Searching For Christmasbysack©
Under the pale light of stars, minister Steve Bogan drove stealthily to a nearby motel. It was daybreak on Christmas Eve, and Steve's only time to get away from his wife, who staying at his brother's house for the morning taking care of his two small children. Although Steve and June had been married six years, the spice had gone out of their relationship and things had become very humdrum. The first few years of their union had been blissful, with many trips to the Enchanted Place for frantic lovemaking amongst the tall grass. Steve loved the Enchanted Place. June had named it, a marvelous hidden pond they had discovered by accident one day while hiking. No one else in the area apparently knew about their discovery, so they had the run of the place to themselves. But it had been weeks since they had gone to the Enchanted Place, maybe months. Although the couple used to enjoy oral sex, Steve couldn't remember the last time June had given him head. Since she was so unresponsive, Steve had stopped going down on her in retaliation. He knew it was silly, but his pride was damaged and he didn't know how to repair it.
Worse than that, Steve had started surfing seedy chat rooms to relieve his constant horniness. There, he occasionally made arrangements to meet ladies of the night at a seedy motel two towns over, where he got a quick blowjob for fifty bucks if he was lucky. Steve always felt very bad about his transgressions afterwards and prayed to his Maker for forgiveness. Yet, inevitably a few days later he would feel the familiar stirring in his loins, and return to the safety of the internet. This past week had been brutal, June had been doing a lot of babysitting for his brother, who worked odd hours and whose wife was in the hospital, expecting another child any day now. He hadn't had sex for a week, and masturbated furiously as soon as June had left the room. Today, he was meeting up with Madame Debby who seemed to offer the best price for head in the area.
The day brightened under the warm Florida sun. Steve tried to polish his Christmas sermon while traversing the back roads to the motel, but his heart wasn't in it. He had chosen the topic "Searching For Christmas." as he had become jaded by the commercialism and materialism all around him. But somehow, the empty state of his life drained his thoughts and ideas of their effectiveness. He was left munching on his pencil as he pulled up in front of the Shady Glen.
Steve hurried to the front door, quickly glancing at a little scrap of paper in his front pocket. Room 22 was the destination of his desire, and he hoped Madame Debby had already signed in as "Mrs. Johnson." They had to be very careful, even though Summerville was two towns away from where Steve had founded his parish.
After getting the key from a clerk at the counter, Steve meekly knocked at a door with a faded 22 on it, the last room on the left. The motel smelled musty and decaying, but Steve barely noticed in his aroused state. The door swung open quickly, and Madame Debby's ample bosums pushed out a tiny aqua bra.
"You're late!...come on, we haven't got all day."
Steve hastily undressed while Debby got out of her one piece ensemble. Tossing his white boxer shorts aside, he lay against the rough bed's hard pillow, stroking his hard cock. In just her panties, Debby kneeled down and swiped her tongue across his swollen cockhead.
"Yes-s-s-s-" Steve hissed. "That's it!"
Debby took more and more of his boner in her mouth as Steve thought of nothing but pleasure. He could feel guilty later, on the drive home. Debby was such a skillful cocksucker the young minister was at the brink in seconds. With a shrill grunt, he came seven full spurts, which Debby spit out all over the stained rug.
"All done" the young prostitute was oh so businesslike today. Steve put back on his boxers, clasped a fifty dollar bill into Madame Debby's hand, and went into the bathroom to wash up. When he came out seconds later, he was surprised to hear a car door shutting. Acting on a hunch, Steve picked up his pants and felt the left hand pocket. His wallet was missing! Throwing on his pants and shirt, Steve ran out to his car, just in time to see Madame Debby's bright yellow Mustang kick up dirt in the unpaved driveway.
"Stop you little weasel thief! I already gave you 50 bucks!"
Steve started his car and drove out of the driveway at 40 miles an hour. He quickly got on the main drag, but Madame Debby's car was nowhere in sight. He wasn't that upset, figuring it would be easy to spot a yellow mustang, and quickly accelerated to 80 miles per hour. In his haste he almost missed a crowded scene of cars and fire engines next to a large building on the left. Steve slowed down jerkily, thinking Debby may have hid her car amongst all the equipment. Quickly jumping out of the car, Steve looked for Debby's vehicle, but no yellow Mustangs appeared to be in the parking lot. Seeing a policeman coming toward him, Steve slowed to a walk and tried to collect himself.
"I'm a minister....what seems to be the problem?"
The burly officer appeared to be at the end of his rope. "We've got a guy on the roof threatening to jump off. No one can talk any sense into him. Something about cheating on his wife."
"Do you want me to talk to him?"
"Sure, if you don't mind going up a two story ladder."
"I don't mind, after all it's almost Christmas."
The policeman nodded and led Steve to a strong aluminum ladder stretching into the sky. The crowd melted away, sensing something important was about to happen. Steve hurriedly mounted the metal behemoth, which ended at a flat section of roof. Prone on the stiff shingles was a middle aged man, curled into a fetal position.
Steve approached the downtrodden figure slowly, happy that the officers had assured him he wasn't armed. When Steve was about 6 feet away, he croutched down next to the man, who had covered his face with his hands.
"I'm Steve Bogan, a minister. Please let me help you."
"Go away! I want to die!"
"You can't die yet...you're too young!"
"I cheated on my wife and there's nowhere to go. She won't take me back."
"I'm sure she would if you said you were sorry..."
"Sorry! Sorry! A lot good that will do if she's heard it 20 times before! I'm just a worm...a lowly worm. I deserve to die!"
"But everybody makes mistakes Sir, none of us are perfect." Steve stammered, afraid he was losing him.
"Yeah, I bet you've never cheated on your wife!"
Steve felt like someone had poured acid on his face. "Well...um..."
"You mean you have too, buddy?? Then what the hell are you up here for?"
Steve tried to regain his composure. "But I pray for forgiveness, and God answers me."
"God, Shmod!" I bet you haven't even apologized to her yet..."
"I-I- well, no not yet!" Steve's ears burned with embarrassment.
"You're not a minister, you're a phony fake fraud! Now get the hell out of here!"
Steve was mortified that a total stranger had called him out, yet somehow he had to get the upper hand.
"Tell you what Sir, if you'll come down right now, we'll visit your wife together and I'll tell her you apologized to me and will never cheat on her again. I'm going to apaologize to my wife tonight, too, I promise."
For the first time, two eyes peered out from sweaty palms.
"Oh yeah, sure, you just want me to be arrested!"
"I'll ask the officers if they'll drop the trespassing charges if you'll come with me right now."
"Oh yeah?"....the man's body was starting to relax.
"Yeah." Steve smiled. "You're going to have the best Christmas ever, trust me."
The man slowly straightened out and took Steve's hand. The minister slowly lead him to the edge of the roof, where an officer had extended his arm.
As he handed the sobbing victim over to the policeman, Steve could feel him squeezing his hand.
"Thanks...for saving my life."
"Merry Christmas sir, It's been my pleasure to help you."
Steve watched his newly made friend descend the ladder, then was helped by a second policeman get down to the ground safely. As his feet made contact with good old Terra Firma, the crowd roared in appreciation.
"Thank you Sir." the head policeman vigorously shook Steve's hand. "We'll escort you to his house if you would like."
"Sure." Steve smiled. "And thanks for dropping the charges."
"No problem." the officer assured him. It is Christmas Eve, and the owner of the building has a warm heart."
"Yes, he does." Steve nodded. "Merry Christmas!"
"Merry Christmas Sir!" the officer gestured for Steve to get into the squad car as the crowd dispersed. All the minister could think about was apologizing to June, and he could hardly wait. He figured he would do it right before they went to bed. Then, he would give a killer sermon the next day about Searching For Christmas...
Steve hummed a gentle tune as he drove back toward his house. It had been so gratifying to see David, the man he had rescued embrace his wife and say he was sorry, hopefully for the last time ever. He had left them trimming the Christmas tree together, looking deeply into each other's eyes. Steve's interest in his sermon had picked up again, and ideas were starting to form in his head.
As the refreshed minister rounded a sharp corner, he could not believe the sight in front of him. A women and her three young children were sitting forlornly in front of their small apartment, surrounded by clothing and furnishings. The scene was so surreal, Steve immediately stopped his car and walked over to the hapless victims, who had clearly been crying.
"I'm Steve Bogan, a minister with Trinity Church. Can I help you?"
The woman's voice cracked. "I've been evicted...the day before Christmas!"
Steve's eyes fluttered as he surveyed the families belongings. Several items appeared to have been broken as they were hurriedly tossed outside, and clothing was everywhere in complete disarray.
"That's unbelievable...do you have any relatives?"
"My sister and I haven't spoken for years...no one wants to bother with us!"
At that point, a little girl no more than 5 years old came over to Steve and hugged him with all her might.
"That's little Stephanie, and my boys, Jeffrey and Timothy." The evicted woman gestured to two grimy preteens whose smiles appeared to be beaten out of them.
"I'm Kim. thanks for stopping."
"Hello Stephanie." Steve put his hand on the little girl's shoulder. Don't be sad, I think I can help you."
"You can?" The little sweetheart looked at him with such puppy dog eyes he instantly melted.
"I have a friend that owns a moving van company. We can get you set up for awhile at the Shady Glen motel until you get your bearings."
"Thanks a lot!" Kim attempted a smile, revealing yellowed and missing teeth. "That's great, but we don't have any money."
"I'll pay for it..." Steve nodded assuringly.
"You'll...." Kim broke into loud baby sobs. Even Timothy and Jeffrey all of sudden showed some life.
"Come on, let's start getting your stuff together. We have a lot of work to do!"
Steve used his cell phone to get a van for the family, stressing it was an extreme emergency. To his delight a truck was dispatched immediately, and arrived within a half hour. The rest of the afternoon passed in the wink of an eye, as Steve took in the delighted exclamations of joy of four individuals that were rescued from oblivion. He was happy to assist in their packing, befriending the children in the process. They told him all sorts of fun secrets as Kim grinned in the distance, from the best place to buy pizza, to their favorite television shows, and all the names of their numerous friends. It was nearly dusk when the van was fully loaded and ready to roll. Kim hugged Steve and didn't want to let him go. Taking their address at the Shady Glen and promising them he would write and visit from time to time, Steve drove away to frantically waving hands and leaps of joy. His heart filled to the brink with love, and all thoughts of finding Madame Debby had vanished.
As the moving van disappeared over the horizon, Steve pushed down on the accelerator. He knew June would start to be worried about him shortly, as he assured her that he would be back by dark. However, when he called no one answered the phone, so he just left a quick message assuring June he was okay and would be back as soon as possible.
Steve drove increasingly quicker towards the lights of his familiar town. As he passed the county hospital, he noticed a bevy of ambulances and fire equipment near the emergency room entrance. When his car got closer to the emergency vehicles, he noticed a stretcher being frantically rushed toward the emergency room door. Sensing something was horribly wrong, Steve parked his car in the visitor's lot and ran toward the waiting area. On the stairwell he could see a young woman crumpled on the ground, sobbing hysterically.
"Miss, Miss, are you OK?"
The young mother seemed startled yet relieved at the same time that someone had offered a willing ear.
"My nine year old daughter's been badly burned in a fire! They say she might not live!"
"Let's go in together, I'll pray with you, I'm a minister."
The young woman was like putty in his hands, her body was so limp and pliable. As they walked to the front desk, Steve learned the little girl's name was Mary. After consulting with the friendly receptionist, he was ushered into a small room to the right by a tall man dressed in scrubs, while Mary's mother stayed in the waiting area.
"I'm Doctor Fillman..are you a minister?"
"Yes, I noticed a woman crying on the front steps and just wanted to help. Will Mary be OK?
Doctor Fillman shook his head. "She's been burned over 85% of her body and hasn't much skin left. Only her mouth and eyes were spared so she can see and talk a little. But she's in a lot of pain and frankly is not expected to live through the night."
Steve felt tears forming in the corner of his eyes. "Can I speak to her?"
"As long as her mother says it's all right. I think the little girl knows she hasn't much time left. Can you reassure her?"
"I'll try." Steve's voice was little more than a croak at this point. With her mother just behind, Steve was led down a long hall to a private room. He entered with trembling hands, not sure what he would see within. On a large bed lay Mary, covered with bandages except for the area around her eyes and mouth. Steve walked over to the suffering child, afraid to touch her and possibly cause more pain.
"Mary? I'm Minister Bogan. I'm here to see how you are feeling."
The scared eyes fluttered, and a raspy voice emerged from the white gauze.
"A-m-m- I going to die?"
"Uh...no, I...." Steve faltered, not sure exactly what to say.
"I AM going to die...God hates me!"
"God does not hate you!" Steve's voice got stronger. "He loves you as much as any other little girl."
"Then why does he want me to die." Steve could see tiny tears forming in the frightened child's eyes.
"God wants you to be with him now, so he can reward you for being such a nice girl."
"He-e-e does?" the tiny frail voice seemed a bit surprised.
"I know you are always doing thoughtful things for people, and try to make the best choices. You are so wonderful that God can't wait to be with you."
"Rea-l-ly?" Mary wailed in amazement. Steve could hear her mother sobbing quietly in the background.
"Yes, really!" Steve suddenly noticed a small stuffed dog near Mary's arms. The well worn plush animal's ears were ripped and it obviously had served its purpose well.
Picking up Mary's security blanket, Steve held it in front of her line of vision.
"Is this your dog?"
"That's Tracker...he's my best friend."
"I'm your friend too, Mary, and from now on, I'm going to tell the story of you and Tracker whenever I give talks at my church. So, your memory will never die..."
"Never?" Mary's voice was barely a whisper now.
"Never. Now go to sleep and think about your new life with God. I'm staying with you, and mommy's here too."
Steve watched as Mary's mouth slowly, but surely curled into a smile. Her breathing became more labored, and the machines around her began to beep ominously. All of sudden, a nurse entered the room.
"I'm sorry, everyone needs to leave immediately!"
Steve's mouth dropped in shock as interns rushed by him, drawing a heavy curtain around Mary's bed. He stumbled into the little room where he had first talked with Mary's Doctor, collapsing into a chair. Steve cried his eyeballs out, wishing there was no such thing as a fire. After a few minutes, he heard a gentle knock on the door. It was Mary's mother, a picture of tortured grief.
"Mary just passed away...I think she would want you to have this." She held out the ripped stuffed dog, looking even more forlorn without Mary's love.
"T-Thank you!" Steve managed to get out through his tears. "I will never forget her."
The two strangers united in tragedy hugged for what seemed an eternity, but was probably only minutes. Steve made the sign of the cross and waved goodbye to Mary's mother. In a dazed state, he drove home muttering under his breath, trying to hold back his anger at God for taking Mary.
By the time tires crushed the gravel on the driveway, Steve was completely spent. Ignoring June's concerned cries of "where were you?", he lay back on the sofa, sobbing softly. When he composed himself enough to talk, Steve took June's hand and told her in great deal about his day, beginning with Mary and working backwards. He couldn't bring himself to tell June about Madame Debby, but did apologize as he had promised the man on the roof he would. Through it all June nodded and seemed concerned and nodded frequently. When he was finally finished, Steve felt like an empty shell.
"Can you ever find it in your heart to forgive me?"
June took a ddep breath, then leaned over and kissed Steve on the lips.
"Of course I can, it's Christmas."
"Oh, thank you!" Steve felt the air from his guilty balloon deflate as he hugged June with all his might. Then they retired to the bedroom, whispering sweet nothings into each other's ears... ***************************
It was finally time for his sermon. As Steve mounted the steps to the plain wooden podium, his hands were trembling. There was so much he wanted to get out, and so little time to do it in. The congregation had never appeared so large, so needy. Looking out over the hundreds of people, Steve gripped the sides of the lecturn and cleared his throat.
"The title of my sermon today is Searching For Christmas. Many of you have asked me to talk about the true meaning of Christmas in a world filled with violence and hatred. I've been doing a little soul searching lately, and feel I'm closer to Christmas than ever."
It was so quiet in the resonant church Steve could hear the shuffling of feet. Encouraged by his audiences' interest, he spoke in a firmer, clearer tone.
"In order to tell you what Christmas really is I need to go over what Christmas really isn't. Christmas has nothing to do with getting presents and sitting on Santa's lap. Christmas doesn't care about your latest X-box, plasma television, or weekend mansion. As a matter of fact, YOU are not important to Christmas at all."
A couple of parishioners gasped. Steve relaxed and continued to tighten the screws.
"Christmas started off as an innocent celebration of the miracle of Jesus and has now become a commercial nightmare. We are bombarded with "stuff" to buy, in order to prove our love to the significant others around us. But money can't purchase the most important things in life...respect, trust, friendship, and that big one...love."
Steve grinned at June, who was sitting in the front row. "A lot of people think love means showering someone with gifts, living in the world of the material. But the endless stuff in our lives just slowly breaks down, instead of continuing to expand and give. Therefore, the first thing to remember at Christmas is, if I can hold it in my hands, I'm just adding more stuff to the garbage pile of love."