“She is a scheming, no-good, conniving she-devil,” he continued. “That’s exactly what she is, and I’m not standing still for it. If she wants me, she knows where to find me!”
Raymond had never seen his best friend this upset and wasn’t quite sure what all the fuss was about, having not yet looked at the latest edition of Hometown News.
“What has you so riled up, Marvin?” Cooper asked as he put a hand on Walsh’s shoulder and guided him into a seat in front of his desk.
“She just can’t leave well enough alone!” Marvin roared. “She just can’t.”
Raymond rifled through the 12 pages of the Hometown News so he could find out what had his best friend so upset.
The main story on the front page seemed to be about the upcoming men’s breakfast and turkey shoot at the Baptist church. “Surely,” Raymond thought to himself, “that can’t be it.”
“Are you upset because she didn’t include your story about the Devil on the front page?” Cooper asked. “We talked about that yesterday. You knew she wasn’t going to write about that. Not when her best friend is staging a one-woman protest at First Baptist Church.”
“It’s not that,” Walsh snorted. “Look inside. Look what she wrote.”
That’s when Raymond found the source of Marvin’s displeasure. Splashed across four columns on the top-right corner of the Opinion Page was the headline:
Lutheran Disruption Seemed Like
Disagreement Among Friends
“Do you see that?” Marvin yelled. “Do you see it?”
“I’m looking right at it,” Raymond answered.
“Did you read what she wrote?” Walsh continued yelling. “Did you read it?”
“I’m trying, Marvin,” Cooper shot back. “Just give me a minute so I can figure out what has you so riled up.”
“I’ll give you a minute,” Walsh barked. “I’ll give you a minute.”
Before Raymond could get out, “Okay,” Walsh was back to shouting. “Just look at what she wrote! Did you see what she said? Did you see it?”
“Simmer down, Marvin,” Raymond answered, getting more annoyed with each interruption. “I see it. Let me finish reading it.”
That’s when Marvin grabbed the paper out of his friend’s hand and started reading aloud, beginning three paragraphs into the editorial.
“‘From my vantage point,’” Walsh read, “‘I could see Mr. Walsh having what appeared to be a conversation with someone just outside the fellowship hall door.’”
“Of course I was having a conversation,” Marvin shouted at the newspaper, “with the Devil!”
Raymond grabbed the paper back and continued reading aloud.
“‘Every now and then, I could make out a bit of the conversation, although it was difficult above the sound of the worship music,’” Iris had been especially kind not to mention her real feelings about listening to the same chorus six times.
Marvin roared, “That no-good, conniving, woman editor!” before Raymond continued.
“‘It almost sounded,’” Long wrote, “‘like he was trying to convince someone to come into the building. My question is this: ‘If Mr. Walsh was indeed speaking with the Devil, why would he be trying so hard to get him to come inside the Lutheran fellowship hall?’”
“Hmmm,” Raymond muttered, barely audible. “What is she up to?”
“You want to know what she’s up to?” Marvin shouted. “Do you want to know? Just read the rest of it!”
“‘It seems to me,’” Long closed her opinion piece, “‘that Raymond Cooper and Marvin Walsh were up to another one of their tricks, and if the Devil was involved, he was most likely working with them.’”
“Just what do you have to say now?” Marvin roared.
Raymond remained silent for a moment as he folded the paper back to its original format and laid it on his desk.
Neither paid any attention to the page one headline as the paper sat there, “Women’s Event Provides Alternative to Turkey Shoot.”
“Lennox Valley: The Book” is now available at Amazon.com and other fine booksellers everywhere. Visit www.LennoxValley.com for more information. Writer Kevin Slimp is a Johnson City native known for his expertise in publishing technology. “The Good Folks of Lennox Valley” is fictionally based on people he has met in years of travel.