23 SundayMature

The next day was Sunday. Dave and Karen attended the 9:30 AM Worship Service, at Reverend MacDougal's Church. Today, no one was casually dressed. Dave wore a white short sleeved shirt and tie. Karen wore a short sleeved, non-revealing, light green dress. They arrived about 15 minutes early. The pews on the main floor were already packed, so the ushers seated the two of them up in the third balcony. 

The Worship Service began on time. The organist performed Bach's Toccata and Prelude. Then the Choirs entered singing the ancient hymn, "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee." 

After that the Elder read from the Old Testament. He read Deuteronomy 30:19. "'This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live." 

After that, the Collection of Tithes and Offerings was taken. 

Following the Collection, Reverend MacDougal stepped up to the pulpit and read from the New Testament. 

He read from Matthew 4, verse 16. "'The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.'" 

Then Reverend MacDougal prayed, "May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer." 

He began to speak. His voice was amplified throughout the entire Sanctuary. 

"I have changed the Scripture readings, from what is printed in your bulletin; as well as what I'm going to speak about, which is different from what I had intended. A change has begun here, in our World of the City of Manhattan Building. From now on, all our lives will be changed in some way. 

"Yesterday afternoon a man came to see me. He is a Minister of the Gospel, as am I. However, he is different from me, in one very significant way. He is a man who has come to us, from outside the City Building." 

Now everyone in the pews sat up straight. There was a sound of murmuring. 

"He has presented me with proof that life exists outside the City Building, in flourishing abundance. He has shown me photographs that were taken this past week, of growing vegetation, verdant green mountains, woodlands, clear lakes and streams, and living animals, and very healthy people eating all kinds of foods that are not made from human beings. 

"It is now only a matter of time, until the curse of cannibalism ends for us who live within the City of Manhattan building, and the Lord will bless us with meals that we can eat with clear consciences." 

There was excitement throughout the Sanctuary. 

"What we have been praying for, for these past 1,300 years has finally happened. The Lord has heard our prayers. The City of Manhattan Building has been unsealed. He is breaking the demonic curse of the Kaczynski Brigade, which has imprisoned us, and forced us to eat one another. The time is approaching when that will no longer be necessary! The time of our promised freedom has begun!" 

After Worship had ended, Reverend MacDougal quickly retreated through a door behind the pulpit, heading to an undisclosed location, to keep from being mobbed. Dave and Karen came down from the third balcony to the crowded narthex. They saw Pastor Luzak and Charlene standing together, and came over to them. Domnick wore a suit and tie, instead of a clerical collar. Like Karen, Charlene also wore an unrevealing dress. 

Reverend MacDougal had been careful not to point out Reverend Luzak, as the man who'd come to see him the day before. Dave and Karen had also been warned not to point him out to the crowd either. 

"Good." Pastor Luzak said, "You're here. Listen. Reverend MacDougal and I have a lot of work ahead of us. We're going to be busy all day, and I don't want Charlene to be bored; so if it won't interfere with any of your plans, could both of you please keep her company, for the rest of the day? I'm sure you can find some interesting things to do." 

"Oh sure." Dave said, "No problem." 

Charlene said, "That depends what you mean by 'interesting'." 

"It's okay." Dave told her uncle, "We're heading down to the Shakespearean Theater. We'll be attending a live performance of 'Romeo and Juliet'." 

Pastor Luzak spoke with surprise. "You have live Shakespearean Theater here, in the City of Manhattan Building?" 

"Of course we do Pastor." Dave told him, "This is New York! 

"Manhattan." Dave again repeated the ancient saying, "'The Magic Island at the Center of the World!'" 

They said good-bye to Domnick, went out the front entrance into 8th Avenue, and began moving through the crowd, going along West 52nd Street. 

Dave said, "We're gonna be meeting Sarah and Larry at the Glad He Ate Her. They'll be going with us. Jimmy and Alyce said they'll meet us at the theater when we arrive." 

Charlene halted. "Larry's going with us?" 

Karen asked, "What do you got against Larry? He's an okay guy." 

"'An okay guy'? Yesterday he killed a woman, by shooting her bra off." 

"That's just part of him being a City Building guy. Every guy I know does that kind of stuff. Even Dave." 

Charlene asked, "You have?" 

Dave told her, "Yeah but I don't go shooting women's bras off. I like it better when their boobs are naked to begin with." 

Charlene said, "I can't believe you'd actually get involved in that Dave! You're such a smart guy!" 

Karen told her firmly, "Helping keep the population trimmed, and the meat quota filled, is every citizen's responsibility. Dave and Larry are being responsible citizens, and so are the women they kill, who aren't wussy pussies; and so are the men who we Warrior Girls kill." 

They came to the front of the Glad He Ate Her, and went through the entrance. 

Charlene stood beside Dave and Karen, on the landing at the top of the steps, overlooking everything, inside the Combat Team's after school hangout. The establishment was not as crowded on the weekends, as it was on weekdays after school. 

She told Karen, "Every guy here's looking at me, like I'm something they'd like to eat." 

"It's okay girl." Karen told her, "That's not the only appetite these guys have. It's more likely they're looking at you, as someone they'd like to fuck." 

"Oh. Well now that's something I do know how to handle." 

"Believe me." Dave chuckled, "Swords and spears aren't the only shafts that we guys like to stick inside you girls." 

"Dave!" Charlene asked, "Do you have to keep talking about that?" 

Karen told her, "Let me give you a word of advice. If you want to get along with everybody here, especially the guys, stop being a wussy pussy." 

They went through the crowd to a booth where Sarah was seated beside Larry. Louise sat across the table from them. She and Karen looked uncomfortably at each other. 

Louise said, "Hi Dave. Where'd you like to sit?" 

He looked uneasily at Karen. 

Karen told Louise, "He's not sitting next to you!" 

Charlene told the girl in the booth, "I'll sit next to you." 

Then she slid into the booth, seating herself beside Louise. Karen slid in beside Charlene, and Dave sat across from her, beside Larry. 

Sarah had her edu-computer open in front of her. 

She said, "Now we're all here. Hi Charlene, so what did you think of the Worship Service?" 

Miss Luzak asked, "Were you there?" 

"Yes. Larry and I came early. We were in the main floor pews. So what did you think of Reverend MacDougal's sermon?" 

The niece of Pastor Luzak told them, "I've just learned something I never knew before. The Kaczynski Brigade was more than a myth. They actually did exist." 

Louise asked, "Is that what they teach you, outside the City Building? That the Kaczynski Brigade was nothing but a myth?" 

"Well, what they teach us in school is that the City of Manhattan Building was constructed so long ago, that the actual records have been lost, and nobody is really sure about any of the facts. There are myths and legends. One of the legends is that the Kaczynski Brigade were mythical demonic beings, who imprisoned most of the world's population inside the City Building, and forced them to become cannibals; but that's just part of the legend. Nobody's really sure about the actual facts. At least nobody outside the City Building is." 

"Well," Louise told her; "in here we do know the facts. One of the facts is that the Kaczynski Brigade weren't demons. They were actual human beings. They sealed our ancestors in here, because they said they were 'saving the Earth from humanity, by removing humanity from the Earth'. Here we think of them as the most evil people who ever existed. I hope you people on the outside don't think of them as heroes." 

"Oh don't worry. We don't. I suppose it's just easier for us to believe that demons were the cause of all this, instead of human beings like ourselves." 

Sarah had been typing out Charlene's and Louise's words, on her edu-computer. 

"This is good!" the Editor of the Student's Newsletter said, "Charlene. I'd like you to tell me more, about life outside the City Building later; but right now, I've got some questions about some of the things that were told to me yesterday. 

"First of all, I'd like to know more about the historic moment, when Louise opened the airlock, and allowed people from the outside, to enter the City Building for the first time in 1,322 years. What I'd like to know, is what the very first words that were spoken were?" 

Dave, Karen, Louise and Charlene all looked puzzled. 

Then Dave said, "I think it was 'Hi'." 

Karen and Charlene nodded in agreement. 

Karen told her, "Right after that, the very first thing that happened was that Louise pounced on Dave like a slut. She was all over him." 

Louise said, "I was just welcoming him back." 

Charlene said, "Karen told me, that when it comes to guys, you City girls don't waste time." 

Louise told her, "You better believe it!" 

Sarah laughed. "Right!" 

"Sarah." Larry asked, "Do you want to ask about something else?" 

"Right. You said that Pastor Luzak wanted to speak to the Mayor, and other people in the City Government, about making arrangements, about people entering and leaving the City Building." 

Now Charlene spoke. "That's right. We people outside the City Building are afraid that millions of cannibals are gonna suddenly start pouring out, and overrun the countryside, and everything would be devastated. My Uncle Domnick was appointed to speak to your Government, to make sure that it's all done in a controlled and orderly manner; so we'll be able to handle things." 

Larry said, "That's reasonable." 

Miss Luzak went on. "We want to make an agreement that respects our sovereignty. We want your Government to agree that everyone who leaves the City Building must obey all the laws of whatever jurisdictions they enter. If they break any of our laws, they will suffer the same consequences, as any of our own citizens." 

The others nodded in agreement. 

"And any of our citizens, who enter the City Building, must also obey all of your laws, or suffer the same consequences." 

Louise said, "That's perfectly reasonable. I can't see how anyone could possibly object to any of that." 

The others again nodded and spoke in agreement, except for Dave. 

"The problem is," he told them, "that outside the City Building, it's against the law to kill and eat anybody, ever. If you do, you go to jail." 

The everyone at the table looked at each other uneasily. 

Dave went on. "That means there can't be any Combat Games, lotteries of death, or any deadly forms of recreation. All sadistic recreational activities are outlawed." 

Larry said, "All of them? Then what's the point of going outside in the first place?" 

Louise asked, "Sadistic recreational activities? You mean like the bare boob chick fight that Karen and I had, that ended with me being the second one who killed her?" 

"Sorry." Dave said, "Outside the City Building that would not be permitted." 

Charlene said, "The second one who killed her? I've heard about that. You're the one who killed her the second time, Louise?" 

"That's right; not that it did any good. You know, I was having the best day of my life. I killed this slut who was after my boyfriend. I got an A plus and four gold stars for it. Then I went to see Dave, so we could celebrate; but before we could start, Bennet here showed up all resurrected for the second time. That ruined the best day of my life!" 

Charlene asked, "Dave was your boyfriend? I thought he was Karen's." 

"He used to be hers." Louise explained, "That ended when she dropped him, 'cause she decided to become a team slut. That's when I started dating him, and I thought he was a guy worth keeping around. I always treated him better, than Karen the Bitch Bennet ever did, or ever will." 

Karen told her, "Not any more Louise. While we were out there, things between Dave and I changed. We became more than two kids who used to date, and then got back together." 

Louise said, "What do you mean you 'became more'?" 

Charlene explained, "According to our laws, Dave and Karen are betrothed." 

Louise asked, "What do you mean they're 'betrothed'?" 

Larry said, "It means they're engaged to be married." 

"I know what the word means Larry! I'm not an ignoramus!" 

Charlene explained, "The other day, Karen declared in front of witnesses, that she and Dave are betrothed. Then Dave spoke in agreement. According to our laws, that makes them betrothed." 

Dave said, "That's according to your laws Charlene. Your laws, outside the City Building, say that Karen and I are betrothed. Back here, inside the City Building, those laws don't apply." 

Karen asked him, "What do you mean they don't?" 

Dave told her, "It's the same thing you and I were discussing before we went outside. Here, inside the City Building, it's illegal for anyone below the age of 21 to get married. You and I did agree that we wouldn't even discuss marriage seriously, until we get to be 21." 

"What about everything that happened with us last week, Dave? Doesn't that mean anything to you, or was I just the girl who you got lucky enough to fuck every night for a week?" 

"What it means," he told her, "is what we should have learned last week. That neither of us is ready for marriage, Karen." 

"That doesn't mean that we can't be in a committed relationship, before we're 21 Dave." 

Now Louise smiled. "It means that you and I still have a chance, doesn't it Dave?" 

"I'm sorry Louise." Dave told her, "Karen's right. Things have changed. While neither of us is ready for marriage, she and I do have a committed relationship." 

Miss Torelli stopped smiling. 

They stayed in the Glad He Ate Her, for about a half-hour. Then they all headed out. Karen walked beside Dave, while an unhappy Louise walked apart from everyone else. 

They took the Express Elevator Going Down, to Level 800, where theaters, art galleries, museums and other cultural institutions were located. After going a few blocks, they came to the Shakespearean Theater, with the title "Romeo and Juliet" displayed on the marquee. Alyce and Jimmy were waiting for them here. 

They went inside to the Lobby, and came over to a refreshment stand, serving sausages or patties on buns. They all got something to eat, along with carbonated blood drinks. 

Larry asked, "Do you want anything Charlene?" 

The girl from Zabelton spoke haltingly. "Well...I am hungry...and...It does have an appetizing aroma." 

Then she spoke decisively. "Okay. I might as well get on with it. I'll have one of those sausages." 

Larry bought her one fat sausage in a bun, and a plastic cup of carbonized blood drink, with a plastic straw poking out through the lid. 

She brought the straw to her lips, and said, "Now it's time to learn humility." 

She put the straw in her mouth, took a sip, and she liked the taste. 

She whispered another ancient saying, "Enjoy the guilt." Then Charlene took a bite of the tasty, juicy sausage. 

Then the girl from Zabelton said, "After we leave the City Building I'll go back to being a good girl." 

Then they went inside, and took their seats. The lights dimmed, Tchaikovsky's "Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet" was played, the curtain rose, and the tragedy of the star crossed lovers was performed. 

When the final scene was performed, with all the citizens of Verona grieving over the bodies of Juliet and her Romeo, the warrior girls from H.S. L-1378-55, had tears in their eyes; so did Charlene. The tearful Louise brooded while she wept. 

When the show ended, the audience left the theater and the kids from the H.S. L-1378-55 Combat Team, headed back toward the Elevator that would be Going Up. Some of the warrior girls were still wiping the tears from their eyes. 

Alyce said, "I know it's a beautiful story, but I just can't imagine killing myself over a guy." 

"A lot of girls do." Louise told her, "The difference is that they join the Combat Team, and let a Warrior on the opposing team do the job; or they get jobs as Target Girls on Level 700. They have no complaints. Neither does anyone else, and everyone thinks they're doing the right thing." 

Dave asked, "Is that what you did Louise? Were you being a City Building Juliet?" 

"I was being a responsible citizen, and I had no complaints! I would now be partying in Paradise, if you hadn't prayed for me, Dave!" 

Everyone halted when she said that. 

Jimmy told her, "You said you didn't hear anyone pray, and you didn't hear the Voice of God either." 

"After what happened with Dave and Karen, you don't think I'd be telling that to anybody; when Avery was around, do you?" 

Now Karen asked, "Did you hear the Voice of God too, Louise?" 

"No, and I didn't hear anyone pray either." 

Now Dave told them all, "I did pray for her." 

Karen asked, "You did?" 

He told her, "That was before you and I left the City Building. I asked the Lord to keep Louise alive too." 

Louise told Karen, "I think that means that God wants me to choose life too; which means that you and I won't be having any bare boob chick fight to the death, over Dave or any other reason." 

Karen nodded. "Looks that way." 

The guys all groaned in disappointment. 

The End

0 comments about this story Feed