“FEDERATE,” Jerry said. “Friends of EDucating Everyone About Their Errors.”

I scribbled that down, making sure to note his inflections. “For the record, you’re quoted in last week’s paper as saying to Dr. Taylor that, quote, ‘he’d better watch himself because mob justice goes both ways.'”

Jerry smiled and nodded enthusiastically, slipping his thumbs into his belt loops. “I am happy to confirm that,” he said. “And, I might add, it seems that my prediction came true.”

I cocked my head. With no mask, Jerry’s face was open for reading, and there was no guile that I could see. He was genuinely tickled pink that Jerome Taylor was dead. “Off the record, now,” I continued, “aren’t you worried that people might associate your clear glee with seeing him gone to…?”

“What, that I killed him?” Jerry leaned to one side and spat on the pavement. “I was happy when they got Saddam Hussein, but I wasn’t anywhere near Iraq. Taylor was hoist by his own petard. You familiar with ‘for whatever one sows, that will he also reap?'”

“Galatians 6:7,” I said.

“Quite so, quite so,” Jerry chuckled. “You a man of faith, Mr. Plummer?”

In fact, I knew that chapter and verse because it always sounded to me like the name of a science fiction film; one finds what little escapes one can in stultifying Baptist Sunday school. “I have faith in a lot of things,” I said. Then, quickly turning the question around: “What do you have faith in, Jerry?”

Jerry seemed to swell visibly at the question. “I have faith in eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. I have faith that, despite all this noise, the town and university won’t turn their backs on their heritage. And I have faith that rabble-rousing outsiders like Taylor will get their just desserts in this life or the next.”

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