You Dwell Among Scorpions…Beware!

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You Dwell Among Scorpions…Beware!

James R. Aist

“And you, son of man, … you dwell among scorpions.” (Ezekiel 2:6)

This unusual experience occurred when I was an 11 year old boy, and my next older brother, Johnny, was almost 13. Our father had recently been ordained as a Methodist minister and was simultaneously serving three small churches in rural, north-central Arkansas. This was very much scorpion territory, and my brother and I had often played around with scorpions in the wild, for entertainment purposes. But, we were always careful to avoid being stung by them, because we had been told – by “reliable sources” – that getting stung by a mature scorpion does not end well for the instigator.  When mature, this 2-3 inch long arachnid has a wicked stinger at the tip of its tail that can deliver a powerful portion of painful poison in a split second, if “pressed.”

A Sunday night worship service is the scenario for this short, but true, story. This particular church had managed to build a brand new, albeit small and simple, worship facility. Consequently, the sanctuary had a shiny, sparkling-clean hardwood floor that clearly displayed to the casual observer the presence of anything on its surface. Johnny and I, being preacher’s kids, were sitting together near the front during the service. Directly in front of us was sitting a lady whose legs were so short that her feet didn’t quite reach the floor, leaving her heels suspended above the floor about one inch. (The significance of this little detail will become apparent as the rest of the story unfolds.) As one might expect, we soon became bored with the usual goings on, and our attention was turned to anything else that might be happening during the service. Well, it wasn’t very long before something very interesting did begin to develop on the floor, to our right.

There, in all its glory, was a full-grown scorpion crawling erratically along the slippery floor, heading right for the lady with her heel elevated slightly above the floor. Johnny and I appeared to be the only ones in the sanctuary who saw the scorpion and the dangling heels. I’m not proud of it, but in all honestly, we looked at each other with devilish anticipation of what might very well happen soon. On the one hand, we didn’t really want her to get stung, but on the other hand, we didn’t want to disrupt the service because of something that might not actually happen anyway. So, we decided to just let it play out and plead ignorance if worse came to worst and we were asked why we didn’t say something. I’m not especially proud of this course of action, but give us some credit for planning ahead, alright?

Slowly, but surely, the scorpion inched closer and closer to the dangling heels, sometimes a little to the right and sometimes a little to the left. The closer it got to the dangling heels the greater was our eagerness to see what would happen. Would the scorpion actually crawl under her heels, and, if so, would she decide to stand up at just that very moment, to her misfortune? The suspense was killing us, and we could scarcely contain ourselves. Then it happened: the scorpion did, indeed, crawl directly under one of her heels. Now our eyes were glued to this drama unfolding directly in front of us, wondering if the heel was about to come down on the scorpion, or not.

After a brief pause, the scorpion crawled out from under her heel and continued its journey toward the opposite side of the floor. The lady stood up just seconds after the scorpion had passed under her heel, and Johnny and I both sighed a sigh of great relief. We reckoned that since nothing really happened, we had nothing to feel guilty about. And we were right, weren’t we? Well, weren’t we?

(To read more of my short stories, click HERE)

Are you done yet, Jimmy?

English: I photographed this picture from a pu...Are you done yet, Jimmy?

James R. Aist

When I was a young boy growing up in Arkansas, my family and friends were accustomed to calling me by the nickname “Jimmy.” This true story happened about 12-15 years ago, after my wife, Janet, and I had been married for several years. Sometimes Janet, too, would call me “Jimmy”, as an endearing form of “Jim”.

Well, one Saturday afternoon we were shopping in a mall in upstate New York when I sensed the urge to answer Mother Nature’s call, which she placed by dialing  2, if you get my drift. So, off we went to the little hallway tucked inconspicuously out of sight, where one could find the “Restrooms”. There I entered the Men’s Room and chose a stall on the left, just past the second stall where a little boy had encamped before me. We were the only two people in the restroom at the time. I moved into the third stall and began to take care of business, while Janet waited patiently in the hallway for me to re-appear.

About the time I was going to put the finishing touches on the process, a woman, sounding just like Janet, poked her head into the Men’s Room and called out “Are you done yet, Jimmy?” At this, I was both startled and dumbfounded. In an instant, thoughts began to race through my mind in rapid-fire succession: “Was that Janet? It sounded just like her. But why would she do such a thing? Should I say something? But what if it wasn’t her? Then I would be embarrassed. What would the little boy next to me think? Can I think of something clever and witty to answer back with?” Then, just as I was about to say something in reply, the little boy next to me called out “I’m almost finished, Mommy.”

In an instant, another flood of rapid-fire thoughts began rushing through my mind: “Man, that was a close call! Dodged a bullet that time. That was hilarious! Can’t wait to get out of here and tell Janet what just happened. Hope I can quit laughing uncontrollably long enough to tell her.” As I recall, she laughed harder that I did.

(For more articles on TRUE TALES, click HERE)