the publicans

Two old men. A diner near the Tug River Valley. One wears a red face. He calls his friend Plez.

Plez: The General’s a pastor now.

Red: I reckon?

Plez: Yup. Says God spoke to him. Set him on his course.

They figure on it. For a while.

Plez: But we don’t know. We don’t know if He really did. Or if the General just thought it, or wished it, or made it up to suit him.

Red: The Lord can speak to a man.

Plez: But this ain’t a wise man and it ain’t wise things he’s saying. And the Lord don’t speak foolishness. He’s been around too long for that.

They shake their heads and drink their coffee and think about the man who just took up God; but took Him up better than most.

Plez: I told him I’m a publican – that’s what they called sinners in the olden days.

Red: The Lord ate with them.

Plez: Yes sir.

Red: I’d rather be a sinner beside Jesus than all right on my own. Any time.

Plez: He’s all ornery ’bout me goin’ fishin on Sundays. I told him I ain’t heard a man yet went to Hell for fishin.

Red: If the Lord ain’t in the good earth, where’s he at?

Plez: He’s behind that pulpit pointing his finger and tellin’ people the devil’s holdin’ onto ’em.

Red: Not My Lord, friend. Not My Lord.

They finish their coffee and talk about the weather.

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  • Molly
    May 8, 2006 at 18:17

    lovely writing.

  • jadasgigi
    May 8, 2006 at 19:16

    you’re very talented. I can relate to a lot of these stories…Alabama…not W VA. 🙂

  • Jay
    May 8, 2006 at 19:20

    Great dialogue.

  • danflynn
    May 8, 2006 at 19:59


    Lot going on here as usual. I like these two curmudgeons passing on news and making a distinction between their faith and that of a fundamentlist. And because they’re not fundamentalist having made their views clear they turn to drinking coffee and talking about the weather. Subtly put B, subtly put. Agree with Molly, lovely writing, full of flavour and depth.

  • Bre
    May 8, 2006 at 22:05

    Love it, as per usual. I can almost hear them, really, though I’m probably substituting the voices of my neighbors

  • hattigrace
    May 8, 2006 at 22:23

    Thanks Buffy. Another full hearted exchange.

  • Olivia
    May 8, 2006 at 23:15

    Heyyy, I’ve been here before…a long time ago…maybe via Belle?

    I read a previous post of yours – I spent Christmas on the Italian Riviera, it was lovely, so hopefully you can go soon. 🙂

  • Marv
    May 9, 2006 at 1:12

    that is awesome!!!

  • Sar
    May 9, 2006 at 3:52

    Hi Buffy! Seems talking over coffee is at least universal. 😉

    Btw, thanks for commenting on my blog. 🙂

  • LisaBinDaCity
    May 9, 2006 at 12:30

    Ultimately it always comes back to the weather 😉

  • K
    May 9, 2006 at 20:03

    Naming characters is one of the hardest things. Your names are fantastic.

  • Bonnie
    May 9, 2006 at 23:31

    Buffy, you write wonderfully!

  • snapshot_superhero
    May 11, 2006 at 0:30

    I love it… Love it love it love it. Thank you!

  • David
    May 11, 2006 at 5:39

    Dont you just love the conversations that come from a cup of coffee? But what I dont get is…what’s a publican?

  • Buffy
    May 11, 2006 at 5:47

    A publican was a tax collector of sorts who worked for the Roman Empire during biblical days. Generally considered ‘unsavory’, horrible people.

    I heard an old man say once that ‘publicans’ were what they use to call sinners. It wasn’t…not in the strictest sense..but I thought it had a nice ring to it.

  • wisbo
    May 11, 2006 at 16:47

    Moods of yesteryear

    like it!

  • kim
    May 26, 2006 at 11:41

    You are inspiring. Love the layers.