The Reverend Todd Young Meets… (a Short Story)

BAL32

The honorable Reverend Todd Young arrived at the conference for “The Correlation of Midwest Pastors” in Dayton with his broken suitcase thumping behind him. As he entered the lobby of the hotel, several people turned to look at him. He bowed his head to a few individually, and then went to check in.

Afterward, as he sat on a settee in the lobby awaiting a porter, a man in a golden suit sat down next to him.

“So I see your bag has a broken wheel,” he said, tipping his hat.

“Why, yes, indeed,” scowled the Reverend. “The young man who drove the shuttle from the airport dropped my suitcase and broke it.” He shook his head, “Kids, these days…”

“That is unfortunate.” He held out his hand and said, “I am Lu Helliere.”

“Reverand Todd Young,” he responded shaking the man’s hand. He lifted an eyebrow and looked at his hand as he felt a slightly burning sensation. “That’s an interesting hat you’ve got there.”

Mr. Helliere removed the hat and held it out toward the Reverend. “Take a look. It’s a gen-u-ine Panama hat. I actually got it down there. I enjoy the warmer climates,” he said as he winked at the Reverend.

The Reverend pulled at his collar as heat crawled up his spine. “So what brings you to the conference?”

Helliere chuckled, “Well, I’m a preacher too. I tend my flock and work toward discipleship at my church, and wherever I may.” He winked again.

“Oh, yeah?” The Reverend squirmed a bit as the settee grew warm beneath him.

“Of course. I’m from down south. As I said before, I prefer a warmer climate. You know, I could help you with your bag.”

The Reverend looked around. Nobody paid any attention to them. He looked back at the man and realized his golden suit shimmered. He was not exactly sure why he felt so uncomfortable in this man’s presence, but he wanted to get away from him. “I appreciate that, but it’ll be fine for this trip. I’ve got another back home.”

“Are you certain? You seemed very aggravated when I sat down. Seems like I could lift your burden here, if you allow me to help you. Maybe we could make a deal. I could give you a new suitcase as I happen to have an extra, if you wouldn’t mind saying a few words in this conference on my behalf.”

The Reverend tugged at his collar again. The air seemed to have left the room. “Why, sir, you might be right. I was just a bit annoyed, but he was only a young man and he will learn better manners. I thank you for your generosity, but my case will be fine for this trip.” He nodded at Mr. Helliere and stood up to greet the porter.

As they walked toward the hallway, the Reverend turned around, but the man in the golden suit had disappeared.

 

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