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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The Little Vagabonds

by Scott

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a piece of a longer writing project. You can view the entire project here: The Little Vagabonds

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Scott on May 1, 2011
"The continuing saga of Charlie and Mira"

Church Time

"I'm so glad I'm a part, of the family of God!"

Charlie tried to remember where he had heard that tune before. Somewhere, back in the hidden closet of his mind, he remembered a church. The church was big and bright and filled with a lot of people. He remembered the sound of the organ echoing through the hall and the sight of women dressed in fancy gowns with bright colored hats. The man all wore suits and ties and everyone referred to everyone else as Mr. or Mrs.

At some point, after his mother had died, Charlie's dad stopped going. He had said to Charlie once that he didn't have a problem with religion or God, he just had a problem with the followers.

So, when TJ and Melanie told them they were going to church, Charlie very nearly said no. Mira though, having been too young to remember and always wanting to try something new, had immediately said yes!

On the way to the little church, Charlie had expected that they would slip in, do the "church thing" and then slip out unnoticed. He was surprised, then, when a nice looking young man came right up to them and welcomed them.

"Charlie, Mira, this is Pastor Michaels. He's our preacher."

Charlie was surprised. The man didn't look any older than TJ and was wearing dress pants and a short sleeved shirt. He looked nothing like the gray-haired men Charlie had seen on television, dressed in fancy suits and thick glasses. Pastor Michaels would not have looked out of place as a teacher in Charlie's old school.

"Oh, no need to be so formal," the young preacher said. "Everyone just calls me Pastor Mike."

Mira giggled a little. "Your name is Mike Michaels?" Inwardly, Charlie groaned. He knew, just knew, that the man was going to be upset at the statement.

Instead, Pastor Mike chuckled, leaned down close to Mira, and said, "Yeah, my parents aren't very creative when it comes to names!"

"How many times do I have to tell you? Michael was my grandfather's name!" The voice belonged to a tall thin, salt and pepper haired women making her way down the aisle. She was smiling widely and she winked as she saw Charlie.

"This young lady is my mother." Pastor Mike put his arm around her waist and kissed her cheek. "You can call her Miss Barbara, but most of the kids just call her Grammy. She teaches the Children's message. So, after we finish with the songs, if you don't want to listen to me bore you, you can go with her."

"Can I go to?" joked TJ.

Miss Barbara chuckled. "I've already taught you in Children's Church, young man. I'm afraid you have to stay out here!" She turned to her son and said, "Your father's looking for you. He wants to know how many verses of "Crown Him with Many Crowns" you want to do."

Later on, there was a time to "Meet and Greet". Charlie worried that they would be smothered with people wanting to shake their hands and treat them like a circus show. Fortunately, the people were very polite. They shook hands and said it was nice to see them. A few of the parents introduced Charlie and Mira to their kids.

"If you need anything, or have any questions, please just ask!"

A couple of pews ahead, a red-haired boy, Charlie thought his name was Dougie, turned around and stuck his tongue out at Charlie. Charlie wondered why the boy was being so mean to him, but a few minutes later, during the announcements, the young boy again turned around. This time, he seemed to be making fun of the man doing the announcements. Charlie chuckled, but Dougie stopped abruptly when his mother tugged sharply on his left ear and gave him a fierce look.

During Children’s Church, Dougie insisted that Charlie sit next to him. By the end of the time, he and Charlie were, as Miss Barbara put it, “joined at the hip”.

As the kids filtered back into the sanctuary to find their parents, Dougie ran to his mother. “Mom! Mom! Mom! Can Charlie come over for lunch today? Please??”

Charlie was surprised that this boy had wanted to invite him to his house. Dougie's mother looked from Dougie to Charlie and frowned. "I'm sorry, but you can't today. Your brother has a ball game today in Milton. That's about two hours away."

Charlie's heart sank. He wondered if this was the real reason, or if the woman just did not want her son to be around someone like him.

"But you know, next week would be perfect!" Charlie looked up and was surprised to see a smile on the woman's face. "We would love to have you over for lunch. In fact, why doesn't the whole family come over?"

For a moment, Dougie's mother looked shocked at her words. She knew that Charlie and Mira were only staying with TJ and Melanie for a while, yet she had called them a family.

"Oh, you know what I mean! We would love to have all of you come over. I have a recipe for a lemon pepper chicken that I have been dying to try out!"

"Oh, mom! Do you have to cook? Dad hasn't finished scraping the pans from last week's lunch!"

As everyone laughed, Charlie began to consider everything that had happened in the last few days. He and Mira had a place to sleep, food to eat, and people that seemed to genuinely care what happened to them. While part of him rejoiced that he had made his first real friend in a long time, another part secretly wondered if he wasn't betraying the love for his mom and dad.

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