When Scott entered the coffee shop shortly after seven o’clock, the four trustees were already seated at a table with half-empty cups of coffee in front of them.
“About time you got here, Pastor, the day’s about gone,” red-faced Orville Locke greeted him.
He pulled a bandana from his unbuttoned and overstuffed overalls and mopped his shiny head, already beaded with perspiration.
Scott feared for Locke’s health. Orville always looked on the verge of a stroke and the half-eaten doughnut on the table next to his coffee wasn’t going to help.
“These youngsters like to lie in bed half the day,” Josiah Watkins added in his raspy voice.
Watkins was the oldest active member of the congregation. A small, dried-up twig of a man whose attitudes were firmly planted in the early twentieth century, he still managed to exert a major influence on the business of the church.
“Ah, cut him some slack, you two,” Bill Odem said.
“The man’s still practically a newlywed,” he went on, “I wouldn’t want to crawl out from under the covers, either, if my Effie looked like Mrs. Davidson,” he added while wiggling his eyebrows and drawing an hourglass shape with his hands.
Bill thought of himself as a funny man, patterning his repartee after 1960’s insult comic, Don Rickles, whom he, unfortunately, resembled.
Scott smiled thinly at the others as he sat down.
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