Congradulations The Frehmaker! The Freshmaker Evangelization He saw a cloud of dust way in the distance. Someone was coming. It would be the first someone since he's been dropped off at the Pump-n-Pay at 7:18 this morning. Thank God. If he had to look at one more damn cactus, he'd have a fit. He looked forward again and saw that everlasting shimmer on the road, that shimmer that looked deceptively and tantalizingly like water. It only reminded him how hot and thirsty he was. The water in his pack was warm by now, and wouldn't taste all that good. He'd save it for when he was really thirsty. If only it would rain like it had yesterday. But of course there wasn't even one blessed cloud in the sky to do so much as block the sun. Damn and blast. The car was closer now. Of course, now, he could see that it wasn't a car but a truck. Big, square face; large tires; white and navy paint job. He stuck his thumb out, and began walking backward so that the driver could see his face. He prided himself on having an honest face, a face that strangers could trust. His grandmother had told him that he could make a wonderful salesman. As the truck came closer, the roar of the engine faded to a quick put-put-put. It was slowing down. He could see the driver clearly now. A skinny man in a grubby white shirt. His skin had the look of one who would be quite pale under common conditions, but on whom continuous exposure to the sun had had a lasting effect. Atop his head was a mean mop of greasy, sun-faded red hair. The driver came even with the hitchhiker and brought the truck to a stop, studying the boy for a minute with beady gray eyes. "Goin' far?" he asked in a gravelly voice. "However far you're willing to take me," the boy replied. "I ain't going any place in particular. Just as long as you're headed in my direction." "Hop in, then." The boy ran around to the other side, threw his pack on the floor of the cab, and hoisted himself into the seat. The driver pulled off. The boy inhaled deeply, relieved. The air felt good blowing against his face, rather than sitting stagnant around him. "You got a name?" the driver asked. "Yeah." "You gonna tell it to me?" "It's Perry." "You got a religion, Perry?" the man stared straight ahead as he talked. "No, not really." "You pray?" "Only when I'm desperate." Perry drew his knees together and clasped his hands in his lap, drawing his pack closer to him with his foot. "Well," the man said, pausing to pull out a blue handkerchief and blew his nose, "what if I told you that I knew God personally?" The man looked over at Perry as if expecting an anser. Of course, Perry had no time to give one. "What if I told you that God doesn't respond to prayers, but to faithful, unfaltering service? What if I said I could prove to you that God doesn't exist on a spiritual plain, but on a physical plain, far away from here?" This time he waited for an answer. "I'd have to question your credibility," Perry said after a pause. "Well, I'll tell you this right now," the man said. "Now don't get befuzzled, because I'm not one of those kooks you read about in the newspaper. This is for real. God has spoken straight to me about this. He has not a heaven, but a planet that has every comfort and provision that a human being could possibly want. Every thirteen year he comes to earth, and takes--" "Oh, f#ck no!" Perry shouted. He wrenched the door open, threw his pack out-- "Hey, come back here, I'm not done!" and jumped out himself. He stumbled and rolled into the sugary sand on the side of the road. When he stopped, he looked up. There, sitting about six inches from his face, was a round, squat, prickly cactus. "Damn it all," he muttered, and got up to retrieve his pack.