The streets were alive that early Friday evening with people hurrying in their post-work excitement. Manny had dinner downtown and was looking to get a cab home. He worked his way through the crowd, having to politely nudge some people to clear a path. When he reached the corner of Rosewood and Florence, an attractive young woman wearing gloves and a hat, which was decked with green beads and little golden bells, tried to get his attention. She had a bible tucked away in her left arm with brochures in her right hand.
“Do you believe?” she asked him.
She promptly handed him a brochure and began discussing its content. Then, she asked him if he would like to come to her church and make a donation. Manny listened with great interest but wanted to know more.
“How much?” he asked.
“How much do you want to give?” she responded.
“All I have is a hundred on me,” he said. “What will I get for that?”
“Everlasting love,” she said.
Manny accepted her offer. When they walked up the steps to the church, there were a few greeters at the door. He took out his one hundred dollars and placed the cash into a collection plate, which sat in the middle of a small table draped in cloth. The woman who brought him there held out a few roses and asked him to take one. He plucked a rose from her grasp, and they went to a pew to sit and pray.
She took his hands in hers and closed her eyes, mumbling something under her breath. Manny never did anything like this before.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe I should just go.”
“No,” she spoke softly to him, “Don’t you want to hear the message of the Lord?”
“I guess I do,” he said, scratching his head again and again.
“I know of the urges that young men feel,” she said. “The temptation of sin is very great.”
“Yeah, well,” replied Manny, “urges don’t really seem to need temptation.”
“The good news is you can be relieved of that. Jesus will make sure of it if you pledge your heart to the Lord. ”
“Okay,” he said. “I guess I’ll stay.”
“You’ve made the right decision”
Manny stayed at the church for most of the evening, taking turns kneeling with the woman. He learned a lot from her. Later, he walked home feeling inspired and refreshed.
The next day; however, the inspiration had dwindled. His mind flickered images and scenes of his past. His chest was wrung with the ache of pure regret. It was a throbbing, never wavering pain. He tried to follow his normal daily schedule hoping it would all just go away, but nothing could dull it.
It got so bad that he went back to the church, where he was accepted with outstretched loving arms.
Bio: Brett Nicholas Moore is the author of Brother Goose, a satire of Mother Goose and various fairy tales.