Chapter 1.) In Jesus’ Name……. Amen…
Samuel looked straight into the camera lenses. His posture was straight, ands he stared into the eyes of America. He looked rather distinguished in his navy blue pinstripe suit. His processed hair was sleek like Duke Ellington’s, and his stoned facial expression lent him a mysterious air. As soon as he opened his mouth, one would think Billy Dee Williams had died and reincarnated himself inside of him. Samuel sounded precisely like him—cool, calm, and collected. When he spoke, it was like the whole atmosphere came to a standstill.
“To all the soldiers in the Middle East, I’m going to pray for your safe return. I take my hat off to all of you for selflessly defending our beautiful nation. My heart also goes out to the families of those soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty. I want to take this God sent opportunity to praise our Father. Let us all pray.” Samuel closed his eyes and put both of his hands together.
“Dear Lord, I ask that you lay your hands on the brave soldiers who are sacrificing their lives for this wonderful nation. I ask that you bring every last one of them back home in one piece so that they can reunite with their loved ones. As for those who aren’t fortunate enough to still be alive, I know it was in your will. They are now in your hands and they will forever live on through their families. You are the reason for the season and I love you more than I love myself. I will lay my life down for you. In Jesus’ name…Amen.”
“Amen,” the congregation repeated in unison. Samuel finally opened his eyes. His prayers were always powerful and heartfelt. His members always commended him for his epic sermons, but they had no clue that his prayers and sermons weren’t genuine. If they had been mind readers, they would have been shocked by the thoughts that were jumping around in his head. Because all the while he was thinking,“Christianity really makes my balls itch!”
Chapter 2.) Overbearing Father
Samuel was glad to finally be home. He sat in his La-Z-Boy and removed his shoes; he was pooped. “I sure could use a can of Miller Light,” he thought. Samuel hadn’t consumed alcohol since he took the pastoral oath at the World Faith Missionary Baptist Church nine years ago. He released a frustrated sigh. His wife Pauline was in the kitchen preparing supper while his daughter Chastity was upstairs watching “That’s So Raven.” By this time, he was normally in his office working on his sermon, but he didn’t feel like doing anything that night. All he wanted to do was get his mind off of church,. So he planned to eat dinner, watch a movie, make love to his wife and call it a night. He was flipping through the channels until he saw the infamous pastor Kerney Thomas acting like a world class fool. Pastor Thomas’s sermons were so devised and comical, that he could have won a Tony award for “Best Fraudulent Pastor.” The way Pastor Thomas was whooping and hollering, people had to be out of their wits to take him seriously.
“This nigga is a fool ass clown, but he’s funny as hell,” Samuel thought.
He felt a laugh coming on; Pastor Thomas’s performance wasn’t going to allow him
to sit in his La-Z-Boy and watch without laughing his head off. As soon as Pastor Thomas screamed, “Gawwwwddd!” Samuel almost fell out of his seat. He was laughing so hard, he nearly choked on his tongue. His laughter and cough alarmed Pauline, and she quickly stormed into the living room to see what was going on.
“Are you okay, Sweetie?” she asked. Samuel finally sat up and cleared his throat.
“Yes Baby, everything is fine. I’m just laughing at this silly pastor on television.,” he replied. Pauline screwed up her face as if she had caught Samuel watching pornography.
“Lord have mercy. What on earth are you doing watching that no good clown preacher?
The network should pull the plug on his ministry; because he’s got a lot of nerve behaving the way he does. I ought to call that network and complain about his so-called ministry. He ought be ashamed of himself; , but the Lord is going to strike the fakeness out of him,” she huffed.
Whenever Pauline got upset, her nose would turn red like a beet. “I couldn’t agree with you more Baby, but I give the man props for being a good comedian.” Samuel laughed again, but Pauline wasn’t the least bit amused. She walked over to the television and turned it off.
“What did you do that for?!” he complained. What he really wanted to say was, “Bitch, have you lost your damn mind?!”, but he didn’t want to incite an argument. Pauline was two months pregnant with their second child, and the last thing he wanted to do was upset her.
“Samuel Lee Baker, you are a man of the cloth. Watching other pastors mock the Lord is just wrong. You’re a best-selling author with over 40,000 church minions and a seven-year-old daughter. You should be setting a better example than this. What do you have to say for yourself?” she asked.
Samuel loved when Pauline frowned. It made her look even more stunning. Whenever she got mad, she would wiggle her sharp nose and poke out her pouty lips. She stood at 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a cocoa butter complexion, full pouty lips, and striking yellow-brown eyes. People constantly reminded her that she looked like Jada Pinkett-Smith and Kerry Washington. Samuel felt his shaft rise like a biscuit. Her sexy frown was turning him on. He stared at her and remained silent. She was very familiar with that seductive look.
“Oh no, Mister! You aren’t getting off the hook that easily. Undressing me with your eyes isn’t going to work this time,” she said. Samuel continued ignoring her and stood to approached her.
“Samuel, I’m serious,” she said as she tried to muster up the most serious face possible, but it didn’t work. Samuel slowly walked towards her and finally said,
“I know Baby, and I’m sorry.” His Billy Dee Williams-like voice was enough to give her nipples goose bumps.
“Samuel, I’m not playing with you.,” she said, but Pauline was finding it difficult to resist a smileing.
“You look so sexy when you pout.,” Hhe said as he wrapped his strong arms around her small waist and began showering her with kisses.
He started kissing on her neck and nibbling on her right earlobe. She released a moan and forgot about the way she’d scolded him earlier for watching Pastor Thomas. The scent of Samuel’s cologne was intoxicating. She and Samuel could have embraced each other all night long in that same spot without moving. They stared into each other’s eyes and began kissing. Samuel parted her lips with his tongue; he picked her up and was about to carry her upstairs when he heard the door bell ring.
“Ain’t this about a son of a bitch?!” he thought.
Whoever was ringing his door after 7 p.m. had better have a good damn excuse for derailing his love making plans. Samuel wanted to cuss out whoever the uninvited visitor was. He really wanted to ignore the visitor, but the determined visitor rang the doorbell three more consecutive times.
“Sweetie, let me go see who it is,” Pauline said.
“Come on, Baby; I’m sure it’s probably only one of the girl scouts again,” Samuel replied.
“What if it’s something important, Samuel? It could be a life or death situation,” Pauline pointed out. Samuel sucked his teeth and finally put Pauline down. She walked to the door to see who it was.
“Who is it?” she asked.
“It’s Woodrow. Open up the door!” The deep voice demanded.
“Just a minute, Papa Woodrow!” Pauline said.
Woodrow was Samuel’s overly religious father. He was a proud and righteous man.
You see, Woodrow was a God fearing perfectionist who lived vicariously through the Bible. No matter how hard Samuel tried to please him, it just wasn’t sufficient enough.
“It’s your daddy,” Pauline whispered.
“Well, don’t just stand there. Let him in!” Samuel hissed.
He wasn’t necessarily hissing at Pauline; he was really mad at his father for inflicting himself upon him and his family at an inconvenient time. As soon as Pauline opened the door, Woodrow rudely zipped past her without acknowledging her presence.
“Hey Pop. What can I do for ya?” Samuel dryly asked.
“Son, I need a favor from you!” Woodrow replied.
Samuel looked at his father as if he’d told him he was dying from prostate cancer, because he wasn’t used to his father asking him for favors. He was used to his father’s harsh criticisms. Therefore, being asked a favor by his father was very foreign.
“I need you to visit Sista Rosetta at the nursing home tomorrow morning, because I plan to go fishing with two of the deacons from Holy Mary’s Catholic Church.” Woodrow’s request sounded more like an order.
“Pop, I have a sermon to do tomorrow and I plan to take Pauline and Chastity out for dinner afterwards. Pauline and I haven’t been spending enough quality time together lately. Shouldn’t your visit with Rosetta take priority over fishing with the other pastors?”
Samuel was shocked himself withby his last sentence, because he never questioned his father. Even though Samuel was a grown man with his own family, he was somewhat intimidated by his father. Woodrow was a no nonsense disciplinarian and a pastor. Samuel’s mother had died when he was born and Woodrow had had to raise him on his own. Woodrow made sure that his son was in church every single day. Whenever Samuel misbehaved, his father would beat him with switches, punch him, and force him to read and recite the whole Bible to him. Samuel wasn’t allowed to have friends, and his father only made him listen to gospel music. Samuel loved his father, but he hated him for every punishment he’d subjected him to. He still had welt scars on his back from the switches beatings his father had inflicted upon him.
“Are you sassing me boy?!” Woodrow railed.
“No sir,” Samuel replied. “Young man, you are never too old to be disciplined. As long as I’m breathing, I’m still your father. Remember the scriptures, honor thy father and honor thy mother? Well you better act like you know! Tomorrow you’re going down to that nursing home after church, and you’re going to say a prayer for Sista Rosetta. Do I make myself clear boy?” he asked.
Woodrow’s eyes were so wide, they looked like they were going to fall out of their sockets. He wasn’t taking “Nno” for answer. Samuel just stood there looking defeated. No one said anything for two seconds., That was wthen Pauline finally broke the ice.
“Daddy Woodrow, what Samuel’s trying to say is that he works very hard, and he needs to spend time with me and our daughter. Honestly, it isn’t fair for you to renege on your promise to Sista Rosetta by making Samuel pick up the slack.”
“Umm, with all due respect Pauline, my boy is the one I’m talking to, not you. So, I really see no reason for you to voice your opinion. I mean, he is the bread winner and the man.,” Woodrow replied.
“I beg your pardon?” Pauline snapped.
“I’m sure you heard me clearly, Pauline. Perhaps you need me to use sign language to get my point across,” Woodrow retorted.
“Let me tell you one thing…” Pauline began. Samuel intervened,
“Pauline, why don’t you go into the kitchen and continue preparing supper.”
Just before Pauline could protest, Samuel cut her off to prevent her from getting a word in edgewise.
“Pauline please! I’ll handle it. Just go into the kitchen and continue preparing our meal, okay?”
When Samuel gave her a reassuring look, she shot a scowl at Woodrow, who was smirking like a Cheshire cat. She cut her eyes at him and stomped off into the kitchen mumbling incoherently under her breath.
“Pop, you didn’t have to be so mean to her,” Samuel said.
“Look here boy, you are the man of this house, and she’s the woman of this house. Her duty is to serve and obey you, not question you or get into your manly business.”
As Woodrow spoke, spit flew out of his mouth and specks of it landed on Samuel’s upper lip. Samuel wiped it off with the cuff of his sleeves. He wanteds trying to choose his words wisely., because Hhe didn’t want to say anything that would fuel his father’s anger.
“I love my wife. She is my rib, and I treat her as an equal because she’s an important aspect to our marriage. I love her and our daughter very much.,” he finally said.
“Boy, let me tell you something. As soon as you give a woman too much power, she’ll start bossing you around as if she’s the one with a twig and berries between her thighs. It’s bad enough these women think they can do anything a man can do,” his father replied.
Samuel was about to speak up, but Woodrow silenced him before he could utter another word.
“Boy, do not interrupt me while I’m talking.”
“Sorry sir,” Samuel said and dropped his head like he used to do whenever his father scolded him for being disobedient.
“Now, as I was saying, every since these women were granted the constitutional right to vote and be treated equally, they’ve wanted to take over the world! If I had my way, they’d be at home, bare foot, pregnant, tending to their men and in church every day. That’s how it was during the biblical times, son. You of all people should know that. A woman should always know her place. Don’t ever let your woman forget that. I ain’t raise no wimp. I raised a man. Understood?” his father asked as he ended his lecture. Samuel didn’t appreciate how his father pigeonholed women as servants. Listening to his father’s chauvinistic views about women being inferiors was enough to make him want to strangle him. It wasn’t like Samuel wasn’t physically capable of doing so either. He was five inches taller than his father and he outweighed him by a hundred pounds. Samuel was built like a gladiator on the outside, but he felt like the same timid little boy on the inside. “Boy, look at me when I’m talking to you!” his father demanded. Samuel obliged and gave his father full eye contact like a soldier in training. It was times like these that Samuel despised his father for his callous and controlling behavior. Getting his manhood crushed by his father felt like a spit in the face. Woodrow’s blunt words cut straight through the bone marrow. The best thing Samuel could say was, “Yes sir.” Woodrow changed the subject as if nothing had ever happened.
“Where’s my precious grand baby?” he asked.
“She’s upstairs watching TV,” Samuel replied. Woodrow shouted for Chastity as if he lived there.
“Chastity, come downstairs young lady. Your paw-paw is here!” Chastity was downstairs within 20 seconds.
“Paw-Paw!” she exclaimed as she ran to him and wrapped her skinny arms around his wide pot belly.
You would have thought she’d seen Santa Claus. In a sense. Woodrow was like Santa Claus to her, because whenever he saw her, he would always give her money or lollipops.
“How’s my only grand baby doing?” Woodrow asked and smiled so wide, you could see every last one of his teeth. “I’m doing fine Paw-Paw,” Chastity replied. She was adorable with her two thick long pigtails. She was a ray of sunshine and she was the spitting image of her mother.
“Are you reading your Bible everyday, young lady?” he asked.
“Yes, Paw-Paw” she innocently answered.
“Good girl! Your paw-paw’s got something for you,” he said. Woodrow reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He fished out 10 dollars out and handed it to her.
“Thank you Paw-Paw” she said happily.
“You’re welcome, Doll.” Woodrow gave Chastity a bear hug and kissed her on the forehead.
“You be good!” he said.
“Ok, Paw-Paw!” she replied.
Chastity was as happy as a lark as she skipped up the stairs. It broke Samuel’s heart to watch his father exhibit so much affection to his granddaughter., because Woodrow had never been that affectionate to Samuel when he was Chastity’s age. All he’d ever done was beat him and belittle him. He never even called him by his first name. He always referred to him as “Boy” or “Son”. He called him “Boy” when he was mad at him, and called him “Son” when he was happy about something or wanted Samuel to do something for him. So, as a child, Samuel promised himself he would never mistreat his future children the way his father mistreated him.
“When is your wife dropping that little rascal she’s carrying?” Woodrow dryly inquired.
“She’s two months pregnant. The baby is due to arrive on April 15th.,” Samuel replied. Woodrow released a grunt. Samuel wasn’t sure what his father meant by that.
“Well, she’d better have a boy this time, because males are already outnumbered by females in this country. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love my granddaughter, but I’ll be completely happy when I have a grandson. On my father’s side, there were all nothing but males. We Baker men only produce males. You and Pauline are going to have a boy!” he exclaimed.
Woodrow just wouldn’t let up. He was talking as if he had the authority to decide which gender the baby was going to be. He was way out of line, and Samuel was hoping he would leave as soon as possible. Fortunately, his prayers were answered.
“Welp, like I said before, you’ll be visiting Sista Rosetta while I’ll be fishing with the fellas, and I’ll make sure that you did what I told you to do. I’m going home to read my Bible. I won’t be having dinner with you tonight. That wife of yours is pretty, but her cooking ain’t worth feeding to the roaches.” Woodrow chuckled at his own obnoxious comment. Samuel wasn’t amused.
“Good riddance.” Samuel thought.
“See ya later, Son.,” Woodrow said as he left.
“See ya, Pop.”
Samuel was crushed. He always allowed his father to get the best of him. In spite of him being one of the most richest, prominent and influential televangelists of his time, his father still had a way of making him feel like a squished centipede. Yep! Woodrow was a bona fide mood killer, because Samuel had lost his appetite for dinner and sex. Those painful childhood memories sent chills down his spine. All he wanted to do was, forget about his father’s impromptu visit and go straight to bed.