A hundred people clapped and swayed as they sang Catch on Fire, their voices shouting the words “burning with the Holy Ghost.” Women, men, and children were mesmerized from Pastor John’s message of salvation, and they all asked for forgiveness through song. With a final “Hallelujah” they filed from the tent, their holy pastor hugging all the mothers and placing his hands on the children’s heads. Rachel stood outside the door holding a bucket. As the worshipers left, they dropped dollars, fives, twenties, and hundreds in the silver container, grateful for their soul cleansing.
Pastor John’s towering frame commanded the countrymen’s attention, yet his relaxed demeanor and handsome features softened the hearts of his female followers. He was fully aware of the magic this combination created and used it to his advantage. John’s traveling revival reaped thousands of dollars the sinners willingly gave as guaranteed passage to heaven.
Rachel was blonde, petite, and well dressed. She handled all the revival’s finances and the dumb blonde demeanor she portrayed was just a scam. She was a savvy bookkeeper who creatively cooked the books to hide the majority of their income.
A young woman with long brown hair approached John and put her hands on his sleeve. “I adored your sermon tonight, Pastor John. I felt the holy spirit throughout my entire body.” She blinked her long eyelashes and leaned in closer to him. “My name is Sarah.”
“Nice to meet you, Sarah. I’m glad you were moved by the Lord’s love.”
“Believe me, Pastor John, I was.” Sarah stood on her toes and kissed John on the cheek. “See you next week.”
As Sarah swung her hips away from John, he turned to Rachel, “Let’s make sure she has a front row seat next week.”
“Ever the flirt, huh, John. We need to move on. We’ve been in Tennessee for over a month.” Rachel stuffed the money into the locked bag. “Let’s pack up and drive over to Arkansas.”
Evenings in Arkansas brought humidity, heat, and bugs, but that didn’t stop the Holy Spirit from raging through the worshipers’ bones under the revival tent. They sang the chorus to Livin’ He Loved Me over and over so they knew in their hearts that they were all saved. Pastor John stood in the front and raised his arms with a final benediction, “Hallelujah, Praise the Lord!”
As Pastor John said his blessings and goodbyes to all the saved souls, Sarah hurried out and surprised him with a full body hug and sensual kiss on his neck. John was surprised, but didn’t pull away. “Sarah, what are you doing in Arkansas?”
“I love your sermons so much, John, that I have decided to follow you wherever you go.”
John believed there was room for two women in his life, so he asked Sarah to join Rachel and him as they took their traveling revival show through the South. John’s mighty sermons stirred the spirits of his followers, Rachel’s silver bucket overflowed with heartfelt donations, and Sarah’s testimonials brought more and more worshipers to the revivals. The three of them shared their fortune, their bed, and their secrets.
Becoming restless and weary of traveling with a tent, John decided to find a congregation of his own and searched for a church that would have him as their pastor. Rachel and Sarah did not take the news well when John told them he was going to be the minister of a small church in Santa Fe, by himself. After many angry and volatile words, John took the majority of the millions they had amassed and moved to New Mexico.
Towering over the pulpit with his impressive demeanor, Pastor John led the congregation as they sang Amazing Grace. No female in the town missed his weekly sermons and the church’s coffers were overflowing. He thoroughly enjoyed the attention from the dark-haired ladies who worshiped his every word. Maria and Isabella worked closely with him in the church office, and sometimes in his rectory.
John liked walking among the market stalls in the Santa Fe square, pretending to ignore the whispering and giggling women. Feeling a touch on his sleeve, he turned, and his smile disappeared. Looking around, he angrily spat, “I told you I never wanted to see you again!”
Sarah blinked, her long lashes brushing her cheeks, “But, I need to talk to you.” Leaning closer, she paused, and lowered her voice. “You see, I’m in need of some money. Would you come to my hotel room, for old times sake?”
The memories of his revival days came flooding back, and he couldn’t resist the feelings he remembered after a hot, sweaty night in the tent with Rachel and Sarah. He followed Sarah into the mission-style hotel. Rachel was waiting in the room for them, along with two policemen.
“John Schultz, you are under arrest for money laundering and bank fraud.”
John could hear the hymn, Deep in the Shadows of the Past, through the open window.
The tent pulsated as the worshipers clapped and sang It’s Time to Get Up. Pastor Sarah stood in front of the crowd with her arms outstretched. Rachel stood by the door holding the silver bucket. “Let’s all shout ‘Hallelujah, Amen!’”