“The Reverend Curry,” the assistant announces, holding the door open.
“Thank you, Ms. Jones-Berger. Please have a seat, Mr. Curry.” The man behind the desk steeples his fingers. “What can I do for you today, Reverend?”
“Thank you for seeing me, Mr. Deity,” the Rev. Curry says, sitting on the edge of his chair. “I’m about to give a sermon –”
“Now wait a minute,” Mr. Deity says, holding up a hand. “Are you worried about getting the words right? All of the prompters are booked from now till Christmas.”
“No, Mr. Deity,” the man says, gripping the chair arms. “The topic of my sermon is a bit — controversial — and I’m afraid the congregation will react poorly.”
“Ah, I see.” Mr. Deity pushes a button on the intercom. A voice rumbles out of the speaker.
“A job for you.”
“I’ll be right there, sir.”
A young man enters from a different door than the Rev. Curry had come through. His bright purple blazer startles the reverend. His hands, meanwhile, are tucked casually into his jeans pockets. “Sir.”
“Ah yes, meet the Reverend Curry. You’ll be attending his service today.”
The young man nods. “Reverend.” He inclines his head toward Mr. Deity. “Any specific mission, sir?”
“Keeping the peace, if it becomes necessary.”
“Respectfully, sir, I’m not a bouncer.”
“Of course you aren’t, son. Bouncers break up fights inside, not in the parking lot.”
“Oh, it’s that kind of a sermon?” The young man raises his eyebrows and glances at the reverend.
“It’s respectable,” Mr. Curry blurts. “Just perhaps not particularly popular with my constituency.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll sort it out, Reverend.” The young man takes his hands out of his pockets. “So, what time is the service?”
The reverend bites his lip. “Now. The last hymn is just finishing.”
“My Father! We’d better get going!” The young man takes the reverend by the elbow and hustles him toward the door.
“Thank you, Mr. Deity!” Mr. Curry calls over his shoulder.
As the two men exit the office, Mr. Deity mutters, “Thank me later.”