Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Now Playing: Dangerous Calling 
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Dangerous Calling 1

Episode Six of Dangerous Calling

Episode Five concluded with:
             “Have some breakfast on the house, Reverend!” Stella shouted from behind the counter.
            “Thanks. Don’t mind if I do.”
            “Steak and eggs, okay?”
            “Okay by me. Could you scramble those eggs?”
            “Sure can.”
            Stella smiled brightly. Dunning had trouble sharing her enthusiasm. Revered Goodman was supposed to be an educated man from the East. But the man who was now sitting across from him at the table talked like a saddle tramp. Something wasn’t right and he needed to find out what it was.

Episode Six
            Cynthia Olson sat at her writing desk and hastily brushed a tear from her right eye. Adam would be home from school soon. She was behind in preparing dinner.
            Cynthia tried not to worry about Amanda but couldn’t stifle her fears. The woman opened the middle drawer of the desk and gently removed the paper. For what seemed the hundredth time, she read her daughter’s letter: the letter which had lay on the kitchen table that horrible morning.

            Dear Father and Mother,

            I know you will not approve of what I am doing. I can only hope you will understand.
            I have decided to accept Jim Goodman’s proposal of marriage. I am ashamed of myself for doubting his call to be God’s servant in the West. Jim has left a prestigious position in Dallas to serve a small, struggling community. His last letter broke my heart and made me realize how selfish I have been. Jim Goodman is a godly man; I am humbled that he has chosen me to be his helpmate.
            I am leaving on a train this morning and will write when I arrive at my destination. Of course, I know my decision will cause you both anguish. This saddens my heart because I love you both dearly. Please remember that I am acting within the Lord’s will and please pray for me.

Your Loving Daughter,


            Cynthia put the letter away and for several minutes was lost in thought. Suddenly, she looked at the clock directly over the desk. There was still something she could do to get Amanda back and she could do it today.
            Abner Coogan shook hands with people, smiled and wished he had spent more time in church. Everyone was being nice, but he wasn’t certain if his charade was working. 
            Coogan felt relieved when the Wednesday night prayer meeting began and he could sit in the front pew of the small, dilapidated church and listen to Frank Dunning. His talks with Dunning earlier in the day had seemed to go well but he still had detected some suspicion in the mayor’s mind.
            The mayor opened the meeting in prayer, then moved immediately to what everyone was thinking. “Tonight is a very special one for The Antioch Methodist Church as we welcome our new pastor, Reverend Jim Goodman.”
            Dunning paused while there were several “Amens.”, then continued. “Reverend Goodman comes to us well prepared for his ministry in Antioch. He told me this morning that he has worked to get rid of his Eastern way of speaking and now talks Western, so all of you folks can understand him.”
            A scattering of laughter spread across the church. Abner smiled broadly and squirmed a bit. Coogan had found it impossible to imitate the speech of an educated man and concocted the best story he could for a cover. He hoped the mayor had bought his lie, but couldn’t be sure.  
            “Reverend Goodman will officially become our pastor this Sunday,” Dunning said. “At that time we will hand funds we have collected for the new church to our new pastor. The work of building a beautiful house of God in the town of Antioch will begin!”
            There was another chorus of “Amen.” Abner looked fleetingly at Wilbur Lewis, the bank president. He would have to work hard at winning that man’s friendship. Coogan had learned earlier in the day that he would be given control of an account at the bank for the building of the church. He would have to come up with a plausible reason for withdrawing all of the funds from that account.
            He had already been giving it some thought…
            “Reverend Coogan has very modestly asked that he not preside over our meeting tonight,” Frank Dunning said. “He wants to get to know everyone better before leading us in prayer. So, I will get us started and then all of you pray as you feel led.”
            Abner bowed his head and listened carefully. He needed to learn how this praying aloud was done. He hadn’t actually heard a prayer in years. Coogan also reflected on his good luck. Among the papers in Jim Goodman’s saddle bags was the sermon he had written for his first Sunday in Antioch. That would be enough. He would get the money and be gone before another Sunday rolled around.
            After the meeting was over, Coogan remained inside the church talking with the various members of the congregation. After fifteen minutes or so, he began to leave the building along with everyone else. A figure emerged from a patch of woods immediately across from the church.  Moonlight cascaded over the figure and it became apparent that he was carrying a gun.
            “You the new preacher ever one has been jawin’ about?” he yelled at Coogan.
            “Yes, brother, I am.”
            The newcomer pulled back the hammer of the gun. “Well, I’m here to kill you!”

Tomorrow: Episode Seven of Dangerous Calling