Gary Jeffers had worked as editor of the successful 'Christian' magazine for over a decade. His devotional column - Green & Still - had a loyal following he'd fed faithfully each month, rain or shine, but his devotion had worn thin, he was exhausted. He'd been a groomsman at Ruess' wedding, a pallbearer at Jane's funeral, and a trusted friend all along.
Gary's request caught him off guard: 'Ruess, I'm resigning, had enough of the spiritual stone soup cooking in this grand land. I'm going off to write the book I've always whined about never having the time to write. The mag is giving me a final column, one last chance to say my peace...and I've decided to invite a guest writer - you. Instead of Green & Still this last hurrah's going to be Frank & Hearty. I want you to let go the length of the reins, Ruess, like we've long talked about. You've got 1500 words. I'll merely spellcheck it then send it through. Do it for me...and Jesus.'
Ruess took a few days to hem and haw. He loved Gary like a brother and was one of his loyal readers, but he had no affection for the magazine. Ruess understood the necessity of wooing advertisers to keep a periodical afloat but the prevailing blood lust for all things young and relevant or dead and orthodox drove him nuts. He'd intentionally walked away from those reindeer games a long time ago...stepping back into them, even by way of a magazine article, felt shaky, risky.
But the thrill of the rant was strong and one thought swallowed another. It used to be he swore if one more person used the words 'worldview' or 'closure' he'd slather himself with A1 steak sauce and hurl his body over his neighbor's fence, straight into the feral desire of twin rottweilers - Coco and Chanel. Then he choked on the memory of Jane's voice: 'Ruess, write the article for Gary, but be smart, baby...remember the two people in every audience - Nicks and Henley, and how to always reach them - leather and lace, leather and lace.'
Ruess smiled and then bowed his head and wept. He'd write the article for Jane...and Jesus.