I was happy to place first last week, so taking another stab at #FlashMobWrites.
“We can’t have two young men with beards on stage,” Reverend James had sighed upon seeing Marcus’ unshaven face at rehearsals. “Some of our congregation are aged and can’t see. We need to be able to tell the difference between the Devil and our Lord and Savior from the back pews. Do we have to have this conversation every year?”
Evelyn was tired of hearing about Henry’s beard at church every year. “He looks just like Jesus,” she’d overhear. And, “Oh my, it’s like he walked right out of the bible,” they’d say. Completely ignoring that the man had the acting ability of a mannequin and paraphrased most of his lines despite them being clearly laid out for him, in red no less.
Her son Marcus could grow facial hair twice as full and twice as fast, yet he never got the admiration of the congregation like Glenda’s child in the Easter Passion play. Nobody walked up to the two of them in the social hall after the play. The devil never got thanked. The children and adults all gathered around Henry, while Glenda winked at them from her son’s side. Evelyn always pretended to look just beyond her rival, to avoid giving her the satisfaction of accepting her acknowledgement. She knew the beard wasn’t the reason Henry got to play Jesus each year over the past decade, it was his mother’s deep contributions to the offering plate.
Marcus ignored his mother’s continued complaints at the dinner table and honed his role year over year. His sinister presence on the makeshift pulpit stage commanded the audience more than Henry ever did. “All these things I will give You, if You will fall down and worship me,” he sneered. It was all Evelyn could do not to clap in the moment he delivered the line. In that moment she forgot about the clippers she’s been secreting in her lap with the intention of finally evening the playing field with Glenda. In her whole life she had never imagined rooting for the devil, until she learned her son played the part so well.