Skating Against God

“God is watching us. He wants us to go to Bible study tonight.” Mike said.

“Aw, come on. We went to church on Sunday already this week. Let’s have some fun tonight.” Tim answered. “Let’s go to the roller skating rink! We might meet some girls.”

Mike and Tim argued a few more minutes before Mike finally relented to Tim’s pressure. Mike drove to the rink, grumbling all the way.

Inside, the music thumped, lights flashed, and people moved in a counterclockwise sloppy mass. The skill level ranged from clumsy tottering, stiff-legged amateurs to fast-moving, backwards skating little kids that zipped around slower people in reckless abandon. Tim smiled as he laced up his rented skates. Mike continued to frown and mumble.

“I don’t skate very well.” Mike said.

“You’ll  be fine.” Tim replied.

They both moved awkwardly across the carpet towards the edge of the rink. Tim pushed off from the carpet and glided out onto the polished wooden floor and easily merged with the moving crowd. Mike was not so smooth. He was clearly going to be in the stiff-legged membership tonight. Tim shrugged and took off.

After a few laps, Tim slowed and searched for Mike. He spotted him on the outside edge moving cautiously and reaching out for the rail to steady himself repeatedly. Tim whooshed up beside his friend and shouted, “MIKE” as he stopped. Mike jerked at the sudden shout and lost his balance. He went down hard on his rear end. He didn’t curse, being the good churchgoing young man he was, but his demeanor darkened a bit more. He was not having much fun. That was plain.

Mike got up and continued his first lap around. Tim cruised past him several times but did not trigger another fall. Mike headed for the carpeted exit area to get out. Just then, a young boy skating backwards clipped Mike’s heel at high speed. They both fell hard. This time Mike did not get up. Instead, he held his ankle and grimaced in pain. Tim pulled up alongside his friend to help.

“I think I broke my ankle.” Mike moaned.

“O, come on. You did not.” Tim said, “You probably just sprained it. Let’s get you off the rink and get these skates off.”

The two young men worked their way over to a bench and Tim helped Mike remove his skates and put one shoe on. The injured ankle rapidly swelled and it was apparent a shoe was out of the question. Mike demanded to be taken to the hospital for X-rays. Tim agreed and drove Mike’s car there.

Later, the emergency room doctor came with the results. He looked at Tim and said, “You owe him the bet. The ankle is definitely broken.”

Mike just said, “I told you we should have gone to Bible study. Now God is punishing us.”

Tim flippantly responded, “Looks like he is punishing YOU. I’m fine.”

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