Monday, May 31, 2010

Conversation in a Bookshop

On the way to the beach, I stepped into a second-hand shop to browse the books laid out on a bright green kitchen table.  A grandfather-y man stood at the counter, talking to the proprietor.
           "They invited me to join their bible study group."  He was saying.  "Sounded all right, but when I went there, they weren't saying one damn thing about the Bible - it was all about some feller called Joseph Smith!  Seems like I knew more about the Good Book than they did! I had to try to teach them, and they couldn't have been less interested in a thing I said.  Kept going on about this Smith feller- he isn't even in the Bible, far as I can make out!"
            "When I was a child in Ireland" the woman said in a thick brogue, "we went to church three times a week. We certainly had to know our bible!  Here in the new country, well, I'm not saying that I live by it still, but I certainly respect it.  And I've never forgotten a bit!"
            "The world is crashing."  The old man said vehemently. "Crashing! Taxes rising, costs rising, young people not knowing the good book any more - and what for?  Where's it all gone? Everything's there in the Bible - everything you need to know! Here-" He turned to me. "What kind of car did Jesus drive?"
            I heard a choking noise from behind the counter. I shook my head, fascinated.
            "Well, the Bible mentions that God created the Galaxy - there's a Ford Galaxy, right enough, so he must have had one of those.  In the same passage the Falcon is mentioned three times - do you think Jesus had three Ford Falcons, or just one that's worth mentioning three times?"
            "Jesus didn't have one single car."  The woman's ears were developing a pink flush.
            The old man looked up at the ceiling. "Moses crossed the Red Sea in Triumph, that one I don't understand - it's not a very good car, and the Eagle is mentioned sixty-three times, so they clearly had a lot of those around Galilee."
He turned to me and winked. "They say that a tiger in the tank is good for a car's performance, but do you know what's even better?"
I shook my head again.
            "A lady lion' in the back seat!"
I burst out laughing.
            "And on that" the woman said firmly, taking the old man by the elbow, and leading him toward the door "I think we've had quite enough.  Out with you!"
            The old man let himself be led.   The air had gone out of him. "Crashing."  He said sadly, shaking his head. "Just crashing."

No comments:

Post a Comment