Thanks to inspiration from OTA I’m joining The Great Discontent #The100DayProject, a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making, empowered by the accountability of doing a project alongside others in a very public way. Pictures of these projects are posted daily on Instagram.
I asked myself, at the end of 100 days, what would I like to have amassed? The answer, for me was 100 first drafts. So, I will write and post a 500 word story a day with the hashtag #100DaysOfHorribleStories. Why horrible? Because what can go wrong if I aim for horrible and fail?
“The wages of sin is death!” The reverend barked from his pulpit.
He had preached this sermon more times than he cared to remember, but it never had the miraculous effect he always expected. He sneered at the congregation as he spit out the next few lines.
Look at them. He thought to himself. Sinners, every last stinking one of them. He started wagging his finger, more out of habit than for effect, but he noted gleefully that the dramatic finger point at the end of the phrase “…and you shall die because of it!” landed smack dab on little Sarah McConnell, who burst into tears as if on cue. Just because she’s 4 doesn’t mean she isn’t guilty of sinning, no siree. He ruefully remembered last week in the fellowship hall when little Sarah coveted his jelly donut so hard he was forced to gobble it down in three bites, dribbling blood red jelly all over his hands.
“In First John 1:8 the Lord says that if you say you have no sin, you deceive yourself and the truth is not in you.” He continued, looking at the biggest deceiver of the bunch, his neighbor, Tom Martin. Tom up and bore false witness right in the reverend’s face the day the Martins moved in next door. “No sir, we never have loud parties, we actually keep pretty much to ourselves.” It wasn’t a week later that the Martin family invited the neighbors on the other side over for a barbeque in their back yard. Talking and laughing and carrying on until well past 8pm. There is no forgiving that kind of bold faced lying, and putting their grill for safekeeping in his basement, was more righteous punishment than theft, he convinced himself.
The reverend finished his sermon, as always, in a voice barely above a whisper, so that the congregation, his hideous sinful flock had to lean forward to hear him. “Let us pray” he intoned, bowing his head piously. “Dear Lord” he began the prayer that would end the sermon, then he would move as he always did from the pulpit to the massive pipe organ and he would play as he always did The Recessional.
The congregation had learned his ways well in the 3 months since the reverend had answered their call for a new pastor. He would be only the 3rd pastor their little white wooden church had known, replacing the kindly Pastor Miller who had died mysteriously when fire engulfed his home.
As the first notes of the hymn began, the congregation began to sing. “Not loud enough.” the reverend thought. So he played louder, and the congregation followed suit. As the second verse began, the reverend secretly flipped a switch and the fire sprinklers in the ceiling began to spray. By the time the bewildered congregation figured out that it wasn’t water, but gasoline coming from the sprinklers, the reverend had flipped another switch that tipped over the 37 burning candles and he himself had slipped out the back.
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