Derrick chose a sunny warm day to have his box lunch at the park. Over at the other table there were two men barbecuing, fanning the flames with a paper plate. One of the men with tattoos and long hair glared at him. A few minutes later he stomped over.
He puffed out smoke from his cigarette. "Hey dude, I can't help but notice your tie. What does the nail in the hand represent?"
Derrick swallowed his food. "It represents Jesus' death on the cross."
The man rolled his eyes. "Oh, you're one of those Bible thumpers that like to scream while preaching." Then he turned toward his buddy at the picnic table. "Hey Wade, we have one of those religious wackos over here." He waved for Wade to come over.
Derrick wiped his face with a napkin and reached out his hand. "My name is Derrick; I'm here to eat, not to preach." The man scoffed at Derrick
Wade, who wore a grungy tee shirt and jeans joined his friend. "So Pete, he's a Bible thumper, huh?" Wade, leaned over and grabbed the tie and both men laughed raucously.
Derrick rolled his eyes. "What do both of you have against Jesus?"
Pete blew smoke in his face. "A friend of ours committed suicide because a preacher tried to cram Jesus down his throat. Besides, everything in the Bible is a fairy tale."
Derrick stood up. "I'm sorry your friend committed suicide. I do street witnessing at public events. I've never screamed preached at anyone. I think it turns people off. I try to start a conversation instead. I want to apologize for the actions on behalf of my Christian brethren."
Pete pushed him. "What good does a apology do for my friend? He's dead because of crackpots like you!"
"I'd love to be your friend." Derrick held out his hand again. "Maybe, I can clear up your misconceptions about Jesus." Derrick held up his tie. "This tie shows the stake that was put through Jesus' hands. He died so you can have eternal life with him."
Pete got into Derrick's face. "You're telling us that we're going to hell. That's exactly what that scream preacher told our friend."
Derrick stepped back a foot, then shook his head. "I didn't say that."
Pete got close to Derrick and blew smoke in his face. "You're a Bible thumper." He shoved him.
Wade tackled Derrick and he crashed to the ground. Then Pete kicked his head. Wade jumped up and down on Derrick's chest until it caved in. When they saw he wasn't breathing they both sprinted to the car.
"WZN TV has breaking news about the murder at Myers Park. The police department has identified the victim as forty-one year old Derrick Mindelson. The mayor of New Haven is about to make a statement about the killing. We now go live to the news conference."
As the cameras were clicking, the mayor stood tall at the microphone. "We're making every effort to capture the thugs who committed this crime. People should be able to visit our parks and not worry about their safety. This was a senseless death that should have never happened. A representative of the family would like to make a statement."
A man shuffled to the podium with his head down. "Derrick, was a born-again Christian. He has done street witnessing for over twenty years. Derrick wasn't afraid to show his faith. The police report said he was wearing a Christian tie that may have led to his death. The family as asked me to read the following verse from Matthew 5:11 'People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you follow me. But when they do, you will be blessed.'"
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