The Van Man arrived at the coffee shop and walked toward the door. A familiar face sat outside at a table. Van Man had identified the face as a former co-worker from his summer camp days. The co-worker was a religious fanatic, a man possessed with a calling to some god in heaven. Mister Religion had grown out his pubic-hair beard, but Van Man was sure it was him. Fuckin' freako, thought Van Man.
Mister Religion was in deep conversation with some disciple. Van Man could not help but notice how this former co-worker spoke with such strong conviction about whatever the hell he was talking about. Van Man was sure they were talking about sucking dick. Or maybe how to get to heaven. What Van Man remembered most about Mister Religion was his extremely dark outlook on life. He seemed like a nice enough fellow on the outside, but inside, he was one morbid fuck. One summer afternoon after the two had finished up their lego camp classes, they decided to partake in lunch together. They agreed on a pizza joint. The two spiritual opposites sat outside and scarfed. Mister Religion explained to Van Man some of his truths about life. He told Van Man that he believed all of humanity was evil by nature. There was not one thing that could be done to change that. And that was why "God" was so important to have in one's life.
"Do you believe in God?", asked Mister Religion.
"I believe in lots of things, you know?", replied Van Man as he licked the pizza sauce from his fingers. Mister Religion laughed.
"Really, do you believe in God?"
Van Man wanted to look at Mister Religion and say, "I am fucking Satan." But he decided to keep the conversation light. The lunch had been four years prior. And Van Man could plainly see Mister Religion was up to his old tricks again.
Comfort was cool and Van Man had never been cool with religion. He had been raised as a Roman Catholic in Christian-rich Alabama. The unstoppable force teamed up with the immovable object. Van Boy had spent countless Sundays in grim churches surrounded by hundreds of sad and weird worshippers. He would be unfairly forced out of the comfort of his room where horror movies played on the convex television and herded into a place that Van Boy felt was more frightening than anything Wes Craven could conjure. He would sit on rock-hard benches and be forced to kneel every so often. As to what he knelt to, he did not know or give a shit. The worst part of all of it was the boredom. It was a waste of time and never any fun. Van Boy would use the time wisely and sleep. Many times, he would awake to find himself surrounded by hundreds of weirdos knelt in prayer, while Van Boy would be contorted in some position in an effort to get some shut-eye. And sometimes a churchgoer would wake him up as he snored. These were the things he had to deal with. One Sunday, after a good snooze and as the congregation filed out of the church, Van Boy was stopped by The Priest. He seemed like a giant. The Priest extended his hand. Van Boy extended his and the two shook hands. This is what The Priest did. He shook hands with the worshippers. Then pain shot up Van Boy's arm as The Priest squeezed the life out of his hand. The Priest smiled. Van Boy shook his head and pulled back with all his might. The Priest was strong and did not let go. And he smiled which showed teeth yellowed from smoking. The pain was immense. And The Priest finally let go. He continued to shake hands with the rest of the churchgoers. Van Boy walked away very fast and never returned.
As the thoughts flooded his mind, The Van Man decided it was better to not say hello to Mister Religion. God versus The Devil was just too much of a main event to handle before eight in the morning. And he had not had his coffee yet.