Monday, December 1, 2008

The Victim of Problems Part III

In our previous installment, Pastor Kurt was unaware of the deacon's newest convert to the faith, young Allen Gibson. Despite their perceived victory, they were strangely silent following the contract they signed for him. Journey with me now to the pastor's office as he is silently drinking coffee and preparing his next sermon....

The Victim of Problems Part III

A few months later, Pastor Kurt was sitting at his desk when the Sheriff poked his head in the door. “Good morning, Kurt. Got a minute?”

“Dan Tucker? Of course, come in. How are you?”

Dan removed his hat. “I’m fine. It’s going to be a hot day.”

“Yesterday it was over a hundred again. Thirteen days in a row…”

“Yep, it’s hot. Mrs. Beagle wants me to set up her swimming pool, but I don’t know anything about pools.”

Kurt smiled. “Well, if you need a hand, just call. I’ll have some of the men go by and take care of Mrs. Beagle.”

Dan waved him off. “Oh, don’t worry about it. Otis Fuller said that he would take care of it this afternoon.”

“It sounds like a good project for Otis. Care for a cup of coffee?”

“No, thanks. I can’t stay long. I just stopped by to give you this.”

For the first time, Kurt saw that Dan held a piece of paper in his hand. “What is it?”

Dan hesitated. “It’s a warrant. That’s why I brought it. Usually, I would have a deputy bring it, but I felt like I needed to be the one to do it.”

“A warrant? Am I being arrested?”

“Sort of.”

“For what?”

“Fraud and Misrepresentation.”

“You have to be kidding. When have I committed fraud?”

“Well, you haven’t, not exactly. Do you remember the revival you had a few weeks back?”

“Of course.”

“Well, some young feller, Allen Gibson, apparently accepted Jesus and has now sworn out a complaint against you and the deacons for lying to him.”

“For lying? I remember Allen, but I don’t remember him walking the isle.”

“That’s because he didn’t.”

“I’m confused, Dan. What’s going on?”

“Alright, here goes. It seems that this Allen Gibson was told by your deacons that if he would ask Jesus into his heart, then God would solve all of his problems. Not only that, they made a list of the things that God was going to give them, which includes a perfect marriage, a new car, a new home, a job, and a promotion at his new job. When Allen got home and started fighting with his wife, he decided that the deacons lied to him and misrepresented God.”

“What? That’s ridiculous! Why, I can’t even begin to describe…”

“There’s more.” Dan interrupted. “It seems that his car got a flat and then broke down, and then he never found a job, so he never got his promotion, all contrary to the contract that your deacons signed.”

“Dan, what is this contract you keep talking about?”

Dan sighed and reached into his pocket and pulled out a photo copy of the contract. “Here, see for yourself.”

Kurt read the contents and remained silent. Then he read through it again. “Dan, this is strange. Are you sure this is from my deacons?”

“Unfortunately, yes. Those are real signatures and that is a legal contract.”

“But it’s ridiculous.”

“Granted. However, your deacons, in all their zeal, foolishly committed you and your church to the biggest religious scandal since Jim Baker went to prison. I fully expect the news crews to pull up sometime tomorrow. You’re going to be famous, Kurt.”

“So, am I under arrest, or what?”

Dan shrugged. “Why don’t you follow me down to the office, that way you can have your car handy for when we release you.”
“Release me? I’m not under arrest?”

“Oh, you are. But I talked to the judge and he agreed to turn you loose on your own recognizance. We just need to go down and book you. Then you can go home.”

“I can’t believe this is happening.”

“Believe it. By the way, Kurt, why don’t you remain silent and don’t talk? I would hate for you to accidentally say something that you will regret.”

“Thanks, Dan, but I don’t know anything about it, how could I possibly say anything?”


A few hours later, Dan was sitting in Jack Taylor’s office. Jack was the only defense lawyer in town that handled criminal cases and he seldom had any practice with potentially high profile cases. “Kurt, this is a mess. Why on Earth would your deacons do something so strange?”

“I donno. I haven’t even talked to them.”

“Well, you’ll get your chance. Dan just served the rest of the warrants and I’m certain that they will all be calling me by the end of the day.” He frowned. “It seems to me that you have a legitimate problem on your hands. This contract is legally binding. It was signed with witnesses and very clearly spells out that God is obligated to act out the terms of the agreement. It seems, Kurt, that you are the victim of a con artist.”

“Well, arrest him, or something.”

“For what? He’s done nothing illegal. There is no law against entering into a contract that is impossible to fulfill. What will probably happen is that Allen will drop the charges if you will pay his damages.”

“What damages? Nothing has happened to him.”

“Exactly. Nothing happened after he was promised that everything would happen.”

“But the whole idea is frivolous.”

The lawyer shook his head. “Doesn’t really matter. The deacons promised him something in exchange for another.”

“Is this about God?” Kurt’s eyes blazed as he considered the question. “Not really. It’s about money!”

“Well, if he would have sued you for breech of contract, which would probably work, it could take years. However, if he drops the criminal charges, then you can settle out of court. He wins, you have no criminal conviction, and the church is only out a little cash.”

“Oh, brother. Why isn’t that extortion?”

“Because if you are convicted, and you will be, you will have to face criminal charges. If he agrees to drop the charges and not pursue you into civil court, then how you settle the matter out of court is your personal business.”

Kurt had nothing to say. He sat and brooded in his chair.

“By the way, what is your church worth?”

“Hmm, it’s interesting that you should ask. We have inherited a large sum from the Johnson Trust. There is a little over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. We were going to use it for our building project.”

To be continued. Tune in tomorrow for a dramatic conclusion...


Julie Gillies said...

Hi Travis,

Thanks for stopping by my blog - it' nice to meet you. I'm always happy to make new writing friends.

Today's post is excellent...I got pulled right into the story. Well done! I can see why you have a novel published.

I'm strictly non-fiction, myself. I can't imagine trying to think up a plot, characters, etc. It's amazing to me that fiction gets written. LOL

Blessings to you.

Avily Jerome said...

Hey Travis!

Sorry I haven't been around in awhile- crazy busy week!!!

Ok, I seriously LOVE this story!

And you know me well enough by now to know that I wouldn't lie about that! :)

Wow- can't wait to see how it turns out!

In the meantime, I'll ponder it a little more, so as to give you some more feedback on the thoughts and emotions that are evoked therein.

Thanks for sharing this story!

Alison Bryant said...

Interesting that it was over 100 degrees for 13 days in a row. Coincidence? Don't think so.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Very interesting concept behind this story. I got your novel in the mail, too, and have been enjoying the first chapter as I squeeze it in whenever I get the chance!

Travis said...

Thanks for your encouragement. I always covet encouragement!