Chapter Sixty: The Plague of Skinks

Editor’s Note: of course, one problem with complete modernization is this: Vine is still a land of miracles. Jonah is convinced God will destroy Vine the moment the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2000. I’m skeptical, but the God of the Hebrews sent frogs to Egypt, while the Chosen People in the Americas got: 

And so it was that on the morning of July 3, 1998, the town of Vine awoke to find itself covered in skinks, there were skinks in every garage and driveway, there were skinks in the mountains and on the banks of the river and skinks piled high in fishermen’s boats, when MacKenzie Stevens—lifeguard on duty opening the Vine Pool—opened the locker rooms there were skinks spilling out of every locker, when Tim Johnstone was driving his paper route skinks were scattering away from the imposing tires of his station wagon, skinks were coming out of the taps at Gentleman Jim’s (so the morning regulars had to order bottles), and in halls of the schools of Vine there were skinks, there were skinks in the library and skinks crawling on the students’ lunches in the walk-in refrigerator, skinks falling out of gutters, skinks dropping from trees, skinks poking up from manhole covers, Shelly Davidson waded through skinks to the Church of Vine to find the preachers praying, no skinks inside the church, church a skink-free safe haven, communion bread and wine unspoiled by skinks, when Shelly Davidson shouted “God has cursed Vine” the preachers shushed her, for skinks were at the Gates of Heaven, skinks were trying to get to the Church, yet the preachers kept praying, so Shelly Davidson began singing “By God’s Grace Do I Live,” and soon enough others of Vine joined her, though not very many, at least John Hofsteder and Alice Rollins were there, and they too began singing, unsure if the diminishing number of the faithful of Vine willing to wade over skinks to sing praises to God while the preacher prayed away the skinks, but comforted in the knowledge that even faith the size of a mustard seed could move mountains, therefore so too could skinks be excised, the skinks who were at the door, the door of the Church being pressed upon by skinks, skinks too numerous to be thoughtful, skinks not knowing why they were pressing on the Church doors, as the preacher prayed silently for the skinks to be cast out. 

On the morning of July 4, 1998, Vine was free again. 

The skinks had all died, as a result of the preachers praying unto the Lord their God, skinks died in houses, the skinks died in pool lockers, skinks died on roads, skinks died in trees, and thus the people of Vine, chosen by God, piled dead skinks high in a field near the lake—as many skinks still survived in the lake and the river—dead skinks were piled and the land of Vine stank. 

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