"I'm not going back to my synagogue," Pat said mournfully.
"Oh?" I pulled a paradigm from Reuben's slavering jaws.
"Yeah. They were all trying to hug and be closer with me, and I can't do that. There's only one guy I'm friends with there and he tried to get me to join the prayer circle hug. I went to the bathroom to escape and he followed me. He was pushing through the door, and finally I had to kick him in the shins to get him to leave me alone!"
"I believe shin-kicking is forbidden in Deuteronomy."
"So I'm not going back. I guess I'm done being a Jew!"
"Oldest story in the world: man runs to bathroom, friend gets a kick in the khukas."
I managed to wrestle the topic back to Latin as his dog wrestled me. Then I was off to Mom's, who was busy digging out old pictures and letters from a shoebox.
"Here's a picture of you, from high school."
"Yikes. I didn't hide the fact very well that I was most extremely stoned."
"And here's a letter you wrote to me when you were fifteen. It's when you were confirmed in the church. I'm sure they forced you to write this letter to me."
"No one expects the Spanish Confirmation Letter Writer Forcers. (Hm, doesn't have the same ring.)"
In the letter I told Mom I loved her and thanked her for having me (yep, all forced), and for having me confirmed in the one true faith of Islam (something like that, it was smudged). Then I complained that someone was playing Neil Diamond and I was going to "blow chunks." (HA HA. Too bad Lesley Gore wasn't around so I could start blogging on the internet back then!)
Speaking of churchliness, Mom had gone that morning but was now thinking of never returning.
"What, why? Did the Great Deceiver get you, too?"
"I was saying goodbye to the pastor and telling him how cute his daughter was, and I was standing in the main aisle when I felt this push on my shoulder. Like this... Come over here..."
I got up and Mom punched me in the back.
"Like that! Only harder. I turned around and it was this old woman. She was trying to push me out of the way! Now, can you believe that? In a house of the Lord no less!"
"Don't you know the first rule of Church Club, Mom? Don't talk about Church Club."
Mom snorted. "It doesn't matter. Now I don't know if I want to be in a church where I'm getting shoved by old women."
"What's with all the kicking and punching going on at our local places of worship?"
"She didn't kick me."
"No, I mean, Pat was kicking someone, and now he doesn't want to go back to his synagogue. There seems to be an epidemic of evil going on. Say, are you sure it wasn't the Dark Lord punching you?"
"What are you blabbering about?"
"I mean, maybe the devil was involved in some way. Perhaps, I don't know, he looked like... THIS???"