FROM time to time, stories from inebriation stick longer than the hangover and survives up to the ink. For instance, the discussion of "Kapa," the messiah in the south and the "owner of the galaxy" inspired this story by my neighbor, Mang Juan:
"He did good. The church will give eighty percent of its tithes and offerings to the Golden Pyramid. Given the vast followers of the fellowship, it can attach thousands of people from its 'bottom' mark. The 'multi-level marketing' business will have another 'market.' The production of cash will be instantaneous. He suspected that the lawyer and policeman in the congregation will raise their suspicion, but the networking business is not exactly illegal."
"He has been their head pastor for 10 years. He managed to exploit the verses about tithing, or giving 10% of the church-members' income, aside from their church-offerings and love offerings. As their accountant and pastor, he had managed to build a mansion for himself. It was not enough. As they say in the Philippines, there are four ways to get rich; first is to get into business, another is to work abroad, another is to become a politician, and the last and most infamous, actually almost a taboo to mention is... to build your own 'church'. He took the fourth path."
"In a minute, he will give another speech for the afternoon session. He took his bible and balanced it with the heavy gold ring he wore on his left hand. He walked nonchalantly at the door but transformed automatically into the gleeful leader he projects to his members when he appears before them. He proceeded to the pulpit; he was almost a different person. After the prayer and the usual 'good days,' he played his gold ring in the pages of Mathew 23:23 and told his sheep that Jesus criticized people, even the Pharisees for not observing 'tithing.' He saw a few people who budged uncomfortably and concluded that they were those who do not give their share. He tried his best to hide his irritation."
"God told me that the Golden Pyramid will help us. He whispered it to me. And those who doubted this must come to see the check that we received in joining their business. We gained an income of one million pesos in a month by just putting our church-funds in their hands. This is a blessing given by the Lord! Amen?" "Amen!!" The church had developed a mechanism of saying 'amen' immediately after the preacher would say, 'amen.' Just like how babies respond to their mothers' lullabyes.
"He paused, and saw it already: Fifteen million pesos in nine months. Mr. Lee assured him, the business will close at the end of the year, employees will disperse wildly, and the account managers will take the fall while Mr. Lee and the other VIPs will be on their way to the west. Another pyramiding scam news. The church funds which were supposed to be used for its building's construction but were put into the business' network fund will vanish, actually, transferred to the pastor's secret bank account. Brilliant."
"He cut himself on the pleasure of that day-dream. He ended the sermon after an hour- long ceremony of repeating what the congregation wanted to hear. He marched slowly in the front rows for people to shake his hands. He has to maintain that smile for another ten minutes. After shaking about twenty hands, he saw a familiar face in the right aisle -- the policeman from the morning session. He was not smiling, at all. He didn't care. That policeman can find another church or be labeled a backslider."