Morris Graver put his glazy blue eye up to the look-hole at the top of the front door to find Able Dilettante standing and waiting with Blue Poorman and Moxie Keener back some distance on the front walk. He hesitated. What in the world were they doing at his house? He sure as hell didn’t want to talk to them… He didn’t want to talk to anyone. He usually didn’t want to talk to anyone, but especially now Morris shunned the company of fellow human beings like the plague.
Something struck him deep in his heart, his soul, though, giving rise to an unwanted internal conflict. It was like another Morris Graver suddenly ascended inside Morris Graver, demanding that he open the door. This other Morris wanted to open the door … wanted company, desperately wanted and needed companionship, even the camaraderie of three people who detested him. It didn’t make a damn bit of sense … but he opened the door.
“Hi,” Able smiled and breathed a very noticeable sigh of relief. “I’m sure you didn’t expect any of us to show up toady, or any day, for that matter … but we’ve come by because we want to apologize.”
This quite obviously shocked Morris, who was silent for a moment before eking out an, “Apologize?”
“Yes … honestly,” Able hesitated, thinking through and choosing his words as carefully as possible. Morris stood, still stunned, waiting. “The other day … at the Frosty Parlor … umm, I’m afraid we didn’t come across too well. In fact,” he looked back at Moxie and Blue, “we made asses out of ourselves.” Both of his compatriots nodded with Moxie simply adding, “Yep!” Able continued, “So … we’ve come by to ask your forgiveness… That’s not really who and what we are, or … well, maybe I should say, we strive to be better than asses.” He kind of laughed.
“Oh … well, you’re right. I really didn’t expect to see you at my front door … and I sure didn’t expect you to come here to apologize, but … uh … o.k.” Morris nervously ran his right hand through his slightly dark, blonde hair. “Look, maybe I … you know, I was probably a jerk, too. I mean I did barge in on your conversation, so … well, I’m sorry, too, you know? So … no offense taken here,” he smiled and timidly chuckled. “I guess all is well and forgiven.”
Now this was the decisive moment. They were an all-important cross-road. Where from here?
“Well, it would feel kind of stupid for us to just say, ‘Oh, thank you,’ and turn around and walk away,” Able confessed. “I mean, at the very least, I’d like to introduce myself and my two friends… I’m Able Dilettante,” he extended his hand, which Morris hesitatingly shook. “And this is Moxie Keener and Blue Poorman.”
“Blue Poorman?” Morris asked, surprised.
“Well, yes,” Blue answered. “Blue Poorman in all his un-glory.” Everyone, including Morris, laughed an ice-breaking laugh … finally, Able thought. Thank you, God … Thank you!
“You’re the Blue Poorman who sometimes does book reviews … late night, on the radio.” Morris offered.
“Yeah!” Blue was excited now. “Yes, that’s me … and if you’ve heard me, then you’ve just increased the number of my listeners to all of fifteen!” Everyone laughed again at Blue’s humorous self-deprecation. “May I ask, have you enjoyed those programs … well, that is, if you listened more than once. I guess I shouldn’t assume.”
“Oh, no, I’ve listened to at least six or eight of your reviews,” Morris lighted up. “In fact, that’s one of my favorite programs and, for whatever it’s worth, I think your one of the best reviewers they invite on the air.”
“It means a lot! An awful lot,” Blue stepped up onto the porch and extended his hand, which Morris readily took and heartily shook. “It does my aging heart good to know … not to mention my ego, which is jumping for joy right now.” Both Moxie and Able were just standing to the side now, smiling. They were naturally pleased that Morris had opened the front door when Able knocked … Now, though, another more significant door had just opened.
“Well, in fact, I’ve ended up reading three books that you reviewed,” Morris said as he let go of Blue’s hand.
“Which three, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“No, not at all. I’ve read The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto, which I only understood because of your review, and Dietrich Bonheoffer’s classic Cost of Discipleship and Augustine’s Confessions. Although I have to confess, despite your appeal to the magnificence of the Old English, I ended up reading an updated English paraphrase of Confessions. I guess I’m just too stupid to really grasp the King’s English, so to speak.”
“Oh no, no, no,” Blue shook his head. “Hey, that’s quite alright. You know, if you’re not used to reading the King’s English, it can be like a foreign language… In some ways it is, really. So, no, I’m thrilled you grabbed that contemporary paraphrase. Often times, with ancient works especially, beginning with a good, contemporary translation, or paraphrase, can open the way later on to the more beneficially reading of … well, we might say, a stricter and more literal translation.” Blue was comfortably in his element now, and thoroughly enjoying it. Ah, they had struck a common chord! Thank God, Able repeated to himself. Thank you, God.
“Hey, instead of standing here talking in an open door, why don’t you guys come in?” The other Morris Graver had finally won out in the internal struggle Morris was having, and Morris was glad. He desperately wanted them to come in now, and they obliged … very gratefully obliged. Intuitively, each one of them knew they would not discuss the shooting, but this was extremely crucial groundwork, laying the foundation, hopefully, for genuine friendship.
For Moxie’s part, she was beginning to realize the depth and strength of sheer need – the need for communication, for companionship, understanding, friendship … love, authentic love. She could never not be upset at Joy’s being shot, but she could quite possibly understand what Dr. Wiseman and her mother apparently already understood, that is: Even if Morris pulled the trigger, this young and deeply pained, suffering, young man was first and foremost victim; if not of another person, per se, then most certainly victim of his own inner-demon of depression and, quite probably, so much more.
Would this excuse the shooting if, in fact, he actually pulled the trigger – and they didn’t know for certain – Moxie asked herself. No, she concluded, it would not, but it would add the very necessary element of compassionate understanding so essential in this particular case. Hell, even if he didn’t pull the trigger, he still needs understanding … and genuine friendship, Moxie told herself. And it was very true; Morris Graver certainly needed friends, real friends, more than ever in his life … truly good, healthy friendship.
“Please have a seat anywhere,” he gladly offered in an unusually chipper voice, and added almost anxiously, “Can I get you anything to drink?” Maybe not, but he was dreadfully thirsty.