Sitting on the edge of the king-size bed in the master bedroom of her comfortable condominium in Alexandria, Virginia, Jo-Jay was adorned only in a matching tie-dye bra and panty set. It was her tribute to a foregone era.

Perched right next to her was Matthew, in what appeared to be an over-exerted pair of white boxer briefs, which was his tribute to a fear of buying new underwear.

If a stranger walked in on the scene, it would be assumed that torrid love-making was either completing, or soon to commence. But instead, Jo-Jay and Matthew, (once again, barely clothed), were sitting and discussing their relationship.

“Here’s what I’d like to know,” said Jo-Jay. “Do you even get an erection when you see me sitting here like this? I mean, I’m curious.”

Matthew lifted his leg so as to turn and look at her and replied with a bit of disgust, “Of course I do. Do you want to see it?’

She held up her hand to cease the reveal and replied, “Good. Because I’m a little wet.”

The conversation stopped at that point. They both nodded their heads, a bit relieved that each was sufficiently aroused.

“Are you still in love with Leonora?” asked Jo-Jay flatly.

Matthew lay back on the bed. “Oh, Jo-Jay… I was never in love with Leonora. Leonora was an idea. She was like thinking about going out to get blueberry pancakes at three o’clock in the morning. She was the unreachable star and I was the Man of La Mancha.”

Jo-Jay lay down next to him. “So would that make me buttered toast? Or am I being too generous to myself–adding butter?”

He leaned over and kissed her, and she kissed him back. It was very satisfying.

They had times when they had explosive make-out sessions–often on the plane, as they flew around the world, trying to bring the Gospel in the forms of water, food, medicine and opportunity. It had been seventy-seven days since they had departed together from the Haven on the Mount on the jet . There had been no contact whatsoever with that Shangri-la, but instead had cast their lot with Jubal, Jasper, Sister Rolinda and Soos, attempting to coordinate the efforts, which had spread so quickly that it was impossible to keep control of the movement–even with a GPS.

Jubal put it this way. “I think people always wanted to do something better, but all the television commercials told them they were too much in need to be generous.”

Matthew and Jo-Jay could not have been any happier as a couple, but still had not found the proper ignition for coupling. Both were tired of talking about it. Both of them knew there was a great fear that they would be so clumsy in bed that they would have to walk away from the possibility of mating for life.

It was comical, pathetic, nerve-wracking and adorable, all at the same time.

Jo-Jay turned her head toward Matthew and asked, “What is it that works for you?”

Matthew likewise turned his face to her, the two of them nearly nose-to-nose. “What do you mean?”

“Oh, come on,” said Jo-Jay. “Don’t make me say stuff. You know what I mean. What should I do to get your fire started, so we’re burned up in sexual pleasure before we ever realize we’re in danger?”

Matthew frowned. “Uh…I don’t know…”

“Work with me,” said Jo-Jay. “I’ll tell you mine. I like to be licked. Not immediately, though. I like it when a man teases me, like he might do it…he might not…it’s kind of a moody thing. It drives me crazy.”

“So,” posed Matthew, “you want me to lick you?”

“Not now, you idiot! I have to be surprised. Titillated.” Jo-Jay sighed.

“So you want to know mine?” he asked.

“Only if you’re comfortable releasing such a deep, hidden secret,” she responded sarcastically.

“Well, it’s gonna sound weird, so don’t laugh,” said Matthew. “It’s not that I’m a girl, or gay or anything. But I like it when a woman…”

He stopped in mid-sentence.

Jo-Jay leaned up on her elbow and came closer. “Whan a woman what?”

“Do you promise not to laugh?” asked Matthew.

“No,” said Jo-Jay. “I can’t promise that. We laugh at each other all the time.”

“Good point,” acknowledged Matthew. “Just promise not to laugh more than…say…five seconds.”

Jo-Jay nodded. “I think I can do that.”

Matthew cleared his throat, closed his eyes tightly, opened them again and said very quickly, “I like to have a woman suck my nipples.”

Jo-Jay burst out laughing. She couldn’t stop.

“It’s been more than five seconds,”said Matthew.

“I’m sorry,” Jo-Jay said. “You didn’t tell me that you were a nipple boy.”

Matthew sat up, stood to his feet, turned and pointed at her. “And you wonder why we haven’t had sex.”

She glanced at his dissipating underwear. “My goodness gracious,” she commented. “You do have an erection.”

Matthew looked down and pointed, “See? I told you.”

Jo-Jay grabbed him by the front of his boxer briefs and pulled him toward her. “Now, now…just relax. Bring those little nipples to Mommy.”

“Gross,” he said. Yet carefully, intentionally and purposefully, he followed her instructions.

*****

In the deserts of North Africa a young boy, only nine years old, awoke shortly before dawn, and in the darkness, found a chunk of unleavened bread, opened up a jar of peanut butter and made himself a snack.

His name was Ramish.

It was morning, and it was his job to walk the two miles through the desert sands to the recently constructed air strip, where people he knew only as “Jesonian” flew in supplies every day to feed the villages.

Ramish knew he could wait until the trucks came by to bring the food, but his family had become accustomed to awakening to fresh water, food, medicine and even, every once in a while, some candy.

So every morning he made the trek, jubilant to do so–because even though he was only a young lad, most of his days had been spent fending off the pangs of hunger and wondering if drinking the water in the ditch would make him sick.

As he walked, his eyes filled with tears because he was so grateful for the boxes and bags he brought back on a make-shift sled he drug behind him. All of the boxes and bags had pictures of a young man with long hair and a beard, smiling.

The people at the landing strip told him that the young man was named Jesus, and that he loved Ramish and his family. Ramish felt no need to argue about it–it was obvious that this young man had taken great steps to ensure that Ramish and his family would be cared for.

The workers examined Ramish often, to make sure he was healthy and free of disease. And they closed every session by laying hands on his chest and saying, “In the name of Jesus.”

Ramish didn’t know much about Jesus, but everything he had experienced was so positive that he wanted to know more.

Arriving at the landing strip, he was overjoyed to discover that they had jelly. He had never eaten it until two weeks earlier, when one of the nurses offered it to him as she was treating a cut on his arm. It was so good–and now he could take a whole pouch of the stuff back to his family.

He felt like a king. He felt like a great king–because he was taking care of those of his own house.

Ramish had learned several words in English–words he needed to use, wanted to use and frequently applied.

“Thank you.”

“It is so good.”

“God bless you.”

He repeated the three phrases over and over again as the workers put together his supplies and he prepared to trek the two miles back to his anxiously awaiting family.

As he drug his make-shift sled across the sand, laden with supplies, he stopped and looked up at the sun that was rising before him.

“Thank you, Jesonian,” he said. It was a real feeling.

He felt the need to be grateful to the One who was providing his daily bread.

THE END

Published by Jonathan Cring