True Story: The Believer, Part 1

[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]

"God's will is a strange thing."

He walked down the row of shops, trying each door as he passed. "I've heard some say that if it's easy, then God has a hand in it. I think I agree."

He tried the door to McCluskey's Parlor, a men's shop--it was unlocked. He turned the knob and entered. "Hmmm, why would a ruler of the heavens help me?" he thought. "Maybe I'm meant for greater things." The cash register drawer was open, displaying to the city streets that there was nothing here to be had. Arlo bowed his head in prayer, "Oh, Heavenly Father," he began. "I come to you as a seeker. Please bless my hands. Deliver unto me that which I deserve."

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He reached into the shelf beneath the register and laid his hand upon a metal box. It was a small cash box with a minuscule padlock securing the lid. Whoever had put the box away had been errant in making sure the lock had clicked.

"Ahhh, good old McCluskey," he said. "A special blessing I say for you, sir." He opened the box and extracted the contents: a handful of bills, some twenties, some tens, nothing larger, but a nice little score--maybe a few hundred dollars--a good week of work for the old man. He replaced the box after locking it, as it should have been done by someone else, maybe McCluskey, and then he turned and walked toward the door. A flash of cool steel caught his eye as he moved. A straight razor lying open on the counter--the blade bending the streetlights' glow. It looked sharp. Arlo picked up the razor and flashed it open. It felt good in his hand. There was a mirror running the length of the shop. Arlo admired his reflection in it. He was neither tall nor short, his hair was dark-brown peppered with gray, and other than a long scar running from his left eye to his chin, he was an unremarkable man--a random sheep in God's flock.  

"Do I please you, Lord?" Arlo asked the mirror. "Because if you felt I didn't--" He violently grabbed his own hair and pulled back, exposing his throat, against which he held the razor. "I would remove thee. I would pluck the errant member from thy world, if you so command."

Arlo waited for an answer that did not come. A car slowly drove by the shop, its headlights momentarily freezing the encounter inside. "As you will, God."

Arlo let go of his hair and dropped the razor to his side. He closed the blade and placed it in his pocket. He took a quick glance around the shop--made sure that nothing but the razor and the cash box had been disturbed by his visit. Then he walked out and locked the door.

"For this bounty, I thank you, Lord. May I always be worthy."

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