May 21
11:35 a.m.

Kate is pacing in my office and I’m busy trying to finish the bulletin.

“It’s so good to see you.”

“Very funny. I’m not happy.”

“I. Am. Shocked.” She crumples up a piece of paper and throws it at me.

“It’s the dumb sign board.”

“Uh…huh.”

“I’m just going to change the sign board!”

“Thank God! I hate doing that. People are always suggesting I put something stupid saying on it—so Christianese. You should have read what the Walkers had me put on the board.”

The dreaded church secretary task. I’m just glad that Kate’s doing it today. Mark has these sayings. Sometimes they run soooo long and Kate has to try and fit in everything on the board.

“Why don’t they invest in one of those electronic boards?”

“Money, money, money!” she sings, and picks up the lovely metal letters.

___________

11:40 a.m.

“It’s happened again.” Kate’s back way too soon to have changed the board.

“What?”

“All the letters have been knocked off the board.”

That’s almost impossible to do—like pulling the sword out of the stone. The letters were in this shrine like thing with a glass front.

“Maybe someone has a key?”

“No,” Kate shook her head. “It’s the third time this has happened now. I have to put all the letters back.”

“What if they do it again?”

“I have a plan. They’ll never do it again, trust me.” Kate was determined.

“You’re going to kill them? Katie’s got a gun…Katie’s got a gun.”

“I see the evil grin.” She gives an evil laugh and is gone.

______

11:45 a.m.

“I brought Kate this book.”

Walt is beginning to be a regular fixture in the office. Like those ones that someone bequeaths to the church in their will, when the treasurer is really hoping for money, but that sweet old lady leaves her million to some foundation. Now, you can’t give this white elephant away or else you’ll end up creating a huge church war because Wilhemina was so beloved. So instead, you just have to keep on seeing this and it’s a sore reminder of how much the church could have used her money instead. Particularly, after she drove the leadership crazy with all her demands about how she would have to leave her money elsewhere…which then, she actually does!

Walt’s watery eyes behind his large spectacles, staring unwaveringly at me. I wish he wouldn’t stare at me. So uncomfortable. I don’t like anyone staring at me.

“Kate is very special. Praise Jesus.”

“Yes, yes.”

“Not that you aren’t. You are too. Very. More than Kate. To me. Don’t be jealous.”

Oh Lord, he thinks I’m jealous.

“I love Kate. She’s like my sister.”

“I think you’re more special.”

Ground already covered, Walt. Already covered. Well traversed and done. Time to drive straight down that nice open road. Keep moving, Walt. Just keep on moving….

“Walt! So good to see you!” Kate finally has arrived.

“This book is for you.”

Walt is holding out a moth-eaten, mildewed book. I call it like I see it. Kate is too nice not to act thrilled.

“Oh, Walt! Thank you! That looks like an antique.”

Streams in the Desert. It’s something my grandmother gave me. I thought I’d like you to have it.”

Kate, it’s got scarlet fever. Don’t take it. Don’t touch it. I had read a book somewhere where the woman, or was it a girl, anyway, it was someone, and they got scarlet fever. So nobody knew how they got the scarlet fever, and then, they discovered that while redecorating the room they had pulled down the wallpaper and Voila! Scarlet fever germs. Not that it was a Voila! moment, but that’s what I’m thinking about watching Kate with this ugly book.

That’s why I don’t like antiques. Never sure what disease is crawling all over them, crying out, “I’m going to make you sick and kill youuuuu.” Unless, of course, they belonged to someone in my family. Who didn’t have scarlet fever or some deadly plague.

“…and I’m sure I will let Natalie read it too.”

What? Not on your life. I’m not catching that vermin. Can you catch a vermin? Must ask Mitch.

“Oh, no! That’s for you. I have something very special for Natalie.” He’s smiling at me. I’m looking at Kate trying to give her hate looks. She’s ignoring them.

“Yes. Me? No, I couldn’t take away anything special from you.” I wonder if I can borrow some of those surgical gloves from the kitchen.

“Natalie, it would be my joy. Praise Jesus.”

“Praise Jesus…” Hell no. Oh Lord, I don’t mean Hell, no way to praise you…I was just saying that to Walt.

Great. Now I’m going to hell.

______

3:45 p.m.

“Kate!” I’m waving this invitation in her face. I read, “We are celebrating Eunice McGill’s FIFTY YEARS of faithful service to her Lord and Savior at our church. Your presence will be Eunice’s gift. Bring a loving memory of how Eunice has blessed your life to celebrate this special event.”

“You got one too?”

“Kate, I have no loving memory of Eunice.”

“Should we go?”

“I guess it would be good to go and support her.”

“She’s a nice lady.”

“Don’t you think she’d make the perfect, undetected murderer in a mystery novel?”

“Miss Marple?”

“Yes. And she wasted it all on being a church secretary!”

“You’re incorrigible!”

Kate is my best friend.