I met Veronica when we were doing the Celebrate Women series. Since then, she has become a good friend. I can always count on her to post encouragement whenever I post a running update. I am so glad to share her writing with you today.
When my husband Zeus and I were a fresh couple a young blond woman came to our apartment, enthusiastically telling us about this new café that had just opened up in town and invited us out with a coupon for free nachos. We were told that the café would feature live entertainment such as jazz musicians, comedians and the like. It would also be a smoke free environment—this was before every place became smoke free in our town—which appealed to us since neither of us smoked. With the promise of all that and free nachos, we were very excited to spend a night out at this veritable utopia of cafés in a town that boasted mostly strip joints and rundown bars turned dance clubs as cultural entertainment. And seriously, who turns down free nachos?
That same night we drove to the location on the coupon. Sure enough it looked pretty hopping. The parking lot was full, and inside there was indeed a jazz band playing on stage with people sitting at tables all around in the dim light. Someone very brightly greeted us and directed us to the snack bar where we could get our nachos then sit wherever we chose. At the snack bar was where things became a little odd.
For a place boasting live, fully clothed entertainment the snack bar didn’t seem so classy. In fact, it quite honestly resembled a cafeteria line at a school, complete with those metal rails you slide your tray along. We rationalized that because the place was new that perhaps they hadn’t worked out all the kinks of the location, and might upgrade as patronage and popularity improved. So we got our nachos, some sodas, and headed back into the main room.
As we entered the main room the young blonde woman from earlier spied us and excitedly thanked us for coming out. Her young husband smiled brightly and greeted Zeus with all the comrade of someone who was familiar. He was so friendly, in fact, I was sure that Zeus and he must have known each other because the man and his wife sat down with us at a table to talk for a bit. They left us smilingly to go greet some other people exiting the snack bar area.
The band had stopped playing and a comedian was now preforming. As we munched on our nachos I turned to Zeus to ask who the man was as I had forgotten his name. Zeus gave me this look saying he didn’t even know the guy, and thought it was me that had known the couple. Then we started really looking around. Everyone was very creepily cheerful and friendly in the dim light.
On stage the comedian was doing his act, and that’s when it became quite clear that this was no ordinary café. Somewhere in the one liners and the rubber chicken juggling we had failed to catch the Godly puns. The comedian’s final request for a group prayer to thank God for His blessings and for bringing together such a wonderful group of Christian people sealed the deal for us.
We finished our nachos, smiled as we cleaned up our table and exited as gracefully as our uncomfortable haste would allow. Once in the car we both fell into a fit of laughter. Of all the invitations to join churches and people that wanted to share the word of God at our door, we had never met a more crafty bunch than this. Not once had that young blonde mentioned that it was a Christian café with God centered entertainment. Can you believe it?
We were too amused by the idea, and somewhat in awe of the manipulative nature of the invitation to be offended. We found out later that the café doubled as the congregation hall on Sundays, and the snack bar was also their soup kitchen. There were no signs on the place marking it as a church, café or soup kitchen. It was like something out of a creepy cult movie, but I kid you not, this was for real. We never went back or even found out the denomination of the café God cult, but I often wonder if they are still luring in the unsuspecting with coupons for free nachos.
Have you ever been tricked into attending an event that wasn't quite what it promised to be?
Veronica Monique Ibarra is a freelance writer, wife of 10 years, mother of 2, and seeker of understanding. She maintains two blogs: www.veronicamonique.com as SEO Writer, Word Warrior, Coffee Lover, Mother and Geek, and www.bloodandcandlelight.com featuring her creative writings and musings about human nature.
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