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Romance Christian Funny

A Match Made in Heaven


Henry made ordinary people look extraordinary. He was as nondescript as they come- 33 years old, medium height, slightly overweight, thinning hair, 1 and ½ years of college, no accomplishments in the field of sports, the arts, or any other measurable aspect of human endeavor. He lived in a two-bedroom apartment with a high school buddy, drove a Ford Focus, managed a shift at a small auto parts distributor, watched a lot of TV, and had dinner with his mom every Wednesday. There wasn’t a single thing that…oops, maybe one thing did set Henry apart from other young men in similar circumstances. He regularly attended Sunday Mass.

“Let’s go, Henry! Sometimes Victor’s gets so crowded they shut the doors!”

Victor’s, one of the more popular nightclubs in town, was a regular stop for men on a quest to find love…or at least rewarding companionship…or, well, likely for most men, a quick and meaningless release of manly urges. But that love thing, a rare outcome for Victor’s patrons, was always Henry’s target wherever they went. His only ambition in life was to find true love of the Wesley and Buttercup variety and spend his days as a loyal husband and a good dad.

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“I don’t know why we even come to this place, Steve. We’re like ‘O’ for 10,000 going to places like this. And it’s so loud in here.”

There is a natural sliding scale in life that applies to situations like this. Harsh as it may seem, values are affixed, perhaps only subliminally, by all and to all in attendance in bars and nightclubs, and patrons tend to stay in their own lanes. Okay, I’ll be blunt. A “two” doesn’t go after a “ten”, and a “ten” is not going to welcome the attention of a “two” with open arms. You know what I mean. “One” to “three”, and “eight” to “ten”- pretty easy to spot. It’s that middle ground, the “fours” to “sevens” where most people fall.

A “Family Feud” survey would put Henry solidly in that middle camp, and like most men, Henry would confine the hunt to familiar territory; setting one’s goals too high in the arena of love can be hurtful- you never want to outkick your coverage. But this night was different.

“Henry? Henry, are you ok?”

“Huh, yeah, I’m fine.”

Fine? Actually, smitten to the core. His eyes were affixed on the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.

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Molly was a 10+ in anyone’s book, possessed of rare, natural beauty. She had rebuffed the advances of men more times than Carter has pills, or ants at a picnic if you don’t know that one.

“Molly, why didn’t you dance with that guy? He’s cute!”

“I think the gold chain threw me. It spelled phony.”

“You’re not going to marry the guy, at least not tonight. We’re just out to have some fun.”

“I am having fun watching all of you!”

“Molly, Prince Charming isn’t going to come knocking at your door. You’ve got to out and mingle.”

“Mingle-schmingle, I’m fine.”

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“Forget it, Henry.”

“Forget what?”

“The hot babe you were staring at.”

“God, she’s beautiful.”

“That’s the good news. The bad news is also that she is beautiful, as in too beautiful for guys like us. You’ve got to readjust your sights.”

“I know.”

He knew, but he couldn’t. She was the North pole, and his eyes were a needle on a compass. He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

“Ok, Henry, why don’t you put yourself out of your misery and go over and ask her to dance? Get shot down and move on…or down, if you catch my drift.”

“Very funny.”

“Or just sit here and hope. Henry, you’ve got as much of a chance of landing that hottie as Taylor Swift stopping by and wooing you with love songs. It’s hopeless, man. Recalibrate and get out there and try to meet some real possibilities. I’m going out there right now on a scouting mission.”

Henry knew Steve was right; the object of his desires was beyond his reach, hopeless as he said. Hopeless…hopeless…hopeless. Wait a Catholic schoolboy minute! It hit him. There are no hopeless causes. There is always hope. And who better to turn to than St. Jude, the Patron Saint of hopeless causes? The setting wasn’t ideal, but prayers have no designated launch pad. Henry gave it a shot.

Ok, I’m going to be asking for a little favor here, St. Jude, well actually a pretty big favor. You see, I don’t do too well with the women, and tonight I saw a girl I’d love to be able to meet, talk to, get to know. She’s so beautiful. I wish you could see her. Oh, maybe you can already see her. Well, at any rate, you know, because I’m a regular customer of the church- I’m there every Sunday- I could get you my annual contribution statement if you’d like to see proof- I thought maybe you could get her to notice me…not think I’m such a nerd…you know what I mean. If anyone could get a girl like that to like me, I know it would be you. I don’t know if you’re also in the courage business, but it would be great if you could throw a little of that my way too. Well, thanks. I’ll appreciate anything you can do.

Nothing in Victor’s changed. The music continued to blare, bodies continued to writhe on the dance floor, and Molly continued to quietly stir the drink in front of her. But we mortals are not privy to the actions above. There need not be thunder and lightning for something to be going on up there.

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There are quiet times in heaven. St. Jude was kickin’ back after another long day of trying to convince people they could find hope in that which overflowed with hopelessness. But in many respects, Saints are like doctors. They need to be available 24/7 in case of emergencies.

Although Henry’s cry for help didn’t quite fall into the emergency category, St. Jude was touched by the sincerity of the tone and the desperation in the voice. He took a peek, saw Henry and Molly sitting in the club, and immediately recognized the problem; it was easy for him to see why Henry saw his situation as hopeless.

 In matters relating to affairs of the heart, St. Jude often sought the advice and assistance of St. Valentine.

“Val, Jude here.”

“What the hell, it’s damn near eleven o’clock. You woke me up.”

“Sorry, but I just got a call from some guy who sounded pretty desperate. I think I’m going to need your help on this one.”

“Man, I’m bushed. I had a pretty full day…convincing a young couple heading off to college that they really didn’t need to date other people, trying to hold two marriages together, monitoring all the BS on those damn dating sites, reminding husbands of birthdays and anniversaries. Can’t it wait until tomorrow?”

“Hey, it’s what we signed up for.”

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“Molly, did you notice the weirdo who’s been staring at you all night?”

“I’m guessing you mean the guy in the checkered shirt?”

“That would be him. You’ve got your own personal stalker.”

“Yeah, but ‘weirdo’ isn’t nice. Nerdy though.”

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“I see you’re still obsessed with the girl in the blue top.”

“I can’t help it. There’s something about her. And I think I might be getting somewhere.”

“What in God’s name would possess you to think that?”

“She caught me looking at her.”

“And…don’t tell me she smiled.”

“Not exactly.”

“So, why are you encouraged?”

“She didn’t immediately look away.”

“Oh, my God.”

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 “Ok, Jude, let’s take a look-see at what you’ve got here.”

“It’s the guy with the checkered shirt, Val. His name is Henry. The girl is Molly, the one in the blue top near the stage.”

“You can’t be serious.”

 “What do you mean?”

“You want me to get that girl to like that guy? You’re out of your freaking mind.”

“I know he’s not Clint Eastwood, but he’s not terrible looking.”

“Jude, that girl is the teniest girl I’ve ever seen, and your Romeo is like a two, a 3 minus tops. He should have an ‘L’ on his forehead for loser. There’s only so much I can do. Sorry, pal.”

“Come on, Val, you’ve got to try. The guy sounded so pathetic. I feel sorry for him.”

“You don’t need someone who can influence or persuade; you need a freaking miracle.”

“Have you seen The Princess Bride?”

“Of course.”

‘Well, I can feel it with this Henry guy. If Molly could see what kind of person he is, on the inside, we could have something special. I’m talking true love, Val. You should be all over this.”

Val took a deep breath and lowered his head.

“Yes, I remember it- 'Twue Wuv’. It’s the stuff life is made of. Ok, I’ll see what I can do.”

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“My God, Molly. I just caught you looking at the nerd!”

“Was not!”

“Were too.”

Val was working his magic.

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“Let’s get out of this place, Henry. Maybe we’ll have better luck at the Hot Spot.”

“Yeah, you’re right, Steve. I’m ready to go.”

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“What the heck, Jude?! I’ve got her looking at this dweeb, and your guy’s bolting! You’re supposed to convince this guy he’s got hope. You got me out of bed for this?”

“Yikes! I’m on it!”

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“Hold on, Steve. The Hot Spot can be worse than this place. Maybe one more beer.”

“I know what you’re up to partner, but ok, one more beer.”

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“Ha, Mr. Smartypants! Jude still has the touch. My guy will never give up! I’m doing my part, Val. You just have to open her eyes.”

“More like give her a brain transplant.”

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Henry’s eyes were on his beer; his thoughts were on his life- moving auto parts around; eating pizza, drinking beer, watching TV with Steve, and hitting the bars. Over and over again. Groundhog Day.

Henry could see it, feel it- a small child leaping into his arms when he arrived home from work, planting a few flowers along the side of the house, content just to be with the woman he loved.

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Molly about wore out that little thing you stir your drink with. She was beautiful, the center of attention, sitting with lots of friends in a place full of hundreds of festive partygoers… and feeling alone.

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“How’s it going, Val?”

“I got her thinking. She’s reflecting on her life, realizing she’s not where she’d like to be, and starting to dream of a better place. But Henry? That’s going to be a tough sell.”

“You can only do what you can do.”

“How’s his attitude, Jude?”

“Don’t worry about my guy. He’ll never give up. I’ve given him more hope and determination than I gave Inigo Montoya.”

“Who’s Inigo Montoya?”

“I thought you said you saw the movie.”

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Something was in the air in Victor’s that night. Even the patrons could feel it. Steve was dancing his brains out in the middle of the dance floor when everything seemed to slow down. His dance partner could only wonder why he stopped, surveyed the room, and glanced back and forth from Henry to the beautiful girl in the blue top. The images seemed to get closer in his mind, and for a moment he thought he could see them side by side.

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“Ok, I’ve got her thinking past the superficial, you know, all that business about how beauty is only skin deep, it’s what’s inside that counts, you know the regular stuff.”

“Good job. Val. My guy’s hanging tough. You know, what you just said, it makes me think of something.”

“What’s that, Jude?”

“Obviously, she’s beautiful on the outside. I sure hope she’s just as good on the inside. I know the pretty ones can be a real bitch sometimes.”

“Don’t worry, she’s fine. I check this stuff out before I put two people together. I’m not stupid, Jude.”

“Sorry, Val.”

---------

St. Jude and St. Valentine can affect people; they can’t do a thing about the clock. Closing time was approaching.

“What do you say, Henry? Let’s beat the rush out of the parking lot.”

“I guess. I‘m ready to go.”

---------

“You’re about out of time, Jude.”

“ Get Molly ready. I’m going to supersize Henry’s courage. He’s going to have more grit than Rooster Cogburn!”

“I liked that movie.”

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“Ready, Molly? Let’s go.”

Molly’s arms and legs suddenly felt like they were sunk in molasses. She slowly got up from her chair, taking one last look at the guy in the checkered shirt. Her mind fluttered and took her to strange places. She saw Henry placing a ball on a Tee for a small child, she and Henry coming out of a church Sunday morning, the two of them sitting on a porch swing, a much older version of the two of them as they strolled down the aisle of a grocery store holding hands.

“Molly, are you coming?”

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Henry was in a daze as he walked across the dance floor. He was a coiled spring ready to take action. Do or die, Henry. It’s showtime.

He turned back toward the table where he had watched the girl in the blue top all evening. The table was empty; the girl of his dreams was gone. In full panic mode, he scanned the room. Molly was approaching the door, moving along with the flow of people. Her friends didn’t notice, but she took a couple of quick looks back toward the dance floor as she reached the exit.

---------

“Do something, Jude! We’re losing them!”

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Some of those that were there that night refer to it as “The Shriek”; most call it “The Scream”. No band that had ever played at Victor’s came close to the decibel levels Henry reached that night.

“Wait!!”

Steve’s eyes about bugged out as everyone stopped in their tracks and turned back to see a man in a checkered shirt standing there flailing his arms.

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“There! How’s that for grit?! You’re up, Val.”

“I’m workin it.”

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Molly was stunned. She knew. The cry was for her. She could feel a certain peace taking hold as Henry fought his way through the puzzled crowd to reach her. He paid no attention to the mass of onlookers.

“Excuse me…I’m…I’m so sorry to bother you…I know I…but I just had to…”

Molly smiled.

“It’s ok, you don’t have to explain. My name is Molly.”

Molly reached out her hand, and Henry, in search of his next breath, took her hand in his.

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“Check it out, Jude, they’re out shopping and still holding hands after all these years. Yep, I did a pretty good job if I do say so myself.”

“You? I’m the one who got old Henry moving. I set the whole thing up for you.”

“Oh, yeah, well I got Molly to like the guy. I’m the one who did 90% of the work.”

“Did not.”

“Did too.”

“Did…”









May 23, 2023 20:41

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9 comments

Wally Schmidt
02:59 Jun 01, 2023

The build up is great, full of genuine Casablanca level -will she or won't she- suspense. The snarky banter between the saints is really entertaining and funny. Nice work. Really enjoyed it.

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Mark VanTassel
13:53 May 30, 2023

I'm a sucker for an unlikely romance. :-) Great use of humor, nice pacing, and I think I met this couple last week...

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Murray Burns
14:29 May 30, 2023

I appreciate it. Thanks. Checked your bio...yes, humor. I've always been affected by a speech Jim Valvano (former college basketball coach) .. gave when he accepted the ESPY Award for courage. The guy was dying of cancer and had to be helped on and off the stage. He said there were certain things a person needed to do every day- the 1st was laugh. So, I try to find something to laugh about every day...and the corollary to that would be to make someone else laugh. Your joke reminded me of Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino- 3 "different types" walk...

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Mark VanTassel
22:25 May 30, 2023

That's awesome. I'll make sure some more kids here it now. :-)

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Sophia Rios
18:28 May 29, 2023

A really cute story with some lighthearted humor. I loved it!

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Delbert Griffith
11:02 May 28, 2023

"Good Omens" meets "Beauty and the Beast." LOL I found this tale to be lighthearted and, curiously, possessing some depth. The "beauty on the inside" vies for supremacy with the "twos can't be with tens" rule. The struggle to find love, but looking for it in a nightclub? That's human nature at its most dense. That you made it work is a testament to your writing skills, my friend. Saint Jude and Saint Valentine, doing what they do. However, they also watch movies that mortals create. I suspect they do this so they can understand us odd crea...

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Philip Ebuluofor
06:36 May 27, 2023

I like the Saint Jude part. I used to call on him and Raphael some times to help. It does work if you can be able to know when they are talking back. That is always humans problem. They talk, saints hear. Saints talk, we don't hear and kept talking. This is fine work.

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Tommy Goround
05:25 May 27, 2023

The saint voices is a difficult task. Love the PB refs. Good pacing. Like how you flashed to a future.

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Mary Bendickson
22:42 May 23, 2023

Too precious for words!😜

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