin moves around so much,” Junior said. “I figured that out long ago.”
Eliza didn’t believe him. She just wanted to believe it, which, in turn, was also what Junior wanted. Discrediting his angelic baby brother was a fulltime job. He hoped Eliza would seduce him. God knew he’d spent enough time trying to seduce her.
The following week Johnny called. She was at home. She was high. He was just what she needed.
“Eliza, how are you? I’m calling from Denver. You know, the more I think about it, it’s really impossible to function in the States without a cell phone, you know? Phone booths have disappeared. I thought, abroad, that Internet access was sufficient.”
Johnny was only six years older than Eliza, who could not remember using a pay phone in her entire life. Maybe they still had them in Bangkok.
“It’s … sort of disquieting,” Eliza said. “I sort of understand why I never knew anything about you, Johnny. No one knows where you are. I guess it’s the same, whether it’s Ecuador or Colorado.”
“You’ve been looking me up.”
“No. Not really.”
“Bangkok, I might have mentioned. Quito? I’m pretty sure I didn’t. Ciudad de los Cielos. City of the heavens. It’s more than nine thousand feet above sea level.”
“Well, anyway, I just wanted to know more about you. You interest me, Johnny.”
“No secrets,” he said, “just a world full of people wishing there were. Look, I can’t stay on this phone for long. I’ll be back in, oh, a couple of days, probably. I’d like us to get together again. Just talk.”
“I’d like that.”
“You’re a good person, Eliza. I’ve been praying for you.”
“I’ve been praying for you, too,” she said. “I’ll see you then, whenever then is. Bye, Johnny.”
Eliza had been praying for Johnny. In a way.
Thanks for reading my short fiction. Most of the blogs at www.montedutton.com are non-fiction. It’s still not too late to buy my books, particularly the novels The Intangibles and The Audacity of Dope, for the holidays: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1414631316&sr=1-1