So, our “neighborhood,” sandwiched as it is between the biggest (and “bestest,” I am told by parents of teenagers) mall in Omaha and two large apartment complexes, gets buzzed by Mormon missionaries on a pretty regular basis. We think there might be a Mormon safehouse ((I swear I’ve seen apple-cheeked young men with name badges and Mormon-issued clothing disappear into this house. They go up the street (we live in a cul-de-sac) and don’t come back. So I am pretty sure this is a house where Mormon boys on mission can stay the night. That, or they feed Mormons to their carnivorous plant in the basement. Or they sell tasty meat pies. Those would be film references one and two (well, okay, technically number two is a theater reference).)) up the street, but we’re not sure.
In any case, we live in fear of the uncomfortable situation that might arise should an earnest Mormon couple (Ha ha. No, really, I’m just kidding. I’m sure they call them partners… Ha! I kid again!) ring our doorbell. What would we say, once we calmed our doorbell-frenzied Poodle? Would we be polite? Would we gibber and spit and carry on about Dungeons and Dragons, hoping to scare them away permanently?
I just don’t know.
Anyway, tonight, we spied two young men, impeccably dressed, walking up our street. “There are Mormons out there,” Sweetie offered up. We watched them surreptitiously from the upstairs windows, as they rang the doorbell of the house across the street. Nobody came to the door, but they stood there like good Soldiers for a long while. Finally they moved on up the way. I took the opportunity to leash up the feral Poodle and go hunt us some Mormon boys.
It took me a while to find them (luckily for us, our little slice of residential Omaha is nestled between the aforementioned commercial properties and two large roads (the kind your Mother wouldn’t let you cross on your own until you were 25). It is a cul-de-sac heaven wherein no road leads anywhere, and all paths loop back on themselves. When we finally crossed their path, I was a bit taken aback. These fearsome missionaries, were, in fact, two pimply dweebs. Not more than fourteen or fifteen, one was pudgy and crew-cut, the leader, and the other was thin and sallow, with his backpack cinched tight over chest and stomach. They smiled nervously at my toothsome dog, and managed a friendly “Hello” as we swept past. Or maybe they were smiling nervously at me, wondering why I was examining them so closely.
I said “Hi” in turn and promptly began to stalk them.
You have to understand how easy this is in our neighborhood. All you really have to do is hang out at the nexus intersection, and eventually everyone will cross your path. Plus, we have a perpetually empty field (a year-old sign declares that a cheerleading accessories store will be built there), and an intermittently occupied retail property (formerly a Generic Chinese Buffet, formerly a Godfather’s Lounge, serving alcohol and pizza)… clear sightlines for a half mile or so.
Our boys, walking slowly and making little eye contact, had clearly just been doing the minimum required. They’d pounded the pavement, but appeared to have visited only those homes that looked unlikely to have tenants. But now it seemed they had found a target for their convictions. A cute, twenty-something woman walking her Yorkie. You could see it in the way they suddenly stood up straighter, walked faster, and seemed to have discovered some kind of special purpose. ((Film reference the third.))
She took her Yorkie to the empty proto-cheerleading field. They sauntered along the sidewalk next to it, hoping to discuss Jesus with… the weeds? Somebody whizzing by in a pickup? Eventually they couldn’t loiter any more and still be seemly, so they kept on going up to the abandoned Chinese Liquor Bar. Cute-but-probably-concerned girl took a right turn along the property’s parking lot, when lo! The mission boys came back, not exactly trotting, but clearly aware their quarry had given them the slip.
Turning the corner into the parking lot, they found her Right There, waiting in ambush, and they kind of nodded and smiled and walked past her. She turned left and started to put some distance between them, when the leader boy turned back and said something (I don’t know what, since my sightline was clear but I was a long way away) and she stopped. They held some sort of stilted conversation for thirty seconds, at which point she hurried away. The other boy, the thin, pimply, shy one, raised his hand in farewell, as if seeing the lovely governess off at the end of a long, Platonic, British television show, her train pulling out of the station slowly, but inexorably, in a cloud of steam.
Then, slumped and trudging, they went on their way.
I took the furry fury home, thinking to myself, Why, these Mormons are people too. Hormone driven, break-out suffering, shy, awkward, kids on a mission from God. ((Film reference the fourth. Identify your film reference picks in the comments!)) I sure hope our “Dean for President” bumper sticker continues to keep them out of our driveway.