Discarded Alternate Version

This story might also have gone this way:

“Gentlemen, is it true that a Jehovah’s Witness gains Heaven through good works?”

“Yes. That is true.”

“And these good works have a sort of point system attached to them?”

The older man paused. “Sort of. Yes.”

“And often it is good works performed in the face of adversity that garner the higher point values?”

“That can be true,” nodded the older man.

“Given these facts I would like you gentlemen to rake my lawn.”

“What do you mean?” said the younger man.

“Using rakes I want you to gather up the many leaves on this lawn.”

“It is the middle of summer,” said the young man. “There are no leaves.”

“Surely you see the leaves? The leaves are everywhere. Are not Jehovah’s Witnesses men of imagination?”

The young man appeared angry.

“We’ll rake your lawn,” said the older man. He was trying to smile. Clearly he was imagining the points this would earn him.

I went to the garage and brought back one rake.

“Where’s my rake?” the young man said.

“I want you to pull up that bamboo,” I said. “It's taking over the yard.”

The young man wasn’t smiling. “I don’t see bamboo anywhere.”

“It’s there, there and there. And make sure to get the root systems out entirely. They are deep and invasive.”

The Jehovah's Witnesses took off their sport jackets and I watched them work for awhile. Later on I offered them some imaginary lemonade.

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