Saturday, June 5, 2010

Old Testament, or Bust

“Great show, er, service, Jerry!”

“You know I’d prefer if you called me Reverend. I’m a method guy and that helps me stay in character.”

“Sorry. Reverend it is.”

“Thanks, Eric.”

“Great gate tonight, too; over $40,000 I think.”

“Good. That’s pretty good. But remember, we don’t refer to the collection as ‘gate,’ okay?”

“Right. Sorry again.”

“How ‘bout parking?”

“I think about $2,000. Handicaps parked free today.”

“That’s right.”

“Plus we’re streaming on the Net; collections are still coming in there. And we air in a little less than an hour on the west coast. All told I’m going to guess we pull in about $60,000 today. Good idea going with the ‘Fire and Brimstone’ sermon tonight, Reverend. You sweating, sir?”

“Christ, son, this is Texas! Course I’m sweating.”

“I was saying I thought it was a good idea to go with the ‘Fire and Brimstone’ tonight.”

“Oh? Oh, yeah, of course. Yep, years ago, I used to preach the New Testament. Ha! Those were lean years, boy I tell you. There’s no money in the New Testament. You try teaching the Sermon on the Mount and then go to asking people to give all they can. Can’t be done, son. They may feel more generous, alright, but they’re bound to be suspicious of a pastor who has a private plane. You want to make real money, you gotta preach hellfire and damnation.”

“I guess it’s better to just leave Christ out of the service altogether?”

“Well I’d think you’d want to say his name a lot, but yeah, I wouldn’t bring up his teachings. What is that damn racket?”

“New neighbor, sir. All sorts of crazies over there.”

“Let’s have a look see. Jesus H. Christ! What in hells going on over there?”

“I don’t know exactly. That guy there, no the one under the tree there, with the long hair, see him there, sir?”

“Hmm mmm.”

“He seems to live there. The rest of ‘em just come ‘n go as they please. Drugs, I’m sure, by the look of ‘em. Whores, too, I’d guess.”

“Christ! And right next door to a house of worship! Ah, well, what the hell, uh? Say, I’m going out with Sue. You saw her in the coat check today?”

“Damn right I saw her!”

“Well, calm yourself down now. I’m going over to her place for a bit. If my wife calls, tell her I, ahh, let’s see, tell her I had to, ahh, tell her I had to go visit a sick old lady from the congregation!”

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