Monday, October 15, 2007

Organic Decay: A Parable

We bought forty-five pumpkins for the Leesburg Bluegrass Festival with hopes that kids from the community would come and claim them. I took great care picking each one from a local patch, but broke one in the process. Not thinking it was ethical to substitute a healthy pumpkin for a maligned one, I heaved the topless fruit in the bed of the truck.

By the end of the day fifteen pumpkins remained, the topless one among them. We brought them inside the building, so as to protect them from the infamous Leesburg Pumpkin Raiders. They slept peacefully beneath our roof.

But by the following morning, whether it was the previous night's foot traffic, the 3 gallons of left over chili, or a biblical plague, the church building was buzzing with flies. They outnumbered the locals in attendance at the festival. During the singing, arms swatted at the airborne intruders. During the sermon hands waved wildly at pesky insects. This was our closest brush with Charisma.

By Monday the flies had multiplied, playing sentinel at the front door and patrolling the kitchen. I armed myself with the fly swatter and rushed the building like a madman: knocking down plastic trees, overturning tables, flushing toilets and slamming doors.

I killed twenty buggers, but they continued to come. They were surging, spawning, swarming. And then I spotted their locus. They'd inhabited the topless pumpkin, laying eggs and hatching plans in the organic decay we'd brought into our worship hall. (Composting doesn't work at room temperature.)

So I did what any noble pastor would do, I grabbed the pumpkin and ran outdoors. I raced until I reached the edge of our lot and tossed the cancerous fruit from our property. Its decent was majestic, climaxing with a muted explosion.

And that's how a church really gets rid of flies.

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