Two men and two women are sitting at a table together in a local breakfast cafe’ in Conroe, Texas. One of the women, a tall strawberry blond, has a clipboard in her lap and a small blister on the inside of the last joint of her right, middle finger….
“So,” the woman who appeared to be the organizer of this meeting began, twirling her black gel-ink pen. “I know this may feel strange for you all–” Her gaze wandered from a gray-haired man with sharp, squinting eyes and a firm jaw to a young man with dark, spiked hair; large, black rectangular glasses and a Star Trek t-shirt. Last of all, her gaze rested on a short woman with ash-blond hair falling to her waist, a “peace” charm dangling around her neck and a wreath of wildflowers resting on her head.
“This should be interesting”, she mumbled then cleared her throat and said aloud, “As I think, you all know, I wanted to address some common misconceptions concerning millennial positions today. A lot of people are confused about what each millennial position represents and construct straw men or stereotypes based on fringe groups instead of giving each view an honest chance. I think the best way to combat this error is to take a look at these stereotypes and see how they really are exceptional cases and come to an understanding of one other. That’s why y’all are here.”
The other three blinked. The interviewer sighed. “Lets start by introducing ourselves. I’m Emily and I’ll be moderating our discussion today.”
“Sergeant Garret Barracks, at your service,” the old man saluted, a little louder than was necessary.
Emily looked down at her clipboard. “You are…a retired drill sergeant, I understand? Served in Vietnam?”
“Yes ma’m.” Sergeant Barracks bellowed. “Taught them ‘Nams a lesson we did.” A lady three tables over glanced back with a scowl and put a finger to her lips. The sergeant didn’t seem to notice.
“And a post-millennialist?” Emily pressed.
“And you–”, Emily turned to the other woman, “are Rain-Meadow Lark?”
The woman giggled, “that’s me, alright, but you can just call me ‘Rain’. Universal Peace to you.” She made a “v” with her hand and a flower from her wreath floated down onto the table.
“Alright…Rain.” Emily raised her eyebrows, “and you’re representing the amillennial position?”
Rain nodded and Emily turned to the dark-haired young man who was presently jamming to his iPod while buried behind a laptop. Emily cleared her throat, “Kagan?”
–Furious typing– “Kagan Eldon?”
The typing stopped and “Kagan” stared at his screen with his mouth agape. For a moment his features were tense then a smile worked its way across his face and he sighed, leaned back in his chair, yanked his earbuds out and pushed his black-rimmed glasses back up the bridge of his nose where there were already two nose-pad impressions. In response to everyone’s stares he shrugged, “the apocalypse won’t come for at least another year, so I should have time to finish my bomb shelter.”
“Oooooo…..k. And that would be our premillennialist.” Emily concluded. “Now, can you each give a summary of your respective positions? Lets start with Sergeant Barracks.” She poised her pen over her notepaper and waited.
A gleam scintillated in the sergeant’s eyes like the first spark of a fire. With a sweep of his hand he trumpeted: “Christ came to save sinners–now it’s our job to save the world and bring in the kingdom! We’ve got to TAKE back the filming industry-” The spark in his eyes now a blaze, Sergeant Barracks pounded his fist on the table, making the silverware rattle. “And we’ve got to TAKE back the publishing industry. We’ve got to TAKE back graphic design. We’ve got to TAKE back education. We’ve got to TAKE back the fashion industry…It’s all been taken over by a bunch of feminized Marxists! And we’ve got to TAKE back the government too.
In fact,” the Sergeants voice lowered to a whisper which was something closer to what the customers at the cafe would consider a “normal” voice. “In fact, there’s already an undercover group of confederates anonymous that are working on a plan for a second secession.”
He rubbed his hands together with glee at the thought. “America is God’s chosen people but she’s under JUDGEMENT by God” the sergeant roared, “we won’t see the millennium of peace and prosperity come until we CONQUER the world and plant Christ’s flag on EVERY hill!” Kagan steadied his glass as another iron-fist pounded the table.
“It’s all spiritual, man,” Rain shook her head. “You’re so carnal-minded. Millennium? Ha! Don’t you feel the peace deep down in your soul right now?”
Sergeant Barracks’ nostrils flared and he shouted, “so–what, are you just going to throw out Revelation 20 entirely?!” Emily cringed at the glare from the lady three tables down. This was why she booked their table after rush hour–in hopes they wouldn’t get kicked out before she was done interviewing.
Rain shrugged, “it’s like–way overrated. I mean who takes that stuff about beasts and locusts and bloody rivers seriously?”
While Sergeant Barracks turned white with indignation and began sputtering like an old motor boat, Kagan’s eyes dilated and he slapped both palms on the table, “overrated? not take it seriously? So what are you going to throw out next? Genesis?!”
Rain shrugged, “Eh. Gap theory and Framework Hypothesis are perfectly acceptable options. You’ve got to discover the spiritual meaning of those texts, man. Don’t tell me you take the locusts, beasts, mark of the beast and bloody rivers seriously??”
“Of course I do, they’re in the Bible.” Kagan said.
Rain waited expectantly. Kagan cleared his throat and stuffed his hands in his pockets, “The beasts are the President of the United States and his chief advisor, the locusts are helicopters, the mark of the beast will be computer chips implanted into our foreheads and the bloody river is obviously a prediction of a nuclear holocaust. That’s the most perfectly natural, logical, plain and literal interpretation of the text.”
“Right.” Rain rolled her eyes. “So, are y’all like hungry yet? Oh groovy, there’s the waitress. Yoo-hoo–like, over here!”
The waitress smacked her gum, “So what can I getcha this morn’in?”
Rain rested her chin on her clasped hands, “I want fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free Greek yogurt…with strawberries on top.”
“You can get dairy-free yogurt?” Kagan impugned.
Emily shrugged, “if the hippies had their way we’d have a people-free planet too.”
“Yogurt, alright…” The waitress pushed a lock of hair behind her ear and scribbled in her notebook. “And you sir?” She turned to the Sarg.
“A towering stack of flapjacks.”
“And I’d like a biscuit, eggs and bacon.” Kagan added.
“Eggs and WHAT????” bellowed Sergeant Barracks.
The waitress raised her eyebrows, popped her gum and said to Emily, “this guy clearly needs to see a psychologist.”
“Ba….con….” Kagan replied slowly. “Is…there a problem with that?”
“Problem?” The sergeant was on his feet and turning livid. “Just the desecration of the sacred Torah! To think that someone should order an unclean, cloven-footed animal in my presence! That does it!” He threw down his napkin and stormed off.
Kagan shrugged then his phone beeped. He glanced at the screen, “Oh, gotta go, it was nice chatting with you but my shipment of canned goods and survival supplies is about to be delivered and I need to oversee it.”
“Bomb shelter? Survival supplies? I thought we’re supposed to get raptured out first” Rain jabbed.
Kagan shook his head with pity at how ignorant some people can be. “We won’t get raptured until things get REALLY bad. And don’t worry, I’ll leave you with directions to my bomb shelter in case you, well, you know–” his voice lowered to a delicate whisper “–get left behind.”
“Gee–thanks” Rain rolled her eyes “but I’ll pass on hanging out with a bunch of zombie-watchers in the basement. I’ll take my chances living on the outside with the confederates anonymous.”
Kagan shrugged “suit yourself, can’t say I didn’t warn you. You’ll regret it someday when they implant that computer chip in your forehead–remember there’s no hope for you after that.” With these last, uplifting words Kagan slung his backpack over his shoulder and skidded out of the cafe.
Emily sighed, sinking down into her seat and running her fingers through her hair. “Just great…went exactly as planned” she mumbled “–let me guess, you gotta go too?” She looked over at Rain, now happily eating her taste-free Greek yogurt. “You probably have a PETA rally to go to.”
“You’re funny” Rain giggled. “That’s not till tomorrow.”