Jamie’s limo driver pulled away as she quickly raced past the poorly dressed, preacher man on the corner of 16th and Vine. She wondered how such a disheveled individual could have anything interesting to say. He obviously didn‘t know the meaning of style. His suit looked as though he shopped clearance at Sears. However, he had certainly been drawing a crowd, with his talk of heavenly rewards, for nearly a year now.
“Oh well”, she thought as she rushed into her elaborate, corner restaurant, “at least business is booming.”.
“Hey Jamie,” Josh, the morning manager, greeted her as she pushed toward the kitchen. “Preacher Man is keeping us busy again today. Do you think I could take him a bagel?”
“I suppose one bagel off my profit won’t kill me. Sure, Josh, I’ll write it off as a donation.” Jamie dismissed Josh to attend to his charity mission and returned to her task at hand. She had to sample the new chef’s ideas before confirming tomorrow’s flight schedule.
Tomorrow would be a month since she and Charlie began dating. What better way to celebrate than taking a private plane for a romantic, fun-filled, weekend rendezvous in Vegas? This boom in business certainly afforded lots of extra perks.
The sampling session took less time than anticipated and Jamie was pleased with the continual parade of customers as she pressed toward the exit. Preacher Man was still going strong as her limousine appeared in the distance. She heard, “. . . and the laborer is worthy of his reward. . .”, while she ducked into the back seat.
“Yeah,” she thought, “I worked hard for what I have. I’m going to take full advantage of my rewards.”.
Monday morning held an eerie silence as Jamie hurried to the back meeting room of her business. The somber looks of her employees only served to heighten her curiosity of the reason for a serious decline in clientele over the weekend. Josh had spoiled her weekend’s fun with a call of desperation over their dilemma. This morning’s meeting was the result.
“Does anyone know what is going on here?” Jamie needed answers as she sank into the nearest chair.
“Well,” one of the waitresses spoke up, “Preacher Man hasn’t been around since Friday and the crowds died without him. . .”.
“Speaking of dying,” Josh interrupted, “I think this is our Preacher Man’s obituary story on the front page of every local newspaper.”.
“Hey, that is him!” Jamie was shocked as she reached to take a closer look at a simple, head-shot photo on one of the newspapers’ headlines. “What does it say?”
“It says that he was a multi-millionaire! He inherited a huge family estate five years ago and chose to donate much of it to charities. He died in his sleep Friday night. It sounds like he was a family man who lived in a normal neighborhood and other than a few close friends and family members, no one knew he was filthy rich. Apparently, his widow was interviewed and she sounds as preachy as he always did. She is quoting some scripture in Luke about how when you are blessed with a lot, a lot is required of you. She also says something about storing up their treasures in heaven instead of enjoying earthly rewards.”
“How crazy is that?” Jamie snorted. “How could someone waste so much time preaching when he could have been living life in the fast lane?”
“I don’t know, Jamie.” Josh looked at her hesitantly. “He seemed to have it together when I spoke with him. I’ve been seriously thinking about much of what he had to say.”
Jamie rolled her eyes as she quipped, “Well, you wouldn’t see me giving up my ’earthly rewards’ that easily.”.
“Seems like you may not have a choice.” Josh shot her an annoyed glance as he replied, “What do you intend to do about our lack of customers?”
Jamie hesitated a moment before commenting. “I wonder if hiring a new preacher man is out of the question?”