Pastor Walter Mitty was listening to “The Anointed Hour” as he got dressed last Wednesday. “A crisis,” boomed the rich baritone voice of the Rev. Johnnie Christian from the radio, “is God’s way of getting your attention.” He loved listening to the pastor of the Miracle Faith Tabernacle. It was like the rock ‘n roll he had grown up with. The words weren’t that important. What mattered was the sound of the music.

I’ve got to get over there soon to hear that guy live, thought Mitty as he turned off the radio, put on his jacket and began the 10 minute walk to the Main Cafe. Eric, Ash and Dominique had already arrived for the weekly men’s breakfast by the time he slid into the booth.

“Ready to order, Hon?”

“A bowl of oatmeal, Alice,” Ash replied.

“Me, too,” said Eric.

“What, no pancakes and sausage?”

“Debbie and I agreed that we had to cut back on our spending,” answered Eric. “The interest on our credit cards is killing us, Alice. We’ve got to get them paid off.”

“That’s just like you guys,” Alice shot back. “Thinking about how bad you’ve got it. You tightwads never gave me decent tips when you were ordering steak and eggs. Now I’ll be lucky if I get a buck from the four of you put together.”

“Oatmeal,” said Mitty as the disgruntled waitress turned to him, “and no raisins.”

“You gonna make it four for four?” Alice turned to the banker in the pin striped suit.

“I’ve got an upset stomach,” Dominique replied. “Just bring him some hot tea, would you?”

“Ah, so our corporate climber is anxious about the state of the economy. Is that it?”

“As a matter of fact, Alice, that is it,” Dominique admitted. “You have no idea what it’s like having to make decisions worth millions of dollars.”

“And you have no idea what it’s like to try to scrape by when people don’t come in like they used to. When you see them on the street, they tell you they can’t afford it because the sales tax is higher.” Mitty couldn’t believe it but the curmudgeon they called Alice looked like she was going to cry. “That’s a lot of bull if you ask me. People are scared. That’s what’s really going on.”

Four men sitting in a booth knew she was right.

On the way home, Pastor Walt decided to lighten up the day a little by stopping in at the Retro for a minute to chat with Zaphne. As he walked into the store, he looked around but was unable to see a soul. He almost tripped over Zaphne as he walked past a rack of tie dyed shirts. She was sitting in a lotus position with her eyes closed. Didn’t even seem to be aware of his presence.

“Oh, hi Rev,” she said as she opened her eyes. “Didn’t realize you were here. Doing some meditation. You know, find the peace in the inner being. Kind of scary with my first quarter sales being only 50 percent of what they were last year. Have to do something to keep from losing it.”

When Mitty got back to the church, he found Henry waiting for him. When he gave his homeless friend $2 for a coffee and donut at the 7-Eleven, Henry responded apologetically, “Thanks, Rev, but could you give me another 10 cents? They’ve added more sales tax, you know.”