Donny sat his ass down hard in the extra office chair Mike kept in the back of his office, threw his leg over his knee and leaned back hard. Old papers trapped between him and the window crinkled.
“So I heard you’re moving to another state,” Donny said to Mike.
Mike hadn’t looked up from his computer screen yet. He was still typing away. Donny had come in unannounced and just sat down, which was okay, but sort of rude. Mike didn’t care that Donny was rude. Actually, nobody cared. Donny was rude to everyone. In the annals of rudeness, coming in unannounced and butt-slapping a chair around was pretty low.
“Is this the start of a conversation?” asked Mike. “Cause I don’t know if I have the time to talk smack with a moron.”
“I’m not here to talk smack” protested Donny, pretending to be insulted.
“You’re just here to be a moron?” said Mike. “I need to finish this report. Then I’ve got to get some slides read for a presentation, and then I need to arrange some flights. What is it you need Donny?”
Donny moved his head from left to right and smacked his lips uncomfortably. Obviously he had something on his mind that he didn’t want to come right out with, but he wasn’t creative enough to figure out a way to broach the subject tactfully. After a few seconds of squeezing his brain cells for something, he gave up and went straight the point. “You owe me money,” he stated. “Remember, four weeks ago you borrowed twenty dollars from me to pay for lunch at the Posh Panda. You said you were gonna pay me back.”
“Fuck,” hissed Mike under his breath. “I did indeed. I am such an asshole.” He pulled out his walled and looked inside. It was empty. “Listen, Donny, I don’t have anything on me right now, but I can get to an ATM at lunchtime. Can I pay you then?”
“Well, um, I kind of need the money now,” replied Donny. “It’s a long story. Any chance you could go down to the ATM and get it now?”
That was odd, thought Mike. Why couldn’t he wait? The only possible answer Mike could come up with was that Donny must owe someone else in the office money, and they must be leaving. But who was in the office? Then it occurred to Mike that Mr. Fakusky was visiting today. Mr. Fakusky was the son of their company’s founder. Normally he was in Philadelphia, but when he did come out, he often went drinking with the Sales guys. Donny was one of the sales guys.
“You’ve been playing poker with Fakusky, haven’t you?” accused Mike.
Donny looked taken aback. “So what? Yeah, I was playing poker with him. I owe him some money. Why are you acting like that’s a big deal?”
Mike stood up, fully enraged now. “Did you know that gambling is a sin!” he shouted, pointing his finger in Donny’s face. “Did you know that you can go to HELL for gambling!?” He grabbed the door and shut it because he didn’t want anyone outside his office to hear him going off. He wasn’t allowed to rant unless his door was shut. It was an official rule.
“That’s pretty harsh,” said Donny.
“YES!” screamed Mike. “It IS harsh! We’re talking about your immortal soul here. And for what are you risking it? What do you get out of this Donny? Five minutes of pleasure for an eternity in the pit. You’re just being stupid!” He hung his head and shook it with his hand on his face. “Oh dear God. Oh dear Jesus, how I pray for you Donny.”
“I think you might be overreacting a little,” said Donny.
“Overreacting!” exclaimed Mike. His head shot up and his glistening eyes stared with a horrified expression into Donny’s. “Are you insane? How about THIS Donny. Imagine you’re on fire. Imagine your entire body is on fire, but it’s not consumed.”
“Because it’s not real, Donny! Don’t you understand, I’m talking about your soul here, not your body. Your soul can’t be destroyed. But it can feel pain. Pain like you can’t imagine.”
Donny looked doubtful. “Is this in a book somewhere? Cause I’ve never come across anything about there being a soul in Scientific America or Popular Science.”
“Of course not Donny!” exclaimed Mike. He waved his hands in the air. “You’ve got to read the bible. It’s all in there. It’s not in some stupid scientific book. Those books don’t tell you anything, Donny. Heck, those books say people came from monkeys. Look around you. Obviously no one in this office is related to a monkey.”
“Well, there’s Linda,” joked Donny.
“Very funny,” said Mike, without even smiling. “I’m sure Linda would appreciate knowing that you think she’s related to a monkey. Donny, just because someone is hairy doesn’t mean they’re an animal. This universe and everything in it were created eight thousand years about by a ultra-powerful all-knowing God, and he made every person on this planet out of dust.”
“That’s a lot of dust,” observed Donny.
“It IS a lot of dust,” agreed Mike, with a wild eyed obsessive glint. “And that same God laid down rules about how we should live our lives. He sent them to Moses in the form of the Ten Commandments. And one of those commandments was Thou Shalt Not Gamble. And he told Moses that anyone who broke these commandments was going to go to HELL. Think about it Donny! Do you really want your immortal soul burning in HELL!”
Donny, who had stood up and managed to shuffle by Mike to the door, shook his head. “Nope. Definitely don’t want that. Hey, I just remembered a meeting I’m missing. Tell you what, forget about the twenty bucks. I’ll get it from you later. Just stop by my office before you leave, okay?”
“Sure, Donny,” said Mike. “Don’t worry about it. And, trust me, you’ll feel better this way. You don’t want the weight of sin hanging over you.”
“Yeah, that’s a lot of weight. I feel better already.”
After Donny left, Mike sat down to his computer and continued to work on his email. He was pretty sure there was nothing in the Ten Commandments about not gambling, was there? Donny would never look though. Geez. The things he did for twenty bucks!