The sun caught her long, shiny, straight black hair in a way that made it seem plastic. “Maybe a wig,” I thought. It went down to her shoulders and was tucked into some kind of new-agey, earth-tones-colored scarf. The scarf seemed to have little white shells on it, from what I could make out. When I got close to her, she shoved her phone in her shirt pocket and said, “Hey, you going to see Pastor Mike?” Her voice was quick-paced, as if she were somewhat anxious, or just naturally high-strung and super-perky. She had big dark eyes and, despite her plastic hair—which maybe didn’t look quite so plastic-y after all, actually, now that I saw it up close—a ready, pretty smile.
I said, “I was gonna see what the office hours are. Yeah.”
She said, “Yeah, well, he just closed down the shop about ten minutes ago, he and Shelia both left. They both totally vamoosed on out of here.” She laughed a lilted little laugh. “Gone like a freight train,” she half-sang. “Gone like yesterday!” Her smile was quite pretty. “Gone like... something else. I don’t know! Like a gone thing! Ha!”
“Is there anyone left up there at all?” I said. “I kinda wanted to see who’s around right now.”
“No, I was the last one. They kicked my butt out and then they just hit the road, like Paul in Damascus!” Everything she said seemed to have natural exclamation points on it, or was uttered in a pleasant sing-songy voice. I’d never heard anyone speak like that before. She didn’t seem to have any kind of Asian accent, either, none at all, which posed a strange sort of juxtaposition.
“Oh. Well, what’s your, like, function within the church?” I said. “If you have one.”
“I’m Trudy Booth!” she said. “I’m free and open to all of the blessings of the universe today!”
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