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       Church Boyz 1 (Rod of the Wicked), p.1

           H.H. Fowler
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Church Boyz 1 (Rod of the Wicked)
Church Boyz

  Rod of the Wicked

  A Novel

  H.H. Fowler

  Copyright© 2012 H.H. Fowler

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means; graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

  All characters, names, descriptions, and traits are products of the author’s imagination. Similarities of actual people – living or dead are purely coincidental.

  Other Books by H.H. Fowler

  When Things Go Wrong (Church Boyz – Book 2)

  My Last Cry (Church Boyz – Book 3)

  Javier (urban crime/romance)

  Connect with H.H. Fowler on Twitter:

  @fowlerguy1

  Blog: www.churchboyz.org

  Acknowledgements

  Thank You, Lord Jesus for giving me the fortitude to complete this project.

  To my beloved wife, Andrea, for supporting me all the way, even when things didn’t appear to be moving in the right direction. This book is dedicated to you, babes, and to our son, Ahmadasun.

  My parents, thank you for your steadfast love and prayers.

  My sister, Kenva, and to everyone who believes in me. I love you.

  Also, I want to give special recognition to Anita Bunkley, my editor, who has done an excellent job in helping me to shape my story chapter by chapter.

  Thank you all and may we all fulfill our God-given destinies.

  Chapter One

  “I don't believe in God!” Dominic swung his size eleven feet out of the chaise and planted them squarely on the rug. He shook two angry fingers at his mentor, as if holding a pistol. “As a matter of fact, I don't believe that there is a God. And, I'm sick and tired of trifling jokers like you, pushing your weak religion on people. It's bad enough the government tolerates you bunch of zealots!”

  Abraham’s mouth fell open. He was astonished that such blasphemy could come from a boy who’d undergone five grueling years of Christian mentorship. On top of that, Dominic was the chief organist at Mount Moriah and had recently been promoted to an auxiliary assistant position in the youth department.

  “What in the world possessed you to say something so stupid?” Abraham shot back, “You have to be out your mind to allow such profane language to come out of your mouth.”

  The sides of Dominic’s mouth twitched as he struggled to keep a straight face, but he ended up exploding in laughter as he watched Abraham scratch his head in confusion. “I can't believe you fell for that. I can't believe it! Man, you should have seen your face…”

  “Watch yourself,” Abraham warned. “I told you boys about playing around like that.”

  “Well, that’s the language we hear when we visit those streets,” Sanchez said in Dominic’s defense. Sanchez’s Indian red complexion matched the chocolate swirls in the carpet, even though he was far from having any Indian heritage in his blood. However, if anyone tried to tell him that, Sanchez would debate the issue for weeks. With Abraham still trying to regain his composure, Sanchez seized the opportunity to knock out another one of Abraham’s pawns, which had moseyed into the path of his queen.

  Playing Chess was an integral part of the Mount Moriah mentoring program and Abraham believed it taught the youth how to be thoughtful and deliberate.

  Sanchez began to recount one of the experiences that Dominic had heard a dozen times – one that Dominic still found as hilarious and as farfetched as any one of Sanchez’s crazy stories. “This Asian dude told me that Jesus and His followers were cannibals. Said they were nothing but blood drinking, flesh eating, vampires. He was convinced that Jesus’ disciples ate His body. That’s why the tomb was empty.”

  “Oh really?” Abraham smiled, relieved that his protégés had not morphed into atheists overnight. “And, what was your response?”

  “Man, I looked up at that dude and swore he’d just up and walked out a mental institution. Now what’s a smart, respectable brutha like me to do in a situation like that? I turned and left that dude rambling to himself.” Sanchez stood up, making a dramatic gesture. “But the second I turned my back, this dude let out a dirty old growl – sounded like a papa lion. I swear, my blood froze and every hair on the back of my neck tried to jump to the ground. Man, I didn’t even bother to look back. I took off runnin’ down that strip in my good church shoes. I slipped on a twinkie and almost bashed the heck out of these gorgeous lips.”

  “Boy, it’s rough trying to witness to some of these crazy folks,” Dominic said, as he fell back into the couch in tears, appreciating the way Sanchez spun a story. The fellow was a born comedian.

  “For sho, for sho,” Sanchez said as he retook his seat in front of the Chessboard. “But, regardless of how we adjust our evangelistic approach, people are just not interested in hearin’ what we have to say.”

  “To an extent, I agree that the face of evangelism has changed,” Abraham told them, trying to turn the light moment into a serious one. His king was in check, so he slid two spaces over to block Sanchez from winning the game. “But, I disagree that people are not listening. Perhaps, not the way they were a couple of decades ago, but they are still listening. We have to pay close attention to the peculiarity of this generation. Meaning, the avenues of reaching the heart has evolved. We must find more effective means of connecting our efforts of evangelism, or we’ll always complain that people are not listening to us.”

  “Sir, that tidbit you said right there, sounds nice,” Dominic said. “But, it’s hard to execute. I mean, most dudes my age are not into anything. Their priorities are jacked up.”

  “How could you say that – when we have such a thriving youth department?” Abraham said. “Seventy percent of the males that attend the youth forums are between the ages of fifteen and twenty.”

  “My point exactly. I’m twenty-four,” Dominic smirked.

  Abraham raised an eyebrow. “You’re inferring that by the time those boys reach your age their priorities are gonna be jacked up?”

  “I didn’t say that.”

  “You’re trying to be funny, then,” Abraham said. “You, of all people know that Mount Moriah offers excellent opportunities for young men, like yourself, to excel. The numbers on the outside might be slow in coming, but over the years, we’ve built an impressive plan, and my suggestion is that we continue to focus on developing what we already have. I’m gonna need you boys to grasp my vision for this mentorship program.”

  Sanchez nodded his agreement. He hadn’t been friends with Dominic long, but they had a good connection. They were the type of bruthas that clicked after meeting each other for the first time. Out of curiosity, he’d joined the mentorship program and found it interesting enough to stick around. Where he came from, men who were willing to pass on their mantles of wisdom and knowledge were virtually nonexistent.

  “I have a question,” he said, “And it goes back to that part about connecting our efforts. What obstacles do you think are preventing people from accepting our message? I could think of several. I can only speak for me; I never really got into this Jesus stuff until I moved here to Tampa. That’s when I–”

  “Boy, everyone has heard about Jesus,” Dominic interrupted. “Where’d you grow up again? Under a rock?”

  Abraham chuckled. “Everyone didn’t grow up with their parents being pastors, Dominic.”

  “But still, who doesn’t know about God in the twenty-first century? Technology has made Him more accessible than ever.”

  “Even so, Negro,” Sanchez said, sliding his queen strai
ght across the board, next to Abraham’s king. “People these days are not actively pursuing God in their hearts. I know I wasn’t. And having all of this info available with just a push of a button won’t mean much anyway. I think we need to focus on what can be done to get people to take a serious look at Christianity.”

  Abraham appeared as if he were rolling that statement around in his head. “Well, I think that having relationships is an important key. Each individual is different; they all have obstacles when attempting to put their faith in God. I believe that if we build sincere friendships, without being judgmental, the chances of our message being accepted are greater. People don’t like the idea of being sold or coerced into something. They would appreciate the love, honesty, and mutual respect that are generated in friendships, which can become deciding factors in their decision. And then I think some people simply have a misconception of God, and all they need is a humble-hearted Christian to present a clear presentation of the gospel to them.”

  Dominic grinned. “You make this stuff sound so easy.”

  “We make it complicated,” Abraham said, sneaking a glance at his watch – the third time in fifteen minutes.

  “You have somewhere to go?” Sanchez asked.

  “Why? Because I looked at my watch? That could mean that I’m ready for you boys to get out my lair.”

  “Your lair?” Dominic chuckled. “Don’t you mean hair?”

  “No. I said it right the first time.”

  “Sir, you are too proper for me. What ever happen to house or crib?”

  “Crib? That’s worse,” Abraham said. “Cattle live in cribs. Besides, you boys would keep me here ‘til daybreak. I don’t mind, but I have a life I would like to get to.”

  “Then, that’s all you had to say, old man.” Dominic pushed up from the chaise. “We’ve been taught not to wear out our welcome. Isn’t there always a part two to everything?”

  “Checkmate!” Sanchez roared with his hands held high in the air.

  “It was a draw,” Abraham smiled. “But you put up a pretty good challenge.”

  “For sho, for sho,” Sanchez grinned, pushing up from the carpet. “Thanks for the convo…it was interestin’, to say the least. As Dominic says, there’s a part two to everythin’. I really enjoy talkin’ with you, man. You’re really a down-to-earth kinda brutha and someday I’ll–”

  “Man, let’s go!” Dominic slapped Sanchez’s back. “We know you’re not used to all the one-on-one attention, but believe me, we get it. Save what’s left of your dignity.”

  “Sunday, sir!” Sanchez yelled. “And don’t forget to lock up!”

  The smile on Abraham’s face was one of pure amusement as he reflected on how Dominic had transformed himself from an anti-social introvert into an outgoing clown. He made a brief stop to the kitchen before heading to his bedroom, where his scented candles had been burning for the last several hours.

  North I-75

  “Don’t forget, Negro.” Sanchez pointed a finger at Dominic. “We have to bust this move on Sunday after church.”

  “What move?”

  “You playin’, right? Me and you just had this discussion.”

  “Remind me. You run your mouth so much ‘til I have trouble retaining anything you say to me.”

  “My backhand works like a charm,” Sanchez smirked. “Keep hardening your mouth and you’ll swallow a coupla them teeth down your throat.”

  Dominic chuckled at his boy, mostly because his Bahamian accent made everything sound hilarious, especially when he said stupid stuff like that. He had a Hispanic name, with an Indian complexion, and was from the Caribbean islands. What a combination! Four summers ago, they became fast friends after playing a three on three basketball game in the church's newly built gymnasium. Being the new cat from the Bahamas, Sanchez had something to prove, but by the end of the showdown, they discovered that his rhetoric was bigger than his game. However, his ability to connect with anyone at any level was one of the traits that made him popular, and made Dominic feel as if he'd grown up with him on the block.

  “Oh shoots!” Dominic smacked his forehead, easing his foot from the accelerator. “I forgot my Accounting notes.”

  “That’s an easy fix,” Sanchez said, as if he had all of the answers. He was carpooling with Dominic until he got his truck back on the road, which he doubted would be any time soon. His transmission was shot and he didn’t have the first dollar toward getting a new one. “Call Abraham and tell him to drop them off to you tomorrow.”

  “No can do. I need to review them tonight. I have a mock exam in the morning.”

  Dominic swerved to the left lane and made a sharp U-turn at the light on Fletcher Avenue. He floored the accelerator, hoping to cover nine miles in five minutes.

  Sanchez shot Dominic one of those ‘have-you-lost-your-mind’ looks. He yanked the seatbelt across his chest and started pumping the imaginary brakes in front of him.

  Dominic took the short sprint up Abraham’s driveway, his attention focused on getting his notes, or he would have noticed the odd pair of high heel shoes piled under a nearby shrub.

  “Pastor Winder!” he called. “Do we have to remind you of everything? You left your door open…” He saw her toes first, painted hot red, drumming against the carpet like a passenger waiting for her train. His eyes slowly climbed up from one body part to another until they came to rest on a pair of red, glossy lips.

  “Hello, handsome,” she smiled; wiggling her fingers as if she were in a beauty pageant. “If I’d known you were comin’, I would’ve invited some friends over. Come closer, sweet boy…”

  “Whoa!” Dominic jumped back and threw up his palms in front of her. “I must have stepped up in the wrong place…” But that couch looks familiar. It looks just like the one I sat on half an hour ago. I remember that painting of Jesus being baptism by John the Baptist. This has to be Abraham’s crib. He thought to himself.

  “Didn’t your momma teach you how to entertain strangers?” She clutched her breasts and shook them with the intent to entice. “Touch ‘em, boy! These are only breasts!”

  Dominic’s mind went into shutdown mode. He couldn’t think clearly, not with a naked white woman roughing him up as if he were a problem child. He was not accustomed to such aggression from women, especially not from one who was parading around, contaminating Abraham’s holy floors. Where on earth had she sprung from? And where was Abraham? He would bet his life that Abraham hadn’t a clue as to what the devil was going on in his front room.

  “He’s in the shower, green boy,” she said as if she’d read his mind. “And I’m ‘bout to join him. Turn the knob on your way out, will ya? You’re nothin’ but a cheeseball.”

  No, he did not just hear her say that. If she thought for one minute his mentor would bow to such depravity, she had better prepare to be baptized with a spanking rebuke. Abraham did not tolerate looseness, especially not the cheap advances of a prostitute. Dominic had a mind to yank her by her frail arms and toss her out on her white bottom. That was until he heard Abraham’s voice, calling her like a man in desperation. The grin on her face confirmed that what was about to go down had nothing to do with mentoring.

  The realization smacked Dominic like a ton of bricks. He stumbled backward, feeling his knees buckle under the weight of Abraham’s lies and blatant hypocrisy. This was too much for him to process all at once. He had to get out of this place. The comfort and the peace he’d felt there was replaced with a sense of loss and confusion. Grabbing his Accounting notes, which shook between his fingers, he made his exit. He vowed it’d be the last time he set foot in that part of town.

  Chapter Two

 

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