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Part One - Not a Tame World

“So, what can Jesus use to teach us?” the man up front asked.

“Anything and anyone,” replied the group of seven to twelve year olds.

“Right,” the man answered. “Now, the Mini Market is open. Feel free to check it out.”

The entire group stood at once and most headed in the direction of the table in question. But, one of them didn’t head that way. Instead he stayed sitting. Within minutes, he was the only one still sitting. The leader glanced up at the rows of chairs and noticed him easily. He stood up and walked over to him. “Tommy, what’s wrong?” he asked.

Tommy just shrugged. The leader nodded. “I know, it can be hard to talk about things. I just want you to know I am willing to listen.” When Tommy didn’t respond, he added, “Well, I need to pack up. If you decide to talk, I am right up there.”

He began standing up but Tommy blurted out, “ Mr. Rick.”

“Yes,” Rick answered sitting down again.

“At school, everyone that takes notice of me picks on me. And here,” Tommy looked toward the crowd, “no one takes notice of me.”

Rick nodded again. “I totally understand. It happened to me when I was young.”

“It did?”

“Absolutely. I was a very open kid, but I quickly learned that people found it fun to use what I said against me. I then therefore retreated inside myself at school and nearly every other place where my parents weren’t.”

Tommy nodded and Rick knew he could relate. “It took me until near twenty to learn otherwise.” Rick looked at Tommy very directly. “I want you to know you can trust the kids in this group. I know most of them and they are very kind.”

“I don’t know,” Tommy answered looking down.

“You yourself said that they don’t pick on you,” Rick said putting a hand on Tommy’s knee. “That’s because they don’t want to. The reason they don’t take notice of you is you are so quiet that you turn invisible.”

Tommy sighed. “Well, you think about it.” Rick said removing his hand from Tommy’s knee and standing up. “No need to make a decision right this moment. If you need to talk some more, I am right up front.”

“Just a minute!” Tommy said standing up. “What changed your mind about people?”

“I went to church for the first time,” Rick said smiling. Tommy’s expression changed into that of surprise and he looked back over at the crowd at the Mini Market.

The crowd was already starting to disperse as those who had bought what they wanted left the table. Tommy looked back over to where Rick had been standing, but he was already in the front putting microphones away.

Tommy reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of nearly a thousand Mini Money dollars. It was handed out once a month for being good. The better you were, the more you got. He had not spent any in near a year and because he was so quiet, he never did anything wrong during Sunday School. It had now piled up in his pocket.

“No more,” he said to himself. He looked back at the Mini Market, there was an opening. He rushed over and filled it. He scanned the table. The same things he remembered it having a year ago, was still here. Sure, not the exact items, but the categories were the same: matchbox cars, candy, dolls, etc.

His spirits sunk, still nothing he wanted. He glanced over at the other end of the table and saw a bunch of bigger items. He’d forgotten about the more expensive side of the table. There was no one over there as people rarely had enough.

He switched sides of the table and looked around. There was a remote controlled car for $100, an N scale model train set for $200, a working toy submarine for $150, and other things of the like. It was all cool, but he didn’t want any of it. He felt like the Mini Market had deserted him again.

Copyright © 2010 C. L. Richardson, All Rights Reserved; "Untamed Picture" © Nathanael Eisner