Thanks to rf-fast for the editing work. Your insights are what takes this story from mindless drivel to something more.
Author’s note: This is the second in a series. It is not necessary to read one before the other as they are each stand alone stories.
What makes a happy ending? It’s an important question to have an answer to when you are entertaining yourself with that movie, book, or television show. Is it when the guy gets the girl? How about when the protagonist defeats the evil that is plaguing the world? I suppose you could say ‘yes’ to both of those and live out your life saying ‘damn that was a good book or movie.’
But what about the guy that didn’t get the girl? He wanted love just the same and fell short. What about the evil wannabe dictator who wanted to rule the world whose life ended when some person with a hero complex kills or puts them in some impossible prison with no chance of escaping until the top studio executives that be demand a sequel? Was it a happy ending for them? The difference is strictly point of view.
Why do I mention this you ask? Because life is the same way. Your happy ending didn’t come because you didn’t get that promotion at work, but for the person who did get the job, they couldn’t be happier. For people who were conned out of substantial wealth, it was a nightmare, not a day of happiness. The fortune I accumulated by manipulating those people from their precious securities, well I’m happy. The difference between me and the so called villains in entertainment is that I know I’m the antagonist and this is my life. Part of it anyway.
My life is a string of adventures. You may call them swindles but once again, that’s point of view. I have several plush bank accounts, including one in Switzerland, but I didn’t have a personal residence or a place of business. I had everything I needed in a duffle bag and I live in worn down motels or homeless shelters as a vagabond. I just roamed the earth in search of my next victim. It is how I made all my money.
See, I told you I’m the bad guy as I’m already lying to you. I also made some of my money, $200,000 to be exact, when my parents died. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not one of those stories either. I wasn’t the good kid and then lashed out because I lost the stability my parents gave me. I was twenty-three when that miracle happened. Nope. I was a wretch for as long as I can remember, and I have eidetic memory. And yes, I remember that humid 97-degree day in second grade before they had air conditioning. I stole your lunchbox. Someone needs to tell your parent how to make a tuna fish sandwich because it had too much mayonnaise on it. But I did like the chocolate pudding.
My condition has helped me in so many ways. First, without any effort, it got me through elementary and junior high. But it was too easy and I quit caring when I landed in high school. I purposely wrote answers incorrectly because I thought they were funny. Did you know Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart founded the Red Cross? I also tested myself. I answered questions to the prior period’s exam on the current one. ‘Describe Pasteurization.’ Instead of ‘Pasteurization is a process of heating a food, which is usually a liquid, to a specific temperature for a predefined length of time and then immediately cooling it after it is removed from the heat. This process slows spoilage caused by microbial growth in the food,’ I wrote ‘The goal of the North Africa offensive was to force Mussolini to remain in Africa where his troops could not aid Hitler’s armies.’ If the teachers would have matched up the tests, they were flawlessly answered. Good times. Later, I used my talent for more mischievous means. I’d hang around the bank counter, and watch people fill out their account numbers on their deposit slips. It’s all about the challenge. I do what I want, when I want, until boredom takes me to another place.
I was in Montana and in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere. As long as I trekked through this state, it gave me the same introspection: if you want to get away from it all, and I mean all of it, come to Montana. It hasn’t got there yet and it wasn’t heading in that direction. I was getting bored with my surroundings when I arrived in the small town of Middleton, population: three. Okay, I was exaggerating, but I doubt by much.
It was still early, the sun just beginning to make its ascent in the sky as I entered the small, quaint little Middleton Diner. In fact, it was the only diner in town. It was just me and an elder farmer as customers. I sat at a booth and skimmed the menu as I listened to the seemingly harmless conversation between the waitress and the other patron.
“Did you get your money yet?” The waitress asked as she refilled the man’s coffee.
The farmer shook his head, “Damn Green Meadows. Just because I’m not a big producer for them, I get pinched. That company is the worst thing that happened to me.”
“It’s been the same for everyone.”
“Well, at least Father Hargrove is looking into the matter. Don’t know where this town would be without him. Wonder what his sermon is going to be about today?”
“I don’t know, but whatever it is, I’m sure it will be great.”
“He’s a wonderful preacher.”
“Yup, this town sure is lucky to have that man as a leader.”
“Did you hear what Mayor Graves said?” The old man shook his head. “Mayor Graves said Father Hargrove should be the mayor. Said he’d step down if the Father wanted it.”
I shook my head. How can one man have that much influence in a community? It was as if he was the linchpin to the entire town.
“I’m sorry, stranger,” the waitress called over to me. “I’ll be with you in a minute; can I get you a coffee?”
“Regular, with two creams please, and no rush.” I smiled. I found my new adventure. I wonder if I can take down a preacher? I suddenly had an urge to attend mass.
The church was small and rundown, and if it weren’t a church, this would be my kind of place. I wore what I call my ‘guy next door attire’ which consisted of a navy blue polo shirt and black slacks. The goal was to look as nonthreatening as possible; I wasn’t well off as what a suit would have made me appear nor did I want to look desolate. Despite being a church, if I wore my bum clothes, people would look down on me. In my own experiences, I found church parishioners like to say they help the homeless, working at soup kitchens and such but they frown when a bum shows up to actually participate in their place of worship. Hypocrites.
I walked in, with a bible in hand, and the place was almost at capacity. I suspect nearly all the community was here. I took a quick glance and found my target seat. Every church has a core group of gossipers, usually consisting of the silver haired, short, and decrepit elderly women. The ones that have nothing else to do except butt into other people’s lives because their husbands committed suicide to get away from their incessant babbles. I took my seat, to the stares of everybody.
I simply smiled and gave a slight head nod to my spectators.
A moment later, a four-person choir began their opening chorus and everyone rose. The Father stepped out from behind the curtain and up to the podium as the song was coming to a close. In appearance, he was your typical preacher. And by typical I don’t mean those guys on television. He was slightly balding, slightly overweight, and he looked like he could have been around since the days of the crucifixion.
Father Hargrove’s sermon was good, focusing on having a positive attitude during rough times. As he continued, I concluded in fact that I did want to take him down. Finally, the whole reason I came here arrived and the collection plates came around. I made it look like I was trying to be discreet, but I knew all too well my gossipers were watching. I carefully pulled out all the cash in my wallet and briefly thumbed through the five hundred dollars before putting all of it in the plate.
When mass ended, I wanted to leave with the highest possible profile. I was the first to stand and I walked down the center of the aisle, my head up, a bible under my arm, and a smile on my face. I made eye contact with as many people as possible. I wanted to be noticed, as if my tall, broad frame would have allowed differently, but I knew my actions would ensure the rumor mill would immediately start as soon as the exit doors shut.
I went to my motel room because I had to kill a half hour or so. It was just one of those towns that shut down for their religious practices. I turned on the news for a little bit while I changed into a pair of jeans. I took a glance in the mirror and smiled, “Yup, I’d trust that face too.”
It was a wonderful spring day for a walk. I wanted to familiarize myself with the town and its people. I entered every store, shop, and gas station just to introduce myself. As always, I lied about everything to keep myself anonymous, “Hi, I’m Carl Brinson. I’m a travelling minister sent on a pilgrimage from God to show people all around the country how to live in the footsteps of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” The hardest part was saying that with a straight face. Luckily, I have had quite a bit of practice in the art of deception. With people I passed on the street, I was less formal but just as cordial, smiling and giving a polite, “Hello.” They always responded in kind but as I passed, I immediately heard the whispers, “He was the one that filled the collection plate,” or a more simpler, “That was him.”
I came up on the diner where I ate breakfast and it was a stark contrast to earlier. The place was packed. Apparently, this was where the after church crowd gathered. As I entered the establishment, I feigned tripping and held fast to the door to prevent my faux fumble. Once again, I wanted all eyes on me. Once again, it worked. When I looked up, silence filled the air and I had garnered the stare of everyone.
I smiled a befuddling smile, “I apologize. I didn’t mean to disturb everyone’s meal.” I then let my eyes go wide and took a meager step back out the door, “Wow, you’re pretty busy. I’ll just go somewhere…”
“There’s plenty of room, Sugar.” The same waitress that referred to me as a mere stranger earlier had now called me Sugar with a smile.
“Luanne, bring him over to my table.”
It was the voice of Father Hargrove, though I was unsure where it came from. It didn’t matter. Luanne led me on a march through the sea of people toward a long table in the back. The elder preacher was seated dead center and the scene gave me the impression of Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper.’ A gruff, middle aged, peppered haired man stood along with someone I recognized from the choir, a raven haired, conservatively dressed beauty who appeared to be in her late teens.
It was odd. Was the Father demanding his evacuation or was this man leaving on his own accord. Was the preacher just being nice or was he in charge? Not as if that knowledge would change my overall plan, but it would change my plan of attack.
“I can’t circumvent someone from their seat. Certainly there’s an available chair somewhere?”
“You can’t circle what?” Luanne raised an eyebrow.
I held my laugh, “I don’t want to kick anyone out of their seat just for me.”
“Nonsense,” Father Hargrove answered. “Jerry and Clarissa are finished already.” He then looked at the aforementioned two. “Don’t worry Jerry. You just take care of your daughter and I promise I’ll contact Green Meadows first thing tomorrow to get an update for everyone’s sake.”
Jerry gave a nod, “Thanks Father.”
When he turned, I smiled as I offered my hand, “Thanks for the chair, Sir.”
Jerry clasped it and I easily felt his hardened palm. He was like most everyone else in this town, a man who works hard in the fields and by the sound of it, raises a teenage daughter by himself too.
“Now Mr. Brinson,” Father Hargrove gestured to the empty chairs. “Please, have a seat. We have a lot to discuss.”
As anticipated, news travels fast. As I sat down against my foe, I still allowed my body to act surprised that he knew my name. I eyed him carefully, trying to judge whether he was a good man or a corrupt power monger.
“I’m Father Peter Hargrove,” he extended his hand across the table with a smile. “I understand I owe you a debt of gratitude. That was very generous of you.”
The place was still silent and all eyes were still on me. “No Sir,” I shook my head with a grin. “I am on this earth to do God’s work and I had heard whispers this morning that this town is in need. I believe in giving your entire being, heart, body, and soul to a cause so I feel it was my honor to help. I just assumed you were the right man to ensure those funds went to where they were most needed.” I could almost feel the collective display of heart felt emotion in the room.
“God’s work, huh,” the preacher nodded. “Well Carl, it’s always a pleasure to meet a fellow man of the cloth. Tell me, how long are you planning to be in town?”
“As long as God wills it to be.” I chuckled, “I should also tell you that I used to be a lawyer in my former life. I couldn’t handle all the scum I got off with light or no punishment so I fled and God found me. Now I do His work.”
“A former lawyer, huh?”
“Well all be, God certainly does works in mysterious ways,” Father Hargrove laughed. “Listen, this small town has been having a problem with a big company. Would you be interested taking a look to see what might be done?”
“Of course. I’m certain that He,” and I looked up to the ceiling as I said that, “would want me to help in this matter.”
“Well then, stay as long as you’d like. I can use all the help I can get with them. Why don’t you drop by the church tomorrow and we can go over the details?”
I was introduced to pretty much the whole town that afternoon. Most were farmers and their families and wished me luck. I was their hope. But I knew I’d be their downfall. With each face that passed in front of me, I took a specific interest in titles.
The mayor, Clyde Graves and his wife, Loretta were the first in line. There was the young couple of Clark and Deanna Hawthorne who now owned the Hawthorne Savings and Loan. It was in Clark’s family for generations. The main two gossipers were a pair of sisters, Agnes and Ethel Crane. The city council only consisted of three members; the mayor, the clerk, Winston Porter, and the treasurer, Kristen Barkley, who had a teenage son, an altar boy named Ricky. I felt so honored at the procession of people; I almost had a twinge of guilt over what I was planning. Almost.
Research and supplies are the keys to any con. When you take the facts and manipulate them for your own purposes, you always want to make sure you have the tools you need. For instance, when I foreclosed on an orphanage because it was in a prime location for development, I needed a fake deed. I then sold the land for twice of what it was worth. So after lunch, I went to the nearest city I could find on the map that looked big enough to have all that I needed. I visited a public library to use the internet. I dug up all the information that I could on Green Meadows. Apparently, they were a company that was dedicated to using only organic products in their food. They were under investigation by the government and were being sued by a competitor. Losing either battle meant the company would fold. Any chance of the town getting their money did not look promising.
Next, I went to stock up on provisions; snacks, drinks, drugs, you know, the usual. I met Dwayne the Dealer, a man of many occupations. He was the drug dealer, local pimp, loan shark, gang lord, and a few other titles as well. I got everything I needed, from prescription medications to illegal drugs. If I ever needed him again, I was to go to Jackson Pharmacy, as he was also the pharmacist. A man of many occupations indeed.
The meeting with Father Hargrove went better than I expected. We talked for hours. Each of us took turns talking about ourselves and how we got into doing the Lord’s work. We spoke about his wartime past and I made up some stories about people I defended. We even had a scripture battle in which we would quote our favorite passages and the other would name the book and verse. The preacher was a genuinely good man, wanting nothing more than to help and include everyone. Easy prey.
“You know, Carl, I like you. Since you’re a fellow man of the cloth, would you be interested in helping out on Sundays? I’d set aside some time and you can discuss whatever you want. A new voice for the congregation would only solidify God’s word.”
“That would be delightful,” I smiled. “But I must warn you, I preach what I practice and what I practice is giving yourself, mind, body, and soul to God’s way of life. Charity work, helping others, thinking about your fellow man before yourself; those aren’t just ideals, but a way of life. If I do this, my goal will be to have the congregation gain a feeling of pride in doing the Lord’s work.”
“Pride,” Father Hargrove’s face was beaming, “that’s just what this town needs. You have my blessing, Carl. Helping others and doing charity is exactly the way to go about spreading a positive attitude.” His face then took on a serious expression. “Well, I suppose we should attend to business,” the Father pulled out a manila envelope from his desk. “This is everything you need to know about what is rightfully owed to this town by Green Meadows.”
I opened the folder and my eyes went wide, “This is a substantial amount of money.” That was an understatement. The price tag of crops sold to this company was over two million dollars. Granted, this total represented what was owed to the combined community but it still surprised me.
Father Hargrove pulled out two more sheets of paper. “You will need to fill this out. The top page is a legal document allowing you to speak on everyone’s behalf. The second one is a page of signatures everyone had to sign to authorize the first sheet.” He pulled out a pen and scribbled near the bottom. “It is now signed by me as well.”
I read the document and it was more than the simple explanation he had given. The town signed their rights in this matter over to the man and I don’t think he realized how much that entailed. Any settlement would now go directly to him. That probably wouldn’t have mattered as he was so kind hearted he would have distributed the wealth but now he signed that privilege over to me. Of course, none of this mattered because Green Meadows was about to go bankrupt anyway. I filled out the form and handed it back to him.
“Okay, now all we have to do is send a fax and make a phone call.” The Father turned his chair and placed the documents in a fax machine that appeared to be from the 1980′s. Once they transmitted, he picked up the phone and dialed. “Yes, this is Father Hargrove from Middleton, Montana.” I heard the sigh come through the phone. He didn’t care. “I just wanted to see if you got the fax I just sent over. You won’t have to deal with me anymore because this town just hired a pit bull of an attorney.” The person on the phone must have responded she had received the document because Father Hargrove hung up the phone with a contented little smile, “Good luck Carl.”
The week went by fast but not nearly as fast at how quick I became Mr. Popular. Everybody wanted to talk to me. Everyone wanted to be seen with me. Everyone loved me. I was trying to find little adventures to keep me busy while I took down Father Hargrove.
The twin gossipers and I were seated at one of the two sidewalk tables the diner had and while we were perusing over the menu, Deanna Hawthorne came up to us. She was an attractive young woman with honey blonde hair, long legs, and a smile that could melt the polar ice caps.
“May I join you?”
“Of course, Sweetie,” The sisters spoke in unison.
Deanna smoothed out her long, beige dress as she sat. “Thanks, I was hoping I wasn’t going to eat alone today.”
“Why would you eat alone?” I wanted to pry without it appearing I was doing so. Even the littlest of details can topple someone. “I assumed you and your husband shared a lunch break at the bank.”
“Oh no, the bank is all him. It’s been in his family for generations.”
“Sounds like you can use a hobby,” Ethel declared. “And Father Carl might be just the man to help you.”
“Yes,” Agnes added. “He was just telling us his plan to try to encourage everyone to be helpful to one another as well as some of his possible charity plans.”
“But with being new to the community,” Ethel continued and it amazed me how the sisters could complete each other statements without missing a beat. “He could use a few volunteers.”
Deanna glanced at me, her face told me she wanted to know why. I smiled, “Father Hargrove and I want to bring pride back to this town.” Mentioning the Father’s name was like gold in this town.
Her face lightened, a smile pursing her lips, “I’d be honored to help. What can I do?” See, like gold.
“Great. I want to meet up once a week on Monday’s and see what kind of good we can do.”
This is the very reason why I was having lunch with the two sisters. Tell a gossiper what you want to spread to the world and voila, it’s done it minutes. Instead of my ideas being broached with skepticism because I’m the new guy in town, the concepts are accepted with vigor because the trusted old women who lived in the community all their lives mentioned it. Its manipulation at its best, and easiest. By Sunday, I had three people willing to help with my charities, an elder man named Frank, a middle aged, heavy set woman, Janice, and Deanna.
I arrived at mass an hour early. It was time to start fucking with the Father. Every preacher had his routine before a sermon and Father Hargrove was no exception. He was at his desk, making the final tweaks to what he wanted to say.
“Good morning Father Hargrove,” I intentionally gave an upbeat tone to my voice.
“Morning, Carl,” he glanced up. “You seem in positive spirits today. Are you ready for today?”
“Without question. I see your coffee is low, care for a refill.” I moved over and grabbed his mug without waiting for his response. As I filled the mug, I dropped some valium into it. I placed it back on his desk, “Did you need help with anything?”
“Thanks and yeah. What do you think of this?”
Father Hargrove went over a couple points in his sermon while sipping his coffee. I smoothed out the phrasing and he was grateful. When he was satisfied, he hit print. We soon heard the choir start their first number and I went to take my seat.
The Father was battling through his opening and made it to the second song of the choir. He was barely following along with the lyrics.
“I’d like to introduce,” Father Hargrove yawned. “Excuse me… Father Carl Brinson. Come on up and say a few words.” As I stood, he sat, and I smiled. The valium was kicking his ass.
I took the podium and began, “Friends, neighbors, family, I am calling out to you because we are all God’s children. We are all going through some trying times. And during these times we feel we have to look to save ourselves. But that is not true. It is not enough for a select few of us to make it through these hard times. No. It is necessary that the entire community is blessed with good fortune when all is said and done. I know it’s tough. I know it’s rough. God knows this as well. But it is a test to our faith. We are Moses being asked to repeatedly try and free the Israelites from the Egyptian Pharaoh. And just like Moses, we will conquer this financial depravity brought on by the greed of big business.” I started pacing across the stage. “I know what you’re thinking. How Father Brinson? How can I do this? Well I’m going to tell you how. You don’t do this. We do this. We, as a community, need to come together. We need to commit our minds, bodies, and souls to the cause. Our entire being needs to be dedicated to our faith and to each other. And we start right now. Give the person next to you a hug. Go on.”
Like sheep, they did.
“Good, now tell them you’ve got their back in this turbulent time and know they have yours. Mind, body, and soul people. That is what it’s going to take to have faith in your fellow brothers and sisters sitting beside you. We shall conquer! We shall overcome!”
The congregation erupted in applause and cheers.
“Now tomorrow, I have a few volunteers that will be coming around for donations. No money is required. But anything you are not using, please donate. Ladies, do you really need all that jewelry? gentleman, do you really need all those tools? Everything will be accepted. Please, help your fellow man. Donate and feel better that you are bettering the community. We all must do our part — mind, body, and soul, even me. For ourselves, for us, and for God… Now this is where I hand the podium back to Father Hargrove.” I turned to where the elderly preacher was, ensuring all eyes were on his sleeping form. “Father Hargrove?” A snore was his response. “Wow,” I smiled as I faced the crowd, “I never saw a Father fall asleep on his congregation before.” I said it jokingly, which elicited a laugh from everyone. “Well, if everyone doesn’t mind, we’ll let the old man get his nap and I’ll finish today’s service. Any objections?”
Most nodded and there were a few that called out, “Go ahead” and “Please continue.”
My words were perfect. The crowd knew I said it tongue in cheek but the words were like seeds — old, nap, fell asleep on you — they were growing in their minds. And I kept going. I flooded the air with biblical quotes revolving around togetherness, not needing material goods, and of course, proper leadership. At the end of the service, I was repeatedly congratulated on my sermon and was asked more times than not if I was heading over to the diner.
As the congregation left, I glanced over my shoulder to see Father Hargrove was still sleeping.
“Hey, Ricky.” I gestured for the teen to come over as I continued, “Can you help me for a minute?”
He dutifully complied, setting down the candles he was putting back and instantaneously rushing over to me. “Yes, Father Brinson.”
“Help me get Father Hargrove to his office,” I lifted the elder man, wrapping his left arm over my shoulder. “Get the other side.”
We easily laid him down on the couch he had in his rectory and then stared at him for a couple moments. “I’ve never seen that before.”
Ricky chuckled, “It was pretty funny.”
“Yeah, I suppose it was.” I then ruffled the teen’s hair, “I hear you have a birthday coming up.”
“You can stop calling me sir.” This was one overly polite kid. “How old will you be?”
I shook my head with a smile, “Well, here,” I reached into my pocket and handed him a bag. “I got a present for you.”
“What is this?”
“Seriously?” I don’t know why this surprised me. This kid was every parent’s dream of a child. “That would be a bag of weed.” Ricky looked at me as if I just told him the devil was coming and I couldn’t help but laugh. “Relax kid. It’s not the be all, end all people proclaim. I wouldn’t have given it to you if that were the case. Trust me. Just do it where you won’t get caught and enjoy.”
Ricky’s posture visibly calmed, “Yes Sir.”
I arrived at the diner, and my seat was waiting. It was where Father Hargrove had sat last week. I insisted that Jerry and Clarissa Hatfield sit across from me. It was a chivalrous act based on the fact I removed them from their seats last week.
I ordered a burger and fries, and then had to do my best to appear humble as everyone kept reiterating how wonderful mass was to me. It was irritating. I decided to change the subject.
“You have a wonderful singing voice Clarissa, how long have you been in the choir?”
Clarissa’s head shied down at my comment, “I started when I was five, so thirteen years now.”
I smiled, “Well you are turning into a fine young woman.”
Clarissa’s cheeks burned crimson.
“No need to tease her,” Jerry’s eyebrows furrowed. The statement caught me off guard and I tilted my head to the gruff man. “My wife passed while giving birth to her. For eighteen years, I did my best to raise her proper, but her momma I ain’t. No one can replace a girl’s momma.”
Jerry may have been a hard worker, but he was definitely uneducated.
I found that understanding people is essential. The fastest way to a con is to abuse trust. The fastest way to gain trust is to be agreeable. “Isn’t that the truth.” I raised my glass of lemonade, “To all the mothers of the world.” All in the diner immediately echoed my sentiment. I held in a laugh as I saw Jerry give a little smile in remembrance of his late wife. This was too easy.
The next day found me in my motel room, surrounded by donated objects and more were filtering in as my three volunteers hauled all sorts of items from clothes to older electronics to some jewelry in from Frank’s car.
“That’s the last of it,” Janice said with a smile.
“Great. Looks like I have my work cut out for me.”
“Why do you stay in a motel?” Frank asked. “Any number of people in this town would love to have you as a boarder.”
“I practice what I preach, Brother Frank. Material possessions get in the way of doing the Lord’s work. I am fully attuned to God, mind, body, and soul.
“You’re a good man, Father Carl,” Deanna commented with a nod.
As soon as they left, I began posting everything on EBay at bargain prices. I had my work cut out for me indeed.
Come Friday, I was bored. Sure, it was fun listening to the whispers of the parishioners on what transpired on Sunday with Father Hargrove. But since I wanted my attacks on the preacher to be on Sundays and very much public, it did nothing for me during the week. What other responsibilities does a Father have?
I decided to head to the Hatfield home and see what I could stir up in a house with an uneducated farmer and his daughter. I arrived in the early evening, if I wanted to talk to Jerry, or any of the farmers in this town, it had to be when they were done in the fields less I wanted to help. Fuck that. The door opened, and there stood Clarissa.
She looked spectacular in a light blue dress that fell down to her knees as she brushed her hair away from her face. She gave me a warm smile, “Father Brinson, what brings you here?”
“I just couldn’t stay away from that lovely voice of yours.” Clarissa blushed. “Actually, I have some good news. Is your father home?”
“He just got in the shower but I’ll let him know that you’re here. Please come in.”
I glanced around the room as Clarissa disappeared down the hall. The place was sparsely furnished; an old television set, two chairs, and a small table in the middle. That was it, no pictures, no family mementos; nothing else except the spider weaving a web in the ceiling corner.
“Dad said he’d be right out and asked if you wanted to join us for dinner. We’re having a vegetable soup.”
I followed Clarissa into the kitchen, sat at the table, and tried to take in everything. Once again, there were no personal affects in this room. The home seemed very drab and lonely. But then there was Clarissa. As she cooked, she was also cleaning. She was very domesticated. I then realized I was staring. Not good from a Father — Always play your role when you are pulling off a swindle. The slightest misstep can dissolve even the most simplest con. I straightened up and put my eyes forward, focusing on the peeling white paint on the wall.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, Father Brinson.” Jerry came in and sat at the head of the table.
“No, I’m the one who came over unannounced,” I reached over and shook his hand. “But the news I have was too good to wait.”
“Yes sir, Jerry.” I reached in my pocket and pulled out an envelope. “It’s not much but I have received a small payment from Green Meadows.” In the envelope was forty dollars. I had decided to take all my earnings from the donations and put into two piles, half for me and half for the town. Filtering some money back into the town would solidify the community’s dependence on me and away from Father Hargrove.
Jerry opened the envelope and gave a snicker, “It’s something.”
“The goal is to have small disbursements like this until they can come up with the rest of the settlement in one payment.”
Clarissa arrived with the soup for the three of us and sat across from me, next to her father. “That’s great dad. All good things start with a single step.”
Jerry just looked at her and shook his head. “Thank you Father Brinson.” He folded the envelope and put it in his pocket. He then grabbed a spoon and dipped it into the soup.
Jerry was turning into quite the conversationalist as the three of us ate in silence for the entirety of our meal, a meal fit for a pauper, homemade vegetables and chicken broth. When we were done, Clarissa cleaned up and went to her room. This place was depressing. Time to change that.
“Before I leave, I would like to ask why you feel Clarissa isn’t ready for adulthood?”
“Because I ain’t her momma.”
“I’m not asking about you, Jerry. I’m asking about Clarissa. Tell me based on her actions why she is not a woman.”
Jerry went into thorough detail about his daughter, citing specific situations starting the day she was born. It was a long, drawn out conversation, but when it was over, it became clear that the problem was that he never got over his wife’s death and never thought he was capable of raising a daughter. He never made it easy on Clarissa, virtually blaming her for the outcome of her mother.
“Brother Jerry, did you ever wonder if it wasn’t your fault that Clarissa isn’t turning out to be a woman?”
Jerry narrowed his eyes, “What are you getting at Father?”
“Perhaps Clarissa is possessed. You did say your wife died during childbirth. If she didn’t like that she died during the birthing process or felt she didn’t want you to be alone, her soul might have attached to Clarissa, sharing her body, causing a distortion in personality.”
“You mean Pippa’s been inside Clarissa this whole time?”
Jerry’s eyes watered. “Please Father… Can you do something? Can you free my wife? Can you save my daughter?”
“Of course, it will just take an exorcism,” I chuckled. “And I can do it right now.”
“Let’s go.” I followed Jerry as he walked with clear motivation down the hall and stopped in front of a door. “She’s in there.”
“Before I do this, I must warn you, don’t interrupt. If she screams, it’s just the spirit fighting to remain in this realm. No matter what, don’t enter this room, understand?”
“Whatever you say, Father. Just… save them.”
I opened the door and Clarissa was already changed for bed in a faded yellow nightgown. She was doing homework on her bed and when the door creaked, her head shot up, very surprised to see me. “Were you looking for the bathroom Father Brinson?”
I gave a friendly smile as I shut the door. “No Clarissa, I am here to do an exorcism.”
“I was talking to your father and based on our conversation, I feel you may be possessed by the spirit of your mother.”
The news was shocking, to say the least. “Uh… gee, um.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you. But if you would stand so we can get started, it would be great.”
Clarissa was tentative to say the least but did stand. “Um, Father, how do you know if I’m possessed?”
“Based on actions of yours that your father told me about.”
“But I don’t feel anything.”
“You wouldn’t feel any different if your mother has been with you since day one of your life.”
“Makes sense,” Clarissa’s face scrunched and then gave a small smile. “So what do I need to do?”
I took the two steps separating us and placed my hands on her shoulders, my thumbs lightly painting small circles on the available skin around her neck. I moved my head to the side of her head, my lips brushing her earlobes and whispered, “We are overdressed.” I pulled up on the nightgown and Clarissa bit her lip. She didn’t try to stop me. I then unbuckled my belt.
I put my hand to her cheek, “Yes Clarissa. The purification process of an exorcism must be done in mankind’s purest form. It is how God intended us to be.” Without another word spoken, I undressed.
Clarissa turned her head, not wanting to see my naked body. “What’s next?”
I turned her head toward me and my lips were right next to hers. “We need to combine bodily fluids. The mixture of my holy fluids will expel any spirits that have infected your body.” I put my lips to hers, and forced my tongue in her mouth.”
While engaged in this kiss, I laid her down on the bed. Clarissa began to squirm as I positioned my body on top of her.
“Father, I don’t think this is right?”
I gave her a brief, tender kiss, “This is going to hurt.”
“Father, why must we do it like this?”
I didn’t answer as I lined myself up with Clarissa’s entrance.
Clarissa’s eyes tightened in anticipation, “I’m scared. Please don’t do this.”
I held in a laugh as I plunged my hard cock deep in her virgin cunt. She screamed. I held my position, and didn’t move until her eyelids creaked open. “That was the worst of it, Clarissa. Now this is critical. There is a small possibility we can fail and the spirit take over your body fully.” Her eyes went wide. “If you enjoy this encounter, your mother will be here forever, which would finally make your father happy. Do you want him to be happy? He told me she was a very sexual person. So we’ll see how relaxed your body gets and who is left after this exorcism.”
This was pure manipulation. Life is all about reactions and I was now curious as to Clarissa’s response. Would she fight her body and want to be herself or would she wish to enjoy sex and have her mother inside her always. Or at least think she is.
I could see the gears in her head turning as I moved my blood covered cock slowly out and then forward again. Damn was she ever tight. After just a few movements, I got my answer. Clarissa relaxed under me and started to moan. I kissed her.
“Feel the presence inside you. Let yourself go, Clarissa.”
On my next thrust, she pushed back into me. It was slight but it was noticeable. I immediately put a hand to her tits, pinching and prodding her nipples. On each subsequent drive into her quim, her bucking became more apparent until she was using her hands to press into the mattress to raise herself to meet me.
“Oh God… Father! Ugh!” Clarissa’s body started to shake underneath me.
I slowed my movements, to let her catch her breath. With deep gasps, she slowly opened her eyes and smiled at me. I smiled back, “Are you ready to fuck, Pippa? We need to mix our fluids.”
It took Clarissa a moment, but only a moment to realize what I meant. “Fuck me.”
I flipped her onto her stomach and slammed into her. I used her hips for leverage as I kept a hard pounding into her body. Now this is more like it. I can’t stand having to pace myself and being gentle. Just to make up for it, one of my hands went to her hair and the other went around her body and to her clit.
“Yes, please, yes!”
This time her spasm was forceful and gripped my shaft for dear life. It was a wonderful and overpowering sensation. I rammed one final time and filled her abyss with my essence. It was never ending on both of our accounts, and I was unsure who had cum the most. We fell to the bed and I moved us into a spooning position.
“Pippa, you are an exceptional woman and your husband needs you. Clarissa is still in your subconscious, so now she is blessed with both her parents. You have taken over for the best interest of your family. I encourage you to take your position by Jerry’s side in the privacy of your home. Dress in your clothes, sleep in your marital bed, and such. In public, let everyone believe you are your daughter.”
I stood and got dressed. Clarissa let out a sigh with my departure. “Now go cleanup so you can reunite with your husband properly.”
She quickly stood and walked across the hall to the bathroom.
“Clarissa?” Jerry reached out but she had just shut the door on him. He looked into the bedroom and to me. “What happened?”
I went over and put my hand around his shoulder, “Jerry, the connection between mother and daughter was too strong.” He looked at me wide eyed as I continued. “I can positively say, Pippa has returned for good.”
“Pippa?” Jerry was in a happy shock as he looked to the closed bathroom door.
“Yes, but the rest of the town won’t understand so she will pretend to be Clarissa in public for appearances sake but she is most definitely Pippa.”
Jerry started crying as he fell to his knees, “The Lord has blessed me! Thank you Father Brinson.”
I nodded and started to walk down the hall when I heard Clarissa open the door. I glanced over my shoulder and saw her holding Jerry in her arms as if she were coddling a child, “There, there now. I’m back. I’ll take care of you.”
Jerry gripped her into a firm hug. “Don’t ever leave me again.” It was his first show of affection to his daughter, ever. And it was all she ever wanted.
Tears began flowing down Clarissa’s cheeks, “I won’t.” She gave me a light smile as I disappeared around the corner.
Maybe I should become a real preacher; I just saved a family. It’s a twisted dynamic, but Jerry gets his wife back and Clarissa gets the love she’s never had. I wonder what wonderful fatherly duties I can fulfill next to keep me from being bored?
I arrived at the church even earlier for mass. Father Hargrove, as usual, was pouring over his sermon.
“How’s it going, Father? Rested for today?”
“Much better than last week and I’m pretty sure my speech is all set as well,” Father Hargrove smiled. “Just got to go hit the head.”
“Great. Glad to hear it.” I watched him leave and then took a seat at his desk. “Let’s see. Search God. Replace all with Lucifer. Search heaven. Replace all with hell. Search salvation. Replace all with damnation. Should make for an interesting service.”
I went to take my seat when Ricky intercepted me. “Father Brinson?”
“Ricky, how are you doing?”
“Fine. Hey, you know that stuff you gave me?” His eyebrows raised.
“Well, I was wondering if by chance you had some more?”
I laughed. “I take it that you liked it.”
“Good, but you understand that this stuff isn’t free.” I raised my eyebrows back at him.
“I’ll tell you what, here’s another bag and we can work something out later.”
Ricky greedily accepted the offer. “Thanks Father Brinson.”
“You’re welcome but we need to get a move on, it’s time for service to start.”
Father Hargrove’s sermon was interesting. He didn’t even notice his first two mistakes. Just kept plugging along. He caught the third one and he became flustered. From then on out, he was on edge. He tried his best but was unable to sound like the good orator he was. The congregation certainly heard the difference and comparisons to last week were abound. Whispers of “What’s wrong?” and “Is he okay?” began to flow.
As I walked to the podium to take my turn, I shook the Father’s hand and just loud enough offered my own thoughts on the subject, “You all right, old man?” I said it in a tone of consoling and he just gave a slight nod, not giving my words a second thought. But what I said was for the congregation. I wanted the seed that I planted last week about age to get some water and sunlight. And I was sure it was growing.
I started my speech off with a bang. I announced the offer Green Meadows gave me, which they really didn’t, and the crowd was ecstatic. “All it took was one phone call.” I wanted to insinuate that Father Hargrove didn’t even attempt contact. The rest of my lecture was about how God gives back to those who give. I directly implied that their donating actions allowed for the good fortune of Green Meadows. It was an oration that belonged in the Smithsonian.
At lunch, everyone in town made it a point to thank and praise me for what I was able to accomplish against the big bad greed of big business. My response was always the same, “I am God’s tool, and I give myself heart, body, and soul to his cause.” Father Hargrove sat in near silence.
“C’mon old man,” I wrapped my arm around his shoulders. “It wasn’t that bad. God has given us this day. Enjoy it.”
“You’re right. I’ll try,” Father Hargrove gave a small smile. “I’m not sure where we’d be without you.”
“You’re too kind.”
The next day, I found myself in my motel room filled with even more donations than last week. Higher quality as well. The town was coming through better than I could have imagined. My three acolytes — really, what else would you call them? – had just finished depositing their collections when I thought of something to keep me from being bored. “Deanna, do mind helping me sort through this for a short while?”
She glanced at her watch and smiled, “I can stay. I have two hours before Clark gets home from the bank.”
I knew that. Deanna was sifting through some of the donations as the other two left. I thanked them and then shut the door. I looked at my prey with a sinister smile. It was something about the way she dressed, the conservative nature she felt a married woman should dress. Today it was a light blue sundress that fell to mid shin. Of course, her smile had something to with it too. Just looking at her forced me to adjust my cock.
“God spoke to me and I need to leave.”
Deanna took in a sharp inhalation of air as her face turned toward me. “Seriously?”
I just nodded.
She stood and then the couple of steps that were between us disappeared. “Don’t go yet. This town still needs you. You can’t leave.”
The new closeness allowed me to put both of my hands on her shoulders. “I don’t want to, but what God told me to do, I can only accomplish in this town with you. I can’t ask that of you and I am committed heart, body, and soul to doing his work. I must leave.” During my little speech, my fingers began to caress the bare skin around her neck.
“I can help. What is it that you need me to do?”
“God requested that I find someone as dedicated as I am and procreate with them.”
Deanna’s eyes went wide, “But I’m married.”
“Mary was married to Joseph but God still gave her a child that was not her husbands.” My hands slid across her shoulder blades, sliding the straps of her sundress with them. “I am willing to give my body to God.” I let her dress fall to the floor as I moved in for a kiss. I paused, a mere inch away. My hands were slowly moving down her arms, “Are you?”
“Are you sure there is nobody else?”
I put one hand one hand on her stomach and lightly caressed it. I whispered in her ear, “You are the perfect candidate. You are the perfect woman. No one can offer what you offer,” my hand slipped lower and began to pet her slit through her panties. My other hand raised up and softly massaged her tit. “Give your body up to the Lord. Are you prepared to do God’s work?”
Deanna looked lost in my words as she breathed out a “yes.”
I smiled as I closed the last little bit of distance between our lips. She was tentative but compliant with her reciprocation. I immediately went to work in removing her bra.
“Don’t kiss me like you kiss your husband. Kiss me like a lover.”
Deanna wrapped her arms around my neck and moved her lips to me. On contact, her tongue snaked out. She kissed me slowly, passionately and soon it went from sensual to hunger. Her hands slipped from my neck and pulled at my clothes. Our kiss didn’t break until she successfully had me in the nude.
I smiled as I sat on the bed, pulling her last garment, her underwear, down to the floor as I did. I looked into her eyes, and now that we weren’t mouth to mouth, she was timid again. I guided her hand to my cock. “Do God’s work and put it inside you.”
It was such a wonderful experience to watch Deanna straddle my lap, cock in hand, and guided it to her entrance. Our eyes locked and I put a hand to her cheek.
“It’s what God wants. Enjoy it.”
Deanna moaned as she slid down my shaft. She enveloped me in her arms, our bodies mashed together as she just sat still on my member buried into her quim. I was growing impatient. I thrust upward, a simple reminder that we had just begun. She slowly lifted up and I pushed higher, harder. She got the hint and started to move quicker on my cock. We weren’t there to make love. We were there to fuck. Plain and simple.
My hands moved to her tits and mauled them. I pinched and extended her nipples in rhythm to our fast and furious pace. I gave hard grunts with every insertion and she fiercely moaned in echo. A sheen of sweat coated our bodies as we continued our insane copulating.
“Yes! Oh God, yes!”
I smiled. I love doing God’s work with this happy homemaker.
Deanna’s hips were on autopilot, moving at an unnatural fury. I was not outdone, sending piercing thrust after never ending piercing thrust into her cunt. Her pussy, sleek and tight, clenched on my cock. I held onto her hips and barreled into her depths one last time. She shrieked as if she saw a ghost while I flooded her womb.
“Yes Father Brinson, impregnate your willing servant!”
Deanna’s body convulsed and her pleasure juices mingled with mine. I remained buried inside as she rode out her wave. She gave a faint smile, “I had no idea God’s work would be so much fun.”
I leaned into her ear, “And we get to do this until His work is done.” I finished by nibbling on her earlobe.
“I’m looking forward to it.” Deanna gave a soft giggle, “I never knew sex could be like that.”
This Sunday, I had a special treat in store for the good preacher. I wanted to play on his Vietnam past and the horrors he saw. All it took was a phone call to my favorite dealer, Dwayne.
After visiting Father Hargrove in his office, I was heading to my seat, curious to how my plans would play out, when Ricky stopped me again.
“Father, do you have any more of that,” his head went from side to side to verify no one was near, “that stuff.”
“You owe me money and you want more?”
“I’ll pay you next week, I promise.” Ricky gave me a pleading look, “Please?”
As if I needed the money. I shook my head as I gave him a little plastic bag. “You really owe me kid.”
“I know, I know,” Ricky’s smile was ear to ear. “Thanks. I’ll pay you next week, for sure.”
“All right,” I gave a head nod to where he was supposed to be. “Go get ready for mass.”
I took my seat and waited patiently. Father Hargrove took the podium and began. For the first time since my arrival, his sermon was impeccable. At least it was for ten minutes. He shrieked. It was blood curdling as he dropped to the floor and covered his head with his hands. I had to refrain my smile as I ran up to him.
“Father Hargrove? Are you all right?” He was shaky as I helped him to his feet, his eyes fixed to a window in the back of the church.
Father Hargrove began stammering, “I, uh, I… I thought I saw…” He took a deep breath and patted my shoulder. “I’m fine.” He then gazed at his confused congregation. “Sorry for the outburst everyone. Let’s continue, shall we?”
There was a murmuring in the crowd as I retook my seat, but it died down as Father Hargrove got into his groove again. It lasted only five minutes before he screamed, “Everyone down! Charlie is all around us!” before ducking down behind the podium again.
I must admit, the Vietnamese hooker I paid Dwayne to have peek inside the back windows was worth every penny. I once again went to Father Hargrove’s side. “It’s all right, Father.” I put my arm around his side and helped him to stand. “Why don’t you take a break? Get a drink of water, relax a little; I’ll finish up today.”
“Thanks Father Brinson.” Father Hargrove shook his head, “I don’t know what I’d do without you here.” With his head held low, he slowly headed down the hallway to his office.
I finished mass, spewing more bullshit and reiterating that everyone needs to give unto God, heart, body and soul. At the end, I handed out the money from the donations sold, minus my cut, of course, and then headed to the rectory. When I opened the door, Father Hargrove had his belongings in a small box. He was a defeated man.
“I lost them Father Brinson.” Father Hargrove shook his head. “My age has finally caught up with me, so I’m retiring. Figure I’d go be with my family, see the grandkids down in Phoenix.”
“That’s nonsense. I’ve seen many a congregation have an elderly leader.”
“A shepherd can’t tend his flock if they feel he is not worthy.” Father Hargrove gave me a slight smile, “You’re a good man, Father Brinson. Better than I as it seems as you were able to do something I couldn’t. This came for you yesterday. Forgive me for opening it.” Father Hargrove handed me an envelope from Green Meadows. Inside was a check for the amount due. Seems the company’s lawsuits were dismissed and the government was now backing them.
“Don’t know how you did it, but I’m glad you did. Take care of my town for me.”
Father Hargrove extended his hand and I shook it. “You take care Father and may God smile over your journey.”
I smiled as he left. Not only did I accomplish what I set out to do, but I just received a hefty bonus for my work. Now all I have to do is square things with Ricky. He needs to learn it’s not good to be in debt. I know just the thing.
At the afternoon lunch, I made it a point to speak with Ricky. I pulled him aside as everyone was leaving.
“Listen kid, you owe me money. Now I thought about it and have decided I want to collect. Today.” I pushed my finger into his chest for emphasis.
“But Father Brinson, I don’t have it. You said I could pay next week.” It came out in a childish whine.
I put my hand to my chin, “Hmm. Yes I did, but I changed my mind.”
“Let me finish,” I stated sternly. “Damn.”
“Uh, um, okay.”
“Anyways, there is more than one way to repay my generosity.”
“Yes there is, and what I want you to do is simply bake some brownies with this,” I handed him another bag. According to Dwayne, it was the strongest weed there is. “Do it today and then go to a friend’s house until tomorrow morning. If you do that, we’re even.”
“Really?” Ricky was beyond exuberant as he grabbed the plastic bag.
“Of course,” I laughed. “Would a priest lie?”
I waited until late in the evening before I made my way over to the Barkley residence. I went with a button down dress shirt with the top two buttons undone and matched it with a pair of slacks. Suave, debonair, that’s the image I wanted to project. I took one last deep breath to gather myself, put on a smile, and rang the doorbell.
The oak slab opened to reveal Kristen, wearing a white night gown. “Father Brinson, what a surprise. What brings you here at such a late hour?”
“Sorry for coming over so late, but something has been gnawing at me about Ricky.”
“Ricky?” Ever the worried parent, Kristen’s face immediately showed a deep concern. “Please, please, do come in Father.” We walked into the kitchen and she offered me a chair at the table. “I apologize, I don’t have anything to offer, but my son made some brownies. Would you like one?”
“How about we knock out the whole plate with some milk while we discuss Ricky. I think we’ll need it.”
“That bad?” Kristen cringed as I just looked at her. “Okay, I’ll get the milk.”
I was patient. I waited for Kristen to return and encouraged her to start eating. I grabbed a brownie myself, but it was an action just for show. Instead, I began a long drawn out explanation on why I was there. Simply put, I told her in great detail how I thought Ricky got into the wrong crowd and how I now believe he was using drugs. I also told her not to worry. I had a plan of attack and would work with her to ensure her son gets back on the right track. I kept talking until I saw the effects of the hash in the brownies to take hold.
“Why don’t we check the computer to see if we can’t find what he’s been looking at?”
“Okay,” Kristen giggled. “It’s in the living room.”
She led me to the desktop and moved the mouse to activate the screen. “You can take the chair, I don’t mind standing.”
“That’s not fair,” I countered as I sat. “You can sit here.” I reached around her body and pulled her into my lap. She laughed as I held her in my arms.
I immediately saw what I was looking for; an icon that was labeled ‘Town Budget’ in the upper left hand corner of the screen. “What’s this?” I asked as I clicked it.
“Oh, that’s just the listings for all of Middleton’s accounts. Where the money comes in, where it’s held, and where it then gets distributed. I can manage it all right here, because I am that good!” Kristen had begun laughing hysterically.
Jackpot. “I bet you are!” I started tickling at her right side as I minimized the window and brought up the internet. I was then quick to bring up a porn site. “Oops.”
“Oh my,” Kristen put her hand to her mouth.
The couple on the screen were rutting like animals, the woman just being pounded from behind by the overly endowed man. Kristen purred as her surprise turned to lust as she leaned back against my chest, not even asking for me to click to a different site. I wrapped my arms around her body, my hands easily landed on her luscious orbs. She squirmed in my lap as I manipulated and molded before I tweaked her nipples. She moaned in response and her desire was becoming evident as her light hip movements were becoming a constant, firm rub against my girth. She was ready. I was ready.
I easily pulled off her nightgown. She turned to face me, and after a momentary pause, her head dove toward mine. Our lips quickly connected, her tongue easily slipping inside my mouth. Her hands clutched at my shirt, gripping it tightly before relaxing and moving to the top button. One by one, her fingers removed each one, descending until they were no more. But she kept going south, quickly dispatching with the latch of my belt.
I moved my own hands to her ass and surprised her as I stood. I took a couple steps and tossed Kristen to the couch, eliciting a giggle from my chemically imbalanced partner. As I removed my lower garments, her lust filled eyes never left my crotch, her lower lip caught in her teeth as she smiled.
At that moment, her mouth looked so adorable, so inviting. I stalked over and entangled my hand in her hair. What I wanted was obvious and Kristen simply opened her mouth. I forced a complete impalement, ramming everything I had into her mouth and down her throat. Kristen’s eyes went wide and her head went to retreat, but I wasn’t having any of that. My hand seemingly engulfed her head, my fingers gripping her brown colored locks. I didn’t give her any time to adjust and started to fuck her mouth mercilessly. With every withdrawal, she gasped for precious oxygen around my cock and with every thrust, tears jettisoned from her eyes and panic was strewn across her face.
Looking down, a strange feeling filled my being: empathy. I actually felt sorry for the poor woman. I was having fun but decided to give her a break. Besides, I still wanted to fuck her.
I released my grip and Kristen immediately pulled away, and began breathing heavily. As she stared up at me, I could tell she wasn’t scared, but she was intimidated by me. I kneeled down, cupped her face, and kissed her. She trembled briefly at the contact before she kissed back. More so even. Her being used caused her lust to build. Her arms grappled around my neck and her tongue delved into my mouth. I relinquished the kiss and noted her lascivious smile.
As I stood, I offered her my hand and she greedily accepted. She knew I was going to take her where she has never gone before. As soon she made it to her feet, I turned her around and bent her over. I wasn’t subtle with my actions and her arms had to brace the couch to keep from falling onto it.