Pastor Harold sat at his desk as the cool air blew from the air conditioner across his sweating brow.
He had just preached his heart out. He then announced that he would step down. Now he was contemplating the future.
Take a month and just go fishing. I haven’t gone fishing since I did it with my father twenty…no thirty years ago. He thought.
His thoughts of better times were disrupted when Monique walked in the door.
“Carter…You did not just do that?” she asked.
Pastor Harold laughed.
“Your name is going to be drug in the mud and you laugh?”
“So now you care about my name…What do you want Monique?”
“Red ain’t playing…You really need to fix this.”
“So it appears I threw a wrench in your plans. So you are not going to be the first lady.”
Monique’s dark brown complexion took on a slight red hue.
“No, I uh…I’m thinking about you. I don’t want you to go out like this.”
“So now you are just gonna lie. Why not just tell me the truth Monique?”
“And what is the truth?”
“The truth is you and Dex wanted to use this church instead of minister to this church.”
“So now you are gonna lecture me about ministry. Don’t forget I know…”
“Yeah, you know…and I know too…”
Lady Janet rushed through the open door and issued an expletive as she walked into the pastor’s study after worship.
Pastor Harold jumped and rushed to shut the door in an attempt to keep others from hearing the conversation.
“Bring your voice down Janet and…” Pastor Harold said as he walked back by her to his desk.
“What is she doing in here? I know you ain’t with her right after you did that to me?”
“Oh ain’t nobody doing nothing in here.” Monique said.
“Ain’t nobody talking to you.” Lady Janet said she then looked at Pastor Harold.
“Carter, what was that?” Lady Janet snapped as she grabbed at Pastor Harold.
“What? Oh you mean today.”
“Yeah…today, what is all this you telling the people?”
“I stepped down as pastor and I am going to pass it on to Trey.”
“And you didn’t say a thing to me?”
“Janet, I’m tired of this.”
“Tired of what?” She put her hand on her hip and looked at him dead in his eye.
“I’m tired of this church…Tired of lying.”
“You gonna rip my whole world out from under me because you are tired?”
Pastor Harold shook his head and walked back to his chair and sat down.
“No you don’t. Go back out there and tell them that you are going to stay on.”
“Janet, I’m on tape, and I assume that it is going to come out soon.” Pastor Harold said, not informing her that the tape was a lie.
“What’s on tape? You and this heifer?”
“I told you ain’t nobody want your man.” Monique interrupted.
“Save it, I already know.”
“Oh you think you know, but you don’t know…”
“Monique…Get out of my office…” Pastor Harold yelled.
“You weren’t saying that when…”
“Monique…Get out of my office…” Pastor Harold repeated himself with more force.
“…When Red and I were showing you…”
Pastor Harold opened the door and pointed out and said, “Please, just leave, my wife and I need to discuss this.”
Monique looked at him and then at Lady Janet and then walked out of the room slowly…
“You better fix this Carter…” She said as she left the room.
“I told you not to hire her…” Lady Janet said.
“What do you want Janet?” Pastor Harold snapped at his wife.
“I want to know why you are gonna step down as pastor over some tape…”
“It ain’t Monique, but it is me and somebody else, it’s probably being uploaded to the Internet as we speak. It’s over.”
“So you just gonna give up? We fought this before. I will stand by your side and it will pass over, it always does.”
“Well Janet, I don’t want you by my side, I don’t want it to pass over, and I am tired.”
Lady Janet glared at him.
“Listen here negro, you are not going to step down. You can’t and what do you mean you don’t want me by your side? Who you got Carter?”
A knock came to the door and Pastor Harold said, “Come in.”
“We are not done” Lady Janet said.
It was Trey. He walked into the door and looked at his mother who was angrily glaring at Pastor Harold.
“Pops, what was this?”
“Trey sit down.” Pastor Harold said while pointing to a chair.
Lady Janet sat down and Trey sat next to his mother.
“Trey, I want you to know that the ministry ain’t nothing to play with. I have not always been who I should have been.”
“I know pops, women throw themselves at you and you gotta keep it zipped up. I know pops.”
“Well, I want to be serious now, I wish I had done it God’s way. I look back at a lot of regrets. We have done a lot of good at this church, but I…I think we could have done a lot more if I had lived as God wanted me to live.”
He stopped talking and looked at his wife who returned his gaze with disdain.
Pastor Harold continued, “You know why I chose you?”
“Because I can continue your and mom’s legacy.”
Pastor Harold shook his head almost violently.
“No, no, no, if I wanted someone to continue my legacy, I would have chosen Dex. You do know he has been working behind the scenes to take over this church for the last few years?”
“If I wanted my legacy to continue, I would have chosen him. But I chose you, so that you will do things differently than I did. Now you should know…”
“Do I want to know this?” Trey asked.
“You and I both know about what is going on in this church. Everybody is sleeping with everybody else. And sad to say it begins at the top.” He looked at his wife.
“How dare you…” Lady Janet said.
“If this church is going to go forward, your mom and I must get out of the way and allow you to do what God called you to do.”
“This is on you Carter. I don’t know what has gotten into you.” Janet said while walking out of the room.
Pastor Harold broke down and cried. He continued, “I chose you because you are not like me. Don’t continue my legacy, make a better legacy, so that when people think of the name Harold, they won’t think of a man having sex with his secretary.”
He continued crying as Trey sat there quietly.
“Promise me you’ll clean up this church.”
Trey shook his head.