Authors: Kathy Bobo
Copyright © 2012 Kathy Bobo
All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of
the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual events,
locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Without limiting the rights
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Spirit Temple Pentecostal Christian Church had everything a proper bible thumping,
Holy Roller could want, shouting, speaking in unknown tongues, Holy Ghost dancing,
fainting and rolling around on the floor in fits of rapture, live music along
fabulous choir. It was also chock-full with everything else; such as, power, gossip, murder and
betrayal. The only thing larger than the congregation was their egos, and the number of
services and pews increased to accommodate both.
It is 10:30 A.M and the Ushers are wearing white dresses. Sister Nadine Dalton is a
stately woman of seventy with salt and pepper gray hair, and she hands the collection
plate to a woman sitting at the end of the pew, and she passes it to the person sitting next
to her. This routine continued for about twenty minutes until they completed the ritual,
and that is with almost thirty ushers. Some people dropped cash into the collection plate
while other dropped a collection envelope into the gold plate. This was not Nadine’s
Sunday, but the regular usher was helping a woman that got over-heated and passed out, so
the Mother of the Church, Mother Beulah Murdock asked Nadine to help. Nadine hands the
empty tray to a young woman sitting at the end of the pew. When she got to the end of
the last row, she noticed an opened collection envelope on the top and s a w
l o t t e r y
t i c k e t
o u t
part of the way. On perfect musical queue, the ushers marched in to the
beat of music to the end of the church to a waiting Mother Beulah with their collection
plates. Nadine whispers to Mother Beulah, “Someone put a lottery ticket in the collection
Shocked, Mother Beulah demanded to know, “Who did it?”
“I don’t know,” answers Nadine.
Mother Beulah tells Nadine, “It’ll be okay. I’ll throw it away in the counting room.”
Nadine shot Beulah a questioning look but remained silent. She knew all hell was about to
The incident was anything but
from God, and we will soon learn not
from God, and I’ll leave it at that.
It happened after Sunday morning church service. The finance committee of
Temple Pentecostal Christian Church gathered
normal to count the money from the
morning collection. On the finance committee is Assistant Pastor and Junkyard Prophet
Reverend Alvin Carney, President of the Broad of Stewards and Vice President of the
Board of Stewards, Melvin Sims. Jason Brennan, President of the Board of Trustees.
Treasurer, Nichelle Graves, Deacon Ray Murdock, and representing the Board of
Deacons and Deacon in training Tyrone Lane, My mother- in-law, Mother Beulah Murdock
and myself. Everyone had a pile in front of them counting the contents when Deacon
Murdock takes a lottery ticket out of his collection pile. In the past, we have gotten all
kinds of things in the collection pails, IOU's and prayer requests, but never a lottery ticket.
Deacon Murdock has a bucket of cash in front of him, but instead of counting, he
is reading the newspaper. Mother Beulah, “Put that paper down and count that money in
front of you.” Ray folds the newspaper and lays it to the left of
him and pours the bucket of cash onto the table. Cash in various denominations flowed from
the bucket as coins rolled across the table. Ray gets things settled, he starts separating the bills
denomination. Ray handles the cash in his hand like a professional banker and counts
just as quick. Ray
likes all the heads
going in the same direction, and he
looked at a lottery ticket buried in the pile of cash in his hands, “A lottery ticket,” says Ray.
Ray starts to pass the ticket to Tyrone, but looks at the ticket again, “Saturday, April
7th, 2012…this is for last night’s drawing.”
“Just pass the ticket to Nichelle, and she’ll throw it away.”
Ray jumps out of his chair and does a Holy Ghost dance, and he begins shouting
and speaking in tongues, "We've got a winner!" Everyone stops counting and looks at
Deacon Murdock dancing with a ticket in his hand.
Shawn demands to know, "What's the meaning at this?"
Deacon Murdock hands Shawn the ticket
and he looks at the newspaper and sure enough was a winner. A winning ticket worth
One Billion Dollars and even Shawn got into the spirit, "PRAISE THE LORD!"
When everyone else in the room found out, they began shouting and jumping for
joy with sheer insanity. All were happy but, Nichelle. She urges everyone to calm down.
Deacon Murdock grabs his daughter Nichelle and shouts, "This ticket is worth a cool One
Billion Dollars, and we're
Deacon Murdock releases
Nichelle and informs her, "Can you imagine what everyone can do with their share of the
Nichelle calmly sits
down in her seat, crosses her legs and says, "This church
belongs to Shawn, everything in this church
belongs to Shawn, including the collection.”
She couldn’t wait to tell everyone in the room, “None of you is entitled to one red cent."
The room fell into a deathly silence, and Ray staggered in disbelief and releases
Nichelle. Everyone gave Nichelle dirty, angry looks including her father, "I didn't raise you
to be selfish.”
counting machine and said, “Can I get a Amen!”
Mother Beulah with a bitter and angry expression on her face points her finger at
Shawn and tells him, "This is the work of the Devil, and we need to find out whom this
ticket belongs to and give it back to them!"
Dismissively, Junkyard Prophet says, “Let’s not call the Devil a no account dirty,
stinking, no good SOB.”
unsuitable in a church. Tyrone leans forward in his chair with a serious expression on his face
looks at Mother Beulah, and tells her, "You're right, and this ticket spells trouble, and we
need to get it out of the church."
Deacon Murdock approaches Shawn
and starts to take the ticket from Shawn and
says, "No problem, I'll take it home with me."
Junkyard Prophet is a few inches short of being seven feet tall and three hundred
and fifty pounds rise to his feet, “You’d better not touch him or that ticket!”
With a height of five feet six inches and one hundred twenty pounds, he looks
up at Junkyard with a bit of trepidation, “I’m not some punk pastor. I can knock you on
At first everyone stares and some people burst into
nervous laughter while others
chair with her finger pointed at Deacon
Murdock, "Ray, that evil ticket is not coming anywhere near my house!"
Deacon Murdock gets angry, but with a smile, "Women should remain silent in
the church and even though you're my wife, I run that house, not you!"
Shawn urges them, "Calm down, and for now I'll hold on to the ticket."
everyone, “The IRS will hit an individual winner pretty
hard in taxes, but if the church
cashed in the ticket it would be tax free.”
Everyone listens carefully at Tyrone,
Junkyard Prophet that breaks the
silence “Well damn! What’d you do? Fix the freaking lottery?”
a response. Shawn takes
the ticket from
Deacon Murdock opens the safe after Nichelle’s revelation ripped the joy from everyone's
spirit and left it tattered into shreds on the counting room table. Shawn places the ticket
in the safe locks the door, he asks the question, "Why someone would put a winning
lottery ticket worth One Billion Dollars in a church collection plate?"
GUESS WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?
parked on the
front parking lot. Everybody has a key to the church but me and to tell you the truth, I
want a key. In my opinion, to many people have
keys around this church. I looked around the empty parking lot as I get out of the car. I
about to light a cigarette when Jason Brennan speeded onto the parking lot and jumped
out of the car in a cheerful tone, “Good Morning Reverend Carney.”
I smiled at Jason and say, “Now listen boy, I’ve told you a thousand times to call
be Junkyard Prophet.”
Sir, Mr. Junkyard.”
Suspecting that was the best I was going to get from Jason I decide not to press him
any further because Shawn was pulling onto the parking lot at that moment.
The three of us are walking to the front door as Jason walked to the front door of
the church. Shawn glances around
the parking lot
as we are
walking up the
toward the front door. I door turned the doorknob, and it was locked. “I guess Deacon
Murdock locked the door after he went in?”
Rev. Graves takes his keys out of his pocket and unlocks the door, and all three go
in to a dark church. Jason flips the light switch on the wall and the
Religious Convention that starts Friday Night."
Jason said, "I've been looking forward to this all summer."
Pentecostal Christian Church is the largest church in the City of St. Louis with over forty
thousand members. Reverend Graves comments, "I've got to be prepared."
I said, “We’ll be broadcasting the opening night event live via the Internet, and
They walked passed to alter and up the small stairway that leads to the pulpit.
Behind the pulpit is a large baptismal pool and they froze dead in their tracks when they
see a body floating face down like a dead fish. Still wearing the bright orange
Sunday's church service is Deacon Murdock floating face down.
Jason runs into the office to call the police, but
a State Of The Art Security System, and I can’t recall the
locked. Jason rushes back into the sanctuary and tells Shawn, "The office door is locked."
the ticket, so I considered
office before I left yesterday,” responded Shawn to Jason.
I don’t like being around dead bodies, especially murdered ones. I looked for any reason
to leave, without much success. I believe the other two felt the same way. All three of us
leave the baptismal pool area and are walking
in the direction of Shawn’s office. Shawn
nervously fumbles in his pockets for the office keys. Slowly Shawn unlocks the office door
and opens the office door. The office looks as though Hurricane Katrina came through,
but much worse. The door to the safe is hanging to one side. It looked as though it had
been blown open with something powerful. Shawn looks into the safe, “I can’t believe
“What,” I ask but doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure it out as Shawn begin
pulling clean plastic bags of currency from the safe and laying them on the floor in front of
I gaze at all those money bags, and I was in the counting room, and I know the final
total. There is almost $70,000 stacked on the floor in front of the safe. Shawn stands up
straight, and I bend over and look into the empty safe, and Shawn tells us, “The lottery