Threading the Needle with Camels

The South End Diner was electric this morning, everybody from the Flatheads to the Bible Study crew, all diverted from their usual meandering musings and cock-eyed conversations to a laser focus on the News of the Day. Not even a week after the State of the Union speech declaring victory over tax bondage, the Speaker of the House, evidently trying to one-up the President’s braggadocio, declared that the tax reform bill had already worked.

“How about you, Brenda?” Jerry Harden asked when Brenda came by with the coffee refills. “You get that big raise yet?”

“You talking about that secretary in Pennsylvania?” Brenda said breezily, “the one who probably thought she’d won the lottery after a buck and a half a week raise.”

“A raise is a raise, Brenda,” Jerry said, grinning and holding out his cup. I expected maybe Brenda would miss and scald Jerry’s hand up clear to his eyeballs.

Fairlane Freddy pushed his half eaten and coagulating plate of biscuits and gravy into the middle of the table like he was pushing chips on a bet in a high stakes poker game. “Speaker of the House said it would pay for her Costco membership.”

“I don’t have a Costco membership, Fred. Costs too much already without paying them to let me shop in their store. I’d be interested in what that secretary got for a salary BEFORE her big pay jump.” She topped off Jerry’s cup and moved to the Bible table, half a dozen men in white shirts trying not to splatter grease on their King James’s.

“Easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into the Kingdom of God,” Randall Morganstein intoned. He was a Jew for Jesus back in the big city, but out here in the boondocks, he joined up with the Little Chapel in the Ravine and rarely missed the Monday morning Bible Group session. “Be grateful for small blessings,” he added and that set Brenda off when her first impulse had been to keep her mouth firmly shut.

“That’s just fine, Reverend,” she growled. “If you’re a camel or a rich guy. The rest of us, we’re a little tired of that homily that we should just wait and we’ll inherit the earth. The earth is pretty much parceled up and sold for profits. How about some compassion for the poor?’

“Well, now,” Randall said, holding up a hand the way he might if he was warding off a blow. “I meant no disrespect, young lady.”

Brenda blew back a strand of her graying hair that had fallen across her angry face. “That’s all well and good, Randy, I guess I’ll see you at the back of the line at the Pearly Gates. I just hope there’s a quota.”

Bible Study yesterday was shorter than most weeks. Maybe it was the lack of coffee refills, who can say?

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2 Responses to “Threading the Needle with Camels”

  1. Rick Says:

    Wasn’t the parable of the tax cut in the Bible? Yes I believe it was Luke 21:1-4:

    The Widow’s Tax Cut

    21 As Jesus and Paul Ryan looked up, they saw the rich transferring their tax cuts into offshore accounts. 2 They also saw a poor widow with a paycheck verily increased by one ducat and a handful of copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus & Paul said, “this poor widow has, in a way, received more than the others. 4 All these other people already had Costco Memberships; but she out of her slightly decreased poverty can now afford a Costco Membership, which she had not before.”

  2. skeeter Says:

    Verily, merrily, this is the truth as it was spoke by the Voice of God. A ducat, a penny, what more need the widow maid need? Let her eat cupcakes, if she be beset by hunger. Otherwise, shut up, the camels need watering.

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