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The Picture of Perfection

Theologue A few years ago, while out running errands, as I was leaving the grocery store for home, Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke was playing on the radio and I was suddenly a high school freshman again. It’s funny how a song or smell or even a mention of something in the news can send us to another time and place, maybe remind us of a simpler time in life… That same day, I was searching for a file on my computer and I happened across some writing I did in my early years as a high school teacher. I had written a few poems (one or two may still be on poetry.com , and I tried writing free verse in Russian, but a native speaker said Russian poems are never free verse so there won’t be a statue of me anytime soon in Red Square), started a short story or two, as well as an eBook (entitled In Between the Dark and the Light) about a guy who has recurring different dreams; recurring, yet different because each dream builds on the one that precedes it—a series of nocturnal vignettes in which a married man develops a relationship with a woman in another time and place...or so it would seem...and the only person who could confirm such an affair is an 82-year old woman whom this guy has never met...in the daylight, that is. The Howling Man is a story by Charles Beaumont based on the old folk saying “You can catch the devil, but you can’t hold him long.” In it the devil exploits Man’s desire to do good (and his carelessness with faith). Buried in the computer files was another story idea that involves the same sort of exploitation, based on what each of us has in that “closet” where we’re so sure no one—not a best friend, spouse, or even God—will ever look. I’ve titled it, simply, The Picture. There are a few bugs to work out (as well as some artistic lethargy issues), but I think it has promise and has even more potential as a story to be told by a pastor. (What really scares you? What are you ashamed of? What do you think you’re getting away with? Ever wonder if you can, someday, truly come clean? Would you even want to?) Suppose there existed somewhere a picture that no two people see the same way. I don’t mean aesthetically ...

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