Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)
TITLE: A Matter of Faith
By Kenn Allan
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
'Least that's what's on my door;
A job for those with gutsy nerve
And brains to know the score.
A tough profession, to be sure,
But one I'm proud to hold—
There's gratitude in lieu of cash,
And thrills instead of gold.
Tonight, behind my borrowed desk,
I sense a coming rain—
Yesterday the rent was due,
Today it's due again.
The knob turns on my office door...
I seldom keep it locked;
There's not much point since all I own
Is either sold or hocked.
Then like a sultry summer breeze,
This girl comes blowing in—
Her raccoon coat hugs every curve,
Her eyes are dark as sin.
"I need your help," her soul implores
Through lips of crimson ice,
"I think I have been victimized
And seek astute advice."
"Please have a seat." I sit up straight
And point her towards a chair,
"Now, tell me what your problem is
So we'll both be aware."
"I fear somebody stole my Faith,"
The mournful lady cries,
"I had it once, but now it's gone—
That's all I can surmise."
She opens wide a beaded purse
And digs through the debris
Until she finds a glowing speck
And holds it out to me.
"This grain of Faith is all I have—
No more can I accrue,
But if you help me find the rest
I'll give this speck to you."
I shake my head. "Don't sweat it, Miss.
For now, put that away;
Instead, let's try to reconstruct
When your Faith went astray.
"Where was the latest place you're sure
Your Faith was with you still?"
She chews her lip and then replies,
"The Sunset Bar & Grill."
Sam Rico's place! I should've known
He'd be involved in this;
I grab my raincoat and my hat—
"We'd best get started, Miss."
We hurry to the Sunset Bar—
A neon garbage heap...
Where smoke is thick, the booze is thin,
And price of life is cheap.
I take my client's hand in mine
And guide her through the crowd
To where Sam Rico's shooting craps
And cursing God aloud.
He throws the dice as we approach;
'Snake eyes' rolls up in red,
But while the crowd erupts in groans,
Sam grins at us instead.
"I figured you'd be comin' here,"
He hisses through his teeth,
"But I ain't got a thing to hide
Nor defense to bequeath."
"But I was duped," the girl replies,
"And wasn't told the cost!"
Sam sneers, "We ain't responsible
For Faith misplaced or lost.
"I operate within the law,
My business is legit,
So if you gambled Faith and lost,
Don't blame me... not one bit."
Just then, I spot a golden trail—
Some granules of light;
They lead through the revolving door
And weave into the night.
Again, I clutch my client's arm
And steer her towards the door;
"We've found your ending," I explain,
"But something came before."
We track her Faith up lonely streets
And alleys, curved and straight;
It leads us to a churchyard fence
And through a rusty gate.
"I know this place," the girl reveals
With undertones of dread,
"When I was young I mixed my Faith
With wisdom of the dead."
Beyond the graves, a steeple looms
As if to point the way;
"Now I remember!" she exclaims,
"I came here once to pray!"
I follow her into the church
And stroll between the pews
As sunrise shines through colored glass
And paints us with their hues.
In glad reunion, 'way up front,
The girl regains her loss—
Her missing Faith lay at the foot
Of Christ's eternal cross.
"I offer you my gratitude,"
My former client cries,
"I never would have found my Faith
Without your skillful eyes."
I chuckle deep. "It wasn't lost—
You pledged it long ago;
God held it for you patiently
Until your own ran low.
"It was YOU who was misplaced—
Your Faith was safe, you see,
And God made sure you'd always save
One single speck for me."
I doff my hat to say goodbye
And fade into the morn,
Returning to the gritty life
To which I have been born.
But as I walk the city streets
My soul begins to sing;
What better job can one man have
Than one which serves a King?
A note adorns my office door;
My apprehension grows—
It says somebody paid my rent!
...but who, do you suppose...?
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