It was Easter Sunday, the church was packed, and no one was listening to the preacher.
Everyone within the country church pews was packed in like sardines. The regulars, of course, were in attendance. Half the congregation were visitors who never came unless it was Easter or Christmas. And small children were crammed in between their grandparents, barely able to breathe, as hymnals were tapped and handheld fans advertising the local funeral home were ripping and roaring.
And as the beloved preacher gave his sermon, most were not paying attention. It wasn’t on purpose. There was an unwanted visitor within the church walls.
All eyes were fixated on a gigantic red wasp that was dancing around the ceiling. It was as if the evil creature was tormenting the congregation.
“Just sit still,” Mrs. Lee whispered in the pew in front of us.
At one point, the wasp took a nose dive down to the bald head of old man “Two Top.” He got that name because during the annual Fourth of July picnic, he removed his straw hat and his hairpiece came up with it.
Right before it landed on Two Top, the wasp took a sudden turn to the right. The preacher’s wife kept trying to hit the beastly creature with her church fan, but it seemed to just aggravate it even more.
“It better not sting me,” muttered Mrs. Lee. “I’m allergic.”
With Mrs. Lee being the most elderly and respected lady in the church, the church ladies in her Sunday school took her statement as a call for protection. Every time the dreaded wasp got near her, they would hover over her as if to block the torpedo stinger.
And then it happened. I clenched my fingers into the pew as I watched the wasp take its kamikaze dive.
The wasp landed on Two Top’s shiny bald head as he attempted to gently swipe it away.
POP!! The wasp dug his stinger deep into Two Top’s head.
“Lord have mercy,” Two Top bellowed, erupting from his seat.
He jumped so hard out of that pew that his erratic arm flapping knocked Mrs. Johnson’s Easter hat right off of her head. Thankfully, her hair didn’t lift up in her hat just like Two Top.
Two Top left out a bloodcurdling moan and jolted toward the back of the church to the restroom. The poor preacher tried to continue his message, but he wasn’t sure if Two Top was feeling the Holy Spirit or what. In fact, I think it motivated him even more with his message.
“Go check on him,” Maw Maw whispered to Paw Paw, sitting next to me.
“What the heck am I gonna do for him,” he asked. “Leave him alone. He’ll be alright.”
It wasn’t until the last few minutes of service that Two Top emerged from the restroom and made his way back to his seat.
“Good gosh,” Maw Maw said, squinting her eyes in Two Top’s direction.
The top of Two Top looked like a volcano. It was blood-red, and a huge swollen mass was beaming as bright as the pulpit candles. It was quite the distraction for all seated behind the poor soul.
“That don’t look good,” Paw Paw whispered.
The message came to a close, and the congregation began to squeeze out of the pews. We shook the preacher’s hand and made our way to our car.
Then, Two Top came out. The top of his head looked two sizes bigger, and the knot seemed to be throbbing.
“How you feeling Two Top Pop,” Paw Paw asked. “See what I did there? I added Pop cause that is sure what happened to you in there.”
“Yeah, yeah, I hear you,” Two Top replied. “It would happen on Easter Sunday of all days. Half the town was in there.”
As we drove away, I looked out the back window at Two Top making his way to his pickup truck. Half defeated and embarrassed, he held his bald head down toward the ground.
But as our car made the sharp turn, I saw Two Top hit the deck, swatting his arms, violently in the air. Even the church ladies made their way over to help him. Apparently, another wasp got him when his defenses were down.
And with my window slightly down, I heard the bellowing cry of a defeated man.
“Now, he’s Three Top Pop,” Paw Paw said with a laugh.