“Good morning, sleepyhead,” Julie said. “Why are you still in bed?”
“Because I like sleeping,” Brock said.
“If you like sleeping so much, why were you awake at 1:30 this morning?”
“That’s when I do my best thinking,” Brock mumbled.
“What were you thinking about?”
Brock rolled over, pulling the blanket tighter around himself.
“Wake up, Brock!”
“Just five more minutes please,” he groaned.
“The time is 9:15 am, which means the group will be here in one hour and 9 minutes.”
Brock’s eyes opened.
“Remember. You’re hosting this time,” Julie said.
“I’m awake,” he said as he rolled over and sat on the edge of the bed.
“Ahem, you’re still on the mattress,” she said. “You know you’re not completely awake until you’re standing up!”
Brock looked toward his empty nightstand. “Have you seen my contacts?”
“You left them on the table last night,” Julie said.
Brock slowly stood and walked into the dining room. He opened the lens box and put in his contacts. “Hey, Julie, I can see you now.”
“Wonderful.” Julie said. “You know the clinic can fix your eyes permanently.”
“Not ready for that.”
“Saves you 30 seconds every day,” she said.
“That’s not much.”
“Not counting the time it takes you to remember where you put them.”
“Touche, Julie. How much do they pay you to advertise for them?”
“Seriously, Brock. I’m just looking out for you.”
“One day. Maybe when I get cataracts. I’ll seriously consider it,” he said.
“That could be 50 years from now,” she said.
“For now, the contacts work great.”
“Time’s ticking, Brock. Go get a shower. I’ll make coffee.”
Brock walked into the kitchen with his white robe and house shoes.
“Did you vote yet?” Julie asked.
“Did you finally decide?
He sighed. “Not really.”
“You know there is only one candidate who aligns with your worldview,” she said.
“I know. I just don’t like him. I don’t like his tone.”
“Too harsh for your tastes,” she said.
“Exactly! I believe 97% of what he stands for, but that 3% is the horrible way he delivers his messages and vilifies anyone who disagrees with him.”
“Interesting,” she said. “His opponent is the exact opposite of that.”
“I know!” Brock said. “But Hamilton’s worldview is weird.”
Julie laughed. “That’s certainly one way to put it.”
“If only we could switch that 3%,” Brock said. “Then the world would clearly see how bad Hamilton is for us.”
“And then Lewis would become the perfect politician,” Julie replied.
Brock stared at Julie. “Nobody is perfect.”
“So you have to choose one imperfect person you want to be leader of the world,” she said.
“You’re right, and I should vote for that 97%.”
He walked to the window and paused as he surveyed the landscape. The lake and surrounding forest always filled him with peace.
“I’d like to vote,” Brock said.
A three-dimensional image with pictures of the candidates and blank checkboxes appeared before him. “I choose Clark Lewis.”
A male voice replied, “Please confirm that you’re placing your vote for Clark Lewis.”
“I confirm,” Brock said.
A bright green check mark appeared beside the picture of Lewis.
The voice replied, “Thank you for voting. Have a nice day.”
“You too,” Brock said.
He turned away from the window and walked to the coffee maker.
“Hey Brock,” Julie said. “Feels good finally making a decision and checking something off the do-it list, doesn’t it?”
He poured a cup. “I guess so.” He took his coffee and sat at the table, staring out the window again.
As he drank his last drop, Julie said, “They’ll be here in 15 minutes. Better get dressed.”
12 minutes later, there sat Brock. Staring out the window. Still in his robe.
“Hey Brock,” she said. “The Smith brothers are here.”
“Already?” he said with a quick glance at the clock. “Where did the time go?”
“You were ruminating. Shall I let them in?”
“Yes, please,” Brock said as he bolted to the bedroom.
A few minutes later, Brock walked into the den fully dressed, including gloves. He looked around the room and saw that the Wharvey sisters and Kirk had also arrived. Just then, Chuck showed up and shook Brock’s hand.
“Gloves again?” Chuck said. “Well, thank you for hosting the group today. I love what you’ve done with the place.”
“Well, you know me,” Brock replied. “Can’t leave it looking the same way too long.”
“Gets boring, does it?”
“Something like that,” Brock said. “Got something good to talk about this time?”
“Always, my friend! I should go greet the others.”
As Chuck walked toward a small group of people near the fireplace, Brock heard a familiar voice.
Brock turned and saw Zoe wearing khaki from boots to hat.
“What do you think?” she said. “I’m going on safari in Tanzania this weekend.”
“Well you certainly look the part,” Brock stammered.
“Want to come?” she said. “Several from the group are going. Hoping to see the Big 4.”
“Brock is busy this weekend,” Julie interrupted.
Brock looked puzzled. “I am?”
“You promised your grandfather you’d help him redesign his recording studio,” she replied.
“Oh right, I completely forgot,” he said.
“You’d be lost without me,” Julie said.
“This is true,” he said, turning to Zoe. “Maybe another weekend?”
“Sure thing. But I’ll check with Julie first to see if you’re free,” she said with a wink.
“Hey folks, may I have your attention?” Chuck said.
The room got quiet.
“Several of you are new to the group. So first of all I want to welcome you. Sara, Justin, Nikki, Rose, Will, and Jack. In a moment we will have some time for folks to get to know you.”
“I’m confused about the name of this group,” Jack said. “It is 10:37, and yet you call it the 10:24 Group.”
Chuck laughed. “I guess the time varies a little each week depending on the promptness of the host,” he said, glancing at Brock.
Brock shrugged. A few people laughed. Brock glanced over at Zoe. She didn’t laugh.
Chuck continued. “I’m just giving Brock a hard time. It may be 10:37 now—“
“10:38,” Jack said.
“But the start time isn’t about me standing up and calling a meeting to order,” Chuck said. “We like to start gathering at 10:24 and do all the meet and greet stuff.”
“Isn’t 10:24 sort of an odd time to start?” Jack asked. “Why not just 10:30?”
“Because 10:24 is not just a time,” Chuck said. “It means something else. Something special. It’s the reason for the group.”
Chuck walked over to Jack. “This group was created to live out Hebrews 10:24 in the Bible. That says, ‘Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.’ Goodness knows we need more of that in our world right now.”
Zoe raised her hand and said, “I also like the next verse that says ‘let us not neglect our meeting together’ but encourage each other. I’m always encouraged when we gather like this.”
“Absolutely right,” Chuck said. “We may not be in the same city or country right now, but we are brothers and sisters in the faith. It’s so good to see you, shake your hand, give you a hug, and learn what’s going on in your life in your part of the world.”
The group meeting continued. Jack and the others asked more questions. Some talked one-to-one with friends and greeted those who were new. An hour later people began leaving, disappearing as they walked out of the door.
Julie stood beside Brock. “How are you feeling after all the interaction?”
Before Brock could answer, Chuck trotted over. “Brock, thanks again for welcoming us into your home. Maybe we’ll see you around more often?”
Brock glanced at Julie and then back at Chuck. “I appreciate you saying that, and I might. Just need to figure a few things out.”
“Well, if you ever need a person to talk to, I’ll be here,” Chuck said. “Or wherever in the world you want to go!” With that, Chuck left.
Brock turned to Julie. “The extraversion did get to me a couple of times. But this certainly went better than the last meeting I hosted.”
“Good to hear,” Julie said. “Would you like a little alone time?”
“Nah, I’m good for now. I think I want another cup of coffee.”
They walked into the kitchen. “Single serving or a whole pot?” Julie asked.
Brock laughed. “Just a cup this time.”
She walked to the coffee maker. He sat at the table.
“Show me headlines,” he said.
A mix of stories, images, and videos appeared before him. He reached out to the floating visuals and flipped through until one grabbed his attention.
“No way,” Brock said, smiling. “I’ve heard about this. Read me this story.”
A male voice spoke the article.
LunarLodge opens its first campsite on the moon. It’s a log-cabin-in-the-woods design inside a safe, secure dome, the largest ever made. But don’t expect to see artificial “outdoors” decor. LunarLodge: Gatlinburg is doing something new. Genetically-modified trees, grasses, and flowers designed to grow in the lunar dust.
“Hey, Julie,” Brock said.
“Yes?” she replied.
“Go ahead and make a whole pot of coffee. I’m going to pay my grandfather an early visit. I know he will want to hear about this.”