His views were unwelcome.
He wasn't like other people.
Jim avoided him---but, Jim's subconscious was intrigued...
This person was named Adolph; and, some Hitler jokes had been heard...
Adolph was from the south---state of Florida.
Jim had lived in Florida for awhile; but, that didn't endear him to Adolph---though, his subconscious was alert for similarities of experience...
Jim's friends were extremely unkind to Adolph---they vied with each other to create new slurs to hurl at him.
Jim couldn't admit it to himself; but, his better nature (buried) was wishing his friends (friends?) would lay off...
Jim walked into the cafe and scanned it---no one he knew except Adolph...
He ordered his coffee, avoided looking at Adolph, and sat on the other side of the cafe.
In a few minutes, Adolph was standing there saying, "Jim, why do your friends speak so unkindly to me?"
Jim sat there, speechless, beginning to sweat, staring at Adolph; and, eventually, said (very unexpectedly), "Have a seat..."
"My friends are jerks..." (He couldn't believe he'd just said that...)
"Why have jerks for friends?"
"None of your business!"
Adolph stood, bowed (slightly), and returned to his original seat.
Jim avoided the cafe for a week...
He didn't understand why he'd said what he did to Adolph---his friends were jerks?
Well, yeah, sometimes...
Still, why did he say that to Adolph---of all people?
He vowed to never speak to the man again.
Jim began a new daily habit---lingering outside the cafe and scanning it for Adolph (if friends are present, enter, in spite of any presence of Adolph...).
He'd not entered for the last two days; but, today he saw friends, and Adolph...
He entered---sat down with his friends, four tables away from Adolph, and began to sweat...
He listened to his friends' slurs and smears for a few minutes; then, stood up and walked to Adolph's table.
Jim was astounded at himself; but, he said, "May I sit?"
"How are you?"
"About what your friends may do to you..."
"Do to me?"
"They aren't happy with you being at this table---one of them is on his way over here..."
Jim turned around and saw Hank approaching...
He said to himself, Oh, God, not Hank...
Hank reached them and said, "Jim, why you sittin' with this shitbag?"
Jim didn't answer.
Adolph addressed Hank with, "Excuse me, sir, why do you demean yourself by attributing such a term to a fellow human being?"
Hank was temporarily speechless...
Jim jumped into the breach with, "Hank, I agree with Adolph, you shouldn't act so low to someone you don't even know..." (he was mystified with himself and especially his mouth...)
Hank was stunned---returned to his seat with his fists clenched...
Adolph said, "I think we should take a walk..."
They walked to the park; however, they were being tracked by the pack of Jim's former friends; and, Jim and Adolph ended up in the hospital---condition not critical but definitely needing treatment and a few days in a ward to stabilize their healing gashes and punctures...
In the afternoon of the second day in the hospital, Jim painfully turned his body toward Adolph's bed and said, "Why?"
"They are afraid of me."
"The same reason you, in spite of yourself, want to be my friend..."
"You sense what I believe in..."
"Jim, are you spiritual?"
"Hmmm... Sure, a bit, I guess..."
"How about religious?"
"That's what those men are afraid of, my religion; well, actually, the way my religion shines out from my heart..."
"And, that's why, 'in spite of myself', I talked to you and asked you to sit down?"
"I do believe it is..."
"They wouldn't understand, would they?"
"Not the way they think and feel... No."
"So, am I supposed to ask about your religion?"
"Do you want to ask?"
"Well, wait until you really want to ask, O.K.?"
They eventually did talk about Adolph's religion, once they'd left the hospital.
They talked every day for months (never at the cafe...)---Jim's former friends never entered his mind.
Jim couldn't understand how any religion could be so sane, non-dogmatic, unifying, and rational; but, he was working hard to find out...
And, he became a member of Adolph's Faith the day after he realized he'd never told the police about what Hank and the gang had done...
If you liked this story, consider giving it a vote :-)
If you have a question, please, do ask me in the Comments...
New Tale Next Saturday