by Bargis Tryhol on 28/09/11 at 7:37 amFreedom First Baptist Church of Hog Jaw
Reverend Jeb Thornapple II brushed a bit of lint from his freshly pressed cotton suit lapel and turned toward the full length mirror besides his massive desk.
“Not bad there reverend!” he said it softly to himself as he admired the image smiling back at him.
His receding crew cut was left to grow into long, wavy locks that curled slightly behind his ears, and in gentle layers upon the back of his neck. An all white suit complimented his deep blue eyes and dyed-blonde goatee and moustache. His pure white shirt was custom made by a company in Baton Rouge and the pink and white striped silk necktie was a gift from his father Jeb senior.
He looked down at his white patent leather shoes and smiled to himself as he thought of a crazy idea…I bet John the Baptist hiz self would get down on all fours and howl like wolf if he saw me walk out on a stage preachin’ and stuff. Jeb’s gold capped front tooth flashing a glimmer of yellow as he turned his head adjusting an errant lock of dyed brown hair.
He could hear the shuffle of many feet and the low murmur of conversation coming from out in the church as people took their places for the 9AM Sunday service. In the distance, he could hear more arriving as hundreds of tires crunched over the gravel paved parking lot. Yes, His Sunday service was becoming more and more filled as the word of a redeemed preacher that motivated people to lose sin and see God spread throughout the county.
Jeb glanced at his notes on the desk once again…Ask for volunteers to form the Lost Sinners Mission…Ask for more donations for the church building fund…Preach against the proposed new carpet flyer mosque that some ragheads want to build over in Leaky Cock county…Ask for more money…Mention the church benefit pig roast and picnic at Helm’s Park next Saturday…Continue on with part 7 of his personal anti-alcohol mission…And finally, ask for more money!
The choir and orchestra began with a liturgy of gospel favorites. He knew when the familiar chords of ‘Coming Down The Mountain’ began to play, it was his cue to walk out on stage like a one-man procession of the Heavenly prophets and Saints all rolled into one. He knew at that very precise moment choir member Clara Martin would be hitting a high note so high, the phony stained glass windows would begin to tremble in their plastic frames.
He could hear hundreds of bibles being opened as the cue master placed a list of bible readings for this morning’s services near his elevated podium…Then the opening organ chord he was waiting for began. Showtime!
As he stepped out onto the stage, twin beans of brilliantly white quartz light illuminated his quick passage to the podium. His suit looked like it was made of the same material as the clouds of Heaven itself as he strode masterfully to center stage. His 6 foot four lean body was cat-like beneath the white array he was wearing. At 42 years old, Jeb Thornapple was in his prime and he knew his prowess was evident to all of the abundant fairer sex in the assembled congregation.
“Praise the Lord! Praise be to Him that loves us all!” His voice never faltered as the baritone rushed words filled the church.
“Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! ” The congregation was on its feet now both hands filling the air as they swayed in unison to the choir’s voice.
“Brothers and Sisters repent! For the evil gleam of the Devil’s eye has glanced upon us all! I say REPENT! REPENT from sin. REPENT for your wickedness”
Jed Thornapple like the word ‘repent’ often and with a loud voice. Using it got his young ass out of a long prison sentence over at Leaky Cock County when the judge didn’t believe his alibi that he thought the girl he was caught with was 18 years old. Being that the girl was also the judge’s niece didn’t help matters, but a hearty dose of repent during final pleadings won his case and set him free. It worked another time too, when a visiting married woman named Marion Chambers and himself were caught by a very angry Mr. Chambers who had a propensity for using rather large firearms in a most peculiar manner.
Yes, repenting worked and in surprising ways. Today, by preaching forgiveness after repenting, he would probably realize about thirty-five hundred dollars in the velvet lined baskets that would be passed around the congregation! Not bad for a high school drop out, of which was the proverbial black sheep of the family only a few short years ago.
Thornapple took a seat as Deacon Miller took his place at the podium. Miller’s soft spoken reading of scripture would daze many into a laconic stupor. It gave Thorn apple a few moments to reflect upon the people seated before him.
As usual, Sally Caldwell was seated up front. Again, like most other Sundays she was wearing a short skirt, and once again, sitting with her legs spread in an un-ladylike position. Thornapple glanced and glanced often. On several occasions he could swear he could read where she wrote the words’ Tis Yours’ on the front panel of her white panties in red marker. Today was no different.
Near the back he spotted the high school principal, Elmer Chickabiddy. He smiled to himself as he thought back to the juicy bit of gossip he recently learned about from Bobby Ray Wilson, a carpenter who’s been building the new ladies room over at the high school….Seems old Elmer substituted the regular mirror with a one way mirror glass one weekend when the construction crew wasn’t working. Bobby Ray happened to catch it when he found the old box and packing material in the dumpster. Jeb thought to himself that old Elmer was probably going to soon ‘repent’ big time, probably to the tune of about two-grand or more to keep that sinful thing quiet!
Another familiar, but unsmiling face grabbed the good reverend’s attention near the middle of the church pews. Frenchie Burke! Good Lord, he thought to himself why would she be here and especially not looking too happy about it either. A random cough brought his attention back to his book and he started singing along with the choir. In a few moments he looked up again and she was gone.
Jed snuck a look down at his gold Rolex watch. In another few minutes he’d need to spring from his seat with all the energy of Moses….Yell a couple of Praise the Lords and a few lines about forgiveness to all sinners if they repent! The choir would then launch themselves into a flurry of inspirational songs followed by some drums and guitar music for the teenagers brave enough, or coerced enough, to attend this morning’s services.
Continued chapter 7 Go to magazine section