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Sunday, January 31, 2010


I pull open the door of the only church in town that isn't locked. Four hours past dark by now. Damn the Methodists, Catholics, First Presbyterians, First Christians, UUs and Baptists; two wet thumbs up for the Second Presbies. “It's raining out there and I'm alone,” I announce to the dark room. “I'm sleeping here.” It's ugly, and not very warm, but at least it doesn't echo. Felt banners with goofy cutout doves and trumpets absorb my words, and fuzzy carpeting absorbs the gunk my boots track down the aisle. Rain or no, I'd have slept outside, in a covered dumpster or maybe under an alley awning, if Liza had been with me. Dog warmth and dog sighs even let me get a little dreaming in. But since we got split up at the train crossing, it's been churches and piped-in air all the way. I can't sleep out without her, and I sure haven't dreamed in two weeks. The best spot for curling up, if I've got to be in, is usually behind the pulpit. It's like a little fortress. In six hours or so, when a janitor or old lady or somebody comes in to straighten up, I'll have a few seconds unseen to formulate an exit strategy. I get into place and cover up with a cloth drape from the altar. “No I don't believe,” I add, addressing the drop-ceiling. “And if you see my dog, tell her to come home.”

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