Rafter Fiction is short stories based on songs by Rafter. I am starting the series with the songs from his newest album, “Terrestrial Extras”. This is the third song, “Stranded on a Dirt Clod.” Enjoy! Buy the album here
And the boss says during Jeff’s interview: “”So this guy comes every week, Thursday Friday, Saturday, and he’s one of those guys that sees the men coming in here and needs to tell them they’re going to Hell. We used to try to get rid of him, call the police, but after a few stories on the news and on social media, people come to see him and our business has skyrocketed. Everyone knows where Quadz is now, and being harassed by him has become something of a badge of honor.”
And the first time Jeff sees “Preacher”: He is tall, lanky, and weather-worn. He wears a wrinkled gray suit, needs a shave, and wears mirrored sunglasses. He swings a tattered Bible in his right hand through the air, shaking it while he yells at the men coming into the bar. He looks as if he has not slept in a year.
And when Jeff asks if “Preacher” ever comes inside: “Nah. I don’t think that he wants to be caught in this den of iniquity. He’s harmless though.”
And things “Preacher” yells at people coming in: “You are all going to be stuck here. Jesus is coming back, and you will all beg for help, but you’ll be stuck, trapped on this burning clod of dirt for the rest of your deprived life. No one is going to rescue you.”
And Jeff’s thoughts, as a bouncer, on whether or not to view “Preacher” as a threat:
“Preacher” can’t be harmless. There has to be something off about someone who wastes every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night yelling about sin in front of a gay bar. I have to keep a close eye on this guy and make sure that he does not get too close to the door or block that path of any patrons.
And Jeff asks after watching him for a few months and realizing he is not the typical Bible-thumper: “Ask Avery behind the bar. He knows the Preacher from before.”
And reasons why Jeff is hesitant to approach Avery: Avery is thick and strong, works out two hours a day at the gym and is would probably make a better bouncer than himself. He is kind of intimidating. Jeff watched him break up a fight between three men before Jeff even crossed the room, all three of them incapacitated with Avery’s weight. He then scowled at Jeff for not being quicker.
And how the conversation goes when Jeff finally approaches Avery: The staff is doing shots when Jeff brings it up. “How long has the Preacher been coming here?”
Avery gives him an irritated look that quickly disappeared, almost like a twitch that Jeff is not supposed to see. “Maybe about a year. Percy was killed a year ago this January so a little after that.”
And Jeff does not ask anything about Percy, but what Avery volunteers: “I miss Percy every day still. I still feel him dying in my arms. You know I still haven’t washed the shirt with all of his blood on it? It’s stuffed in the back of the closet. I can’t look at it. Shit.”
And what Jeff learns about Percy after a Google search: He was shot walking home with his partner. They caught the guys who did it, charged them for a hate crime based on Avery’s statement, and the trial is yet to come. It took until he saw a picture of Percy, his lanky frame and thin face, for Jeff to understand that Percy is the Preacher’s son. This added even more questions, none that he wants to ask.
And things “Preacher” says the next time Jeff works: “You need to stop all of this. You will die. And nobody will help you. You take the penis out of your mouth and start walking the straight line. Otherwise your life will kill you.”
And realizations Jeff makes when he sees “Preacher”: So many things but he wonders most if the man is a preacher at all. Maybe these warnings are not from the Bible but from a grieving father.