written from “I’m Sorry, Huston,” by Drive-By Truckers (Brighter Than Creation’s Dark)
The boys looked surprised when I invited them in, but they adjusted their thin black ties and stepped on through the door. Elder Joel and Elder Lehi, though neither looked much older than twenty. I was glad for the company. They were glad for the shade. They were sweaty in their shirtsleeves and I offered them a glass of water, but they waved me off and panted that they were fine. We sat in the living room and one of them opened his travel case and pulled out a floppy blue Book of Mormon while the other one surveyed my walls, the paintings of birds on fenceposts my wife had painted and a lot of bright squares where other frames had hung. The second one asked if I was moving in or moving out. I said I was moving on. I asked if they were brothers and they said they were brothers in the Spirit. I just meant that they looked alike—even with the little black nametags I couldn’t tell them apart. They smiled at each other but didn’t answer my question. One of them asked if I was a man of faith. I said I’m whatever helps me get the ladies at the bar. Sometimes they like to go home with a Christian man, makes them feel better about themselves the next day. Makes me feel better about myself, too. They frowned at each other and the other one said it sounded like I needed to hear the good news of Christ in America. I said, You mean when he came to preach to all the Indians? I thought that was the Spanish. The first one opened his book and started to read something to me but I held up my hand and said if they were going to get religious I was going to need some wine. I went into the kitchen. When I came back they were already out the door, heading down the sidewalk. I watched them a minute then set down my glass and chased out after them. I caught up at their car and said, Wait, fellas, I didn’t mean to offend you. They said, The Word of God is not something we like to joke about. We’d like to help you find your way to the true faith, but you have to be willing to receive it. I said, You should have come by here a month ago. My wife’s the one you wanted. They perked up, one of them all glittery eyes under his blond hair, and that one said, Well when will she be in? We’d be happy to come back and talk to you both. I said, You just missed her—my wife’s dead. They said, Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. But if she was a faithful woman, she’s probably up in Heaven with Jesus and the saints right now. I said, Yeah, well, we’ll see about that, and I brought them back into the house.