Pentecostal preacher, the prostitute, the pimp – PG-19
The pimp, crazy you know what. Pulled the knife across her throat. The pimp felt her warm blood flow across his arms before choking the life out of her. He walked out with her stash of money. She would never see Chicago. Never feel the wind blow across her blouse again. No one cried for her.
Just a whore. No tears.
Except from Michael. He cried.
He lay alone in the chapel at his father’s church. Michael wept. He was tired. Jasmin was her name. He had met her while playing guitar out on the commons one night. She had come up quietly, and simply sat down, assuming an invitation. Michael had strummed chords for ten or fifteen minutes, finally laying the guitar down on a blanket he had rolled out.
“Michael,” he had spoken, quietly, with his eyes as much as the lullaby voice, backed with a “soft” love intonation he held out to strangers upon meeting them.
“Jasmin.” She felt open with this man. Not knowing why. Perhaps the smile. Perhaps the voice. Something was different.
“Live around here?”
She tossed a long mane of golden-brown hair. “I like the way you play guitar. Peaceful.” She had a dreamy look to her eyes. “Am I bothering you by being here ‑ ‑ ‑ I,” she faltered in speech, “am tired.”
“You’ve graced my music with your presence,” with a smile that showed no sign of flirtation.
“If you knew who I was, you’d probably tell me to move on.” Somberly, seriously.
Michael smiled again, into, a depth in her soul. “If you knew whose I am, you might have wished you hadn’t stopped then. For I am a friend to all, who will allow me. I see eternity in every blade of grass ‑‑ so it stands to reason ‑‑ I love to see it in others. You have an honest part to your soul; I don’t often see reflected in those I know. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I see it.”
She laughed, then laughed again. “You really don’t know, do you?”
“I know myself.”
“I’m the Fantasy Whore from Flood Street.” She looked at him.
The sun was starting to fade over the hilltop, still shafts of light played across our two ‘companions’. The hustle and bustle of eating places were in full bloom ‑‑but butterflies roamed the air where Michael sat talking to Jasmin. As usual he prayed, only a quick prayer ‑ for peace resided within his heart tonight, in an unusual way.
“Well Jasmin, what is a Fantasy Whore?”
“I charge men to act out their fantasy. It’s really very interesting, if you separate yourself from what you are doing.”
“I believe I understand. What have you learned?”
She laughed. Perhaps it was a night to talk. She didn’t even know this stranger, and yet something deeper than just words tugged at her very being. She felt a claw trying to drag her away, and something inside of her crying out for relief she could not comprehend. Almost like she might break down. Michael had picked up the guitar and was singing. A folk tune rendition of Silent Night, Holy Night, round yon virgin, so tender and mild . . .
He placed the guitar down. Stilling himself ‑ he looked at her ‑ eye to eye ‑ deep calling unto deep. A man who knew himself ‑ talking to one, who was pondering intonation of soul. “Jasmin, I believe in a Holy Creator, who Loves you, more than you could imagine. And whatever fantasy you may be able to give a man, He offers a bigger reality to you, in eternity. Heaven is a place; true fantasy will become reality. I want to know what you have learned about fantasy.”
She felt no judgment. She knew he was some kind of preacher now, but unlike the yellers who trampled her in the ground of cheap whoredoms, he talked to her, as if she were an equal. She smoothed her skirt. How she had wanted to talk to someone intelligently about her experiences. She might be a whore, but what she experienced was real, was valid. A JOY came upon her soul. “Could we go get a cup of coffee, Michael?”
He was single then. Tanya had yet to marry him. I don’t remember who he actually met first. But he walked that little girl to a coffee shop, holding her elbow, and her arm, as if she were the Crown Princess of Czarist Russia. He both respected her, and emanated that almost casual, yet unconditional love.
Michael sat in the chapel; his reverie broken. Remembering her death. He looked up at the cross in the chapel. It was a simple cross. Not too big, yet not so small as to be hidden. He sat quietly for long minutes. As he sat, an, almost, unbidden vow, a raw emotion of determination settled upon his reasoning, sifting down a few more layers, dedicating the finite to the infinite. It was raw.
Outside the sun made its way across the graveyard, he had visited early that morning. He was still fresh with the experience with Mr. Clarke and Tanya last week ‑ and this new experience gave greater impetus to the pondering inside.
He laughed as he remembered Jasmin’s insight into men. Her
description of the detailed fantasies they would ask for. And almost uncontrollable laughter at the price\cost affixed to the different requests. It was new to him. He had never spoken so openly with a woman who professed whoredom before. Oh, he had preached on the streets, on a soapbox with some friends in the red-light districts, across from the Cantoon Bar downtown, reading and preaching scriptures into the night. Talking to any drunk who wandered over their way. And drunks were an unusually talkative bunch. And some of them quite lucid about the bible.
But he hadn’t talked WITH someone there, only TO them.
He spoke WITH Jasmin. She spoke to him. Her insight into men, helped educate him. His acceptance of her, helped soften an outer core of hardness upon her heart.
She understood Grace. The Grace of God. Michael put it to her, as a direction you move in, as you follow after Truth. Start where you are and walk after a love of truth. If you are a child molester, molesting five children a week, walk after molesting three children, then one, then none. Don’t give up, because you fail to get to none overnight. Keep walking after that Grace of God which leads you out of the Pit, and loves you where you are today. Loves you. Not tolerates you, or puts up with you, but Loves you.
She had always thought she was too far gone to turn. But Michael
preached degrees to her. And then he helped her to forgive her mother. They had met often. Michael taking the tactic of, here let me show you this idea, and see if it applies. And always willing to let her talk… and if she got on a thing, he’d follow her, and shift gears.
He sat in the chapel. Still disturbed. Questioning himself.
Examining. This fishing for souls, was not all cake and candy. He
grieved as if for the death of a two-year-old child, a mother had
nurtured since birth, and unexpectedly lost. His dad wandered in the prayer room, and quietly left. He understood when a man needed space. It would be years, before Michael began to fully appreciate his gem of a dad.
The weeping came, from deep down inside. If you’ve ever been with a mother who lost a two-year-old child to a car accident, that is the type of tears Michael had. It was wrenching. Almost Catatonic. He didn’t try to stop them.
“Michael, why am I so comfortable talking to you?”
“Perhaps, the fact that I do not judge you, Jasmin. Remember,” He smiled, “I serve one who said that the whores would enter into the Kingdom of God before the preachers.” He said it well, without a bit or sting in the intonation. They both laughed, then giggled.
She bit a lip, brushed a few strands of hair back over her eyes. She turned slightly to the side, her breasts turning sideways to Michael’s eyes. A sense of her being a woman pervaded his consciousness. His teeth somewhat gritted ‑ he thought of her soul. She was a woman with a soul. He laughed inwardly, a beautiful women with a soul. Tanya was not always understanding of his willingness to talk to women. She’d be mad if he considered Jasmin comely.
“Why are you laughing, Michael.”
“I’ve told you about Tanya, well, I was just thinking how she doesn’t enjoy me talking to attractive woman.”
“And attractive whores?”
“I see a woman, Jasmin. A woman. A soul. Keen wit and intelligence. And some pain. Like you, I’m trying to travel the path I’m on, and do my best to go from here to there.”
Jasmin laughed, a smile playing on the emotions of her face, settling there softly, flying up like a butterfly, and then settling down upon her soul again.
“How can you be like me, Michael. You’re the preacher!”
“I have a need to put the pieces of the puzzle together, just like you do…”
It had been a focused evening. Not on essence of relation, but almost a self-essence.
Pieces of the puzzle together. He sat crying, lying on the floor, the sobs had quieted, but part of him had been ripped out. Doctrinally he knew he should give it to the Lord, pray and go on. But he couldn’t do it. Not, yet anyway. It was like someone had ripped out his heart. He started praying in tongues, softly, then with volume. The pieces did not fit together.
“Do you mind if I talk about men, Michael?” She asked, with respect. Because she liked talking to him, she did not want to force this preacher onto subjects he might want to shy from.
“They seem to want to believe I enjoy being with them. As a fantasy whore Michael, I’ve noticed…they want EMOTIONAL connection.” She laughed. “I’ve learned to fake it good. I whimper for them. I moan. I groan. They finish quicker, and seem happy. But then, they walk away, and it’s like they can’t take it with them. The married one’s anyway.” She grew hysterical in her laughter, and through the hysteria, she and Michael almost laughed till tears came out their eyes. “Can you imagine these poor single men, who run across a girl they want to marry, and have to compare it to the image they have of a whore who enjoyed their company.”
Tanya had walked into the Pizza Hut then. Almost with a little ICE in her voice. “Is this a private conversation, or may I join in?” Michael had almost fallen to the floor in hysteria, but had maintained composure, and moved over. Tanya, though, moved back into compassion ‑‑ patted Jasmin kindly, “you two talk, I really do have things to do.”
Five minutes after she was gone, they burst into laughter again. “You know she’ll want to know what we talked about.”
“And what will you say?”
Michael sobered somewhat, “I tell her the truth Jasmin. I don’t shade it. She’s my fiancé ‑ and if truth scares her ‑ I need to know before we get married, not afterwards.”
“I have one customer Michael, who pays me to walk in front of him naked, while talking with him. He pays double, once for thirty minutes of conversation, once for the physical act.”
Michael had gone down this road. It was comfortable to Jasmin. She knew the subject. He was hoping for an intuition of the Holy Spirit to speak a word in due season to her, something to plant a gospel seed in her territory.
“What are these men looking for Jasmin?”
She thought a minute. “A feeling.”
“A feeling of what?”
“Of being loved. Of being worthy of love. I think their projection of me, is a fantasy of filling a need for love.”
She sat pensively. “With some it does, after a while. But at first, I can feel, there is not a connection that goes deep. But the ones that continue ‑‑ it’s almost like they bury that deep thing inside them, and replace it with my image.” Deep throaty laughter. “I think some of them worship me.” Taken back by her own thought, she had shifted her lean, tanned legs. She was sitting in some cutoff jeans. There was no white that showed, even though the shorts were pulled up short ‑‑ just the tan of a goddess.
Michael sighed; he began to experience that sense of being in over his head. He began a three day fast the next day, water only, distilled water at that. It helped to still his flesh.
The fast helped clear the cobwebs, distill some focus. Michael invited Jasmin over to view a video with him. And his sixteen-year-old sister, who usually had Michael for a chaperon when she dated(dad was old fashioned in this regard), little Sally got to tag along with big brother, and at big brother’s request. She was actually excited about the whole thing.
The Movie was the Elephant Man, a story of a deformed man, paraded as a circus freak, and thought to be illiterate. From deep within this man’s soul came a speaking of a scripture, ‘The Lord is my shepherd,’ and an eloquent line about being a man, and not an animal. A contrast is seen between men who look like men but act like animals and the Elephant Man who has a disfigured, bloated, head, but who acts like a man.
At the end of the movie he dies, because he goes to sleep lying down on his back, and he suffocates, his lungs not being able to sustain him. All his life he had to sleep sitting up, so as not to suffocate. He was called the Elephant Man because an Elephant trampled his mother during her pregnancy, and the injuries she sustained led to his deformity of physique.
The two girls held in some tears, Michael was touched again by it, and having Sally to talk to more intimately in the sense of his faith, he was relaxed.
“Sally, remember that verse about ‘Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his Saints’.”
Excitedly, “I just read that last week Michael.” She was sixteen, she could still gush. Jasmin on the couch, was weeping quietly, strangely touched by the film. Michael started to comment, then the phone rang. It was Tanya. She soon knew that Jasmin was there, and for Michael’s sake, also Sally.
“You may dump me yet Tanya,” Michael laughed.
“I am a jealous women Michael. Even though I’m jealous ‑‑ I know you’re as naive as a schoolboy ‑‑ you wouldn’t know how to take advantage of a girl.”
“So, you think, I have you fooled to that degree anyway,” with a belly laugh/ripple.
“No, you don’t have me fooled ‑‑ as jealous as I get ‑‑ I trust you.” She was silent a moment. Michael listened. “I never did date anyone before I actually TRUSTED. Especially after that locker room incident.” Tanya was referring to the school report she’d done for the college paper, in which she had hid out in the men’s locker room, in a makeshift towel cart, that she’d rigged up with a false bottom she could hide in. It was solid, so she could not see out, except the holes in the bottom to help her breathe, but the bugs she had an accomplice hide in the locker room, came to her little recorder and the headphones she was wearing.
All the Star Players had laughed and talked about _______ girls, any girl they could get their hands on. It created a small uproar in the student newspaper which ended by “laying” her off due to budget cuts and the need to downsize. That was the official version anyway. It had not harmed her Journalism growth, as the local newspaper started using her for some free-lance material.
“No, Michael, I’d rather live jealous of a man I trust ‑ than to be lied to by a smooth-talking male interested solely in another fleshly notch on his ego stained stud belt.”
He chuckled. “Pity the man that would dare cross you, my love. Love you.”
“Love you Michael.”
Michael flicked the answering machine on, fixed some coffee, while
Jasmin and Sally said hello. Michael brought the coffee and they
talked about the movie for a while, and then slipped into a hypothetical discussion of a Science Fiction story Michael had written for an English Literature Class. The basic plot, was, the transfer of bodies. A model on the cover of Cosmopolitan would wake up in someone else’s body, and her body would be on a woman who had paid highly for THE body she wanted. Philosophically delving into WHO a person was, and WAS the model’s identity wrapped up in what she could DO with her body, or was she STILL who she was in the new body she woke up in.
Wide open playing field. Michael had wanted Jasmin to think about her worth to GOD, based upon her simply being her, and contrast that to her customers whose sole value of her was based upon what she could do with her body.
Sally, who had not even read the story herself, wanted Michael to loan it to her when he took her home, and as a younger sister who loved her older brother, very HAPPY at simply being there.
Brother and sister talked frankly, and Jasmin could see the filial bond between them. She smiled as she watched them.
Michael wanted to bring Jasmin back into the circle, pointed at Sally and said, “She’s more sheltered than I was.”
Jasmin saw sibling rivalry as Sally swelled up semi defiantly, but you still heard the sweet sixteen echo of innocence which touched Jasmin.
“Dad has me chaperon her.”
“Well Uncle Wally chaperoned you until you were eighteen.” Brother and sister laughed. As they laughed, Jasmin saw herself at a younger age.
“You’re lucky, Sally,” Jasmin quietly spoke.
“Lucky, to have your brother follow you around on a date.” Sally spoke casually as if she always dated and had for years. This was the first year she had been allowed out with a single male AND a chaperon.
“When I was fourteen Sally, I was out with two friends. We were just driving around.” She grew quiet. “It was in a park, they rolled out a blanket ‑ and ‑ then,” pause, “raped me. One boy pinned my arms, the other pulled my shorts off. You might laugh about your dad wanting your brother to tag along ‑ but they obviously love you, and you never have been raped, have you, Sally?”
Sally, like her brother, had gold in her heart. Without saying anything she walked over and just hugged Jasmin, held her, with all the pure love a sixteen-year-old can feel over the pain of another. They both cried some, and laughed before pulling apart.
“So, tell me about this brother of yours, Sally.”
“Well, he told me he was going to rent the Elephant Man earlier this week, and invite you over when you were wearing slacks, instead of shorts. Do you know he rented the tape on Monday?”
“No,” she laughed. It was Friday.
“I was on alert all week. He wanted me to be here. Kind of like being his chaperon,” Sally laughed. She winked at Michael, almost conspiratorial in nature, and winked where Jasmin could see it, laughing, “I can see why you wanted to wait Michael, she IS beautiful.”
Some small protest from Michael.
“Don’t you always say that truth is best,” she smiled impishly. The two girls laughed at Michael’s obvious discomfort, feeling a kindred spirit between them.
So, Michael laughed back. “You got me Sis. I’ll be more discreet with you from now on.”
Looking at Jasmin. “As innocent as people see me Jasmin, I guard my heart diligently, lest I fail at being a True Witness ‑ a true friend. I loathe the thought of being a false friend, telling lies. I felt I would be more comfortable on a day you were dressed more ‑‑ and I thought Sally being here would help to keep us from being like an ingrown toenail.” Michael looked at Sally with pride. “What do you think of my baby sister?”
“She’s beautiful Michael.” She laid a hand on Michael’s, “I appreciate your friendship Michael.” Sally looked at the pain in Jasmin’s face and saw how that pain might cause a man like her brother to overreact in sympathy and “fall in love” with the “need”. She appreciated his wisdom in inviting her over. She felt kind of like his chaperon tonight. She laughed. A big love grew in her heart, that only a sibling sister could feel for an older brother she loved.
When they left the apartment, Sally asked her brother if they could drop Jasmin off first, because she wanted to talk to him. Jasmin who was tired, said, that suited her, and Sally felt like a wise mother looking over her children.
As he lay, face down in the prayer chapel, Michael wept again. He felt like he had failed his friend. What good was his faith, if it was so small, he lost a battle when it counted. What good had he done Jasmin in reality. His thoughts had started to add, not only the dimension of the loss, but the self-accusation and self-judgment, in a crippling degree.
At his home, Michael’s dad, lay praying, somehow sensing his son was going through a waterloo of greater dimension than he had initially discerned. He thought of some of the things he had seen in his own life, and wept for the future failures his son would go through. Battle is not pleasant he thought to himself. War is no joy. And one could never balance out the failures that tugged so deeply at the heart with the successes which were there. It was the failures that CUT to the QUICK. “Lord, help my son. Have him SEE, that man he is.”
Michael left the prayer chapel, moved into his car, and headed towards a remote shore. Taking a blanket out of his trunk, he laid it on the beach sand, and lay listening to the waves rolling in. He saw the moon overhead. He lay quiet for a good thirty minutes, the sound of the waves, almost a lullaby in his ears.
Then he had his first “open vision”. He “SAW” the pimp, he saw the knife on Jasmin’s throat, and then he “HEARD” Jasmin’s thoughts….mother warned me about these pimps. I feel my blood. He’s going to kill me. Jesus, Jesus, my friend Michael told me you loved me, and covered my sins with your blood. It looks like I’m going to be covered in my own blood… Michael saw the pimp suddenly take the knife off, as a startled look came across his face, and he pushed Jasmin to the floor. … Jesus, I want Michael’s God. Save me with your Blood. Let me see Michael and Sally again, one day. Let me have them as best friends 10,000 years from now. Michael always said, your reality was greater than any fantasy. I want to see my friends again. Save me Jesus, with your Blood. Let this whore be forgiven. Cover me with your blood… Michael saw the pimp pick her up again, and slash her throat anew, and then throw the knife down, Michael cried out, the vision was so real, NO, he cried, and as the pimp started choking Jasmin, he saw the BRIGHTEST light descend upon her, and felt her SOUL leave her body.
Michael fell to the ground weeping. As he lay there weeping, he heard the voice of His God speak quietly to him. “You are my friend Michael, and I love you.”
He lay on the sand, weeping, tears of joy amidst the pain.
And like a prism which reflects a multitude of colors, Michael embraced the passions and understanding of his God.