In an office bigger than many men’s own homes sits a withering human being — white, male, hairless with crepe paper for skin. Fingers like rotting twigs press a button near his lap. There is a resulting buzz which summons another ancient man. They are both dressed in couture out of time — sweeping, shimmering robes.
“Yes, Your Holiness?” says the second man, just as papery and just as bald.
The man behind the massive cherry wood desk has a copy of The New York Times spread before him. Peering through glass lenses an inch thick he still can’t quite make heads or tails of the headline there, English not being his preferred manner of communication.
“The Father from America,” says the Pontiff in his native Italian. “He will arrive tomorrow with more information on this non-denominational Protestant from the television.”
“The one they call Dodd,” says the Cardinal. Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 3)”
I. In the Beginning
Gideon Dodd, he was a preacher man.
And during the first quarter of the twenty-first century in America, a preacher man with the gumption, charisma, booming voice, and winning smile of Gideon Dodd’s caliber could make a lucrative go of it. At forty-seven years old Dodd had long since been hosting the top-rated religious program on television. His radio show was syndicated worldwide, his brand of communion wine sold by the crate at Costco stores across the nation, and he’d written fourteen best sellers — a third of them cook books, the rest of a more expected theological bent.
If there was proof of a God, it was that men like Gideon Dodd could make good on nothing but their own fortitude and elbow grease — could grow up in a Baltimore housing project and, some forty years later, come to wake up every day in an Upper Manhattan townhome replete with an antique gun collection and marble sinks in the bathrooms. That he could replace his Armani suit with a Brioni when the congregation laid one too many clammy hands on him during altar call.
A good Christian man, a successful man, an articulate and family-focused man with teeth so white the makeup guys had to dull them down before airtime every Sunday morning: That was Gideon Dodd.
Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 1)”
Ryan Everett Felton
Martin Fletcher’s wife Eloise placed a sacked lunch in his hands and kissed him goodbye.
“Don’t be nervous,” she said, but they both knew he was.
“I hate these damn performance reviews,” he said, moving in for a return smooch. “Makes me feel like cattle.”
“You’ll be fine,” said Eloise, though he saw her frowning as he backed out of the driveway.
Martin parked in an out-of-the-way lot in town, smoothed out his hair and checked his teeth in the visor mirror, and walked with trepidation to a stairwell beyond a rusted back-alley door on the corner of 18th and Washington. Then he climbed. After two-dozen flights, he stopped counting, pausing now and then to sip from his water bottle or daub his dripping forehead. Continue reading “Performance Review”