Robyn

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  1. HJT: South and east of Cody lies the Big Horn Hot Springs, which are said to be the largest in the world. They form the heart of Wyoming's oldest state park, which is a sort of little brother to Yellowstone. There's even a herd of bison who stick around for the free eatins.
  2. HJU: After Pearl Harbor driving just for the sake of taking a road trip was il- legal, and worst than that it was considered unpatriotic. The purported health benefits of the mineral hot springs in Thermopolis were a viable loophole but gas rationing still took a bite on tourism.
  3. HJV: So when a clergyman of the Church of Green Dome arrived in town with four young adults, an X ration sticker on his windshield, and more than nine hundred dollars in cash, it took very little time to find four rooms clustered around a small private pool at a toasty 104F.
  4. HJW: Hunky and Dory sat close together playing footsie under the translucent water. Robyn and Gabriel sat across from the girls and Peter between them. "Are we safe, stopping here?" Gabriel wondered.
  5. Robyn nodded. "Tolson probably knew we were gone right away but it was dark.
  6. HJX: By the time we were in Cody, Tolson was searching around the camp for two dead girls in hospital gowns and stolen blankets. I reckon about right now he's trying to make heads and tails of that damaged rail car. That we might be here hasn't entered his wildest thoughts."
  7. HJY: An air bubble the width of the pool surfaced, broke, and suddenly everyone was soaking in fizzy water. The head of a sixth person surfaced and everyone instinctively knew it was Michael, even Hunky and Robyn, who had never met hym before. They all stood up in the water.
  8. HJZ: "As you were, everyone," said Michael. "Except Dory and Sofie. You two should remain untangled until this is over."
  9. "Lord, we've agreed to use 'Hunky' for Sofie's new name," said Dory as she sank back into the water. "And Kim is 'Robyn' now. They're both wanted women."
  10. HKA: "Yes you are," agreed Michael. "Robyn, did you tell your friends how long Tolson will be looking for you?"
  11. "Not yet, Lord, but now is as good a time as any to tell them. Thirty years." That brought a wail of despair from Hunky, and Michael turned hyz attention to her.
  12. HKB: "Hello Hunky. Robyn already knows me because she can remember the future, and I met Gabriel, Dory, and Peter while you were still captive, but we've not met. Please tell us what you already know about me."
  13. "I know you are named Michael in the Green Book," she began.
  14. HKC: "How I know that I can't explain. I suppose it's part of this change I signed up for when I let my finger be skewered up on the hill after Robyn went first. I know you're the best fit for what we think of when we think of God, and I know it's not a very good fit at all.
  15. HKD: I know your real body is the sun, and you share that body with Binah. And I know those things because now I realize the book is true after all." Michael shook hyz head with rue. "I wanted to see what it be like if my holy book was about things that really did happen."
  16. HKE: Peter Twofeathers came to Hunky's defense here. "I think when people read the stories in the Bible of talking snakes and talking donkeys, then another story in another ancient book with talking animals rings true. I'm speaking of Aesop's story of the boy who cried wolf."
  17. HKF: Michael laughed because what Peter said was true and hy had never thought of it that way. Of course Hunky and Robyn would think the Green Book was filled with poetry and parables and allegory after being told many passages of the Bible were written in a similar mode.
  18. HKG: "Lord," ventured Gabriel, "may you not think it impertinent to ask, but when you appeared in the pool just now it made me think of when you took me and Dory to the top of Green Dome in a moment. Why could you not have gone to the camp yourself and brought our friends home?"
  19. HKH: "You're Begotten, Gabriel. Your family helped you discover you are the Magician. But the Made are on their own. Without a crisis to overcome Hunky wouldn't be Sabotage, she would just think she was unlucky. Robyn wouldn't be the Seer, she would just think she was crazy.
  20. HKI: And now here you are, safely at point B after escaping from point A, bathing in milky water that smells like brimstone, but not to get clean I imagine."
  21. "Some say this water has health benefits, Lord," said Peter. "We just didn't want to spend another night in the car."
  22. HKJ: "What awaits at point Z, Lord?" asked Dory. "Will you say why the b'nei elohim exist, and why we can do the things we do?"
  23. "You already know the ancient controversy, Dory. I am blocked from communicating with any eloah on the other side of my parents, and so is Binah.
  24. HKK: But we can listen, and last year about when Pearl Harbor was attacked there was even bigger news. Have you ever listened to Ma Perkins?"
  25. "Land o' Goshen, Lord, there ain't a hull lot of folks never heard Ma."
  26. "I see you have. And now so has the eloah named Gevurah."
  27. HKL: "Oh, that is wonderful news, Lord. That means you've won!"
  28. "No, Dory, what it means is that for the eleventh time in history, the community of elohim has received signals from planet-dwellers. But Gevurah only has a direction to Earth, not the distance. That comes later.
  29. HKM: Soon other elohim will pick up broadcasts from Earth and realize you are not out of reach. Ein Sof will have found the Students at last! And they will wonder how I can be a stable yellow sun in their midst yet remain unquickened, and things will grow sticky for Keter.
  30. HKN: Meanwhile all the elohim listen with rapt attention to the first soap opera, sponsored by Oxydol, the whiter, whiter soap, and they fail to understand a single word. But I have pinned the broadcasts down to 1933, so I know who Gevurah must be. Humans know him as Sirius."
  31. HKO: Gabriel said, "I wonder if the elohim will be coming to visit us, now that they know we're here." "They will send avatars, Gabriel, like remote-controlled rockets, but only as flybys. After it gets a certain distance from an eloah the link is too thin to pass any propellant.
  32. HKP: So to finally answer Dory's question, starting from right here at point B, you're going to help me catch one of those incoming avatars at point Z and bring it inside myself. And that will not be easy at all, because they will be moving at seven-tenths of light-speed.
  33. HKQ: And none of this can be forced upon you because all of this, all of human history, in fact, is nothing more than the greatest love story never told: overcoming every artificial barrier Keter and Daat and Chesed can throw up to block the wedding of elohim and humanity."
  34. HKR: When che heard these words Gabriel swam out around Peter to face Robyn, stood up tall to brace his courage, looked her in the eyes, and said, "From the day we became lab partners in school I loved you. Every day you were gone and only Dory could reach you it tore me apart.
  35. HKS: Then Michael said we had one narrow chance to save your life and I couldn't sleep for a minute until I saw you again, and when I did you were frozen half to death on that stack of steel. It was a life changing moment, Robyn. I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
  36. HKT: Robyn waded out to face Gabriel and took each of hez hands in her own. "And I love you too, Gabriel. It's true. I loved you even after that time at Lake 13 and your lesson on nephilim biology. But we're Church of Green Dome and you know there's rules. Cousin Dory is for you."
  37. HKU: "Whoa," said Hunky, clearing her throat and wading out a little bit too. "I know the scripture says never put God to the test but here's a much smaller love story than human history, Lord, with much smaller artificial barriers. If you can't fix this I won't take your job."
  38. HKV: All eyes turned to Dory, who nodded her head. "I'm with Hunky on this, Lord. Robyn becomes Mrs. Gabriel Shybear. That's point C."
  39. Michael said, "Why not? I never set down mandatory cousin-marriage. That was Lange."
  40. "It will split your church in two, Lord," warned Peter.
  41. HKW: "I know it will, Peter, and the external reality will finally conform with the internal reality."
  42. Peter tried to shine a good light on it. "Once the nomadic people of the plains had to choose between removing to the reservations or starving. The Church was a third way."
  43. HKX: "We can still save something of the Church," said Michael. "We'll move the remnant to another place. But for now, Peter, take these young people back to Headwater and announce the betrothal: Gabriel to Kimberly. That's the important thing. Do not use her new name Robyn."
  44. HKY: Peter bowed his head and said, "Yes, Lord."
  45. And the decision having been made, Robyn slipped into a daydream of the consequences. She croaked, "Oh, poor Gabriel. Poor me!"
  46. "Seeing all that, Robyn, will you still marry hem?"
  47. She nodded in the affirmative.
  48. HKZ: "But how will it happen, Lord? I'll be dead."
  49. Michael did a little hand wave. "Dead? Tut tut. A temporary inconvenience. Remember how Yeshua was wiped off the face of the Earth and now he's good as new? Come this December and you will be wed to Gabriel. Yeshua will preside.
  50. HLA: The ceremony will take place in Nyduly Wood. It will literally be a match made in Heaven."
  51. HMA: Hell's Half Acre is a roadside patch of badlands almost exactly in the center of Wyoming. It's much bigger than the name suggests, more like Hell's Half Square Mile, and the nearest sandstone and shale scarp that looks similar to it lies a whole state away in South Dakota.
  52. HMB: A brown-skinned man emerged from the entrance of a cave in the eroded landscape dressed in dark blue-gray trousers and a knee-length jacket. He had a matching shirt and a silver leaf brooch in place of a tie and looked like a Shoshone with a good seamstress for a wife.
  53. HMC:But the fellow was too short, his hair wasn't straight enough, and his facial features suggested the Mediterranean shores were his true home. He had never walked in that place before, but the strange eroded landscape reminded him of the desolate area around the Salt Sea.
  54. HMD: It was one hundred fifty feet from the floor of the ravine to the gravel parking lot above and the man ascended with no sign of exertion. He once roamed on foot the whole land of his birth from Lake Kinneret as far as Mount Hermon and south to the hill country of Judaea.
  55. HME: He noted, without any surprise, the presence of a maroon 1941 Chrysler Town & Country woodie parked at the restaurant overlooking the geological oddity and knew he would find Robyn and her friends eating lunch inside, just as Robyn knew he was coming and gave fair warning.
  56. HMF: Robyn, Gabriel, Peter, Hunky and Dory were already standing at their table when he walked indoors, which the other guests might have thought was odd. None of them had ever seen him before but as B'nei Elohim they knew a seraph on sight and stopped everything, ready to serve.
  57. HMG: "Please be seated," he said, grabbing a chair from another table and carrying it over to theirs. "I'll have what you're having, Peter." The Prophet raised a hand to flag down the waitress but the newcomer said, "No, not allegory. I'll literally have what you're having."
  58. HMH He took up a knife, cut Peter's cheeseburger in two, and helped himself to one piece. Hunky said, "I'm pretty sure that burger is not kosher, Jesus. Aren't you Jewish?"
  59. "Not Jesus, Hunky. Call me Yeshua. The Greeks thought Yeshua was a girly name and called me Iesous.
  60. HMI: The Romans spelled it I-E-S-U-S. Then later the English thought names beginning with vowels were too girly and called me Jesus. As for the food, my mother made just one arbitrary law about cutting a little flap of skin. Mixing meat and dairy was never on her mind."
  61. HMJ: Dory and Gabriel stared at Yeshua in wonder, trying to reconcile his actual appearance with the popular depictions of him and there was just no way to do it. Robyn seemed preoccupied and looked off to the side. "What is wrong, Robyn?" Yeshua asked her. "What do you see?"
  62. HMK: She said, "Peter announces the wedding but the White Wing of the Church will not accept it. Gabriel is attacked, but torture doesn't work on B'nei Elohim and Gabriel's friends retaliate, so Paul Bergin and Klaus Hansen kill me instead. They end up killing the Church."
  63. HML: "How would you reply, Robyn, if I asked in truth that you do not avoid or resist those men, even to your death?"
  64. After a long pause she said, "I would decline such a request, Lord. I'm not in any particular hurry for my life come to an end just when I'm getting started."
  65. HMM: "And what did my cross teach you?"
  66. HMN: "That death is not a blank wall, it's a door, and you went through it and came back to show us that even if we die we don't stay dead. But now I see how time really works and I know it was all a magic trick like Gabriel with his coins."
  67. HMN: Yeshua was genuinely fascinated by Robyn's unexpected reply. He asked, "When you look at my life with your talent, what do you see?"
  68. She said, "I see a movie of a burning fuse, but the movie is running backwards. The fuse assembles itself from smoke and sparks.
  69. HMO: It grows. One time that fuse looped back, crossed itself, and then there were two burning Yeshuas experiencing an advancing present, but one of them was wiped off the face of the Earth by the Romans. He hit that blank wall we call death. The one who lived, the lucky one, is you."
  70. HMP: "You're wrong about the blank wall, Robyn. The part of me that is Binah carried over the dying memories of the man who was put to death and merged them with my own."
  71. "Again, Lord, lucky you. But that didn't help the Yeshua who experienced death. You're a different one."
  72. HMQ: "Robyn, nobody in the whole history of both worlds has ever 'experienced' death. Yes, we experience dying, each one of us, from the moment we are born, and there comes a moment in our lives that is not followed by another one, but that last moment never becomes a memory."
  73. HMR: "Lord, will you please say why I must not resist my own murder?"
  74. "When you and Hunky escaped your prison last night what did you do to make the correct combination appear in your memory?"
  75. "I had to begin punching them in."
  76. "Even so, your own end will spark a beginning.
  77. HMS: But Robyn, I will not order you to do what you are unwilling to do, so let us speak of something else. Your friends will not arrive in Headwater until late tonight. Will you come alone with me? I can bring you to a reunion with your mother in almost no time at all."
  78. HMT: Dory remembered the jaunt she had made with Michael and said, "You should take him up on that offer, girl, it's the only way to travel." Gabriel heartily nodded in accord. So Robyn, who felt a little guilty telling Yeshua no on the first thing, told him yes on the other.
  79. HMU: After hugging her farewells Robyn hiked with Yeshua down to the bottom of the ravine and followed him into the dark cave, where it grew light again, a little warmer, and they were kicking through fallen leaves piled up to their knees. But there was still plenty of green.
  80. HMV: "Christmas trees!" exclaimed Robyn when she saw a stand of Douglas Fir. Many more of them covered the mountains she could see through bare branches of maple and alder. They were standing on a mountain as well, near the top.
  81. Yeshua said, "This is just a short side trip."
  82. HMW: "Where are we, Lord?"
  83. "We are still in your country. Of the forty-eight states, this one is furthest to the north and to the west."
  84. "Washington."
  85. "I want you and your friends to put together a migration and move the Red Wing of the Church here."
  86. HMX: Robyn looked through the trees to the bottom land at the foot of the mountain laid down by repeated mud flows from a large nearby volcano and she remembered the Japanese-American fellow at Heart Mountain who helped her and Hunky escape by giving them clothing and advice.
  87. HMY: She said, "There's a Mr. Kaneko who lost his strawberry farm when they sent him to the camp. I want to buy a new one for him, Lord, right there. Do you see?"
  88. "After the war is over," Yeshua said, and he produced a large envelope somehow, perhaps by using the Gabriel trick.
  89. HMZ: "Yes. Mr. Kaneko will have his land when the relocation camp is no more. That is a very kind thought, Robyn. But this money is for your mother, to return to the home of her own parents in the east."
  90. Robyn accepted the envelope gratefully. Yeshua displayed a small object.
  91. HNA: "Robyn, if you choose to do what I asked, this will give you a temporary link similar to the one I have with with Binah. All your memories will be saved."
  92. Robyn took a quick glance at time. She saw another her eating lunch back there at Hell's Half Acre.
  93. HNB: Yeshua said, "I have put us back into the first stream, the one where you ate your lunch in peace and I never appeared. Do you feel like a mere copy, Robyn? Did you notice any bump?"
  94. "No, Lord."
  95. "So will it be when there is one Robyn again with the memories of both.
  96. HNC: Robyn, have a little faith that I am nothing like Keter or Daat. What kind of teacher would deceive a student in a matter such as this?"
  97. "Forgive me, Lord," Robyn said, and she accepted the device. She saw it would resemble a large mole when it was installed.
  98. HND: "Be of good cheer," Yeshua told her. "You alone among all the humans of Earth have the real freedom to choose, because you alone can look ahead. And there is so much more than mere duty. You will soon find that one benefit even rivals eternal life."
  99. HNE: Kim opened the door of her home just before Robyn knocked on it, but that went with the territory of being the Seer. Kim let herself come in, and why not? It was her house too. Robyn was still wearing Mr. Kaneko's clothing and was still stinky from the road trip.
  100. "Let me see the gadget he gave you." Kim dug it out. It was like half a ball of pink rubber.
  101. HNG: There was a 55-pin female connector on one side to match the male connector protruding from both girls' heads. Kim said, "When Paul and Klaus show up I need to be wearing this."
  102. "It's supposed to save your last memories."
  103. "It works exactly as Yeshua promised.
  104. HNH: I've seen on the other side of that 'blank wall' you seem to be so worried about. That's why I'm willing to be the one who gets killed."
  105. "But you have memories of meeting Mom before she left and I want those." Robyn unfastened her belt, which was really one of the Purple Cables.
  106. HNI: When they attached the ends to themselves they experienced a dual awareness, but it did not persist as when Robyn and Hunky were linked together. The differences between each girl poured through the line but there was a definite rhythm to it, very much like a heartbeat.
  107. HNJ: It took a brief time for each memory to be packed for transfer on the cable and then unpacked. Soon Kim had Robyn's conversation with Yeshua in Washington State. Since the Change Kimberly's memories are stored with perfect clarity, not merely as triggers to be re-enacted.
  108. HNK: The full emotional impact of meeting her mother again after six months, followed by their parting, brought Robyn to tears, then Kim, once again, a heartbeat after. The Purple Cable had set up a kind of feedback whine, but there was an 800 millisecond delay.
  109. HNL: Robyn received back from Kim the new experience of Robyn receiving the memory of Kim greeting her mother. This went around at least a dozen more times, growing weaker on each pass. As the loops cycled Robyn obtained Kim's experience of the rest of her trip home.
  110. HNM: All of the different experiences kicked off different loops as they were brought forward. After a time only two real differences stubbornly persisted: One girl was lying on the couch, and the other was lying on top of her. That situation got Robyn thinking.
  111. HNN: She was to become the wife of Gabriel, and Gabriel was something of a sexual cafeteria line, one of these, and one of these. She wasn't sure she would like everything Gabriele had to offer, let alone know what to do. So without further ado Mr. Kaneko's trousers slid down.
  112. HNO: Kim's undies were slid up around Kim's knees and Robyn became the first non-contortionist in heaven or earth to have oral sex with herself. What Robyn was doing with her tongue, in combination with the Purple Cable loop back, reminded her of something the band once did.
  113. HNP: One time when Hunky set up her drumkit in the Squaw River canyon and did a drum duet with her own echoes. The pleasure built so steadily Kim thought it was like cheating. Actually it was cheating. Through the Purple Cable Robyn could feel exactly what she was doing to Kim.
  114. HNO: It was almost as though she was Kim. She wondered if this was the thing Yeshua said would rival eternal life. That was the last rational thought either had for the next ten minutes. Robyn felt the first contraction of Kim's orgasm 0.8 seconds after Kim did.
  115. HNP: At 1.6 seconds Kim felt Robyn's experience of her first contraction precisely at the same time she felt her third one. And so the stack continued to build. Neither Kim nor Robyn even knew what was happening. They didn't even breathe until Kim had a dozen contractions.
  116. HNQ: When they did resume breathing, they could only make incoherent sounds. Purple Cable sex was never going to be a discreet thing. The orgasm looped around and around. After three minutes the stack of orgasmic contractions and their echoes were no longer distinct pulses.
  117. HNR: The climax settled into a timeless high intensity electric sheen. After another seven minutes Robyn found it possible to unplug the cable from her head. After that they lay still for another ten minutes trying to take in what just happened to them. Robyn's face was soaked.
  118. HNS: Kim began to stir to get out from under Robyn. "Go get yourself cleaned up. At least we have something to keep us happy until Bergin and Hansen come here to kill me."
  119. XXX: After leading the entire White Wing out of the Green Dome Church over the issue of Prophet Peter Two Feathers allowing Kim Zinter to marry Gabriel Shybear, the former Apostle, Klaus Hansen, declared himself the Prophet of the Reformed Green Dome Church.
  120. XXX: It went without saying that forbidding interracial marriage was one of the reforms, but there were many others. Listing them made up the bulk of Hansen's sermon on January 10, 1943, the Sunday following just one week after the disastrous split in the Church.
  121. XXX: Hansen said the curse of God lay upon all those who play cards. All who engaged in dancing were in danger of God's righteous judgment. Those who even listened to race music would face the fires of hell. He told his flock to let not one drop of Demon Rum pass their lips.
  122. XXX: To prove they were indwelt of the Holy Spirit, he encouraged the parishioners to roll in the sawdust on the floor of the barn out on River Road, near the bridge, that was their new "temple". That was just as well, as there were not enough benches for everyone to sit.
  123. XXX: The beautiful white Temple looking down on them from the highest point in town seemed to mock them by simply continuing to exist. Many got up to leave during the service, but what was most alarming of all to the new prophet, the plate came back largely empty of cash.
  124. XXX: The former Deacon, now Apostle, Paul Bergin, went door-to-door in Greendome to the homes of the whites passing out hastily-mimeographed tracts promised eternal damnation to backsliders who were tempted to return to the mother church, but he got an earful for his trouble.
  125. XXX: Many of the parishioners had weighed the peril to their eternal souls if they remained in schism, and they found the barn situation to be intolerably pathetic. The pressure mounted on Hansen to approach the Prophet of the mother Church and negotiate a healing of the breach.
  126. XXX: Paul and Klaus approached the Temple office door, but it was opened by Gabriel an instant before they could knock. "How did you do that, son"?" "The Prophet saw that you were about to knock."
  127. XXX: Inside the office Paul and Klaus saw only Gabriel, Dory, and Kim, and it was soon apparent both men knew only one of them by name, which was Kim. It came as no surprise that the former Apostle and Deacon could never be troubled to know anyone in the Red Wing of the Church.
  128. XXX: "I want to talk to the Prophet." "Right there," said Dory, pointing at Robyn. "I see three kinds who broke into the Temple office and are running loose. Where's Peter Two Feathers?" "He's in a better place," Gabriel said.
  129. XXX: "He's dead?" "No," said Kim, "but he blamed himself for the schism and stepped down." "He was absolutely right to blame himself but if he left you in charge he must have been demented in the end." "Why do you say that, Mr. Hansen?"
  130. "Call me Prophet Hansen. I say that because of what it says in the scriptures, 'I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over men. They must remain silent." "Why are you even here?" "I came to negotiate an end to the breach."
  131. XXX: "Then you're going to have to show me a little respect, Mr. Hansen, as I am indeed the Prophet of the Church of Green Dome, whatever Paul wrote about womenfolk notwithstanding." "Prove it." Kim reached into a desk drawer and withdrew a leather-bound green book.
  132. XXX: "I know you've seen this before, Mr. Hansen. It's Prophet Mark Lange's copy of the Book of Green Dome. The very first one that was printed. The first few sheets on the inside cover are a Church document." She laid it on her desk and flipped it open.
  133. XXX: The first entry on the inside cover said PASTOR MARK LANGE, PROPHET, SEP 1, 1866, followed by Lange's signature, and a mark of an individual unknown, in Hebrew script. Kim said, "We believe the Lord Yeshua himself made this initial."
  134. XXX: This entry was followed by the First Decree, which read, THE PROPHET OF THE CHURCH SHALL CHOOSE, FROM THE WING OF THE CHURCH OF WHICH HE IS NOT A PART, ONE WHO SHALL HOLD THE OFFICE OF APOSTLE. This was dated SEP. 1, 1866, signed and initialed by Prophet Lange.
  135. XXX: This was followed in turn by the Second Decree, which read, "IN THE EVENT OF THE DEATH OR RESIGNATION OF THE PROPHET, THE APOSTLE SHALL VACATE THE OFFICE OF APOSTLE AND ATTAIN TO THE OFFICE OF PROPHET, again dated, Sep. 1, 1866 and certified by Lange.
  136. XXX: The next entry, in the same handwriting, read, CHIEF WANICA, APOSTLE, SEP. 1, 1866, followed by a ragged 'W' and again by Lange's initials. Kim said, "We hold the first day of September to be the the day of the founding of the Church of Green Dome."
  137. XXX: Her finger moved down to the next entry, which read, again in the same handwriting, APOSTLE WANICA, DECEASED, NATURAL CAUSES, FEB. 27, 1906, followed by Lange's initials. Also for that day was PETER TWO FEATHERS, APOSTLE, FEB. 28, 1906.
  138. XXX: This entry was certified by the signature of Peter and by Lange's initials. Kim's fingers moved to the next entry, which was in a different hand. It said, PROPHET MARK LANGE, DECEASED, SINKING OF REINA REGENTA, MAR. 6, 1917, and this was initialed by Peter.
  139. XXX: A diagonal line was drawn through the remaining blank space to the bottom of the inside cover and this, too, was initialed by Peter. On the facing page, the first line read, APOSTLE PETER TWO FEATHERS, PROPHET, MAR 6, 1917 and this was signed and initialed by Peter.
  140. XXX: On the following line, Peter wrote the text of the Third Decree, which stated, "THE PROPHET SHALL APPOINT, FROM ALTERNATING WINGS OF THE CHURCH, A DEACON TO SERVE THE SPIRITUAL AND MATERIAL NEEDS OF THE WHOLE CHURCH." And Peter had signed and initialed this.
  141. XXX: The next line read PAUL BERGIN, DEACON, Oct. 9, 1931. This was signed by Paul, and initialed by Peter. Kim said, "On that day Prophet Two Feathers created the office of Deacon, originally to assist the faithful during the Depression. Is everything in order, gentlemen?"
  142. XXX: Paul nodded agreement, and Klaus said, "It appears to be so." Kim then indicated the next line, which none of the men had ever seen. ANY OFFICE OF THE CHURCH SHALL NOT BE TERMINATED EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF THE DEATH OR RESIGNATION OF THE OFFICEHOLDER. Signed by Peter.
  143. XXX: Kim said, "Peter told us he never had to think about it before, but that the Fourth Decree became necessary following the events of last Sunday. Let's go on." DEACON PAUL BERGIN, RESIGNED, JAN. 10, 1943, initialed by Peter. But Paul objected to this. "I never resigned!"
  144. XXX: "I was there in the barn you call your temple," said Kim. "I'm White Wing, remember? Mr. Hansen introduced you as the Deacon of the Reformed Church of Green Dome. When I reported that to the Prophet he took that to be your official resignation. What did he say, Dory?"
  145. XXX: Dory replied, "Peter said, 'No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.' How apropos. This was exactly what Lord Yeshua said about trying to love both God and possessions."
  146. XXX: Kim nodded, and said, "That led to the next line." It read HASHMAL DORIEL, DEACON, JAN. 10, 1943. Dory had signed it, and Peter had initialed after. "The upshot, Mr. Bergin, is that in the eyes of Prophet Two Feathers you quit, and he chose Dory to replace you."
  147. XXX: Kim proceded to the next line, which read, APOSTLE KLAUS HANSEN, RESIGNED, JAN. 10, 1943, also initialed by Peter. Kim asked, rhetorically, "Do we really need to go over the same argument for the resignation of the Apostle as it was the for Deacon? No? Then let us go on."
  148. XXX: The next line read, KIMBERLY ZINTER, APOSTLE, JAN. 10, 1943. Kim said, "As you can see, last Sunday was quite the busy day, made even more busy by the fact that right after Prophet Two Feathers wrote that, he performed the wedding ceremony for Gabriel and myself."
  149. XXX: Gabriel made the parody of a sniff and said, "And what a beautiful ceremony it was!" Hansen said, "The union of you and Kim Zinter is a disgusting thought. You're not only not cousins, you're not even of the same race. Hell, you're not even the same species!"
  150. XXX: "That whole cousin thing was always just a Church tradition," said Dory, "not a dogma or even a doctrine. In fact, it was essentially just Mark Lange's personal preference. Note that it was not one of the four Decrees written in Mark's Green Book."
  151. XXX: "Prophet Lange himself believed otherwise," said Bergin. "So there was terrible persecution, and his pilgrimage halfway across the United States to this place." "The founder was Chief Wanica actually," said Gabriel. "He took the Golden Gift from God with his own hands."
  152. XXX: "Yes, the Golden Gift," said Hansen. "Let us speak of the Holy Relic." "I will get to that presently," answered Kim. "As you can see, the Tenth of January was a busy day, but now we're in the homestretch." And she advanced to the next item written on the page.
  153. XXX: It read, PROPHET PETER TWO FEATHERS, RESIGNED, JAN. 10, 1943. That seemed to hold the attention of Bergin and Hansen. Kim said, "Note that it was signed by Two Feathers and it was certified by me. And you can see how I then closed out his rather eventful page."
  154. XXX: Kim flipped the page over and showed everyone the first entry. APOSTLE KIMBERLY ZINTER-SHYBEAR, PROPHET, JAN. 10, 1943. And this was signed and initialed by Kim, exercising her apostolic authority under the Second Decree established by Prophet Peter Two Feathers.
  155. XXX: Underneath that was the final entry in the Green Book, which read, HASHMAL GABRIEL SHYBEAR, APOSTLE, JAN. 10, 1943. This was signed by Gabriel and initialed by Kim. She said, "And all this to show we are not kids playing in the Temple office, but officers of the Church.
  156. XXX: So now that I have done precisely what you asked, that is, to prove it, what have you and Mr. Bergin come to say?" Hansen replied, "We have come to discuss the reunion of the divided Church." Kim shook her head. "You went out from us, but you were not of us.
  157. XXX: If you had been of us, you no doubt would have continued with us." "We didn't so much as leave the Church as the Church left us," said Bergin. "Two Feathers slipped into apostasy when he set aside the eternal Law of God that only first or second cousins are to be married."
  158. XXX: Kim said, "Gentlemen, this racist streak of yours has divided the Church but it is all just a lot of silly nonsense over nothing, and God is not amused. There are no races. There is only one human race. The Bible and the Book of Green Dome acknowledge only ethnicities.
  159. XXX: In scripture we read only of peoples and kindreds and tongues, not Whites and Blacks and Yellow Menaces and Red Men. The angels of heaven are called Black Beards and Red Beards and so on, but they are all the same race, and indeed they are the same species as humans.
  160. XXX: We know this because they can still breed with us, and that will be true for many thousands of years." Gabriel and Dory nod their heads, affirming the truth of what Kim said. Bergin and Hansen had no clue they were literally standing the presence of a nephil and an angel.
  161. XXX: "What are you talking about," blurted Hansen indignantly. "There are indeed races. I can see them with my own eyes!" "Then how many races are there?" "I say there are three races: Caucasian, Negroid, and Mongoloid." "Really? Are you sure those are not artificial things?
  162. XXX: Because it would make the dark people in India and Pakistan the same race as blond people in Scandinavia. And what about the aborigines in Australia? They have Caucasian and Mongoloid genes, but they are as dark as Negroids. Jews look identical to Arabs.
  163. XXX: Mexican people are a mixture of Mongoloid and Caucasian. Even our Lord Yeshua is a lovely dark brown." "Brother Klaus is right," said Bergin. "I see three races as well. They can be traced right back to the three sons of Noah." Kim, Dory and Gabriel all looked at each other.
  164. XXX: Dory said, "The same thing happens with the colors of a rainbow, it all depends on who looks at it. Some see three colors, some see seven, some see even more. But it's really a smooth continuum, you know. And setting the borders is the biggest waste of time there is."
  165. XXX: Bergin said, "We see evidence in the Bible that dark skin is the Mark of Canaan, who was cursed as punishment after his father Ham saw his grandfather Noah naked after Noah became the first man in history to pass out from too much wine."
  166. XXX: Mr. Bergin, there are different levels of pigments in human skin and that is a good thing. A ginger like me would not fare so well on the savanna in Kenya. Traits like color, or the epicanthic fold of Asians, are a vestige of the isolation of human settlements long ago."
  167. XXX: "We believe it is the will of the Lord that this isolation should end," said Gabriel. "And how were your services yesterday, Apostle?" asked Hansen. Your Prophet must have told you ours were a clown show, but how were yours?" "There were no 'services' such as you imagine.
  168. XXX: "Unlike you, we dare not carry on while our union of Red and White people lies in ruins, contrary to the will of the Lord who brought us all together in this place. There were sung laments, and Dory led the congregation in a prayer for a quick reunion."
  169. XXX: Hansen grew angry. "We came here seeking to negotiate, but all we've heard is blasphemy from three kids. So we just air our grievances and moonbeam theories and go home?" Kim said, "No, perhaps you were moved to come here by the Lord in answer to our prayer.
  170. XXX: Let us cut to the chase. In every negotiation there is at least one point a party stands upon to the bitter end and refuses to budge. What's your non-negotiable, gentlemen?" "We have two. First of all, God's sacred law of cousin marriage should be the Fifth Decree."
  171. XXX: "Easily enough done." Kim prepared a fountain pen and inked the following into the Green Book: MARRIAGE IN THE CHURCH OF GREEN DOME SHALL BE BETWEEN PERSONS WITH THE SAME GRANDPARENTS OR GREAT-GRANDPARENTS, ON PAIN OF EXCOMMUNICATION. JAN. 14, 1943. And she initialed it.
  172. XXX: Hansen said, "Good. When do you divorce Gabriel?" "Never," Kim replied. "The decrees of the Church don't work ex post facto. Besides, Yeshua himself said if a woman puts aside her husband to marry another she commits adultery against him. That's the Lord's non-negotiable.
  173. XXX: "Then here's our second non-negotiable," said Klaus. "We get our old jobs back." Kim pretended to ponder this for a while, though she had known it was coming for some time. She turned to Dory and asked, "Will you step down as Deacon, Dor?" And Dory nodded yes.
  174. XXX: So Kim inked into the Green Book, DEACON DORIEL, RESIGNED, JAN. 14, 1943. Dory signed it, and Kim certified it. To complete the transaction, Kim wrote, PAUL BERGIN, DEACON, JAN. 14, 1943. Paul signed the Green Book, and Kim certified his signature with initials.
  175. XXX: Following this, Gabriel assented to giving up hez office as well. Kim wrote, APOSTLE GABRIEL SHYBEAR, RESIGNED, JAN. 14, 1943. Che signed it, and Kim entered her initials. This was followed by KLAUS HANSEN, APOSTLE, JAN. 14, with his signature and her initials.
  176. XXX: Kim pushed the Green Book a little away from her and sat back to look at her own page, which now was nearly full. She said, "I had a sudden thought of someone sitting here in 2043, reading this page, and wondering what it must have been like, this whole tangle.
  177. XXX: "But we gave a little, so now we get a little. Let us address the topic of the Golden Gift, as I promised earlier." "Yes, lets," said Hansen. "I propose the Golden Gift alternate between the Red and White Wings, even as the office of Deacon presently does."
  178. XXX: Kim said, "Alas, that is one of my non-negotiables." She took the pen again to write, THE SACRED RELIC SHALL REMAIN PERPETUALLY IN THE POSSESSION OF THE RED WING OF THE CHURCH, TO BE ADMINISTERED BY THE EXTRAORDINARY LAY MINISTER OF THE LAST RITE, JAN. 14, 1943, etc.
  179. XXX: Hansen read this with some displeasure, and said, "Let the other shoe drop. What is your other non-negotiable?" So Kim wrote, HASHMAL GABRIEL SHYBEAR, EXTRAORDINARY LAY MINISTER OF THE LAST RITE, JAN. 14, 1943. And that left room on the page for just one more entry.
  180. XXX: Paul read this last, and asked, "Where is the Golden Gift now?" "Gabriel has it," said Kim. "Now, to summarize, Gabriel performs all Last Rites. You and Paul have your old jobs back, and only cousins can get hitched in the Church as a matter of dogma, not just tradition."
  181. XXX: "Yes," said Hansen, "and now that there won't be an more amalgamation of humans with animals, I'll bring the White Wing back to Temple for Sundays, as agreed." "Oh, you never know, Klaus. In a generation some of my kids might look ravishing to kids of either wing."
  182. XXX: "We'll see," said Hansen, and both he and Paul Bergin beat feet from the office, concluding the sit-down. In the sudden silence, Kim looked at her husband and at her good friend and told them, "Now I wait for them to come back and kill me."
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Strangers In Paradise