With utmost reverence, the man opened the manila envelope and removed his certification, one which decreed, he, a bona fide minister, a position he’d applied for online, officially granting him the authority to conduct wedding ceremonies and baptisms in virtually every state of the Union. The man had waited long for this moment, knowing, as he now did, with every fiber of his being, that purifying people from their wickedness through baptism was surely his calling in this life.

Time had drawn nigh, way he saw it, and that time was now.

Before leaving, actively committing to his mission, there was something the man felt needed tending. “A point can never be driven enough.”, an axiom he’d grown to respect and appreciate as his focus sharpened, as the messages grew louder and more clear by the hour. The man reached into a special wicker basket, a collection of books of matches he’d amassed during his travels as a young man, and found the ‘Bush for Governor’ campaign pin. He fingered the bent, blood spattered point in preparation to continue to drive out demons he knew ­without a shadow of doubt­ had taken up in this diseased, wretch of a woman, this adulteress, his wife.

The slat of light awakening in the opened closet door revealed a sleeping woman, nude, lying on a pile of coats. The man bent down, chanting in a near whisper, “theromeostheromeostheromeostheromeos…”, then removed the campaign button from his pocket and quickly jaubed the woman’s leg several times. The woman bolted upright and screamed. The man shut the door behind him and, again, locked it. The woman cried and cried, wailed and wailed, cursed and cursed, sobbed and sobbed, and was still whimpering when the man walked out the front door, the campaign button he wore proudly, speckled with a tramp’s blood, his badge of truth and honor for the task at hand.

Incessant, unrelenting waves breaking upon the beach soon worked up the man’s lather. Devoid of doubt, the man seized this moment of divine clarity and made a beeline for the sand, both shoes flying off in the abandon, the howls in the wind affirming his every step.

The first lost lamb he saw was standing in the surf, splashing about in the foam. The man rushed into the water and grabbed the young girl, forcing her under while yelling, “In the name of the father!”

The girl slipped from his grasp and raced from the surf, crying, never once looking back. The man yelled above the roar, “God loves you!” and felt better than he could ever recall.

Almighty purpose screaming in his ear, he scanned the waves for his next victory for God.

An older man proved to be particularly satisfying, knowing as the man did, this old man had accumulated much sin his lifetime.

Trouble befell the man when, as if by divine guidance, he chose a teen girl headed for the fate of his wife, displaying her body in an unabashed fashion most unholy and vulgar. The trouble came in the shape of several teen boys who didn’t take kindly the man’s sudden interest in their friend.

The power of Christ compels you…

The man sat in the rear of the police cruiser and remembered the disappointment he’d felt as a youngster when he’d discover the hidden prize in the Cracker Jacks would be one he’d previously found; the despair of those moments, which time never eroded, coming to bear.

“Cracker Jacks”, the man said, his face bruised and bleeding. “Cracker Jacks… Cracker Jacks…”

A little boy walked by the squad car, holding his mother’s hand, a lit sparkler in the other.

The waves continued to lash the shore, indifferent to the banalities of artifice, providence an existentialist’s quagmire.


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