Flying Away from Doom: (The secret life of Minister Harold )

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a short story that is based on a real-life character who predicted the end of the world.
When I met the man, I had NO idea that he created such a mega-empire on quoting or predicting things from the Bible.
He was character that maybe is now in a hotter place, but this is fictionalized account of what the man did with all that money.
Well, to quote L. Ron Hubbard You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.

Ironically predicting the end of the world can make you money, at least the first time you do it.
I was pilot for the one-percent who travel by private jet when I met this wizened old man and his flock.

THANK YOU FOR READING THIS! As an agnostic, I am not going to lie to about scriptures. Hopefully, this story will prevent you from being taken in by a con-artist with a bible in their hand or any other such book.

Submitted: August 28, 2014

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Submitted: August 28, 2014

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Flying Away from Doom:

(The secret life of Minister Harold )

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By:

John Hampton

THE DATE MAY 20, 2011:

I was the pilot on call for Emerald Blue Jet, the private Jet rental company, when I was paged that a client had just called in for an emergency flight from Chicago to Zurich Switzerland. This means, I will be flying to Zurich for some rich putz, who most likely is running a hedge fund, or a Hollywood star, Rapper or Pop star that is jetting off to ski and cuddle with his mistress.  When I was training to be pilot, I thought it would be all Top Gun and excitement. Now sadly my job is more like a flying limo driver for privileged assholes.  


My routine is now set. First, inform the wife, that I will be gone, and she is free to check to make sure the premium is paid on the life insurance. As for my wonderful kids, it will take a few days before they realize that their favorite ATM is not in the house.
My true sadness is for the pets. Guilt made me get the kids their dog and cats to fulfill the title of good Father. This title only seemed to last for about a nanosecond, and I returned  to poop, poop head status immediately.

I should have known better. All kids beg for pets. However, guess which idiot has to feed them and pick up their poop? Yes, that would be me. Sadly, every trip I take means the pets get skinnier. Somehow, even without sustenance the dog poop gets higher until reaches Egyptian pyramid heights, while the liter box turns into a mixture of urine cement and turds that cannot be removed without a jack hammer. Ironically, my one daughter had the chutzpa to inform me that she wants to be a vet. When she informed of this strange fact, I blew up with a truthful rage:


  “THEN WHY CAN'T YOU FEED THE DOG AND CATS!”

Ok, dear number one daughter; I am writing down on the Frig calendar, when you will have to feed the dog and cats.”

“YOU  HAVE TO FEED THE DOG AND CATS FROM May 21 to May 26, since dear old Dad is WORKING.”

She stares with rage back at me, and then I broached a topic that should have been left alone especially to a teenager.

“Won't you miss me?”  Nothing. Dead silence.

“You know, that I do pay for the cat and dog food?”  Nothing, just stares.

The cats and dog come now to me and look sad, as they know I am leaving on a trip.
Furthermore, they know the word food, like my wife knows the word credit card. Plus we are all the kitchen, and they have trained themselves to eat scraps from off teenager's plates. I pet all the animals and hug them since a Dad's got to find love somewhere.

Then I hunch my shoulders over like a beaten man, while impersonating one Tricky Dick Nixon, a certainly beaten down man and crook.

“Well, don't worry, you won't have Dad to kick around anymore, since that preacher is predicting the end of the world today.”  

 Now, I scowl like Richard Nixon, but my audience has no knowledge of history. The joke falls flat, like my status.

 My loving wife, Debbie, however, reminded me that I need to pick up more hours at work, as that it would be the end-of my world and along with the collapse of my monetary life.  If I didn't earn some big pay, she would seek a remarkable snake like person called an attorney to speed up the process of my financial ruin.

This of course, snapped me back to my normal state of working man depression. Maybe, this is why some people may be more willing to accept the end of the world, as a nice change of pace then marriage or work. Hey, isn't heaven- pie in the sky with no divorce lawyers or other people of that evil ilk.

Whatever, money I do earn seems to go to a black hole called the kids' college fund, their cell-phone bills and assorted other flotsam. I turn to hear my wife jibbering and jabbering about the money situation. Even, though I have the ability to turn off her voice, I understand the crux of her message. If I didn't earn some big pay, she would seek a remarkable snake like person called an attorney to end my financial life.
 I was now hoping that the client we are jetting about  would be wonderful comedian or loving, lonely Russian Countess to replace the wife, but recently it has just been CEOS, CFOS of the middle-size companies that have been getting on the rental jets.
Boring.  Sorry, but these folks just talk about business or their golf game, bridge, etc.

It would be hard for me to judge the mega-rich, since they are cloistered even farther away from scum like me. You see. The very rich own their own jets and even rent them out. As dumb luck would have it, I did meet Buffet and Gates while avoiding their bigger, better jets in the mid air. Once, I parked near Buffet's jet where I noticed how stingy the uber rich can be.  Buffet, the great man, was collecting fees from shareholders of the Berkshire fund, so they could have lunch with great man.
Rich people never like to pick up the tab.  Plus, they had to listen to a sales pitch about Gates's charitable foundation ability to save the world.  It reminded me of those time-share vacation promos, where you are locked in room until you sign up for a time-share condo located right in the middle of a swamp.


I have stories to tell about the rich and famous that would turn you into a confirmed socialist if you really knew. However, my company also had me sign a confidentially clause, so I can't mention the previous B actors, politicians that I have jetted to their secret vacations or so-called business meetings.
For those who want  to know the cost of this lifestyle, without buying the jet, here are some of your price options. Prices are subject to change.
-- 18 hours of flight time at $4,500-per-hour (discounted from $6,000-per-hour) ...
-- Catering for 17 domestic flights ($500-per-flight) ....
-- Catering for 4 international flights ($750-per-flight) ...
-- International fees ...
-- Taxes ... 
-- Luxury trip to England ...

It all adds up to why most people just fly coach.

I arrived at O'hare prepared to get ready for a preflight inspection, the usual methods to check the weather and stop overs necessary.  Flying your own jet is glamorous and tedious at the same time, but it does beat the hellish nature of flying commercial.  
The average Joe has to deal with invasion of time and space, instead the wealthy skip the security lines or long treks through the airport.

More perks for top ten percent are the gourmet catering and cocktails,versus the stale peanuts, and flat soda pop or cheap screw top wine. My problem with these people is they always want someone to blow sugar up their ass, while they still bitch and moan about some minor issues. Sadly, I don't own the plane or company, so I still have to kiss the client's ass.

Dejectedly, after checking into the Private hangers at O'hare; I see the rest of the crew milling around and shooting the shit.  The  manager is overly excited with  caffeine and bullshit, which causes frantically to shout orders to prove his status to the Flight attendants.
Now, I will have to put up with guy's bull, as he likes to strut his manhood inside an overpriced suit and ego voicing his usual screed:
“Hey, you slackers we have a very important client, requesting the best service.”

 
“Now attention staff: The client is a man of God, so you must not offend him with foul language  or inappropriate actions. We are not transporting Van Halen.”

This was directed at the chef, and package handlers who come with flight, those who might have direct contact. He will give the girls, flight attendants, more room in behavior guidelines, since they are groomed to be flirtatious, plus they have icky personal contact with our reptilian clientele. A private jet attitude toward a woman is throw-back to the 1960s, pre-liberation which is very hard on the woman's morale slash self worth, but times are tough and money is money.

I am now thinking that taking a man of God to Switzerland sounds a little fishy to me?
It is usually a business type person traveling to the place where they invented the cuckoo clock, chocolate and money laundering.  

My copilot is shaking his head, while holding back the urge to smack this this little weasel upside his pompous head. The caterers pull up in an expensive roach coach for this flight.


The illegal’s the company has hired to keep profits high are now loading in the lobster, filet mignon, caviar into the galley now, so this must be a very high roller. Just as the culinary delights have been loaded a gold Bentley pulls up to the VIP parking space. The smoked windows keep me from viewing the client immediately, but my manager is adjusting his tie and suit jacket. Even the more experienced flight attendants start their preening and reapply their lip gloss, to ensure that Mr. Right or more aptly put Mr. Moneybags maybe their ticket off their servitude,amidst the leather seats and caviar.

We are staring at the car waiting with anticipation to see who will emerge from the Bentley. Three beautiful, euro styled ladies emerge from the back of the Bentley, and attired in elegant, designer dresses, that cling to their sculpted bodies, as if they had been spray painted on.
Maybe these are the wayward wives from Bravo?
This must be some Hollywood star who can afford these groupies?
Could it be that Clooney's jet is in the shop, or could it be Ashton Kutcher stepping out with his new-found success signing the deal to replace the once winning Sheen?
No, maybe it's Newt Gringrich cheating on wife number three?
The staff is looking on, as the leggy super models are laughing and giggling after untangling their long legs. One of the models looks back into the Bentley and purrs:
“Do you need some help getting out of the car Reverend?”
“Thank you, but I am fine, my dear.”


Just then I hear a deep and melodious voice, and a little old scrawny man pops out of the backseat like a kangaroo rat. The face seems vaguely familiar, but I can't place the name. Most of these financial wizards, or a CEO could go unnoticed, except for when facing a grand jury for financial fraud, a lot them keep a low profile. I swear though this guy's face has been in the news lately.

“PRAISE JESUS, GIRLS WE HAVE ARRIVED TO START A NEW TOMORROW.”
This is a first time that I have transported a preacher, as the very successful one's usually have a fleet of personal jets. The Manager of operations begins his major butt kissing and fawning over the client, so we now start taking our positions for inspection. This reminds of the time when I flew missions in First Gulf War, and we had to be all spit and polish for some lame politician arriving at the base. Same ole bullshit. We are lined up like mannequins and introduced to the clients of this flight.


The old man shakes our hands and says: “Just call me Hal, or Minister Harold.”
“These girls are my spiritual emissaries, Candy, April,and the lovely Erin.”

The girls are lovely, but seem drunk, giggling and unfocused, so this should be a hell of flight.
This is when, I feel really sorry for the stewardesses, as drunks on a plane can be about as bad as snakes on a plane, as drunks turn into reptiles. You have to worry about them opening doors in flight, overflowing toilets, throwing objects and general teenager type behavior.
“Harold, Honey, don't forget our gifts in the trunk?”
 Candy purrs with the sound of Monroe or that other dead sex kitten, what's her name? Now, I remember, Anna Nicole Smith, a very sad, screwed-up life.
The voice of the minister snaps me out of images of long dead sex kittens, back to this strange little man and his entourage.
Harold starts waving his hands like a TV Preacher while impressing his groupies.

“OH, yes your gifts will not be left behind.
I spent too much money on them just to lose them."

The chauffeur is now instructed to pop open the trunk, and the girls scurry to pick up the blue bags that are em-blazed with a giant Tiffany logo. The girls grab the goodies like Dobermans after a steak and they are heading for entrance to the plane. This will be one hell of a trip, and I am hoping the weather holds. Not being stuck with this old goat is one of my goals. Minister Harold, now spryly hops behind his bevy of devoted followers and pinches the girl's butt as they walk up the stair into the jet. Praise Jesus, this guy is a very frisky octogenarian.
“Behave Harold.” Candy squeals


Frank my copilot is now shaking his head in disgust, since he is a regular church goer.
“This guy can't be a real minister?"
Frank intones hoping to keep his faith in check.

“Frank, don't worry, maybe God has a sense of humor.”
“Let's do the walk around Frank to make sure we don't have to pray while flying this old guy and his groupies.”

Since all companies, including this one, are trying to save on costs, I am very concerned that the plane's maintenance not being up to safe standards.
We both start looking for damage or poor repairs, lose or damaged pieces on a plane could kill everybody, even that wrinkled Bible thumper, could meet his maker.

“Everything is looking good, Frank, let's get this baby in the air.”

Now, Frank and I enter the airplane, while looking down the aisle, we both take note of the old man and the girls enjoying a bottle of champagne, laughing with no cares in the world. The two stewardesses are now sizing up the amount of care, and feeding is necessary to survive the flight. Next, thing we see. The old man takes a Bible from his pocket and shouts to the groupies:

“KISS THE HOLY BOOK, AS IT HAS PROVIDED MANY GREAT MANY THINGS!”

The girls are first taken back, but since they have enough booze in them, they all start goofing around kissing each other than the Bible, while the preacher starts laughing.

“Now you must, Kiss the messenger of God!.” The preacher says this with a trinkle in his wrinkled eyes.
“Hold on Harold!”

Erin says this trying to push the old preacher back in his seat.
To calm the old man down, the girls start kissing on his leathery old cheek.

“Christ O’ Mighty, Frank, make sure the stewardess keeps this guy on a short lease, and if they have to let them pepper spray the old goat.”

Harold, goes in for a French kiss and the girls fight off as he tries to slip in the tongue down poor Candy's not so innocent throat. The stewardess set up their plan to control the madness, while we head for the cockpit cabin. Frank and I now set about checking the controls in the cockpit, fuel gauges and status of instruments.
I hear Sue the flight attendant knocks on the cabin door, then entering with a smirk on her face. Sue Franklin, is our top notch flight attendant, and she is checking in with us before we take off, as like to confer with her on the status of the passengers. Frank and I both carry stun guns, in case we have real problems or other possible behavioral issues that may occur during the flight. You can't believe how dangerous a rich, drugged out Hollywood type can be on a plane. Just remember how a porno star ended up locked in a hotel closet with you know who. Now think that you have that same looney on your plane with the added danger of being thirty thousand feet in the air to the mix.
Sue is now carrying the passenger log and shaking her head in disgust while stating the facts like a veteran of our Looney tune passengers.


“Boy, that old guy is going to be trouble, as he is still drinking, and pawing the girls.”

“If he won't settle down, we will have a talk with him.”

Sue, is a great talent, as she has to dealt with on these nut jobs with aplomb and tact that mirrors a top-notch crisis manager.
“Thanks guys, I will try the FAA scare tactics, or tell him Jesus will be mad about his behavior.”
“You know, guys the passenger manifest has been changed.”

Sue, says this while handing over the passenger list. “Look at the old man's last name.”
The old man's last name was blacked out, and a name was typed next to it.
“Schicklgruber” Immediately, it hits me that the old man is using a fake name.

Images of Hitler fill my head, with that strange Chaplin mustache.

“That's Hitler's real family name.” I said this thinking that thank god, I watch the history channel.
“Hey, Frank we may be transporting a very old Nazi.”

Frank smiles oddly while saying. “That is very weird, but we have no solid evidence, but we better watch the old guy for any odd saluting.”
I am thinking that an old Nazi would have changed his name and I hope to calm Frank to the fact, that it is not likely we would transporting a Nazi.“Wouldn't a Nazi stay away from such a obvious name.”

“Ok, Frank all the readings are correct and the flight path is programmed into the auto-pilot, its hop and skip to Paris where we refuel and then onto Zurich.”

“Trim set on ailerons, flaps set, Brakes check.”

“Throttling Up.”
“Contacting tower for take off clearance, Frank.”
“ Flight Bravo-JetBlue request takeoff.”

Slight distortion on our speaker then we both hear the Air Traffic Controller's response:
“All clear for runway 2c, proceed to taxi and wait for further instructions.”
We taxi down the runway, hoping that all the air traffic controllers are awake and alert. The sound of Sue instructing the passengers to settle down comes over speakers.
“All clear for takeoff Bravo-Jet emerald Blue.”

Frank and I scan the sky for geese or wayward private planes. All clear skies with a nice takeoff. Throttle up, flaps set. We are up, up and away.
I flip the auto-pilot switch to on. Piece of cake as long as the passengers don't go ape-shit. This should be a nice trip, away from my cranky family.

Since we are on auto-pilot, the boredom starts to sink in. Pilots have been known to watch dvd movies or play around with video games while on auto-pilot, but this is when your inner teenager can get you killed, or at least miss the airport you are supposed to land at. One the major airlines was headed for Minnesota, but the pilot and copilot were so engrossed in the movie that landed in Canada.
To fight the boredom, we do our double checks. Frank, is double checking the flight schedule for backup routes. “ Hey, we have a stop over in Paris for refueling, but it says that the Minister Hal is scheduled for lunch and shopping.”
Frank caught the catch-22 of being chauffeur for the well-heeled shopaholic set.
“Shit, that means he could be gone for hours and will be stuck flying at night into Zurich.”


I said this knowing the dangerous conditions occur when flying near mountains. Crap what a nightmare, where the weather can change into snow and ice in a second. Frank is shaking his head, while trying to calculate flight times and weather conditions over Zurich.
“Well, we have eight hours until Paris, then we hope the old man doesn't sight see the whole city.” Frank notes that after eight hours, the crew will be tired and frayed from the demanding passengers. My dull light bulb of a brain does finally come on, when I tell Frank, the need of a status report.


“Christ O mighty, let's talk to Sue about how the passengers are behaving. We don't need a mutiny now.” We once, lost a pissed off chef and all the support staff due to a reptilian client who hissed outrageous demands.
We hit the attendant light on our console, and we hear Sue respond.
“Dealing with a minor problem, but we be there shortly”


Sue knocks then enters the cabin. “Jesus, that guy is a pain in the ass.”

“He demanded the chef cook the filet minion three times until it was exactly the pink color he wanted.” With an exasperated look on her face, Sue explains that the old guy is as horny as teenager or senator.

“Now, he was trying to get his religious followers to give him a blow job in the bathroom.”
Ironically, this nothing unusual when dealing with the wealthy as they can be as deprived, debauched and disoriented as any money junkie, rock star.
Turning to Sue, I want to reassure her that one of us will help her.


“One of us can go and have a talk with him, to tell him to settle down.”

“ You, won't believe this, but one of his groupies slipped him a sleeping pill in his champagne, so he is out like a baby, sleeping like a very ugly, wrinkly baby.”
“Great we are catching a tail wind, we only have seven hours left until we get to Paris.”

We arrive at Paris right on time, and the landing was normal. Exhaling that the flight was over. We taxi to the private jet hangers to disengage ourselves from the client. As Frank and I walk from the cockpit, we see the religious groupies slapping the old guy awake and demanding that he give them their spending money.
The old man looks like he died, pale, shriveled, this makes me worried that we now have a dead guy on the plane. Then all of sudden the old man sputters, snorts, grunts out copious amounts of spittle and comes back to life like Lazarus.


“Praise Jesus, I am still alive girls, now give me a kiss, girls.”
All the girls kiss him on his wrinkled, reptile cheek while singing like the Supremes:
“Harold, we are in Paris. We need money for shopping.”


Sue the flight attendant angel, all around crisis team, looks sternly at these passengers and reminds them that they have to be back to board the flight in four hours.
The old man who seemed near death just seconds ago, is wide awake and perky.

“No problem, sweetie, I need to get to Zurich to deposit my heavenly money from Jesus, so don't you worry your pretty little head. We won't be late.” As Minister Hal says this he taps his bible, “ I am on a mission from God to get to Zurich.”
“Frank what do ya want to go now?” “Should we go to Paris or just get some shut eye for the next leg of the trip?”
When I said this I was hoping that Frank had the same feelings about Paris that I do.

A beautiful city, full of cranky nasty natives, who dismiss and loath Americans.
Strangely, the French always seemed to forget how we rid them of the Nazi's.
Like people everywhere no good deed goes unpunished.
Someday, I will crack up and visit the city again then stand on the corner yelling at the Parisian, “YOU DUMB BASTARD'S FORGET D-DAY, DO YOU ALL WANT TO SPEAK GERMAN.”
Thankfully, Frank is on the same wave length about the Parisian's.
“Oh no, the Parisian is haughty, rude, traffic is a nightmare, it's not worth the trouble.”
We head for the pilots' lounge for shuteye, while the rest of the crew is heading for the bar and a trip to Paris. A TV is blaring and there are a few other pilots sleeping, drinking coffee and complaining about their pensions. Cell-phones are now being stared at by some who look as if they are magical instruments. Being a bored, I am more attracted to the TV and American news, then to the irritant called a cell-phone.


French TV is showing crowds of people carrying signs, saying today is the END-OF THE WORLD. I don't understand French, but it seems that people actually were gullible enough to believe that today was the end of the world.

I find the remote and flip through more stations to see if I can get the BBC, take of the end of the world. The announcer is that British formality turns to his co-host and states. “Rapture parties for the coming of the end of the world have been a bust.”
Now, there is a cut away to crowd of disappointed followers of Harold Camping.”
The screen now cuts to a picture of a wizened old man, pointing skywards and holding a bible. I look at the screen more closely.

“HEY, FRANK, look at the picture of that old guy. “That's OUR PASSENGER, THAT'S HAROLD Schicklgruber. I MEAN Harold CAMPING!”
Now we turn it over to our American reporter interviewing a follower of Harold Camping on his opinions of the Rapture.
A young reporter is interviewing, a retired transportation agency worker who spent “over $140,000 of his money on subway posters and outdoor advertisements on the Rapture.”
A microphone is stuck in this poor rubes face, and he is glum, downtrodden, that the end of the world didn't come: “When the hour came and went, he said: "I do not understand why?", as his speech broke off, and he looked at his watch.
"I do not understand why nothing has happened."
We are now reporting from another devotee of Harold Camping that sadly ended up dead broke thinking that the end was today.
“Sir, can we have your name and what happened when you followed Mr. Camping's predictions.”
“um,, my name is Keith Bauer, and me and the family got in our SUV
and crossed the country.

If it was his last week on Earth, he wanted to see parts of it; he'd always heard about but missed, such as the Grand Canyon. With maxed-out credit cards and a growing mountain of bills, he said, the rapture would have been a relief.”

The British reporter is sardonically chuckling about the gullible American's and their love of religious scoundrels. “Has anyone been able to contact Mr. Camping, on why his predictions have failed?”
“ As for Harold Camping, no word has been heard from him. His daughter Sue Espinoza received a call from him Saturday morning, according to Mrs. Espinoza:

"He just said, 'I'm a little bewildered that it didn't happen, but it's still May 21 [in the United States],'" Espinoza said, standing in the doorway of her Alameda home. "It's going to be May 21 from now until midnight."


Frank and I stared at each other than started laughing. “ That old bastard is on his way to Zurich to offshore the money he made off this scam.”
Now, sadly, we helped in Harold as he stole from the believers. Harold was flown to Zurich to deposit more money into his Swiss Bank account. The guise of religion makes it legal to fleece the flock, since its religion and a donation. It's a win-win. A non-taxable win.
As, Harold and his groupies boarded for the flight home laden with Gucci bags, jewelry, Harold was wearing a new suit and a solid gold Rolex. I felt like chastising him on stealing, just the sight of them was revolting. However, I secretly had to admire the old guy’s balls and brilliance in a greater ponzi scheme than Madoff.
Old Harold was winning at one of the oldest con games to exist.
Yes, religion, sorry you believers. Weirdly, the little old man who predicted the end of the world was the happiest person I ever met. Harold laughed and sang spiritual songs. Of course, he still groped his drunken religious emissaries all the way home. What lessons can be learned from dirty old Harold. As far as I can tell, stay away from people who claim they can interpret the Bible.
Stay far, far away and hold onto your wallet.
Did Harold have any redeeming quality from all his biblical studies?

Well, Harold did tip generously at the end of the trip, but it was stolen money.
So there you have Harold, was a born con man, but he didn't lie about one thing.
THE HOLY BOOK HAS PROVIDED MANY GREAT THINGS!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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