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The Throw Away (standard:other, 4840 words)
Author: K.J.Added: Jan 29 2001Views/Reads: 4828/2858Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A girl skips church to go dump-picking with her alcoholic father.

The Throw Away 

written by K.J. Stevens 

When the truck stopped in the church parking lot and the dust settled, I
could see that Dad was halfway through his peppermint schnapps. One of 
his hands was draped over the steering wheel, the other was in his lap 
clutching the pint.Dad's face and neck were sweaty. The collar and 
underarms of his blue T-shirt were wet. He took another pull from his 

"Here we are, Churchgirl. Go get what you need." 

I opened the door and jumped out. Most of the congregation had already
filed into the church, but Father Touchstone was at the door greeting 
the stragglers. 

"Makin' it to church today, Abby?" 

I held my dress down against my legs as I walked up the steps. 

"No sir, Dad's not feeling well today." 

He smiled sympathetically, then looked past me to Dad. I looked back
too, and could see that Dad knew he was the center of attention. He was 
revving the engine and honking the horn at people passing by. 

I slipped by Touchstone and made my way to the greeting table. As usual,
Father Touchstone had laid an offering for us - two boxes of plain 
donuts and a pot of coffee. An idea that Mom had proposed to him a year 
earlier. It would help bring people together, she told him. And when 
people came together, especially in The House Of The Lord, it created a 
shared energy, and perhaps eventually this sharing would bring to light 
the real discovery of God. 

It was something that all of us needed, Mom said. To find the light of
God and to feel His energy. And it came to everyone she said, at some 
point and time, no matter who they were. The Lord's ways weren't all 
that mysterious, she said. The mystery was that the more and more 
people seemed to be having a harder time finding Him and His Truth. 

It sometimes took something very special, she said, like the birth of a
child, or sometimes something as simple as a walk alongside Lake Huron 
at sunset. But, for those that were stubborn, for those who's last hope 
was to be saved or retreat into the arms of the Devil, it took 
something more. A stray bullet during hunting season and the loss of a 
limb. A car accident blanketing a loved one in coma. A boat capsizing 
and the water gobbling up its passengers. For some she guessed, it took 
the Old Mighty, Himself to snatch them right up out of their bodies and 
show them death. 

I could hear Dad revving the engine again and Touchstone was struggling
to talk to people over the truck's roar. I was staring at the cover of 
the most recent Sunday program. A daisy was drooping over to shield a 
butterfly from a downpour of rain. I thought the picture was nice; that 
the flower and the butterfly were especially bright against the 
darkness of the rain, but I doubted the picture's truth because I had 
never seen a butterfly caught in the rain. 

I looked back at Dad and Touchstone and when I was sure that all
attention was diverted to them, I took two programs and two donuts then 
ran out the door. 

"Abby!" Touchstone called, "Is your mother working again, today?" 

I turned to him as I reached the truck. His skin was tan and dark
against his white collar. The sun was bright on his face and as he 
squinted into the light, his mouth eased into a dimpled smile. I 
squeezed the programs in my hand and thought of how happy Mom would be 
to hear that he had asked about her. 

"Yes. She's working." 

"It's a shame she has work on Sundays, isn't it? But make sure you tell
her that I liked her suggestions for next week's program!" 

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