As I mentioned yesterday, there were some entries in our Short Story Contest that, while they didn’t win, we wanted to highlight. Today we will do just that. The entry below, entitled Lazrus was submitted by Phillip Girvan.
Lazrus by Philip Girvan
Little Jennifer Reeves could see a dog on the other side of the road. Everyday this week, she had stood on the front porch and looked at the dog. The dog didn’t move. Jenny wasn’t sure if the dog had moved at all since she first spotted it last Sunday. She knew it was Sunday because she and Daddy went to church that morning. Sunday was Church day. Daddy stayed upstairs while Jenny and the other kids went downstairs for Sunday School.
Jenny liked Sunday School. Her teacher was Mrs. Morton. Mrs. Morton had a daughter named Emma. Emma was in Jenny’s class and went to the Sunday School too. Both Mrs. Morton and Emma love Jesus. Jenny loves Jesus too. Jesus has long hair and a beard like Daddy. Jenny wondered what kind of beer Jesus drinks. Daddy drinks Moosehead.
Last Sunday, Mrs. Morton told the Sunday School class the story of Lazrus. Lazrus was dead and buried in a tomb, but Jesus brought Lazrus back to life. Jenny wondered if Jesus could bring Mommy back to life. Mommy wasn’t buried in a tomb, but still–if Jesus could bring Lazrus back maybe he could bring Mommy back too.
Jenny was thinking about this when she first saw the dog. She was playing rocks on the porch and thinking about Lazrus. Daddy was lying in the hammock. Daddy liked to lie in the hammock and drink beer on Sunday afternoons. Saturdays too. Jenny hadn’t asked Daddy if he thought Jesus could bring Mommy back. Daddy didn’t talk about Mommy. She hadn’t asked Mrs. Morton either. Jenny looked at the hill across the street from the house. The dog was brown. It was sitting down. Jenny looked at the dog for a long time.
“Daddy, do you see that dog?”
Daddy raised his head and looked at Jenny. “What dog, honey?”
“Over there, Daddy. On the hill.”
Daddy turned his head towards the hill. “I don’t see a dog there, Jenny.”
He got up from the hammock and walked to the porch. Daddy lifted Jenny up and set her down on his knee. “Where’s the dog, honey?”
“There.” Jenny pointed to the hill. Daddy’s eyes followed her finger. He squinted.
“I don’t see it baby.” He touched her forehead. “Maybe it’s the heat,” he half-mumbled. “Go pee, Jenny. We’ll go into town.”
“Can we get videos? How about ice cream?”
“Sure, honey. What video do you want?”
Jenny and Daddy went into town. Daddy bought her a strawberry ice cream and then took her to the video store. After that, they went back home. Daddy cooked hamburgers and Jenny ate hers with ketchup and relish. After supper, they watched a video but Jenny fell asleep. Daddy carried her to bed and kissed her good night.
The next day Daddy went to work. Granny came to the house. Granny had big glasses and walked with a stick. Granny went to church with Jenny and Daddy. She stayed upstairs with Daddy. Granny made lunch in the kitchen and Jenny played outside. She looked across the road and saw the dog hadn’t moved. Jenny wondered where the dog lived. Maybe he lived in the woods.
“Lunch is ready, Jenny,” Granny’s voice cried out from the kitchen. “Go wash your hands.”
Jenny went inside and washed her hands. Granny had made ham sandwiches. Jenny and Granny talked, but Jenny didn’t mention the dog. Instead, she asked Granny about Lazrus.
“Do you know, Lazrus, Granny?”
“No, I don’t think I know a Lazrus. Is he your friend?”
Jenny laughed. Granny always made her laugh. “No, Granny. Lazrus. Lazrus is in the tomb. He’s dead, but Jesus wakes him up.”
Granny wrinkled her brow. “Oh! You mean Lazarus. Say Lazarus.”
“La-ze-russ,” Jenny spoke the name slowly.
“Good!” Granny said happily. “Lazurus was on of the Lord’s great miracles. He was dead, but the Lord stood outside Lazureus’ tomb and called him out. Lazurus heard the Lord’s voice and walked out, alive once more.”
Jenny sat silently for a few moments before asking, “Granny, do you think Jesus could bring Mommy back?”
Granny sat up straight. Her eyes inspected Jenny from head to toe. Granny spoke carefully. “Whatever the Lord wills shall happen.”
Granny stood up and began clearing the table. Jenny got up from the table and went back outside. She stared at the dog for a long time. Whose dog was it? Maybe his owner had died like Lazrus and Mommy. Jenny didn’t ask Granny any more questions that day, but each day she sat on the porch, looked out at the dog and wondered.