The Last Prophet opened the door to find a woman wearing a clean pair of jeans, a white T-shirt, and Jessie’s eyes. They were narrowed. She held a stack of Girl-Scout Cookie boxes.
The Last Prophet smiled.
“My how you’ve grown,” he said.
“Here are your cookies.” The woman shoved the boxes into The Last Prophet’s arm.
“Thank you very much.” He placed the cookies down on a small table inside the door.
He turned back to the woman. “You must be Jessie’s Mother. Pleasure.” He held out his hand.
“Do you have any idea how much trouble you’ve caused?” She said through her teeth.
“With Jessie. I am her mother.”
“Yes, as I said. What–”
“All she has been doing is spending her time digging through the bible and asking all sorts of stupid questions. Come to find out it is your fault. I told her not to come here.” She told the last part more to herself.
“She mentioned. I simply told her the answer to the questions she asked. I meant no harm.”
Jessie’s mom laughed. It was a harsh laugh. “Bullshit. You are trailing around this poor girl with your bullshit stories because you’re a sad lonely old man.”
The Last Prophet stared at her, startled. Startled not at her words but because as she said them she had begun to cry.
“Would you like a cup tea?” The Last Prophet offered. Jessie’s Mom nodded. He stood back and allowed her inside.
“I’m sorry I snapped at you.”
The Last Prophet smiled gently as he placed a warm mug in her hands.
“It’s okay. Perhaps I deserve it. Worse, maybe.”
“No, no” She shook her head in self fit of self-remonstration. Then poured her words out all over the table. “It really isn’t. We’ve had some hard times lately and Jessie, well she didn’t take it well. So, I thought maybe joining the Girl-scouts would help. You know? Get her focused on something else, something, a distraction? And now she’s completely abandoned it. Spends all her time trying to figure out whatever it is you told her and I just, it is my fault. I, well, nothing. It is my fault. I am sorry.”
The Last Prophet stayed silent while she spoke. They both stayed silent for a good while after. Finally, Jessie’s mom spoke again.
“Look, I need you to put this to bed. I need you to tell her something so she can stop obsessing over this. I need a reset. Her and I need to find a way through this together. And I can’t do anything as long as she is like this. Please.”
The Last Prophet smiled. “Of course,” he said.
Parts I & II: