God’s Man- Meg Sefton

He’s got the pages he ripped out of the Bible at the motel. He has crumpled them up into a ball and stuffed them into his pocket. The sharp little crinkles in the text are the teeth of God.

He’s standing in the Cracker Barrel. He has a right to the candy at the roadside shop. God says so. He makes his way to the jars. Saltwater taffy. Peanut log. Seasame honey. It all has to all be right for him to hear the Word. But there’s a screaming baby.  Shut up! He wants to tell the baby. Shut the fuck up! He is losing his connection to the candy, to God’s instruction.

He turns to bless out the baby and there, at eye level on a shelf, is a covering for a hen. It is patchwork and the hen doesn’t move. He lifts the quilted padding slowly in case the animal lunges. Underneath it is a teapot. “Well dad blam!” He smiles with rotten teeth and feels God’s mouth.

“Yes,” says God. “Take it. Your mother would love to have it. It will cover her aluminum teapot beautifully and it will fit quite nicely in your inside jacket pocket. If anyone questions you regarding the theft of this tea cozy, tell them the great I AM hath sent you.”

He is hungry. He wonders if the great I AM would have him eat eggs and grits and a side of biscuits. He fingers the ball in his pocket.

“Go ahead,” says God. “There is a restaurant right next to the candy shop.”

He enters the restaurant and sits in a booth.

“I am God’s prophet,” he says to the dark beautiful waitress whose nametag reads “Robin.”

“Good to meet you, God’s prophet.”

“The Lord says he cares for the birds of the field, aye, even the sparrow.”

“Ain’t you a sweety.” She pours him water.

“I want some cheese grits, ma’am, and some scrambly eggs and biscuits made with sour milk.”

“Prophets eat gratis here.” Robin bends low to pour his coffee. “That means for free.” He stares at the top of her breasts. They are soft and creamy as chocolate.

He fingers God’s teeth. They utter no word of truth. Only his man part grows hard.

When she leaves, he lays the crumbled up ball of Holy Writ on the table. “Where are you I AM? Say anything and I’ll do it, I swanee.”

God is silent.

“Is it because I burned for the bird?”

Robin comes back with his orange juice. “You ‘bout to eat the Scripture? Ezekiel did that baby. Became God’s man.”

He squirrels away the paper.

“Maybe biscuits first, then the Word,” she says.

He looks at Robin saunter away.

“You are in love with the Nubian princess,” says God. “You lust for her.”

“Yes.” God knows every heart, the desires of every man before he utters them. He takes a huge swallow of coffee in order to burn tongue. “Don’t never go away, God.” he says, fingering the Scripture. He would let some blood out later with his knife. He was pretty sure it was supposed to be his this time.

Meg Sefton is a writer who lives in central Florida. When she’s not doing literary things, she’s watching the sunset over her gator-filled lake or trashy TV on her wide screen.


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13 thoughts on “God’s Man- Meg Sefton

  1. Love the sharp edges of this piece of writing– the waitress in collusion with The Almighty, perhaps, and the prophet struggling with purity and pain and thievery.

    Some part of this reminds me of the rich wit of Time Bandits, not knowing who could turn up with the next plate of gratis cheese grits, and who might be the devil, while trying to do his best.

  2. Meg Sefton has a knack for colloquial language, and “I swanee” is proof that she listens low to the ground. She also knows where to look for characters like “God’s prophet.” These people, escaped from hospitals or not, seem to be all around us. This particular character is deluded
    into thinking he is being instructed by the voice of God, but he is not alone. The “teeth” can bite too, apparently. The poor waitress, working for tips and minimum wage, is kind, and perhaps wise. Hopefully the prophet will finish his scrambly eggs and move on. But where? Prophet plans on some good old fashioned bloodletting, his own. It’s a lovely thought. And while Meg Sefton has written a lively and sometimes frightening story, I think there is an opportunity here as well to continue with this character down the road a piece. If she dares.

  3. Meg Sefton’s story brushed against my own fear of a random encounter with an insane, potentially violent person. I worried about the waitress and was glad when “God’s man” decided the blood he should let “this time” would be his own. Tough, excellent story. Shades of Harry Crews and Flannery O’Connor.

  4. Good, strong story with a killer last line thak makes you go back and reread what came before. Imagery progresses: sharp, teeth, burning, knife, blood. The colloquial writing adds to the menace.

  5. I liked this too, Meg, somehow especially the hen tea cozy! I’d be curious about what this character would do next–the complexity of the character.

  6. I love this piece, and I’m amazed at how the author, with an economy of words, so deftly combines humor and darkness, the dramatic and the mundane, and three distinct voices. The man’s disturbing interior dialogue, set next to the breezy conversation of the Cracker Barrel waitress, gives the piece a nice tension. And I love the striking image of the “teeth of God.”

  7. So much is concentrated in this short piece! I keep going back to it in my mind and thinking about it. Reminds me some of O’Connor’s “Wise Blood.”

  8. You can feel the man’s boiling-up interior here, how he’s going to cut through one day – himself or others. The self justification which he attributes to God. Terrifying, really. Yes it reminded me of Wise Blood too (watched the film again the other week when it was on TV). Superbly done.

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