“Please Grandpa,” pleaded Max, “tell me some more about the old days.”
John peered over his notepad to see the face of his curly-haired Grandson, “Okay little man,” his eyes quickly scanned the room before he continued, “jump on up here and sit next to me.”
“Timmy’s dads said you are a sad old relic from the dark ages,” said Max. “Why are you sad Grandpa?”
“They said that?” He could feel an angry flush creeping up his neck. “I am sad, Maxy, but that isn’t what they meant.”
“What did they mean, Grandpa? Why are you sad?”
“I’m sad because I remember a time when freedom meant so much more than it does today.” John continued, “A time before the change.”
“You mean, before the Leader and his people?” asked Max.
“But, the change was good Grandpa,” replied Max, “just like it says by the statues at school.”
“Those statues are an abomination,” answered John, “and I don’t mind telling you that the change was not good.”
“But Grandpa… the statues of Mother Pelosi, Father Frank, and Father Reid looking up at the Leader all look very happy,” insisted Max.
“That’s because they are happy Maxy,” Grandpa John replied. “Why were you talking about me with Timmy’s two dads? Don’t you remember when I told you it would be best to keep our little talks between us?”
“Sorry Grandpa,” Max replied, “I forgot.”
“It’s okay Max,” said Grandpa John, “don’t worry about it.”
“Did you ever shoot a gun Grandpa?”
“Yes,” answered John, “I used to hunt quite a bit when I was a young man. In fact, I had quite a collection of very nice guns back then.”
“You mean you actually had guns in your house?” Max asked, shock in his voice.
“Indeed I did,” answered John. “Back then, you could own more than one gun, and in fact, you could own rifles and pistols too.”
“Why don’t you hunt anymore Grandpa?” asked Max.
“Oh, it got to be too much of a hassle, having to make an appointment at the city gun locker,” answered John. “Anyway, the last time I tried to check out my gun, they said I didn’t qualify for weekday privileges any more. On account of my old job.”
“You mean your old job as a Preacher?” Asked Max.“Yep,” John replied, “that’s the one.”
“What were churches like Grandpa?” Asked Max.
“Oh goodness, Maxi, the churches were wonderful,” answered John. “They were beautiful places, and people come together there to talk about God and how God sent Jesus to pay for our sins so we could be with God forever.”
“Why did the churches go away Grandpa?”
“It was all a part of the change Maxi,” answered John. “It came later, after the Leader and the others convinced people that religion was to blame for hatred and violence in the world. They said that anti-abortion talk was a severe threat to women.”
“Is that why you got sent to jail Grandpa?” asked Max.
“It was,” answered Grandpa John. “After they abolished Christian churches, I kept on preaching for those who would listen. That’s when they said I was guilty of hate crimes.”
“Mark’s mommy got put in jail too,” said Max. “She was telling some other mommies that it should be okay to have more than one baby.”
“It used to be that way Maxi,” said Grandpa John. “It used to be okay for a mommy and a daddy to have two or three children.”
“Wow Grandpa,” exclaimed Max. “Is that what they used to call brothers and sisters?”
“It is indeed Maxi,” answered John. “I had a brother and a sister. They are both gone now, but we loved each other very much. Some families even had six or eight kids.”
BANG BANG BANG
John’s heart fell like a rock into the pit of his stomach. He knew that friends would never knock on his door like that. Max jumped off the couch and opened the door. Two civil enforcement officers stood in the entrance.
“Jonathan McNight?” The male officer stepped into the house as he addressed John; still sitting on the couch.
“We have a warrant for your arrest,” the officer continued, “stand up please, slowly, and place both hands behind your back.”
As he complied with the order, John said, “May I ask what this is about?”
“You have been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor child,” answered the officer. “Sir, you should be ashamed of yourself for filling this boy’s mind with hateful thoughts. Now he will have to undergo retraining.”
John closed his eyes and sighed. He knew that Timmy’s two dads had probably called him in.
“Don’t you realize what you are doing?” John asked of the officer. “Does this change the Leader has insisted on really make you feel good about life?”
“Shut your mouth old man,” replied the female officer, who was now standing at his side. “Speaking of the Leader in a disrespectful manner can be a capital offense. If you keep talking like that, we will add it to your charges.”
John looked down at his Grandson, who was now holding the door open for the officers. He had an impressed look in his eyes that said… I want to be like them when I grow up.
The civil enforcement officers led John toward a VTV (violator transport vehicle) that was parked in the driveway. Max waved goodbye and closed the door. Tears filled the old man’s eyes, as he could just hear Maxi singing inside.
Leader loves me this I know… for my teacher tells me so… little ones to him belong… they are weak but he is strong.