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The Frustrated Pastor

by Radrook

    The short, stout, white-bearded priest, father Nicanor Garcia, had finally reached the limits of his patience. It had been four years since he had been furiously preaching Bible morals in the Amazonian sweltering heat. But the sermons just didn't seem to sink in. Adultery and fornication were rampant as well as many other sins which were clearly condemned by the Bible and he didn't know why. If he shouted his sermons any louder he feared his tonsils would explode. So it couldn't be that he wasn't being heard. Yet they seemed completely unmoved by his constant warnings. It seemed that the more he preached the more they were inclined to sin.

     But what really irked Father Garcia most were the smug, contented faces they brought to the church services. It was as if they believed that God was unaware of their dishonesty. As if they felt that there was actually somewhere to hide from his all-seeing eyes. But bad weather that evening would show them. Fortunately for him, no villager listened to the radio as he did. They were far too busy hunting and fishing. Sure, a few dark clouds had been sighted. But that was nothing unusual. So the unexpected thunderstorm during his sermon would hopefully help.

     No, he wasn't being cruel. In fact, he had been patient and cared about his congregation. But there comes a time when people need to be traumatized in order to pay attention to the Lord, and he was sure that this experience would set them firmly on the path to salvation. After all, had not God repeatedly awed Israel into a reverence that they had once stubbornly been reluctant to show? So with the help of stormy weather, hopefully he could finally reach their hearts and motivate them to repentance.

     So there they were that gusty afternoon, dressed in their finest as usual, but as Jesus had said to the Pharisees, the outer cup might appear righteous though the inside needed cleansing.

     "I suppose many of you are planning on coming to me for confession after the service right?" he said, glaring over his thick, tinted, bifocal glasses.

     "Apparently, many of you think that this is all some kind of a game! Right? Well, let me assure you that it is not."

     At that moment it thundered and a sudden gust of wind shook the building. That was followed by the loud patter of raindrops on the church's corrugated, tin roof. The congregation stirred worriedly for a few moments but then gradually settled down. He smiled at the coincidence. After all, he needed all the help he could get in order to get through to these morally-decadent people. 

     Squinting triumphantly, he continued while raising the Bible above his head with his right hand and shaking it vigorously for emphasis.  His thick, full, white beard momentarily glimmered in the light giving him the look of some ancient Hebrew prophet. His square, jutting  jaw made it even more impressing.

     “Adam and Eve imagined the same thing and lost out on life! You fine folk all know that by now-don't you?"

     "Amen and Hallelujah!" the village’s prime adulterer, Jonatan Riviera, suddenly intoned in a high-pitched, quavering voice while eyeing the exposed lower leg of his best friend's wife with whom he had been secretly involved for the past five years.

     "Praise be the Lord almighty!" she suddenly exclaimed in response, and there were muffled giggles from the others in attendance who knew about their illicit relationship but had never informed her sleepy-faced husband.

     "Do not be deceived! For whatever a man is sowing that also shall he reap!" Father Garcia shouted while pointing in the general direction of the two.

     "Amen! The truth shall set you free!" the decrepid village habitual liar shouted with an emaciated, sanctimonious face and a black-leather King James Version Bible firmly clasped in his right hand. Then proceeded to dance and shuffled around a bit as if inspired by holy spirit as he usually did at all church services before finally taking a seat and dozing off for the remainder.

     “It is not by bread alone!”“ Father Garcia started to utter, but before he could finish, he was interrupted by the four-hundred pound, morbidly obese, porcine-faced village glutton whom God had gifted with an unusually resonant, deep voice that never needed amplification.

"....but by every utterance proceeding out of the Lord's mouth!" the glutton blared and his triple chin undulated in response. He had made a Herculean effort to come to his feet assisted by his cadaverous-looking mother and anemic, emaciated brother and was sweating profusely from the effort. Unable to remain standing, he fell to his seat and destroyed it in the process as both its bamboo legs snapped like twigs. Father Garcia was pleased to hear two immediate thunder claps as this happened and the lights in the church flickered ominously. That added to his conviction that the Lord was indeed expressing his displeasure.

     “For he who steals let him steal no more!” Father Garcia continued with one ear perked hopefully to the increasing howl of the wind outside and the growing cacophony of the downpour on the church’s tin roof which nearly drowned out his voice.

     “Amen!” shouted the village thief, Benicio Garalofago whom Father Garcia had found stealing money from the church contribution box on numerous occasions while everyone else had stood with eyes shut and in silent prayer. He noticed that the thief, don Garalofago was now suddenly sporting a new pair of black, patent-leather shoes and wondered where he had gotten the extra money since his cane-cutting salary was obviously too meager to allow it . That’s when he noticed that a golden crucifix on one of the church walls next to the confession vestibule was missing. Controlling his growing suspicion, frustration and growing desire to wring Don Garalofago's neck as he did the chickens he slaughtered each weekend, he managed to continue:

     "And he told the woman whom the crowd was about to stone, “Go and sin no more!" he shouted, a thick purple vein bulging from his pale neck and spittle flying from his thin lips with the effort to be heard above the pelting rain.

     At that moment the the village prostitute, Maria Del Carmen, who had been promising to mend her ways for the last ten years but never did, arrived soaking wet. He had always suspected that the only reason Maria had ever attended services was for advertising purposes. Always smilingly while coquettishly displaying her pale, burgeoning breasts, tight skirts always hugging her generous hips, and scarlet red lipstick on her thick luscious lips.

     Of course the wetness of the rain was to her advantage since it caused her clothing stick to her form and the ogling eyes of the faithful, including his own, were drinking it all in. It usually disrupted his sermons by causing him to stutter but tonight he would prevail.

     After feigning a deeply reverent embarrassment, and giving the Father a furtive almond-eyed glance, Maria quickly genuflected and took a seat at the back as usual from where she could survey any prospective client, of course..

     After taking a deep breath and silently asking the Lord for spiritual fortitude, father Garcia continued:

     "It is because of your sins that disaster will finally befall you! Repent before it becomes too late! Before the day of his wrath arrives," he shouted from the pulpit.

     Just then, village constable, Eusebio Pedrosa, a lanky, tall, gray-haired, fellow in his mid fifties and his assistant the young, short, stout Felipe Belgrano, casually sauntered in with their white straw hats in hand and took a seat in the back row.

    Both were thoroughly drenched with rain and their boots were splattered with mud from making the trip from police headquarters all the way to his church. They had never attended before, so Father Garcia wondered what was really on their minds. Especially with the grave looks they both had on their gaunt, tanned mestizo faces and they way that they were swiveling their dark eyes as if carefully examining their surroundings. Also, the suspicious way that the congregation members were whispering and snickering wasn’t exactly comforting.

     “Hola amigos!” Father Garcia finally said in the calmest voice he could muster, 

     “Welcome to our meeting and may the Lord bless you for your act of faith in attending despite the stormy weather,” Father Garcia heard himself utter nervously as he began to remember that his own recent behavior had not been quite as Christian as he would have wanted. To make matters worse, the two didn’t respond but just sat ramrod straight staring at him as a Jaguar stares at prey just before attacking. Finally, The constable, Eusebio Pedrosa, slowly rose to his feet and spoke, both hands still clasping the rim of his beige hat.

     “There is a matter of great urgency we wish to discuss with you Father Garcia.”

     “Ah! is it about the theft from the contribution box that I reported?”

     “No, it is about your embezzling of church funds that you used for gambling purposes.”

     Incidentally, it thundered several times as Father Garcia was handcuffed and led him away and church members clapped as they had never clapped before.

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7 Reviews

Points: 163
Reviews: 7

Sat Jul 28, 2018 6:43 am
vannilawriter wrote a review...

If I ever needed an example of how to perfectly use satire to make poignant commentary on an issue within a culture this is what i would use. As someone who has grown up within the church and has witnessed the duality of people who use the bible to shame others for their sins, I commend you for tackling this issue in a funny way.

To put it short this is a master work in my eyes other than in a few points.

The beginning seems a little stiff and slightly incongruent with the pastors character later in the story. I think this could be alleviated simply by adding some more personal language in there, using longer descriptions and innuendo instead of technical terms removes the some of the cold harshness of the pastor and instead adds to the hilarity of the blindness to his own sins later on.

As for the ending I felt it was slightly abrupt and i feel that is would help that the sheriffs were introduced in a slightly more subtle way that allowed the reader to guess at their intention well before they reveal their purpose in being there. Also i feel that the ending would benefit from more buildup from the sheriff on the pastors hypocrisy.

all in all though these are just suggestions and the story is amazing as it is now without them. I hope to see more of your work in the future as you are obviously very talented.

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36 Reviews

Points: 172
Reviews: 36

Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:22 pm
GodfreysBouillon wrote a review...

This story stands out to me in many ways, both in the fact that it reads like a modern fairy tale and the fact that its funny in a dark way.

I love the authenticity of the names, that really helps add to the overall ease of imagining the story as you read through. You also described each character very well, so that each has a different look, tone, and voice in my head.

I also like the message here and what you're trying to portray.

9/10 great story

Radrook says...

Thanks for the review. Glad to know that you appreciated its humorous aspect as well.

Yes, great job here putting humor into a situation while keeping the main plot together without interruptions. Excellent

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16 Reviews

Points: 503
Reviews: 16

Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:24 pm
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Youngwriter724 wrote a review...

To start i just want to say i love the story and the dramatic tone. The way you subtly described the setting as well as several characters i thought was done really well. There are only two points that i would say threw me off a little. one some of the larger words you used didn't seem natural, in fact they were rather forced, but this was only a few times in the whole of the story. Lastly and most importantly is the ending, it was a good ending it was just way to abrupt. like maybe the popo force open the door and the preacher thinks the thief is getting justice, i just mean that it could be stretched out. feels like it was written by two different people. Sorry if i'm not making any sense. (;

Radrook says...

Thanks for the feedback, Which words seemed large to you and forced?
The genre is Flash fiction which must be restricted to approx 1000 words.
So I am not free to extend it as is the custom with a regular short story. So true, the ending was indeed abrupt. If indeed it had been a regular short story I would have described how the two men were approaching the church, how they listened for a while, their appearance. How maybe they hesitated in carrying out what they had planned due to religious reasons. Maybe even have had the priest get a glance of one of them taking a few peeks through the window and wondering what they wanted. Then have him realize that it is related to his hidden dishonesty and wonder how the hell he could get away. But this would have taken me to the 2000 word mark and beyond the Flash Fiction genre.

But your idea of extending it is a good one and I will see if I can write a regular version where I am not so restricted. Thanks for the advice.

i see i wasn't aware it was flash fiction, lol. Well either way it was quite well done.

Radrook says...

I am adding approx 400 more words for a better ending based on the advice you provided. It will appear in a few moments .

Needs a bit of polishing, but that is a great ending, befitting a great story. (:

Radrook says...

Thanks. Could not have done it without your advice.


What parts of that ending need polishing and what suggestion can you provide?

"recent behavior had not recently" the wording is a bit weird. i would just get rid of recently.
"his assistant the short stout Felipe Belgrano who was in his mid thirties" this just feels like way to much when added just after the other description, maybe reword it something like. "and His assistant Felipe Belgrano a shorter more stout man almost in his middle years." Or something of the like.

Radrook says...

Fixed both.

Thanks for the help. Much appreciated. Please feel free to offer any other suggestion you feel is necessary.

“Sorry about the blood in your mouth. I wish it was mine. I couldn't get the boy to kill me, but I wore his jacket for the longest time.”
— Richard Siken