I was upstairs on the computer when I heard voices.
Bear had company? Okay. I signed off and trotted downstairs, where I pulled up short, espying two serious-and-sober young men with dark coats on. One was carrying a backpack. Both were talking animatedly with Bear about the area. Were these the new neighbors?
I smiled when introduced (promptly forgetting their names) and sat down. Bear was in full flow about the schools in the district. They were smiling and nodding and listening and...watching the kids.
Something began to tick over in my head.
Jess, you've met the new neighbors. They're both British, remember? He said something about a seventeen-year-old-son, but these guys are closer to thirty. Okay. Not the neighbors, then. But who?
And then one of them whipped out a Bible and all was revealed.
Bear was deep in conversation about tax rates and fire departments and it was obvious I was the only one who had any qualms about the situation.
I cleared my throat.
"Excuse me, are y'all preachers?"
They laughed and assured me they were not, just bible students, and they were visiting everyone in the neighborhood.
This didn't make me feel comforted. I pasted on my biggest smile and coughed again.
All eyes swiveled 'round.
"Are you Jehovah's Witnesses? Because....we're not."
There was a small silence. Bear's ears were flushing. (But, damnit, he should have known this was coming.)
One of them said something about bringing God's word into people's homes and how small groups of people blah blah blah and I nodded, agreed (idn't it wonnerful?) and told them there were other houses in the neighborhood that perhaps they would enjoy talking to more.
Than this one.
They left soon afterwards, sitting in their car for quite awhile (probably praying for Bear, since he's stuck with me) before leaving.
Surprisingly, they didn't stop at any other house within sight of ours.
But now they know that in this house lives both a talkative one and a sarcastic nasty one. And that combination seems to encourage groups like that one to try harder.
If there are any return visits, I shall consider Sam's way.
Sam was a friend of mine, working his way through college, putting himself through with a night bartending job. The school he went to was a big draw for the roaming religions, and every Friday morning, (after working a late shift Thursday night) Sam would be woken by the doorbell ringing. He tried politeness. He tried firmness. Finally, after one really late night where he'd gotten barely any sleep, he rolled out of bed (naked and semi-erect) flung open the door, and roared "I'm busy!" The two women there squeaked out sorries and ran away, leaflets fluttering to the ground behind them.
I guess they never came back...
Now I hope it doesn't come to that. I'm not at all sure I could get Bear to do that.
But it's tempting.