Preacher - Madison Faye Page 0,1

hope I am, because if I’m not, that’s when I get run out of town on rail.

But you know what? So what if it’s bullshit. So is TV. So is fucking Facebook. Everyone’s selling bullshit and the promise of salvation, one way or another, and for whatever you consider salvation. Booze companies, pill makers, movie producers. They’re all selling you their own brand of enlightenment and salvation from the endless shitstorm that is life. So what’s wrong with selling folks the comfort of knowing there’s a place for them court-side at Jesus’s own shuffleboard playoffs?

The money keeps tinkling in, and I grin and look up at the big Georgia sky and the warm, muggy summer sun. I take a deep breath, and my smile widens. I’ve been up in the Dakotas, and eastern Montana, and a little bit of Wyoming for the last few months, and it’s been fucking miserable. Cold nights, dreary days, and the people up north are a different brand of rube. They hang on to those wallets a little bit tighter than these folks.

But God bless southern hospitality, that’s all I’ll say about that.

I’ve left the north behind for the season, and Canaan, Georgia is my first stop on what my gut tells me is going to be very profitable little tour of bible country. In my industry, summer in the south is like shooting fish in a barrel. With a bazooka.

The organ music keeps blaring through the speakers, and the money just keeps dropping into the bucket. Oh, but I’m just getting started here. I haven’t even begun to shake this town down. The music winds down, and I take a big breath. I beam at them, squaring my broad shoulders and raising my hands high in the air as I close my eyes tightly. Eat your fucking heart out, Billy Graham.

“Brothers! Sisters! Fellow children of our LORD!” I bellow. I even add a little twang to my voice to bring me down beneath the Mason-Dixon. This Carolina boy hasn’t forgotten everything about where he came from, after all.

“Who amongst you needs to be cleansed before the Lord! Ye! For thou wast unclean, and my waters made you pure! Thou wast lost, and my gentle washing found you!”

I’m genuinely impressed by my ability to shit pure gold out of my mouth when I want to.

With a dramatic whirl, I turn and storm off the little stage next to the Winnebago and stride over to the big tarp-covered thing. I grab the edge, and with a flourish, I yank the tarp off, revealing the huge, hundred-gallon baptism tank. These fucking things run a mint. Luckily, this particular one was generously donated by a wealthy, uh, parishioner up in Colorado last year. The thing is a bitch to cart around in the trailer on the back of the Winnebago, but it’s a fucking money printing machine.

The ooo’s and ahhh’s from the crowd bring a smile to my face. Day one, and this is already shaping up to be banner haul.

With another flourish, I yank off my flowing robe. I’m wearing a bathing suit and a white undershirt underneath, and I step up to the platform and then slowly descend the stairs into the water. I flex my muscles, roll my shoulders, and crick my neck, and the crowd begins to form into a line, money clenched in their eager fists. God, it’s like clockwork, every time. Past them, I can see more cars pulling up to the parking lot next to the field I’ve set up shop in on the edge of town. More eager customers come bolting across the grass, waving their money.

I smile and help the first man in after he drops his money in the box. I mutter… well, something, but who cares, and then I dunk the guy in water. He comes up sputtering and grinning to the cheers of his friends.

“Bless you, Preacher Gabriel!” he gushes, clutching my hands. “Bless you for your work!”

“It’s but a calling, my brother in Christ, brother Sam,” I say gently.

His smile falters just for a second. “It’s Anthony,” he blurts. He’s just told me his name seconds ago. Whoops. But I just grin and clasp his hands in mine.

“Brother Anthony, I’m sorry, it’s just that you remind me of a dear, dear friend of mine I was just visiting before coming to your wonderful town. A truly righteous soul, Sam is. Truly, a man of God and Christ, and a man who’s place is saved with