Chapter Fifty-One: Josie, The Real Estate Agent

Editor’s Note: The story of Vine cannot only be one of Elders vs. witches, Preachers explaining away monsters, and land itself performing magic. The story of Vine exists within its people. Sometimes, I like to go to Gentleman Jim’s and simply write down what people say. Josie, in fact, was one of Mom’s old coworkers, who got laid off from the reception desk at the Vine Bulletin and became one of Vine’s most successful realtors.

The times are always changing. Josie knew that. A century ago they would’ve burned her for wearing pants. Not to mention this smart gray power suit. Yes women could be in the workforce now. Yes women could buy and sell property. Yes women could confer and bestow deeds of ownership for patches of land. Same as men. This is America. Freedom reigns on this land. This land where you can own your own patch of land. Perhaps turn the land into fertile farmland growing maize growing twinberries or perhaps herding noble animals like cattle or sheep as did the prophets of yore all the Abrahams and Davids and Sauls in the Bible. Well now was Josie’s turn. The Book of Josie. Preach that. 

The times are changing. The language is always changing. Young ladies are no longer young ladies, she thought. We are women of the workforce. The grass was green on the lawn she thought she could see the molecules of chlorophyll actively coloring each individual blade of manicured sorghastrum nutans (you couldn’t say Indian grass anymore, it’s insensitive). This neighborhood she was going to sell was integrated now. Had been for years since back when you could call them “Negroes” but of course now you had to say “Black” and some of the ones who went to college even wanted to be called “African-American!” With a hyphen! Well Josie didn’t go to college but she knew that when there’s thunder but no rain it’s just the Devil beating his wife and she sure knew how to devil some eggs for the church picnic on Sunday. If language can be changing and workforce times can be changing then the winner of this year’s Church Chili Cook-Off can also shift from a certain perfect-but-aging blonde with a traditional beef chili for perhaps an adventurous young homemaker slash real estate broker who is concocting some very interesting things using navy beans and chicken thighs in her chili. 

The Satanists loomed large as a shadowy threat of course: the evil of the world remained out there no matter how brightly the sun glinted off the fresh coat of white paint on the picket fence. Threats are always about. Like rabbits ducking into previously undetected holes after eating the garden celery or the fresh box of family-sized chip bags the grocery stock boy forgot was hidden in the back the Satanists were omnipresent even if they were unseen. Who could possibly want to destroy Vine? Such people did not make sense to Josie. The language was always changing. You could not say “those people do not belong in this neighborhood” anymore. Not even referring to Satanists. The threat. You had to say “this is a nice neighborhood” “this is a neighborhood where families raise children” “this is a neighborhood of good character.” The threats were always out there. But God had chosen the people of Vine. When she put the key in the lock to show the ranch-style home to the newly minted Mr. and Mrs. Vance she knew that the triumph of good was inevitable. That life would continue afresh with each new generation. That Vine would continue. 

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