Just when I think I have seen everything….
Martin and I are sitting the chapel, talking about future possibilities for Antigona. All of a sudden we hear the most horrendous screaming sound like from the worst horror movie. We run into the hallway, yell up the stairs What’s going on up there?
I’m just strangling somebody…comes the reply.
Just then, we see Leila’s husband Berik running down the stairs yelling, Is a pig, a pig…and he’s out the door. Martin grabs a long metal rod and we go up the stairs to the gym where we see a guy we’ve never seen before and the largest black pig I’ve ever seen, maybe 300 pounds. I calmly ask, What’s going on here? The guy tells us that he’s been hired to sand the floor and the pig is his pet. Accompanies him everywhere. I am incredulous. He tells us his boss is outside.
|a pig in the gym|
So we go back downstairs out to 86th street where one of our renters is sitting in the front side of a van. I ask him what’s going on. He tells me that he hired the guy to sand the floor. When he got there, the guy had a pig. What was I supposed to do? He asks. Try calling me on the cellphone? I ask. The pig was very quiet all the way here, he says. That’s not the issue, I say. But it’s 90 degrees, he can’t stay in the van…
And he can’t stay in the church, Martin and I say.
Martin’s producer Sharon has joined the conversation. She always brings a keen eye, rational perspective and level head to things. Something like a negotiation begins to take place. The pig owner joins us, defensive of his pig and maintaining the dispute is over ego. No, it’s over a pig. His boss suggests he would be better off to stop talking. At a certain point, Martin is exasperated. Why are we negotiating? It’s very simple. No pigs! Which is a good point. We agree to let the sander be unloaded. Then the pig must go. Those responsible for the pig will be responsible for finding a solution for the pig.
Martin and I return to our conversation. Then a new round of screams begins. Accompanied by human sounds of alarm. We go back into the hall to discover that Martin’s mother, a former dancer herself, entered the building only to hear horrendous sounds then see a pig coming down the stairs, reluctantly, driven by a man beating it with a stick. She immediately sought the security of Dion’s protection, who was standing there in disbelief. The pig finally exited the building. Soon neighbors were on the street snapping shots with their cell phones.
|The pig on his way out|
Late in the afternoon, I’m approached with the theory that if only the pig had been quiet, no one would have ever known. I say, once again, that this was not the point.
Martin has brought his security people to ensure there will be no further pig incidents or other disruptions, he’s got a show to put on.
Steve Phelps arrives, ready for Bible study. Hears the various appeals being made to me, the pastor, as surely being the one who understands. He admires my calm. Sees it as a parable of urban ministry.
I tell him I’ve survived the worst of Occupy Wall Street, people demanding exorcisms, drunks and unstrung visionaries and other demonic visitations but this is the hands down award winner. We retire the trophy here and now.
The pig has left the building
All is well.