Last night's Castle featured a flashback plot from the 1940's; Real hard-boiled, Raymond Chandler, Maltese Falcon stuff. I thought I'd try my hand at some Hard-boiled Preacher writing. Here goes...
Just south of the San Gabriel mountains in sunny Southern California, lies the megalopic burg of Los Angeles; City of the Golden Haired Angels. To most people, it may seem like a harmless sort of place, the quintessential American municipality. To us hard-bitten professional ministers though, it’s the fabled Town of Tinsel, a veritable hotbed of hedonism.
I was sitting in my shabby old office at the Big Downtown Church, pecking at my keyboard, pretending to work. My secretary Euodia had gone out to the local diner to partake in another round of heartburn. So, when the door to the outer office squeaked open I felt it would be polite to get up and greet my unknown visitor. By the time I stood up however, the door to my private sanctum swung open and a woman stepped in.
Not just any skirt now, I’m talking about a high-class dame. She was dressed to the nines in a blue satin dress, black spike heels, and a wide-brimmed black hat with a veil subtly obscuring her beautiful face. She wore a large, diamond studded dove over her left breast, and under her arm she carried a Bible big enough to hold a Billy Graham crusade on. My keen professional eye noticed her "sword" had one of those custom-fit leather covers on it; real class. I indicated a hard-backed wooden chair she could sit in and flopped back into my own swivel job.
“What’s on your mind sister?” I asked.
“It’s about my husband,” she said in exasperation, “I just don’t know where else to turn.”
“Is the lug doing you wrong?” I asked crudely.
“Oh, no, it’s nothing like that!” she said. She appeared to be taken aback by my blunt insensitivity. Tough for her, I guess. Being a professional hard-boiled minister is a tough racket. She took a few moments to regain her composure, then charged ahead. “You see, it’s like this; lately he’s been watching ‘God Stuff’ a lot on TV. And this morning,” she sniffed, “he told me he had a vision of a 900 foot tall televangelist in a pink tuxedo!” With that sad confession, she broke down in tears right there in my office.
“This is serious,” I said. Leaning over, I pulled out the bottom drawer of my desk, just to check. Good. My trusty Thompson Chain-Reference was still there. From the sound of things I’d probably need it soon…