Vidal was coming back from the beach when the digital face on his car radio flickered and died. Probably a fuse. But Vidal being Vidal, he didn't bother replacing it. He became an inveterate scanner, hitting the button until something caught his ear. More and more, that something was a Christian radio station. The hosts peddled every kind of scam run by every kind of swindler. A chiropractor had a surefire weight-loss plan. Someone of equal godliness promised that the genius struggling inside the body of your retarded child would find liberation at his oxygen tent clinic. If you can fleece them on the big swindle, mused Vidal, the small ones are easy.
But Vidal was hooked. He began watching tele-evangelists, all broadcasting from sun-blasted sub-prime mortgage paradises of the Southwest. One night, his wife came in just as a preacher in Dallas was picking up a head of steam.
"What are we watching?" his wife said, eying the remote control on the coffee table.
"It's a man asking total strangers to send him money so he can buy a new jet. That way he can get to Africa quicker to save souls."
"You're going to drive yourself crazy."
"Then I'll have caught up to the world, won't I? They must use this in business schools."
And yet, that night, lying in bed, Vidal was visited by the image of Dr. Langtree alighting from his winged chariot to the cheers of godless hordes. The next morning, Vidal reached for the phone. "Yes, that's right,God commands it... I'll be using Visa"
24 March 2015