The Preacher

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

This one is interesting, I always thought if it gets a good response it could maybe become a serial story, with new characters and storylines added in the future. It's the first time I've tried to write a character with an accent, so bear with me.

The Preacher

by

Chrispy

 

Part one: Just-Jim

 

As I slowly undid my laces, I tried not to think…thinking time was over. It was doing time, action time,

“Time to get things done. Haha.” My voice did a really nice echoey thing off the buildings surrounding me, enemies did that. Suuuurrrrouuuunnndd. Good word.

I’d spent most of my shortish life thinking, planning, but very little of it, as it turns out, actually doing. This was about to change, shit, everything was about to change, just not in the way I’d originally thought.

 

After calmly taking off both shoes, I stood to admire the gleam and sheen of them.  Expensive footwear was, you have to admit it, pretty well, designed to look damn good in the moonlight. I bet they won’t put this in their ads though.
 

“4 Fucking grand a pair, that’s two grand each!”

I yelled out into the uncaring night. I was really liking this echoey thing, and besides, who gave a flying fuck what I had to say anymore. This thought raised me up with an almost overwhelming sense of freedom, while it dragged me down with shame and regret.

(Shit, that’s two month’s rent to most of the great unwashed masses out here, ya foolish bastard. Oh well. .fuck it. Harry! don’t forget to get someone to nip up there and  snaffle-up those shoes when he’s done here, and fer chrissakes Johnny, don’t stand there you stupid arse, that’s his landing pad!)

This new, attempting to whisper, voice-from-the-void, was harsh.

Like it smoked ten packs a day, and just happened to be finishing up the new world record, for going without anything to drink.

It sounded like it routinely gargled with thumbtacks and salty piss.

It didn’t seem like it could be quiet, this voice, and the echoey, thingy wasn’t helping either.

‘Is someone out there?” I was suddenly, face-scaldingly embarrassed for my previous outbursts, and I couldn’t, for all that I was worth understand why.

Out of the darkness below, I was serenaded by a susurration of shamed shushes. As it slowly ebbed away, in fits and starts, I heard that grave-gravel-filled voice again…

“Dammit, just shut the fuck up, all you dumbasses. Jeez, I tells you…”

 I could just make out his grizzled grey head shaking in frustration two hundred feet beneath and between my silk socking-clad feet.

I tried to laser beam a hole in the top of his head, but my heat vision seemed to be on the fritz. I swore quietly to myself as my toes traced patterns in the ether above the abyss.

Normally you’d feel vertigo, at this great height, but all I could feel was a slight irritation at the rudeness of this impromptu vaudeville show below.

The small straggly circle of bums seemed like a tiny bit of theatre from way up here. Their small fire was probably, sadly, the brightest bulb in the entirety of their little tree of fallen folly. I almost felt sorry for them, then I remembered where I was, and I found myself, getting a little pissed off…

“Hey,” I yelled, “Who do you think you are? Can’t you just give a man some peace for a moment!”

“Ayuh,” said the voice, “You’ll probably get about three or four good moments once you jump, but from that height, I’d say pieces, was more likely.”

As I tried like hell not to wrap my head around that particular visual, the severely dented, rock shovel voice continued…

“m’Names Preacher, what’s yours… and don’t say, ‘A Wee Pint’, One-armed Willie tried that shit on me last week and it tweren’t funny then”

I tried like hell to focus what was left of my thoughts on what I was trying to do and failed miserably, maybe I needed the distraction, maybe I was a little curious at this point…

“Jimmy, James, well I guess, just Jim.” I was confused, and still trying to stand on principle, while standing on the ledge…shit, this wasn’t going well.

“Well, just Jim, they call me the preacher ‘cause sometimes I thinks I have something to say, and after I’m done talkin’, some people thinks, that I was right for thinkin’ that, in the first place.”

I could not have composed an answer to that on a good day, and this definitely wasn’t one of them.

“If you come down here, by the safe, still alive route mind you, I’ll explain all our names, starting with why we call him, One-armed Willie, rather than just Willie. It’s probably because there’s two Willies down here, and the other one is known as Wee-Willie, he’s 6 foot 4 inches tall in stocking feet like you are at the moment, but he’s got a… welllll, that’s at least a three beer story all by its ownself… so why don’t you get your sorry ass down here while the brews are still relatively cold an’ I’ll tells ya?”

But the beer *was* cold, and the story was, well,

...damn baby.

 

Part two: Eggleton

 

“Oh, and Eggleton wants to say he’s sorry.”

I was in my shoes and halfway down the first flight of stairs, before I started swearing. I was way too fucking angry and excited to wait for the damn elevator, hell, I didn’t stop swearing for the first ten floors.

“Fucking Eggleton…”

All I could see was a red-tinted mind movie of me strangling that little pencil-necked geeks’ pencil-fucking-neck.

This was all his fault, the only reason I was still alive at this harried point in time, was because of the mad, animal urge I’d had, to kill that scum-sucking bastard. And HE was the only reason I’d wanted to die in the first place……fucking fuckery fucker.

I was still swearing by the time I bounded out the door to the alley like some crazed gorilla on its deadly rampage. Picture a tiny, really pissed-off King Kong with really, expensive shoes… traveling at about a hundred miles an hour.

In the reddest part of my rage run, I can see Eggleton, cringing and trying to back up, and the grizzled old turd, gripping his elbow with one gnarl-knuckled hand while holding the other up in a futile attempt to placate me.

And the old man speaks, and his voice is calm, eloquent, almost melodious, and as quick as he can make it go,

“The reason,’ he surgically machine-gunned at me,

“We calls ‘im Wee-Willie, is cause of his two older, larger, brothers.”

“hmm, I guess it wasn’t a three-beer story after all…”

In my fast-loading, sharpshooter brain, I thought two things, simultaneously:

In no particular order

One: his voice wasn’t the same as the one I’d been hearing;  that was gravel mixed with lost soul grinding, this… this was some kind of old-school silk, as it was gently, almost reverently, laid upon the poor, bleedin’ ears of the weary, and downtrodden; like bandages on their seeping wounds.

Two: their hands were like catchers’ mitts, welded together by a journeyman and made out of the solid steel you only seem to read about, or, see in cool ads, with shiny-shirtless people doing wonderful and exciting things…

As I was laying there, clotheslined in the dust of the alley, seeing stars that only Neil DeGrasse Tyson would be able to explain…

My mind careened back, to that part of my life, before my almost-untimely death, the part where it all started…

Eggleton, owned and managed, an up-and-coming biotech company, and it was about to merge with a larger, more, let's say strategically empowered pharmaceutical company.

If the aforesaid, merger, went through, then some very smart people, like me and everyone I could convince to join me, would be richer than King Solomon with a hard-on.

But Eggleton, for reasons still only speculated about, didn’t show up to the meeting and hasn’t been seen since, until now that is.

I lifted my head, and yup, there he was…

Fucking fuckery fucker.

When that little turdlet, not even a full-grown turd; didn’t show up to that meeting… my world, as I knew it, fell a-fucking -part, it crashed like blocks tumbling after a bad move in Jenga.

Good thing the preacher was there…that fucking guy, I swear, God makes His moves after He sees which way the preacher is headed…

Part Three: Preacher’s Plan

They lifted me out of the dust, and then those two giants among men, wrestled me over to a box around the fire, six feet from the Preacher, and two lightning-quick lunges from that bastard Eggleton, sitting at the Preachers’ far elbow.

The Preacher looked a little like a leprechaun mathematician without the spectacles, for some reason, he was wearing old-school parachute shades instead, with the pleather flaps on the sides, mostly blueish mirror shining back at you.

His eyebrows were long enough to enable him to flap safely to the ground if he were ever to be accidentally rocket-ejected, out of a supersonic jet.

His cheeks were so high and pink and round, you just itched to pinch them, but you somehow knew if you did, you’d pull back a bloody stump.

When he spoke, his voice was as smooth as glass on tranquilizers. It was a voice that could make you put down your weapons, want to redeem your ways, and remember to hold dear, all that was right and good in this world.

“Sonny, you look like someone pissed on your cornflakes at breakfast, force-fed you a shit sandwich for lunch, asked you, with all seriousness and professional pleasantness, if you would prefer peanut sprinkles with that…

and now you’re really, not looking forward to dinner.”

I ignored him completely, and tried exasperatingly, to burn-stare, holes, in Eggleton’s pasty face.

And then The Preacher spoke, and he said unto me and mine starving ears…

“Before we begin, I would like to be on record as saying: NONE of this is your fault, Just-Jim.”

“It’s not Eggleton’s either”

“It’s mine and mine alone.”

His sincerity was astounding.

You could actually feel the intensity of his honesty. It fairly radiated off of his bold, undeniable face. It warmed me in its faint glow. I wanted to hate him, I really did, but I couldn’t.

“k, I’m gonna try an’ explain all of this nonsense in one fell swoop, so I’d appreciate it if I wasn’t interrupted. And, like they say during all of the big revelations, there’ll be time for questions at the end.”

And then he proceeded to clear his throat, it sounded like a butterfly, getting ready for take-off, on a particularly windy day, it was that soft, and filled with that kind of desperation and hope.

“They call me Preacher, but what I thinks they means to say is truthteller. I am physically incapable of telling a lie, and I know stuff that would probably curl the bits of your hair that isn’t naturally inclined to curl. I know stuff, that even me, with my years of service and experience, wish I didn’t know. A warning to ya, please refrain from asking me any fucking questions dat you REALLY don’t want the answer to, okay? Alrighty then, let’s get to startin’.”

“Well, as you know, Eggleton here,” pointing one relatively clean and well-manicured finger at the quivering mass of human detritus, beside him, “left you in the lurch, as it were. Now, like I mentioned earlier, it wasn’t his fault, I convinced him to do it, and believe you/me he put up quite a struggle, that’s a hell of a lot of cash to pass up, and it ‘twerent, easy for him atall.’ At this, he patted/grasped Eggleton’s shoulder, like one brother consoling another.

“But he did it because he knew it was for the common good, and he’s a good man for all of that. An’ I believes, in my heart o hearts, that you’re that kind of good man too…Just Jim.”

He paused and looked meaningfully around at the crowd of what I supposed, were his followers, fools all of them, thought I. in my secret dark heart.

“We all do, right now, we all believe in you, an’ that’s a might strange don’t you tink? Seein’ as how we’re pretty well sitting in the spot you would have been splattin’ just moments ago?”

I cringed at this but stood my stubborn ground. It was my ground once again, not my landing pad, as he’d forcefully reminded me, so, that was a good thing…I think. Yeah, of course, yeah, that was a good thing.

I tried to open my mouth, to forcibly oppose this cabal of crust-riddled clowns, but their ring-leader, as it were, had other plans.

With one flick of his wrinkly old hand, I was psychically muted. But it wasn’t like I was gagged, or choked off, my voice silenced in my vengeance starved throat.

It was like the entire idea of my protests, was completely wiped from my mind. It was as if I’d never even thought to utter a single syllable, that the very idea of talking at this moment, was a bad dream that I’d had, and was trying to forget.

“Shh, you’ve got gumption, my son, I’ll give you that, but I told you that you’d have your turn WHEN I’M FINISHED.

This last bit was delivered in a voice that came straight out of the movie, The Ten Commandments, and it wasn’t a bit player. Or a star either, more like,  umm, well, the Creator of Stars.

And then he smiled, a small smile of pride, and love, meant as a secret message between a father, and a beloved but hard-headed son who was speaking out of turn.

 And I lost it …

I shook off the two giants' hands like they were an irritant I chose at that moment to ignore. I stood, and took two steps forward, looking directly into the mirrored images of myself, coming back to me from those ridiculous shades, in that grizzled, leprechaun visage. And I spoke… yes, I fucking did, and nothing could stop me, not even him.

“I only get one life, and if you and your, minions, have fucked it up for me, after all my hard work… I will destroy you, all of you if it costs me everything.

I will give my all, just to make sure you don’t fuck around like this with anyone else, ever.”

My voice didn’t echo, there was no Dolby surround sound thunder; it was clear, it was the truth; as truth was originally meant to be spoken, with conviction, and a certain quiet thoughtfulness. I let a little of my ire shine in my eyes for a moment, and if you’ve ever seen ire in the eyes of a righteous man, then, you know that you only need a moment.

They’d all risen as one when I broke the bonds of his gaze and stood, they’d all moved in closer, while I spoke. But when the ire shone in my eyes, they all took an involuntary half-step back from me, and the preachers’ hold, or whatever he’d had on them, was weakened for a moment, for once, in a long while it seemed, they all had a little modicum of doubt.

And now the preacher stands before me, his hands held out placatingly, not afraid, but calming. Like a lion tamer, faced with the ferocious beast in full attack mode; bereft of his chair, untethered from his whip, with only his force of will holding back the fury.

“When I’m done explainin’, you can do your damnedest. But,”

At this, he looked around at us, gathering what was left of his charismatic hold, it was weaker now…

“As long as there are civil men and their solemn oaths to uphold peace. And there are a few left on this poisoned, bleached, and bled ball of dirt. Let us at the very, least, not do them the disservice of forgetting what they’ve taught us. We must converse, parley as they used to say, on the field of battle, if that’s what you tink dis is.”

Himself...that's what I called him, right then, in my mind. Because in my eyes, I could see, that he could see...nothing else. A perpetual mental mirror. Reflecting not the first part of us, the world, as it were, but more than likely turned in, blind and deaf to the wee plaintive reminders that we've become. We were being unfairly scorned, by what we'd forced him to remember...

He shook, the Preacher did, from head to toe, quietly, almost imperceptibly. I could feel it, at the bottom of my spleen, and I don’t even, really know what that is,

He lowered his head for about three seconds, then he spoke directly to the ground. “I…for the first time, in a long, fucken, time…am surprised, and I thank ye greatly for that, and of course, ye’d mostly like to say, that ye don’t know what I’m talkin’ about. But I’m of a mind, dat part o’ ye does know, an’ I’d like to bow deeply, and doff my hat, to that particular part o’ ye. It smells of good soap and dreams, and the hope only a small child is supposed to be capable of…”

There was a small, meaningful pause,

“Okay, alrighty then, just would ya stand still for a moment?”

He downgraded my anger with his newly revealed velvet voice.

I stood still, for this moment, at least…

‘One more ting, could ya just step back, maybe a haffa step? You see, the people in this circle would probably give their lives; even, in the face of futility, to make sure my old pump, pumped summor.”

Once again, I was captured by his sheer, honesty, his humanness. The very heart of him, as he would so succinctly say, was bloomin’ right in front of my eyes.

And then it came to me, I was supposed to be dead, at this very minute; and now, I was literally living on borrowed time…

I stood back, I was living in a dream state now, too much, too soon; and my candle seemed to be blown out.

And his voice came to me…a small, fluttering spark, in the oppressive blackness.

“Now, I’m gonna try an’ explain it ya; all of it, mind you, and I would like you to be calm in the face of it.”

“This,”

 he pointed to the bespectacled demon standing next to himself.

“is my, nay…our, true friend, Eggleton. An’ he’s just decided, to become part o’ the team. He had a choice, doncha see? To be part o’ the problem or part o’ the solution.”

“Tell ‘im bud.” At this, the preacher’s voice was just an electric purring sound; an overstuffed, plush velvet couch, after a particularly boisterous party.

Then Eggleton did something I’ve never seen a human do; one minute he’s s’s’ standing th’th’ there, shaking like a terrified bunny.

Frozen for a moment, half a heartbeat away from tearing off into the darkness; to escape the terrible, all-consuming flames I represented.

Then, a microsecond before he could bolt, the preacher casually reached out and touched him with two nicotine-stained fingers, just on the back of his right elbow, and the little, cowering bastard changed…

Eggleton stood up straight, instantly lost his seemingly permanent slouch; locked eyes with me, and took two, very confident steps in my direction.

Fear was something this new Eggleton, not only couldn’t remember, it had somehow become a fantastical beast he couldn’t even imagine.

The awe of this transformation almost backed me up, but the pure, animal hatred was still there, burning inside of me, and I stood my ground.

Then he spoke, and his voice was pure, unwavering… honesty dripped off it like flaming spittle from a dragon’s lips.

“My full name is Theodore Ansel Eggleton, and I helped create the anti-virus, we, my team, and I found the cure for the virus. We really and truly did.”

“We were on the verge of publishing, then… we were approached by the biggest pharmaceutical company we’ve ever heard of. They showed up quietly at first, a single, blonde hottie, built like a wet dream, and damn she was smart too, our kind of smart.”

“Before we knew it, we were sipping very expensive champagne, on a private jet, with Caitlyn’s cleavage, in a very revealing white, strapless number, staring us in our understandably tired, and suggestable eyes.”

“It was a whirlwind, world-class seduction, of parties and press conferences.”

“They offered us the kind of money that gives Scrooge McDuck wet dreams.”

“We were all standing there, sweating through our gifted Armani suits backstage. Anxiously, getting ready to grip the gold pen, and make all our wildest dreams come true. The entire world watching…”

“Then he showed up,” a nod to the preacher, and then his eyes locked back on mine, and the truth continued its slow roll through him… he was a conduit and a vessel.

“He told us the future, and we believed him, even in our fame drunk state, we knew, he was right, we weren’t that far gone.”

“If this new partnership went through, our new overseers were going to gut our formula, cut corners in ways we couldn’t even fathom, and the result would be…catastrophic.”

“When this rush job, franken-cure hit the streets, the world as we know it, wouldn’t exist anymore. Fully one-third, maybe even as much as half…the population of the earth, would die a horrible, lingering death.”

“It would take about three months, long enough for those evil bastards to make a nice buffer of billions, and then the shit would hit the fan, hard, fast, and choppy, the way the devil intended.”

“Then one of the preacher’s friends, touched us, one at a time…and we became unnoticed, and simply walked out the back door, behind the stage.”

He took one more, impossible step toward me, reached out, and actually fucking touched me on my arm, and said, “It’s true. All of it.”

Then he gave me such a look, like a child, confessing for the first time, to a God he barely understood… and dammit, I believed him. I didn’t fucking want to, but I did.

I turned, and looked directly into my reflections on the Preacher’s too cool shades…and said…

“So, what do we do now?”

The Preacher slowly bent down, and picked up a rock, he held it in his hand for a heartbeat or two, studying it, and the moment around him, then he pointed at the sky behind me and yelled, “What the bleedin’ Jayzuz is dat!?!”

I spun like a cat, and I could feel part of me get ready to strike like a cobra.

But there was nothing…

When I turned around, I noticed two things:

  1. A rock, about ten inches from my face and coming in hot.

2. The Preacher, going through the throws of a follow-through that would make Sandy Koufax proud.

Then things got weird…

Everything froze for a split second, and the rock began to glow blueish, it froze in mid-air and started to revolve, slowly.

The Preacher, nonplussed, finished his motion and stood at ease.

He said, “Hmmm, blue.”

The rock did one last mid-air slow roll tumble, then abruptly, fell at my feet.

The preacher did something then, that surprised me more than anything he’d done thus far. He lifted his parachute shades onto his wrinkled brow…

His eyes glowed green, like electrified emeralds. and he winked.

Then he nonchalantly pressed a button, on the watch I never noticed he was wearing, and spoke calmly into that cold night, his voice a soft cloud, a small puff of the smoke of great intent…

“Jeeves, bring the car around, tell Boris I tink I might av a couple o’ new friends ‘e’d like ta meet.”

A hummer-stretch, the size of a small school bus, pulled around the corner, and we all gathered to embark, and the Preacher laid his arm across my shoulder like we were old friends, and in a way, we were.

He said,

“I’ve never personally been a witness to one, but you’re what we would call, a wildcard, you have the powers of any dat come close to ye. One arm Willie!”

“Preacher.” A voice rumbled to my left, and slightly behind.

“Would ye be so kind as to give our new friend a demo?”

I turned, and a man with one arm. Picked the hat off his head, a baseball cap, Dodgers I think… with an arm he didn’t have… the hat, glowed yellow.

“Can’t you see? You borrowed his power like you’d tried to borrow mine, and before dat, you were borrowing someone else's. Was there a man at your office that was really good at pickin’ da winners? Stocks-wise, I mean?”

I stammered, “Well… actually…”

“Don’ worry, we’ll get ‘im. People are pickin’ him up presently.”

“So,” said the Preacher, “We’re still gonna need more seed money, an’ you’ve already promised your shoes… how much d’ya tink that suit is worth?”

At my shocked look, he shrugged and said,

“Well, if you’re part o’ da team, you probably won’t be needing dem.”

The door on the stretch closed with a very expensive *flump*

And we drove away.

 

The End


Submitted: October 04, 2021

© Copyright 2021 chrispy. All rights reserved.

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Danni Lee

Your stories always amaze me.

Tue, October 5th, 2021 3:15am

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Thanks Danni, I'm so glad you liked it.

Tue, October 5th, 2021 12:34pm

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