A Better Place

A storm, a tornado, zigging left, zigging right.
House of Cook, house of Palfrey, stand next to each other.
Mrs. Cook and her 8 year-old son sit in their basement. Mrs. Palfrey and her 9 year-old daughter sit in their basement.
Through a narrow iron pipe that runs from one basement to the other Mrs. Cook says, “Mrs. Palfrey, I’ll pray for you and your daughter and your house to be spared.” And Mrs. Palfrey says, “I will pray for you and yours, Mrs. Cook.” Mrs. Cook now tells her son, “Jake, if we get hit and swept away, we’ll be going to a better place.” Mrs. Palfrey tells her daughter the same thing.

The tornado strikes and lifts Mrs. Palfrey, daughter, house and all, far away. Afterward, Mrs. Cook says, “The Lord didn’t hear my prayers and has taken away my old friend and neighbor.” Her son says, “But they’re in a better place, and we’re not. He must have loved them more. It’s not fair!”

Mrs. Cook replies, “It isn’t God’s fault, my son. That darn Mrs. Palfrey just prayed too damn hard, and now we got to go on living.”

“No we don’t, Ma. See, I’ve got dad’s gun.” He points it right at her. She screams, “Jake, no! Don’t!”

“But ma, don’t you want to go to a better place and see Mrs. Palfrey and her daughter?”

“Jake, please, put that gun down. I like it here just fine!”

“You can’t fool me, Ma, I know what’s really in your heart.”

He shoots her, then puts the barrel of the gun in his mouth and shoots himself.

A few minutes later a second tornado comes along and sweeps Mrs. Cook, her son and her house far away.

Now Mr. Cook and Mr. Palfrey, after a hard day of rescue operations, arrive at the scene of their empty lots. Mr. Cook says, “Well, it looks like I’m in luck. That wife and boy of mine were becoming so religious it was wearing me out.”

Mr. Palfrey nods and says, The same with my wife and daughter. Tell you what, Tom, let’s you and I rebuild together and make this a better place.”

“That sure is okay by me, George.”

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