Written by Myron J. Clifton
Notice from the author: This short series about Jamaal and his struggles with his local family church – which was written last year – was so well received that it remains one of the most popular series on Dear Dean. At the request of numerous readers I have decided to revisit Jamaal and his church friends, preachers, and colorful church members.
Before I continue the story, I am re-running the original story so you may reacquaint yourself with Jamaal and his Church Stories. The new material will immediately follow the conclusion of this original series.
“Your Two Breasts Are Like Two Fawns, Twins of a Gazelle Which Feed Among the Lilies” – Song of Solomon 4:5
The loud mouth evangelist was standing right in front of Jamaal. He had come out of the pulpit to shame the members for not “Giving enough to the Lord” during the first two nights of the revival.
His goal for the week, according to what Jamaal heard in his grandfather’s office prior to church starting, was ten-thousand, but so far the offering was still under two-thousand and the evangelist was mad.
“Look, pastor, I need this money. You said you’d have the crowds here and that I’d make more than ten G’s. You need to deliver on your word, preacher man.”, the loud mouth evangelist was standing directly in front of his grandfather’s desk and his voice was carrying.
Jamaal watched and listened.
“Maybe if you spent less time screwing my members, and more time ministering, you’d raise more money, fella,” his grandfather retorted with a smile and short laugh.
“I know you were out again last night – this time with Mother Mabry’s…Daughter! That girl is only twenty-five years old man, she’s gonna kill your old self!”
“God ain’t through with me yet,” the loud mouth evangelist snapped back, laughing loudly. She was a good piece of ass, that’s for sure. And if it weren’t for all that weed she was smoking, we coulda gone another couple of rounds, too!”
“Preacher, you need to leave that weed alone. It’s a sin to smoke, you know that,” Jamaal’s grandfather said in all seriousness, but also deliberately ignoring the greater sin committed by the loud mouth evangelist.
“Hey, it’s better than those Kool’s I smoke. I’m trying to break my habit but the Devil won’t let me. I’ll quit one day” the loud mouth evangelist finished.
It was time to go into church.
“Okay, look, pastor, I’ll preach hard tonight and then I’ll raise my own money, how about that?
Jamaal’s grandfather considered the loud mouth evangelist’s offer.
“Okay, he finally said. You can raise your own, but just make one appeal and don’t drag it out too long,” his grandfather finished as they all started to walk out.
“Jamaal,” his grandfather placed his hand on Jamaal’s shoulder, stopping him from exiting his office with the loud mouth evangelist.
“Tonight I want you to help count the money. We’ve raised enough money – I can see it coming in, but it’s not all reaching me at the end of service I think. I need you to help count tonight, and when the counting is done, come into the pulpit and tell me how much it is.”
“Okay,” was all Jamaal said.
So much for homework tonight, Jamaal thought as he walked into the sanctuary for the start of the night’s services.
Jamaal was now standing there in front of the church as the loud mouth evangelist implored the members to “Have faith that God will bless you if you bless God and trust in the Word of God and God’s servant”, and Jamaal was annoyed.
The loud mouth evangelist was on his third appeal for more money and he was now out of the pulpit begging the people to “reach into your pockets, purses, and wallets and just give five more and watch God rain down blessings on you – WON’T HE DO IT?!?”
Jamaal just wanted him to shut up.
He wouldn’t shut up for another twenty minutes and until he had raised another three-hundred dollars.
Later Jamaal and Sis Julie, who was the church treasurer, bundled all the money and the few checks and took it all to the back of the church to be counted.
“I don’t need you to help me count,” was the first thing Sis Julie said.
“Okay,” Jamaal said. Great, he thought, this was going well already.
“I’m here because my grandfather told me to be. Plus, I can count really fast if you want me to help.”
Sis Julie was pretty and maybe about thirty years old, Jamaal thought. She was married, but her husband was “out on the streets,” is how his grandfather told it. Which, in their world, meant that he was on drugs and “living in the world” which meant – he was running with the devil and a host of other ways of talking about drugs without having to mention drugs. And in Sis Julie’s husband’s case, his drug of choice was crack.
“Well, your grandfather needs to mind his own business because I can count a few hundred dollars without his or your interference.”
“Fine with me,” Jamaal said, standing to the side and thinking about the homework he wasn’t doing.
“Okay, look, you count this stack,” Sis Julie said apparently changing her mind within a minute of telling Jamaal he couldn’t help her. She pushed a bunch of bills to one side of the small table.
“Count that,” she said again in a less than friendly tone.
“Okay”, Jamaal said, and he started counting the money.
“Okay, I am done” Sis Julie said, looking over to Jamaal.
“Me too” Jamaal replied.
“How much do you have?” she asked him.
“Six-hundred twenty-two dollars, and sixty-four cents,” he said. What about you?
“Nine-hundred thirty-five dollars, and forty-five cents,” Sis Julie answered.
Jamaal said: Let me count yours and you count mine, just to make certain we are accurate.
“Boy, what the hell are you talking about? Sis Julie was mad and Jamaal said nothing.
“I’m not counting any money again. Why would I? My number is correct so just put yours in this envelope and go back to church. I’m sick of this church and, yes, your grandfather for not trusting me. I do this every Sunday and for this stupid revival I am here every night counting their money! I’ve got my own bills to pay and my so-called husband ain’t helping one bit. So what if I take a little here and there -that’s what churches are supposed to do, right? Help people! Well, I need help!
Plus, it’s only one-hundred dollars tonight! That evangelist is just going to use this money on more whoring and smoking weed with that slut again. I need it more than him, anyway! Look, you take twenty for yourself, how’s that?”
Jamaal just watched and listened as Sis Julie said a whole lot. Then he said: “Nah, I’m good.”
“Fine then. Don’t take any. Just don’t tell, okay?”
“Okay,” Jamaal said.
Sis Julie then stood up and was now standing over Jamaal as he sat in the old chair.
Then she leaned down to him, allowing her breasts to float right in front of Jamaal’s face.
Then she placed a small wad of twenties in her bra. She lingered there for a few seconds in real life, but in Jamaal’s world, that moment lasted at least a week.
Then she kissed him on the lips and she lingered there, too.
Jamaal wasn’t breathing.
“There’s more where that came from. I’m lonely, so when you get some free time, why don’t you come over to my apartment and run errands for me, okay?” she finished, but didn’t wait for an answer as she walked out of the small room in back of the church, and with at least one-hundred dollars stashed in her bra.
Later on the drive home his grandfather asked: “Did you see Sis Julie take any money?”
“Yes, sir, she did.”
“I couldn’t fully see (her breasts) but it looked like about sixty-dollars or so,” Jamaal lied.
He just figured he was being like the story in the bible where two women both claimed a baby as their own, and King Solomon resolved the dispute by simply saying he’d “divide the baby in two” for the women to share. The real mother agreed to allow the baby to live and thus give it to the fake mother, and that was how Solomon knew the real mother – because only the real mother wouldn’t allow her baby to be killed.
Jamaal just figured he was giving Sis Julie what she wanted and he was giving his grandfather what he wanted. He was dividing the baby. Well, something like that, he thought while also thinking of her breasts.
“That’s fine then, his grandfather said. I figured she was taking some off the top; as long as it’s not too much. I will replace her once the revival is over.”
“Why not now?” Jamaal asked.
“She’s out with the evangelist now. She may as well make and take some of his money since he’s screwing her tonight,” his grandfather said as he exited the car.
Jamaal didn’t think about Sis Julie’s breasts anymore.
And he wished he’d taken the money she’d offered.
It was past midnight and Jamaal’s homework was still undone.
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