**tap, tap, tap, tap**
“Who’s in there?”
I was quickly drawn out of my haze and transported back to my good sense. Immediately I began to panic!
**tap, tap, tap, tap**
“Hey! What are y’all doing in there?”
The husky voice shouted at us once again! The fear on Jade’s face matched my own! She looked at me intently and whispered . . .
“Princeton do something??!! Quick!”
I nodded and went into my library of thoughts and excuses. How could I bullshit my way out of this and avoid death this go round? I did the only thing that could be done in this circumstance. . . . .
“Stay here Jade. I’ll be right back”
I swallowed my nerves and opened the passenger rear door slowly. To my amazement, the burly baritone that interrupted my high belonged to an “earthly” woman, dressed in a Trader Joe polo.
“Look mister! I really don’t care what you and your friend are doing in the car, but this here truck is in MY parking spot!”
I looked over to where the manager was pointing. Sure enough, the jeep was parked illegally in a marked space. I wondered why in the world did this “lady” need to be at work so early, but I was not in the position to ask such questions.
“My apologies ma’am. I’ll move it now”
My heart settled down as I got in. The dedicated overseer continued to scowl in my direction, as she was finally able to claim her spot. I wheeled myself over to the driver’s side of the Altima. Jade was already clothed and in the driver’s seat ready to leave. The sun was beginning to break free and, unfortunately, my enchantress and I needed to do the same. Jade rolled down the window as I dismounted from the jeep.
“Princeton, what are we doing? I mean, really? If Mr. Houston is as vicious as you say he is, we can never do this again! For both our sakes!”
“Jade, I’m tired of living this lie! No one completes me like you babe!”
“I feel the same way you do, but are you willing to risk your life for us?”
“Doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible that ‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for who he loves?”
My beloved shook her head as the tears began to well up.
“Baby, I wanna be with you. I know that now more than ever! Give me some time to come up with a plan and I’ll contact you”
“I’ve never been so sure in all my life! I’ve been merely existing without you. I wanna live again!”
“Okay baby. We’ll try it your way, but please . . . . please be careful!”
We kissed goodbye and she disappeared into my dreams once again. After replaying the last twenty minutes of my life, I focused my attention on getting from underneath Eric’s covenant. There had to be a loophole somewhere! I just needed time to find it! To pull this off, I required assistance. However, how could I contact anyone without Mr. Houston getting wind of it? I knew that the entire house had to be bugged! I dared not call anyone from the church because there was no telling who was on the take there!
I hurried back to the scene of the distraction. As I walked in, a thought came to me . . . .
“Prepaid cell phones! That’s it!”
I ran to the place where I left my buggy and was surprised that it was still there! I scanned my surroundings before taking off to the tech section. I grabbed two prepaid cell phones and darted for the nearest checkout. The cashier attempted to tell me about her night, but my mind was fixed on getting back on schedule. After paying for the goods, I hustled home and attempted to make up for the time that was lost with Jade. I knew that I needed to stay on task so that I wouldn’t raise any type of suspicion at the church. I put the cell phones in one of my old shoe boxes and quickly headed for the shower.
Now what should have been a quick review of Sunday’s songs was interrupted with more flashbacks of my eventful encounter. I tried singing the songs aloud to help, but I kept imagining her divine derriere on top of me. Her kisses gave me life, breathing new meaning back into my world. My evangelical mistress was no longer a want, she was a necessity. A necessity that I would gladly go back to my former life if I could live my forevers with her. She gave me the fortitude to overcome my mess. Shit, how else would you explain my sudden fervor to go up against Atlanta’s new kingpin? I was just a musician from Decatur! What the hell did I know about fighting and guns?
As I made my way to 85, I started to think about how I should address Stephanie with the matter. It was obvious that neither one of us were happy in our predicament. Sure the fanfare anytime we arrived somewhere was great! And just like we were instructed by Stephanie’s PR team, we played our parts for the crowd. But when the cameras and lights disappeared, I was left to hear the never ending stories about Angela and how difficult it was for my wife to be without her. Despite the men my news anchor dated, Angela was always there. Always. Stephanie would introduce Angela to her beaus, hoping that the men would accept her alternative lifestyle, but it never worked. Angela never wanted to be penetrated by a man, so that spoiled the dream every time. . .
“9 AM on the dot!”
I attempted to be calm as I strolled my way inside the church. For some reason, there were more smiles than usual from the pastoral staff as I walked passed. . . . especially the women! I rushed to the nearest bathroom to see if my zipper was down. No. Then I checked to see if Jade had left any hickeys in plain sight. Nothing there. Maybe I was seeing things? I shook my head and proceeded to the stage to greet the choir. To my amazement, they were all grinning too . . . . . like I was the new guy in town or something! Finally, I asked Kia (my praise and worship leader) what all the smirking was about.
“Well it’s not my place Minister Paul, but all the ladies are in awe of you!”
“Because Mrs. Paul didn’t make the town hall meeting last night. Everyone believes that you must have done some “work” if she couldn’t make a mayoral debate!”
I looked back at the choir. The altos were giggling while the tenors were giving me props. I was still trying to understand how my wife missed a debate that she had been preparing for for nearly six weeks?! Did something happen on the way there? I remained calm as I took my phone and sent a text to Stephanie.
“Where are you Steph? You didn’t make the televised debate last night?”
I waited for a few minutes but there was no response. I attempted to be cool as I took my perch at the organ. Service went according to plan and none was the wiser about the multitude of feelings that I had experienced in the past three hours. I kept hoping to feel a buzz in my suit jacket with Stephanie stating she was okay. But there was none.
As Elder Thomas stood up to collect the tithes and offerings, an unannounced special guest came through the rear doors. It was Stephanie with her normal entourage!
“We’re so blessed to have mayoral candidate Stephanie Amir-Paul in our worship with us today! Wave your hand sister so that everyone can see you!”
Stephanie waved and shook hands as she joined the parade of giving parishioners. As she came close to the stage, she pointed to her phone that was in her hand and kept moving. I wanted to take a look, but we had two songs to knock out first. I could handle my business once the pastor came up for his sermon, and the musicians were allowed to retire to the choir stand. Indeed I was a little nervous, but I couldn’t see an immediate threat in the crowd. Besides, the only person that saw me and Jade getting it on was a burly woman from another store!
When the Pastor gave his scripture, I opened my messages. . . . .
“I’m sure you heard that I missed the debate last night . . . . .”
My response was that of any concerned husband . . .
“So where have you been? Everyone thinks that I sexed you so good that you missed it!”
Three minutes later, another text came.
“I’m so sorry Princeton! I really am!”
“What’s the matter?”
“Mr. Houston called me early this morning, asking questions about us both”
“Yes, the both of us. He wanted to know why I missed the debate and why you left the grocery store this morning for twenty minutes and then came back?”
Damn!!!! This motherfucker had eyes everywhere! I searched my mind to see who looked out of place at Wally World. Then it occurred to me . . . . the eye in the sky! I needed to come up with a lie quick! Think Princeton! Then it came to me . . . . . .
“I realized that I left my wallet at the Shell station when I was about to check out at Wal-Mart. I had to go back to the gas station and retrieve it. It took a minute because staff were changing shifts . . . .”
I was happy with myself and the fib. It accounted for me jumping in the car and leaving the scene in the event that Mr. Houston had access to the outside cameras as well. I received another text, however, this one was from my new employer. . . . .
“After service is over, I want to see both of you . . . . in my office . . . . .”
Written by the Wednesday Gentleman