A Stroke Of Religion At Midnight

Spike and I have been cellmates for five years. I don’t trust Spike even though he has become an ordained preacher of The Church of Hardcore Unredeemable Institutionalized Wayward, Lost, and Forgotten Souls of Those Doomed for Perdition Saved by Grace. He speaks a powerful sermon.

He insists I call him Reverend Spike. At 6’7” and weighs 310 he commands a lot of reverence.

Anyway, Reverend Spike said to me last night at the stroke of midnight just when the new year was about to begin, “Brother, are you where you want to be?”

It didn’t take me long to say, “No.”

“Where would you like to be, Brother?” Reverend Spike said.

“Well,” I said. “The bottom bunk for one.”

“Hey, I help you up to the top bunk,” Reverend Spike said defensively.

“Tossing me like a sack of dirty laundry does not exactly qualify as helping,” I said. “It’s kind of like being tossed from the ring on a pay-for-view World Wrestling Federation event.”

“Okay, besides the lower bunk,” Reverend Spike said.

“Well, I’d like to be out,” I said. “But I got mandatory sentencing for bank robbery. I was kind of hoping for an early parole.”

“What if you make parole?” Reverend Spike said. “What will you do with your life?”

I hung my head over the side of the bunk and whispered. “I got the money stashed away. Nobody knows where it’s at.”

“Woe ye of little faith,” Reverend Spike said. “If ye have faith the size of a mustard seed ye can move mountains.”

“What about you, Reverend Spike?” I said. “Where would you like to be?”

It didn’t take Reverend Spike long to say, “Heaven.”

“Don’t you have to die first?” I said.

“I’m trying to work my way around that one,” Reverend Spike said.

“Reverend Spike,” I said. “You never have told me what you did to get in here.”

“Serial killer,” Reverend Spike said. “I sure miss it. At least a dozen or so. Snapped their necks just like opening a jar of pickles. And I got the urge again.” And he said quiet, distinctly, and eerily, “Yeah, I got the urge real bad. And I got few options as to whose next.”

“Maybe you should pray about it,” I suggested. My mind is racing like a cockroach when the lights come on.

The next thing you know Reverend Spike was on his knees beside the bunk mumbling a prayer.

I figured there was nothing to lose. “Reverend Spike,” I said low and divine-like.

“Yes, lord,” Reverend Spike said calmly.

“Leave your bunkmate be,” I said. “He is a good man.”

“But he has committed many sins and deserves to die,” Reverend Spike prayed.

“I have forgiven him,” I said.

“I’m asking for a sign lord,” Reverend Spike prayed. “If he tells me where the stolen money is before morning I will let him live. It is up to you lord.”

Frankly, I see the Reverend Spike backsliding on this one.

“But, Reverend Spike,” I said. “You can’t get it. You are serving a life term. What good will it do you?”

“I can give it to thee, lord,” Reverend Spike prayed.

“I don’t need it,” I said.

“But there are many who do,” Reverend Spike prayed.

“God is good,” I said.

“God is good,” Reverend Spike prayed.

“God is great,” I said.

“God is great,” Reverend Spike prayed.

“My trip to heaven I cannot wait,” I said.

“My trip to heaven I cannot wait,” Reverend Spike prayed.

Leaning over my upper bunk I dropped my bed sheets down around his neck and pulled tight for five minutes.

I struggled to position his body against the bars and hoist him so it looked like suicide. Reverend Spike weighed all of 310 pounds and I had to hoist him at least 6 feet 7 and ¼ inches off the ground. For a guy who never lifted anything other than 12 ounces at a time that was near to impossible. As I lifted this prayer was uttered;

“I was lost and now I’m found. Lord, help me lift 310 pounds.”

Eventually, he was staged in place to look like a suicide and strangely wearing an angelic smile, wings not yet awarded.

Yes indeed, Reverend Spike preached a powerful sermon last night, “If ye have faith the size of a mustard seed ye can move a mountain.”

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