My phone rang while I was reading the paper. I answered it before it could ring again.
It was my mother. She was calling to tell me that she had spent the day visiting my siblings and that yes, one nephew and one niece, both in elementary school, had disappeared. Both families seemed to be coping as well as could be expected. My other brother, a childless Navy lifer stationed in San Diego, was all right, as was his wife. My other sister, the mother of the Coast Guard Academy cadet, hadn't been answering her phone. My mother had driven to her house, and neither she nor her husband were there. My sister's car was in the driveway. My mother had searched the house, and finally found a pile of her clothes draped over a chair facing a computer. She had waited for her son-in-law to come home from work, but he never had. I hadn't shared my Alien Rapture Con Game theory with my mother, but if the Squire of Gothos (or God) had hoovered up all the Left Behind fans, my sister and her husband would have been prime targets.
I got off the phone with my mother, and had returned to the paper, when it rang again. Once again, I answered it before it had a chance to ring again. This time, it was my nephew from the Coast Guard Academy. He had just spent the last half hour trying to call his parents. I passed on what my mother told me. His reaction was, "I think God took them."
"You think it was the Rapture, then?"
"Yeah, I think I do. And I know why I was left behind. It's because I've been so busy here at the Academy. I let myself get caught up, and lost touch with Jesus."
I couldn't really think of an appropriate response to that, so I asked him if any of his fellow cadets had "been Raptured".
"No. After the Rapture, they had a special roll call, and everybody was present and accounted for."
"Well, if you're right, then it sounds like all the other cadets there let themselves get caught up, too."
"Yeah, I guess so." He didn't sound like someone who was overjoyed that God had personally escorted his parents up to heaven. He sounded like a young man who had just lost both parents. He also sounded upset that God hadn't taken him. I couldn't think of anything to say to that, so the conversation stumbled to a close.
So: out of two parents, four siblings, four siblings-in-law, three nephews, and two nieces, one nephew and one niece were definitely gone, and one sibling and one sibling-in-law were probably gone, leaving an orphaned son who was convinced he had earned himself damnation. If I ever got to meet the Squire of Gothos, or God, I'd like to punch his lights out.
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