"Remember Jacob, you weren't sent to argue with the Reverend. The Lord wants you to deliver His message and you know what that is. Go ahead, Elder. You'll do fine"
Jacob Hannah ground his teeth together and got to his feet. Glad he thinks so.... no idea what I'm goin to say.
Rose was disappointed. The majority of the listeners were disappointed.
Mister Calm and Quiet was not rising to speak, instead letting his partner, Mr. Nervous Eyes struggle to the front, a Bible and another book in his paws. She watched as he laid both books in front of him, looked out at the congregation and hesitated, not anxious to speak.
Did not he come here for this very thing?
Assembling the few scattered ideas left in his head, Jacob still hesitated.
Declare the message Turner had said.
Answer the charges the Reverend had demanded.
Jacob swallowed hard; then charged, stumbling at the start.
"Uh, Ladies, and, er Gentlemen....
No! I can't call you that. That is, I, I gotta call you 'brothers and sisters'.
I hope yer not mindin that, but the Lord, er, Jesus taught that you an me’re all sons and daughters of God, the Heavenly Father."
What the hell am I sayin? I'm runnin out of words!
"...and where I come from we respect each other that way. My ... my companion, behind me ..."
Of course he's behind me! Dammit Hannah! Quite stutterin!
"My, uh, companion behind me's always spected me to call im 'Brother Cole'.
Ah, that is, I mean that was in Utah. Here in England he wants me to call im 'Elder Cole'. Of course when we was youngsters in the wilderness we only knew each other's folks as 'Brother this' or 'Sister that'.
Brother Cole is, well, I, er, hope you'll all come to think of us -- both of us as your brothers."
Lord! I gotta get on with the subject!!
The whole chapel seemed on the verge of an exploding restlessness. Rose felt as if her skin was crawling, so irritating was the Elder's fumbling. The speaker was obviously a humble man, but his fear and reluctance was almost palpable.
Why hadn't the other one spoken?
Come on, Jacob old boy! You can do this.
Either yer a man about this or ya ain't. Ya quit now an you might never try public speakin agin!
And there ain't no damn way I'm lettin Turner go back to Utah or even to Franklin Richards and say Isaac Hannah's boy done made the pure ass fool a hisself.
"My name is Jacob. I mean, it's Jacob ... Jacob Hannah."
Please Lord!!! Please give me the what to say!
"I drew ... I have drawd ... the lot to speak first. Yeah, Elder Cole'n me drawd lots and the lot fell ta me, an that's the Lord's way a sayin I shoulda oughta speak first..."
Rose felt there might be, perhaps 30 seconds more of calm in the chapel before people started to walk out.
SPEAK, damn you!
Get on with it!
Answer the goddamned Reverend's goddamned questions before we all rush out of this crazy farm.
What do you idiots think of God?