His Cousin’s Keeper

“You’re a piece of work, Bryan.” That’s what Tom said after Bryan announced plans for his new podcast: For Such a Time as This. Bryan had been born again again about two years ago and ever since had increased in zealousy for Jesus to the point where he was losing friends and winning enemies—not Jesus but Bryan. Prior to the podcast idea (which Bryan kept alternately calling his “Godcast”), Bryan spent six weeks paraphrasing the book of Psalms using the music of Sufjan Stevens as a soundtrack. Tom told him that was a pretty quick turnaround but Bryan countered, “No, not when God is your muse.”

Tom believed Bryan used God as a MacGuffin, something to push his personal plot line along. Tom believed that about a lot of people, but Bryan currently had no equal. He read a sample of Bryan’s psalms and found himself strangely angered, like he might blow the proverbial gasket. So, he went to the Rawhide Batting Range and knocked the hell outta some balls and felt much better afterwards. Still, it was strange. Bryan later asked what he thought of his psalms. Tom hesitated a bit, then said, “I’ve no words.” Bryan beamed, “I knew it.”

The reason Tom stays tethered to Bryan is that was Mike’s dying wish—Mike being Tom’s uncle, and Bryan’s father. Mike had celebrated his 65th birthday by skydiving, something no doubt inspired by that Tim McGraw song. But the big day turned dark when Mike’s parachute failed to open. The instructor tried his best to get to Mike mid-air, but as Mike later whispered, “Gravity’s a bitch.” He then further whispered, “Keep an eye on Bry,” heaved his last, and passed on over. Tom heard Mike’s wish that day as duty. From then on, he was his cousin’s keeper.

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  1. Elizabeth on September 17, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    Wow – I need to read the rest of the story!

  2. Anne on September 17, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    I want to know more. Much more.

  3. Jared Anderson on September 17, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    Feels right, this one.

  4. Phil on September 18, 2020 at 4:40 am

    “born again again”?? Was the 2nd “again” a typo? We can only be born again once.

    I’m sorry, but I read this piece twice and it still didn’t make much sense to me. A minor point, but I don’t believe you fall to the earth from a plane without a parachute, and speak to anyone. Was this a dream?

    • John Blase on September 26, 2020 at 3:16 pm

      Most days my writing doesn’t even make sense to me, Phil. It’s simply an imaginative writing exercise, not a dream. But the “born again again” is no typo. I grew up in a tradition where people made multiple decisions “to follow Jesus,” that’s the reference.

      • Phil Hunt on September 26, 2020 at 8:08 pm

        Ok. Thanks for your response.

  5. Dottie on September 18, 2020 at 6:17 am

    Love this.

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