Sorry about the last two days, guys! I actually… uh, forgot to update this. Wow.
Joe arrived at the Manhattan Center just before seven in the morning. No one else he knew was there yet, which was normal. Usually at exactly seven a bunch of people including Joe unloaded their church’s stuff from a van, carried it up to the seventh floor ballroom, and set it up. The church didn’t have its own building, so it was always this way—members would come to the Manhattan Center and set up before service.
Joe waited for the van to show up in front of the building, but it wasn’t there at seven and it wasn’t there at five past seven. Joe waited for another ten minutes and no one showed up. He checked his watch—it was indeed Sunday. He considered going inside and asking a receptionist in the lobby if there’d been some news about the church but thought better of it, sure that no one would want to have anything to do with him.
And so he had nothing to do but wait, hoping against hope that somehow the other fellows were just caught up in traffic somewhere.
Eight o’clock came and went and Joe mustered his courage. He went inside and spoke with a receptionist—”Dave,” proclaimed a gilded name tag—and discovered that indeed, the church was suspending its activities for the day.
Dave said that he did not know the details, but that one of the organizers of the church had left him a cell number to give to anyone who was “out of the loop.” He wrote the number down on a piece of Manhattan Center stationery which he handed to Joe with a sympathetic smile. Joe thanked him hurriedly and exited the building, heading for the nearest pay phone.
“Hilda,” he said as soon as the call got through. “It’s Joe. What’s happening?”
“Joe? Happening?” asked the woman on the other end of the line, sounding bewildered.
“The church. Where is everyone?”
“Oh! Are you one of our…?—are you by any chance at the Manhattan Center?”
“In a word, yes,” snapped Joe. “Why didn’t anyone tell—”
“The church is moving, hon,” she yawned, “and so our equipment’s in transit, and we regrettably can’t hold services this morning.”
“Moving?” demanded Joe.
“When will we reconvene and where?”
“I don’t know,” sighed Hilda, “but you’re on our mailing list, yes? We’ll send you an e-mail or something once we’ve finished moving. Now I’m terribly sorry, but I would like to get back to bed—”
Joe hung up.
Stupid, stupid woman. The least she could do would be to apologize for wasting my time.
Joe trekked back to the subway station and caught a train home, the receptionist’s words echoing in his head: “out of the loop.”