Standing on the graveyard grass, looking down at the freshly-filled grave, stood The Preacher, dressed in black and wearing a black, circular, wide-brim hat. There was not a headstone as of yet, but The Preacher knew the name of the occupant. It was his brother. Five days previously, he had murdered the man who now lay under the earth at his feet. The Preacher did not want to kill this one. But he felt he had to, and he knew with a certainty that he would have to kill again … and soon.
After saying a prayer over his brother’s buried body, The Preacher walked slowly back to the highway. As he walked, he thought of how unnecessary it had all been. All his brother had to do was not interfere in the Lord’s work. It should have made no difference that the work involved the killing of Junior McGuire.
He thought back to his last conversation with his brother:
“You must not interfere.”
“You’ve been killing since you were a boy. But you was family, so I held my own peace.”
“I am family to man.”
“You always were different, even when we was kids. But now you come to town and tell me you must take Junior McGuire. Well, Junior is a friend of mine. He’s the mayor of this town, for God’s sake.”
“Do not take the Lord’s name in vain. Are those your last words on the matter?”
“Yup, I just can’t let you kill Junior McGuire.”
The conversation replayed itself repeatedly in The Preacher’s mind.
Now that there were no more obstacles, The Preacher could be about the Lord’s work. And this time, the Lord’s work was the quick dispatch of Junior McGuire.
The Preacher had been at this work a long time. Sometimes he wearied of the mission the Lord had bestowed upon him. However, he believed that no matter how weary, he must persevere until he was allowed a rest or brought to his just reward.
The walk from the graveyard into town was a short one. Before he knew it, The Preacher found himself standing in front of McGuire’s Dry Goods Emporium. He entered without hesitation and sought out The McGuire.
The store was empty, but filled with people or not, it made no difference to The Preacher. He was about God’s work. He proceeded to the back room where he encountered a man of about, fifty stacking cartons in a corner. The Preacher inquired of the man, “Are you McGuire?” When an affirmative response was forthcoming, The Preacher laid his hands upon the sinner.
The Preacher had been at this so long he felt as though he could see the soul of the damned leave the body and pass through the floorboards on its way to perdition.
As he left McGuire’s, The Preacher thought to himself, “I pray the time never comes when I enjoy this work.”