Pastor Tim and Janice are waist-deep in Puget Sound. "Do you accept Jesus Christ into your heart?" "Yes." "Then I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." Janice is dunked backward into the water. We cheer. She emerges back into the rain. It is so goddamn fucking rainy. Umbrellas sprout out of the crowd on the beach like daisies. I eat my rainbow snow cone (watermelon, cherry, and blueberry) and shiver. I ask Janice what baptism was like: "It was cold," she offers. "And wet."

We head back to the grassy part of Myrtle Edwards Park, where rain is sluicing off the canopies. The Mars Hill Beach, Baptism, and BBQ Summer Extravaganza is winding down. I catch the tail end of story time, in which a man confesses to being abused. In the bouncy castle, one girl in a pink raincoat roars at some other children. I run into Pastor Tim Gaydos himself, wearing two towels, flip-flops, and a grin. He's a nice guy, good-humored. I say I'm with The Stranger. Understandably, he doesn't quite trust me.

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"What's your angle?" He asks. I dodge the question. I mention that I'm playing D&D later that afternoon. "Dungeons & Dragons?" He reflects, "I haven't played that since the '80s. And I was so wasted, I don't remember what character I played." I suggest that he looks like the barbarian type. He strikes a pose and we laugh. Gaydos the Barbarian. We are friends. recommended

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