Author’s note: This was intended for a writing prompt on The Weekly Knob, a wonderfully inspiring place to read and write. I missed their deadline (again) so I’m publishing here to keep myself honest. The prompt this week was “soap bar.”
Reverend Joe Olmsted leaned into the driver’s window and twirled his hair as he smiled, lost in thought. He loved driving his Jaguar. Slowly cruising the powerful machine up his long, tree-lined driveway always brought him a sense of fulfillment. The setting sunlight flashing through the tree branches, the wind in his hair — this was quite a life he had built for himself, and he took full credit.
Whenever anyone asked how he, a man of God and one of the world’s most successful televangelists, could justify living on such an expansive estate while so many in the world were poor and hungry, he had an answer. It was God’s reward to him for doing such good works here on Earth. Besides, he was bringing people what they needed; he was giving them faith, hope and joy. He was inspiring people. That he was getting paid incredibly well for it was just the market doing what the market does. Church, like any other industry, followed known economic principles. Nothing mystical about it.
He turned off the car and waited for the garage door to close behind him. Nancy’s Mercedes wasn’t there, which made him even happier. She had become such a bitch recently, always complaining. Nothing ever seemed good enough for her. Their marriage had become a charade. They hadn’t so much as held hands (unless they were on stage) in months. He couldn’t remember the last time they’d had sex. Yet, although he had plenty of opportunities to cheat on her, he’d never do that. He was, however, grateful for computer porn and opposable thumbs.
He walked in the kitchen, kicked off his shoes and pulled some leftover chicken from the fridge. Cold fried chicken was one of his favorite snacks — and Nancy wasn’t here to snipe about the risk it brought to him losing his well-maintained physique.
Sloppily chomping on the chicken he strode barefoot to the bedroom, taking off his clothes as he went. When he and Nancy began accumulating wealth and had their mansion built, she had wanted live-in staff. Joe usually found it easier to give Nancy what she wanted, but on this he would not compromise. Their house was theirs and only theirs. It would be private. He would allow housekeepers and gardeners in to do their work, but no one would ever be left unattended in their home and no one other than they would live there. He wanted one place on this earth where he would not have to perform — and he was always performing.
On his way to their bedroom he passed by his office. More than a few books lining the shelves in his office had been written by him, or ghost-written by someone else in his name. His brand of inspiration and self-help, couched in snackable philosophy quotes and carefully chosen Bible versus (more than a few of which were taken completely out of context so they may serve his marketing purposes) were available to anyone with twenty bucks to give. He shuddered at the thought of how much in taxes he’d have to pay if he were just a self-help author and not working under the classification as a clergyman. Praise God.
In the shadows of Joe’s library, sitting in Joe’s chair behind Joe’s desk reading pages from Joe’s latest manuscript, sat Angel. He looked up from the pages as Joe passed by the door. Joe never saw him, just as Angel wanted. Once he heard Joe enter his bedroom, Angel stood and silently began to remove his clothes. He stripped all the way down to bare skin. He gently and methodically folded his clothes and laid them neatly on the floor. From his coat pocket he removed a rope, a few bars of soap and a small hard plastic wedge. He stood stock-still, listening to Joe moving around just a couple rooms down the hall.
After a moment, Angel walked nonchalantly into the kitchen and silently placed the soap bars in a pan on the stove. He stood patiently, watching down the hallway as the soap melted in the pan. He always liked it when he was discovered, naked, in the kitchen preparing for a mission. It kept things more spontaneous. But Joe was dallying, rather uncooperatively, in his bedroom. No matter. Angel could work with this, too.
Angel left the soap to liquefy on the stove and walked slowly and steadfastly up the hallway. This part of the process used to give him such a rush. He had done this so many times now, though, that this felt as normal to him as checking the mail would feel to any normal and boring human. He coiled the rope in his hand as he neared Joe’s bedroom door, preparing himself to move quickly once Joe had spotted him.
Joe had just thrown on a pair of gym shorts, planning to go for a quick run on his estate. He had a strange feeling he wasn’t alone. Not really expecting to see anything out of the ordinary, he turned. From his doorway, lunging quickly toward him was what looked like a chiseled marble statue come to life, a rather surreal sight. Joe froze.
Angel was large and muscular, with unblemished stark white skin. He was completely hairless, lacking even his eyebrows and eyelashes. His eyes were the palest blue, his lips dark pink. His expression was without any discernible emotion.
Before he could react, Angel had maneuvered Joe face down on the bed. He felt Angel’s warm body pressing against the skin on his back, confirming that he was indeed flesh and blood and not stone that had come somehow to life. Joe fought, but Angel quickly overpowered him and bound his hands and feet. Joe screamed, but no one was near to hear. Total privacy had its disadvantages, too.
Joe’s mind was racing, but he couldn’t form words. He was utterly confused, immobile, incapable of all but guttural sounds.
Angel used to explain why he was doing what he was doing. He now found that sort of exposition amateurish, overwrought. In the past, he would drone on about how the person in Joe’s position had spoken as a false prophet, how their words had brought harm to innocent people. He would explain why he was there, naked and without a single hair on his body — lack of any fiber or DNA-hosting forensic leave-behinds. His first few missions he enjoyed dragging things along. But now he was more efficient. He just stared blankly at Joe and let him wonder why this imposing nude man was staring him peacefully in his eyes. Joe would understand soon enough.
Angel retrieved the melted soap from the kitchen. He used to be nervous the person would escape, but he now had more faith in his ability to restrain. Plus, Joe’s screams served as an effective locator beacon from the bedroom. Angel would know if he moved.
When Angel returned to the bedroom, he knelt calmly beside the bed. He sat the pan on the floor and placed a knuckle on each of Joe’s carotid arteries. In a few seconds, Joe began to lose consciousness. Not entirely, just enough so that he felt euphoric and could no longer resist. At that point, Angel placed the plastic wedge between Joe’s teeth, prying his mouth open.
Angel took the pan of melted soap from the floor. He had been careful not to overheat it. He just wanted it warm enough to be liquid, not hot enough to scald. He gently poured the soap into Joe’s mouth, careful not to spill.
Joe initially gagged. Angel gently massaged his throat and poured more quickly. After the initial few coughs, Joe gasped for air. This pulled the liquid soap deep into his lungs. Almost instantly Joe began to fade away. Angel kept pouring until the soap filled Joe’s mouth completely. He sat and watched as Joe’s eyes became dull and his gaze lost focus. Angel took the pan to the kitchen and ran it under scalding hot water. No fingerprints.
He returned to Joe’s office and dressed. He left the mansion through a back door and disappeared into the vast woods behind the house, satisfied that Joe’s words would no longer harm another innocent soul. Mission accomplished.