HE WAS CALLED The Write Reverand because he was the only member of the congregation who could write, or could read more than their names on their welfare checks, for that matter. They knew him as Larson, which was a fitting name for him. Add one letter to his name--Y---and you know what his ministry is all about.
Parson Larson loved rhyming. It was all part of his weekly sermons. "God lives in the sod." "Devil's on the Level." "Seize Us, Brother Jesus." "Boola! Boola! Hell-a-Lulu!"
He was not really an honest to God---or honest to anyone---minister because he had never been to preacher school. He was never ordained and hadn't even received a call from God, ever talked to Jesus or seen the Virgin Mary on a steamed-up mirror in the men's shower room at the local YMCA.
But one day while counting nickels and dimes at the convenience store to pay for a Pepsi and a bag of potato chips he was two cents short when it came to forking out the cash. He'd already eaten half of the bag of chips and drank most of the Pepsi. "Gimmee those two pennies rawt now or ah callin' the sheriff an' arestin' youall fer shopper liftin'. "
"Little short?" asked the rube behind him. He pulled a handful of pennies oiut of his pocket, dumped them on the counter. "Put you all money away. Ah'll pay the bill. The treat's on me."
He must have had a couple hundred pennies in that bulging pocket and plenty nickels and dimes in the other pocket. "Ah'm savin' the silver for a rainy day. The pennies I give to charity. Be my guest."
"You carryin' all that big money around in your pockets?" Larson asked. "And you don't mind sharin' yer wealth with me?"
"Why shore. All us folks got lots o' pennies. We's the pennniest rich folks fer miles 'round. We're genruss peoples." He took a handful of pennies out of his pocket and dumped them in Larson's hat. "We shares the wealth. Who ever's needin' gits."* * *
That started wheels spinning around in Larson's head. These hayseeds ain't got no church. Got no religion. Got no brains. But they got pennies. Maybe hundreds. So whyan't I start me a church and get rich as a son of a bitch! He didn't get a call from God, but he got an idea. "I'm gonna start me a church---the Gimmee Gotcha Church of God." And the next day he did.
A traveling salesman passing through asked Parson Larson where he got his "minister moniker. " The parson answered huffy-like. "I was the fuhst and only gradjit of the Confusion College of Preacher Knowledge. "Set fire by the devil and burned to the ground raght over thar." He pointed to a burned out patch of land across from the Town Hall. "Cain't nobody build
on that land no more. It be holey, You can tell by the holes in that thar ground."
"Holy? You mean like in Holy Father?"
"No. Holey like in holey holes. See them holes twixt the trees. Ain't them the holiest holes you ever did see?"* * *
In his sermons Parson Larson's voice rose to a crashing crescendo. "Yea, the devil he died. Then he was rizrected. On the level the devil done riz. And that's what iz." Then he launched into his message. "Desire fuels the devl's fire. Those that's got lust is cussed Fornication is damnation."
Those words meant nothing to the flock. But they sounded good and they brought out the pennies when the collection plate was passed around. Parson Larson never menrtioned the Bible in his sermons because he never read it beyond the first begat. But one Sunday he got all fired up and gave a sermon that would go down in the history of the Gimmee Gotcha Church.
"We's gathered here on yonder hill overlookin' the holey land to give thanks to the guy who calls hisself God and lives on high." He pointed to the mountain behind him. "That's where this guy God lives. But don't none of you try to climb up that mountain because iffin you do you all will be smited down by his guards, the meanest old mountain lions you ever did see. They'll tear you apart from asshole to armpit. Sure as hell they will."
Parson Larson paused, chewed hard on his plug of chewin' t'backy, reared back his head and sent a stream of brown spit into the wind. The wind blew the spit in his face and formed a mist over the first row of his flock. "Spit spray sent down the mountain is this here guy's way of tellin' us to repent with givin' our pennies and we saved and by the spit spray
Parson Larson lifted his arms and pointed to the mountain. "Gather 'round. Toss your pennies in the air. Take out your 'backy an' chew an' an' repeat after me, 'With each chew I gittin' closer to him who am what I ain't not'.''
The congregation, men, women and children, filled their cheeks to overflowing, threw handfulls of pennies in the air and sent their spit into the wind and each other's faces.
"We's been saved by saliva salvation," the parson cried as he stooped down to scoop up the pennies and stuff them in his pockets.