Crime Doesn't Pay! The Perfect Crime.

     Nathaniel Watkins was a smart man.  At times throughout his life of 39 years he he was told that he was too smart for his own good.  It was time to once and for all, prove to everyone just how smart he was.  Of course, while he would be the only one able to recognize his intelligence in the plan that he had, no one else would know and that bothered Nathaniel, for he had a satisfaction in receiving praise for his wisdom.  As a financial consultant for many major corporations over the last ten years, the business recommendations that the suave and confident man gave had resulted in millions of dollars profit for those most of those who employed him.  It also made him extremely popular.  But for anyone to discover and give Nathaniel Watkins credit for his next move would result in his downfall, because you see, the main character of this tale was going to rob a bank.
      Why, you ask, would a millionaire many times over, rob a bank, risking reputation and very frankly, a life of luxury and pleasure?  " Nate" as his friends called him, had everything a man desired.  Various beautiful homes throughout the world, luxury cars, friends, and between this and his debonair good looks, the women crooned over him.  Why?  Nate asked himself the same question about six months ago when the idea first came Into his mind.  Two reasons, basically.  The first, to prove he could do this and get away with it.  The second, for the sheer fun and thrill of it!  Now keep in mind, Nathaniel Watkins was not planning on some ski-mask, gun-toting robbery during business hours or some foolish "hand the teller a note" scheme.  This heist was one of the brain types.  Calculated.  Smooth. Every detail planned, no surprises.  Foolproof.  Because Nate was smart.  He was going to commit the perfect crime and only he would know.  The thought sent a chill down his spine.  
      Nathaniel woke from his day-dreaming and stood.  "Well, Mr. Davis, I have to run now.  This celebration of your takeover has been most enjoyable."   The white-haired fiftiesh businessman smiled and rested his hand on the consultants shoulder.  "Couldn't have done it without you Nate, now that is a fact!  My guess is with that mind of yours, your already planning your next act of genius that will put some good money in the bank for your next client!"  Nate smiled.  If Mr. Davis only knew.  Just then, Hammond appeared and handed Nate a check.  Hammond was a mousy guy who lacked the social status of both Nate and Mr. Davis, but for some reason the latter chose him as his assistant.  Quite a job for a twenty-something kid who rumour had it, never even graduated from high school.  Mr. Davis shook Nate's hand.  "That is the balance of what we at Americorp owe you.  Thank you Nate."  Appreciative and knowing the check was for two million dollars, Nathaniel Watkins smiled ever so smoothly.  "Making my clients happy is what I am about Mr. Davis.  Thank you sir and please feel free to give me a call if you are ever again in need of my services."  
      Tired, Nate entered his two story home, the most expensive on the block and headed straight for his study.  For six months this venture had been planned and tomorrow night was the night.  At midnight, Nate would gain access to the vault of Los Angeles Memorial Bank and steal fifty million dollars in bonds and certificates.  Pulling out the building plans and time schedule that he had made, the middle-aged man smiled.  This was going to be great!
      At 11:30 the next evening Nathaniel Watkins exited a cab on Second Street.  Even at this hour the district was busy with restaurants and upscale bars receiving most of the business.  There were dozens of people walking and the businesses combined in this are alone easily had hundreds of customers.  It would be easy for Nate to go unnoticed in this crowd and even by the cab driver.  Especially since Nate wore a homedmade, but very effective, disguise.  He paid the driver and included a modest tip, anything too exorbitant would surely be remembered by the man.  Nate passed the Memorial Bank and entered the alley two blocks away.  It was empty and in less than a minute, the daring man had put on his sleek rubber gloves,  found the manhole cover, opened it, went down it and replaced the lid.  Even if there was a camera, and after careful inspection throughout the last few months, Nate had found absolutely no evidence of one, surely no one could identify him as the mysterious sewer-dweller.  Climbing down the 10 foot ladder, Nate was in the tunnel and made his way towards the bank.  His compass confirmed that he was on track, then he put it back into his small waist bag that carried a number of materials necessary for his evening adventure.  
      Locating the wall that he knew was Memorial Bank, Nate took out his miniature acetylene torch and speedily made a hole large enough to fit through.  Still disguised in mustache, wig, short sleeve button-down shirt and common cargo pants, he went in and saw the vault to his left.  Memorial Bank was very large and was a primary banking establishment for many of the Hollywood celebrities, so naturally security was top- notch.  Nate smiled.  That is what made this task so challenging, although most of the success of this robbery depended on fancy high-tech devices that were only available at a high cost and from certain people.  Nate hated to even use such a common word as robbery for it had no class whereas the word theft at least had a sense of prestige about it.  He only had a three foot free space before he hit the invisible ultraviolet sensor rays so he stopped and took out another gadget.  This was expensive, but well worth it.  This tiny computerized square would shut off all electronic rays and sensors for five minutes and five minutes only.  After it's initial use, a two minute period was required before Re-activating the unit.  Confident, Nate was surprised by his own lack of fear.  This was like a game that felt he could not lose.  Turning the device on, he hesitated a few seconds, then made his way to the large vault, which was about seven feet high.  The keypad was directly in the center.  This was really only the tricky part of the feat.  Nate took out yet another electronic tool, very small, that resembled a flash drive.  This too was extremely expensive, but came with one catch.  It would read, for lack of a better word, the combination lock and make a computerized educated guess as to which buttons on the keypad had been pressed the most and in what order.  The sellers of this unique and very illegal item called it the safe-breaker.  Almost foolproof, the device would give three options for the possible correct combination sequence, the problem was that the Memorial Bank vaults had a two-time limit on opening attempts for security.  Plus the sensor square that he activated was ticking, so time was a factor.  Nate stuck the magnetized safe-breaker on the vault and watched as it went through literally hundreds of number combinations in seconds, which were visible on a small digital screen.  Nate glanced at his watch.  Four minutes until the sensor square shut off.  More seconds went by and then a series of seven numbers appeared.  2961438. Somewhat hesitant, but only slightly, he put in the numbers on the vault keypad.  More seconds.  A very slight whirring sound could be heard, apparently the vault was accepting the numbers one at a time that Nate had used.  Never before had seconds seemed to race by so quickly.  In three minutes, the sensor square would cease working and the alarm would sound, alerting the authorities.  A half a minute went by and suddenly a light came on above the vault keypad which read "FAIL!"  Great.  Sweat began to appear on the thief's forehead.  A little over two minutes and only one more chance.  He reset the safe-breaker and waited for the second sequence of numbers, the reality setting in that this was his only chance.  Ninety seconds.  Seventy-five seconds.  The numbers appeared.  4831629.  Quickly Nate pushed the keypad buttons.  Sixty seconds before Nate's perfect crime would be considered a failure.  And that is if this set of numbers was correct.  If the third possibility was the right sequence, then he had no chance for success and probably not even one minute.  The whirring was audible again.  Forty-five seconds.  Nate's face intensified.  He had to be right.  This had to be the correct sequence.  Thirty seconds.  Now he began to worry, something he was not accustomed to doing.  What if the number order was right, but it took longer than the remaining seconds.  He considered praying but quickly realized the hypocrisy it would have been.  The notification light came on and read,  " Unlocked."  Nate smiled, wiped his brow and entered the vault, which opened automatically.  Unbuttoning his shirt, a thin vest was underneath and it was lined inside and out with pockets, two dozen total to be exact.  The cunning man located the drawers that held the appropriate certificates and bonds and began carefully, but speedily, placing them in the pockets, then re-buttoned his garment. Ready to depart and with his two minutes up, Nate hit the button on the sensor de-activator.  Within one minute he passed through the wall and was making his way up the ladder.  
     Sliding the man-hole cover to the side, the side street was empty. Swelling with confidence as well as excitement and still in his disguise, Nate stepped out into the alley, replaced the cover and went out into the still busy street.  This time however he went right two blocks and entered a restaurant, proceeding immediately to the men's room.  Appearing somewhat heavier then normal due to the full vest, Nate went into a bathroom stall, the oversize type for handicapped people, and proceeded to take off his disguise.  He put them into the toilet and then took out a small bottle labeled "acid" from his waist bag and poured it into the toilet.  Within seconds everything was dissolved.  Nate then took some other items out of his gadget bag.  The first was cotton, with which he proceeded to stuff his cheeks, changing his appearance greatly.  Then he  applied some hair color to his hair, making his previously black hair look more reddish than black.  Next he used some hair grease and slicked his hair back.  Taking out a rolled piece of clothing, it turned out to be a t-shirt with a large "Chicago Bears" name and logo on it.  He rolled the sleeves if the short sleeve polo shirt up, just enough to not be noticeable under the t-shirt and put the latter on over polo.  In fact, this gave his arms a wider appearance which matched his larger chest size due to the vest underneath.  At quick glance a passerby might think this man was somewhat overweight while another could assume he was a weightlifter of sorts.  Leaving the establishment, Nathaniel Watkins had just completed the perfect crime.  Fifty million dollars richer, no clues left and the police had no idea that Memorial Bank had just been robbed.  
      Mission accomplished, Nate's plan was to catch a cab, which he did.  He got out five blocks from home, entered the car he left parked on the side of the street in one of the nearby residential areas and proceeded to take the cotton out of his cheeks.  He also applied a liquid that brought his hair back to its original black and combed it back where it resembled his normal style.  Nate took off the Bears shirt, grabbed a shirt from the passenger seat that he had apparently planted there earlier and put it on.  This is almost too good, he thought to himself.  At least that is what he was thinking when he suddenly felt the stab of a cold gun barrel against his cheek.
      "The perfect crime...almost," came a voice from the backseat.  Nate started to fidget ever so slightly, trying to think of what to do.  "Do not move and make no noise Mr. Watkins.  This pistol  has a full clip but I am an expert shot and one is all it will take to end your life.  And it does have a silencer as well, so no one will hear it go boom if I pull the trigger. "  Nate sighed.  Where had he went wrong?  " Now roll your window down, then hand me the keys. If you hesitate in the slightest or attempt to leave the vehicle, I will shoot you.  Nate complied and he was starting to get worried.  "Do you know who I am?"  he stated.  " I am very wealthy and can make this worth your while."  The man brandishing the gun was not interested.  " I know full well who you are Mr. Watkins and you have already made this worth my while, take off the vest please."  Nate was shocked.  How much did this man know.  And that voice... He started to argue but the pistol barrel was pressed harder into his skull.  Nate took off his shirt and then the vest and tossed it over the back seat.  A minute later a handful of the bonds and certificates were thrown back into the front seat.   The back door opened suddenly and the mysterious man was immediately at the drivers door.  The military style pistol was aimed directly at Nate's head.  "Now be silent please, I have a call to make."  Cell phone in his free hand, vest over his shoulder, the man, who was dressed in a black trench coat, hit a button.  " Yes, I would like to report a robbery.  Yes, I am serious."  Nate was livid.  He attempted to grab the gun but was far too slow.  A quiet "wwhhifft" was heard and Nate felt a sharp pain in his left leg.  He was shot!  What kind of maniac wa this?   " Yes, officer, the Los Angeles Memorial bank was robbed just moments ago.  Yes, officer,a I am sure and this is no prank.  The thief is one Nathaniel Watkins and he is presently in a vehicle parked on Wiltshire Ave, just outside of street address 4101."  Yes sir, I  have him detained.  Yes, sir, thanks sir."  There was a slight hesitation.  "No problem sir, just doing my civic duty." 
      Nate's mind was reeling.  That voice seemed so familiar.  And his pain was I creasing.  He could not believe he had been shot.  The assailant now leaned over and face Nate.  "Your injury is non-threatening, but it will prevent you from making it far if you try to leave before the police get here."  He smiled.  Nate turned angrier.  "Hammond!  Hammond! What...?"  Gun still pointed towards Nate, the assistant to Mr. Davis smiled again.  Nate was shocked.  "How did you..."  Hammond interrupted and answered.  It was obvious he was very pleased with himself.  "It was not very hard all all Mr. Watkins.  You see, my uncle has a restaurant downtown and I noticed you in the vicinity a few months ago.  There was certainly nothing unusual about that, but it seemed strange after I saw you there many times, almost every week.  So more out of curiousity than anything devious, I began following you and soon it became very apparent that you were planning something unusual and as I guessed, very illegal."  The man smiled yet again.  "So, I began watching your home the last few weeks seeing if you were leaving at any unusual times.  I saw you check out not only the manhole and the restaurant where you changed disguises, but I was nearby when you purchased your disguises...and I followed you here this evening when you parked this car here.  Pretty ingenious plan, really sir."  Sirens sounded in the distance.  "What are you going to do, are you going to kill me?" questioned the thief.  Hammond grimaced.  "Of course not, I am no murderer, at least I have no intent of murder.  I am going away.  I have all this money now ( he smiled as he held up the vest, he had put away his cellphone), a new ID and a plan to never get caught.  And you, Mr. Watkins, are going to prison for a very long time.  You have some of the evidence right next to you. Mother will simply think I was your accomplice and that I double-crossed you, which in some ways is what happened, though you had no clue we were partners in a sense."  Hammond laughed, probably louder than he intended.  "And the police will never find me  Mr. Watkins, never."  The sirens were getting closer.  "Well, I best be going now.  But think on this sir.  It appears with all your planning that you thought you would pull off the perfect crime."  The grinning man glanced up at the stars, then back to Nate, who was still clutching his leg.  "But really, I have done that very same thing and I am just a nobody, hardly educated and not nearly as smart as you.  But I am the one with all this money."  Hammond winked at Nate.  "Please remember Mr. Watkins, that crime does not pay, especially for you and especially tonight.  Let's hope you have learned a lesson from all this." He sounded like a reprimanding schoolteacher.  The sirens were dangerously close now.  "Good day, sir."  And Hammond was gone.
"..and those that walk in pride he (the Lord) is able to abase."
Dan. 4:37b

Mohommed's Surprise

     Mohommed the prophet knew he was dying.  Here he was at 62 and certainly the man had a very fulfilled and exciting life.  Having been such a militant and charismatic leader, he felt much older.  The fact was, the man of Allah had been more productive than a normal dozen men.  
     His body ached and his stomach was in excruciating pain.  In the last few minutes his breathing became heavy and difficult.  Mohommed guessed that the cause was poison.  He had many enemies of course, as a conquerer of many peoples and nations.  The masses overall disagreed strongly with the prophet's use of violence in propagating Islam, and at times, extreme and gruesome violence, but few had dared to publicly speak out against him.  So to be poisoned was no surprise.  Even among Mohommed's hierarchy there were some enemies, though secret. The foolish ones that let their contrasting opinion's known were executed immediately, for the sake of Allah. 
     The pain increasing, the prophet had no fear of death.  He looked forward to being with Allah and receiving his reward of numerous virgins.  He was THE prophet and THE special one to conquer the infidels as he brought the religion of Islam to many lands.  Surely Allah would be pleased with Mohommed's labors and leadership.  The worn-out warrior scoffed as he remembered the thousands of beheadings he had witnessed of the many infidels who rejected Allah.  In particular he had a special hatred for the followers of Christ.  Some of the idolatrous fools even smiled as they were being executed.  
     The prophet's breathing became raspy.  His mind wandered and he became aware of some of his servant's being in the room, though apparently they had been there all the time.  Suddenly everything was silent.  His hearing was gone.  Mohommed failed to be fearful, even when his eyes went blurry.  He knew Allah was in control and that all would soon be well.  He felt water drip down his chin as someone obviously was attempting to give it to him.  All was now black.  His eyes had ceased to function.   Suddenly a very sharp stabbing pain came from his chest but Mohommed was dead before his hand reached his heart.
     Bliss?   Peace?  Happiness?  Reward?  Pain.  Fire.  Smoke.  Fear.  Mohommed sucked in all the air that he could, but all that happened was that smoke filled his lungs.  Flames were engulfing his entire body.  What was happening?  The pain was unbearable.  Tears began to form around his eyes but the intense heat immediately evaporated the liquid.  The prophet could see now, but he wished he could not.  He was in a chasm of sorts and he was not alone.  In between the fire and smoke could be seen a hideous creature sat perched on the rock ledge above him, eyeing him.  It was ugly, with blisters and warts covering its face and body.  The being licked its lips and sneered at Mohommed.  The prophet shivered, then shrieked as a ball of flame appeared out of nowhere and rolled up his body.  Terrified, he gasped a quick breath as another flame, this time in the shape of a wall, engulfed him.  The stench of brimstone suddenly was  present and was overwhelming!  Mohommed screamed.  And screamed.  And screamed.  For he knew this place.  It was hell.  And it's name was appropriates.  
     Mohommed had no idea how much time had elapsed when he suddenly was picked up.  He was ascending and more importantly he was getting away from the flames and nasty stench.  The horrible darkness was replaced by light.  Glancing to the side, the confused man noticed he was being carried by what he would have thought was a person, other than the fact that they were moving rapidly through the air.  This being also seemed to glow.  Mohommed's mind reeled.  Perhaps there was some sort of divine mistake.  No.  Allah could make no mistakes.  Perhaps the place of torment was a temporary punishment for sins that a faithful follower of Allah experienced so as to appreciate heaven.  The prophet smiled for the first time since...since he was first deposited in the prison of torment.  Yes, his reward was coming.  Abruptly a light shone and it seemed to be everywhere.  There was no darkness visible, not even a hint of it, in any direction.  He was dropped, though gently, and the strange being was gone.  
     The light suddenly increased in brightness.  It was a strange light, a light such as Mohommed had never seen in his entire life.  A form appeared.  It was a throne and it was large.  The prophet was thrilled!  This was what he had been waiting for!  The time for his reward was finally here.  Allah would award him for his faithfulness!  His body trembled and his heart rejoiced.  He glanced up as a being appeared on the throne, apparently out of nowhere.  Mohommed 's smile went to shock!  It was not when he expected!  For before him, on the throne of judgment, was not Allah, not the one he thought and taught was God!  This was clearly not the one who revealed himself to Mohommed many years ago.  Through the prophet's mind went the thought that perhaps the one on the throne was simply a delegate for Allah but his reasoning quickly rejected that idea.  A throne was for a King, not a delegate.  And this holy throne would be for THE King of Kings, none other but deity, THE one and only true God.  Mohommed was confused.  The figure spoke and as he did, his eyes focused on the prophet.  Mohommed shivered.  Something was wrong.  Terribly wrong.  Those eyes.  They were piercing.  Mohommed shuddered and fear began to creep into his heart.  A powerful voice was heard, apparently from the one on the throne, though it seemed to come from everywhere.  The helpless man's fear turned unto horror as he suddenly considered who it might be before him.  His face contorted and he was now officially terrified.  "I AM The Lord Jesus Christ, Mohommed and this is your final judgment."  The false prophet, the man who gave much of his life teaching, preaching, murdering and massacring in the name of Allah, was wrong.  He screamed  a horrifying scream as he realized the consequences of his error.  Jesus was God.  Mohommed had hated Jesus, slaughtered many who professed to follow Him.  What about his visions of Allah?  They must have been demonic, perhaps from the devil himself.  Those eyes. They continued to pierce through, right to his very soul.  Mohommed was wrong.  Very wrong.  About everything.  Jesus Christ was God and not some idolatrous substitute!  The grief-stricken false prophet dropped to his knees, begging for mercy and crying out "Jesus Christ is Lord," hoping that somehow this acknowledgement of Christ's deity would be cause for leniency during the course of his judgment.  Yet in his heart, Mohommed knew that to expect grace and mercy from the One he had despised, rejected and hated, was futile and hopeless.
     Convicted and found yet in his sins, the false prophet was carried away by an angel.  He was scared beyond description to what lie ahead.  He was also angry at being deceived by this "Allah" that he thought was God.  And bitterly full of hatred for Jesus and for being wrong about Him.  Yet, Mohommed knew that his punishment was just.  He had denied the Holy,  Righteous and True God and the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  It was now too late for his soul to be saved and Mohommed, false prophet and founder of the strong but false religion of Islam, was damned for all eternity.   The angel released his grip and the lost religious leader fell into everlasting torment of the lake of fire.  The only thing louder than the immense noise of the flames was the screams of Mohommed.  

The Nightmare to Beat All Nightmares!

Rt'      Brad Strom was tired and a hotel sounded perfect.  Except for the fact that he was in Arizona en route from Phoenix to Kingman and the only thing around was mountains and desert.  Being still nearly two hours from his destination, the wearying business man was concerned that he might fall asleep at the wheel.  As a representative for Starpointe Copiers, the forty- two year old was accustomed to long and arduous trips where excitement was normally limited to the occasional fender-bender, or  wild displays of the weather, particularly some of the lightning storms he had driven through.  Fortunately Brad had never experienced a breakdown that resulted in him being stranded on a deserted highway, where his loneliness would surely give way to not only wasted time and boredom, but such imaginative thoughts that one could have while in such a position.  Up until two years ago, Chicago was his residence, and though his new home in the suburbs of Phoenix was certainly less busy than his former apartment just minutes from downtown, it was a far cry from this wasteland he was presently travelling.  Ever since he was lost in the woods as a kid, Brad had a respect...and even a fear,  of outdoor areas that were too isolated from places that provided at least the illusion of safety and security because others were present.  Ten years old at Starved Rock State Park, alone and scared, the three hours felt like three days.  Fortunately the Park Rangers found him well before the darkness had started, though just the thought of the possibility multiplied his fear tremendously at the time.  Small noises seemed like thunder cracks and led the boy's mind to fantasize that a bear or a wolf were on the prowl, considering him for their next meal.  Some may laugh, but after Brad received his first good job he started donating annually to the Illinois Parks and Recreation.  
      Not yet to the point of splashing his bottled water on his face as he did during some of these long stretches, Brad could not believe his eyes when he saw a sign for a motel.  He grimaced when upon more careful inspection, the advertisement was for a Comfort Suites 100 miles up the road.  He was wise enough to gas up at the last station about twenty miles back,  so that was not a problem, but the last few days was constant travelling with quick stops to give the sales pitch for the new Commercial Skye 201, the ultimate copier of the future, or so the pitch went.  No traffic in either direction for at least fifteen miles only added to the man's tiredness.  Exhausted, Brad was considering where he should pull off to get a few minutes of rest when he came upon a  Actually it was a four-way stop more than a town, there was no business district, no city hall, no Post Office.  But there was a gas station and a small no-name motel, believe it or not.  Brad eased his Chevy Cobalt up to the stop sign and stared at the building.  Definately not the Comfort Suites he was accustomed to, and not even at the level of a Super Eight, it did look overall clean.  In his desperation, Brad tried to ignore that the one-floor, about a dozen room motel, had only two cars out front and one of those looked like it was barely drivable.  Considering it might be better if he went on, the wearied traveller let out a large yawn.  He pulled in.
      Brad knew he was tired.  Staying at a lodging with no indoor corridors and certainly with no indoor pool was always a no-no, at least up until tonight.  But there would be no time in the morning for a trip to the pool or hot tub even if there was one.  With staying overnight he was afforded the time to rest but still had to leave by 7:00 AM.  Grabbing his one piece of luggage he used for these trips, Brad made his way into the lobby, which did NOT have a fireplace, free cookies and a complementary USA Today.  After a moment of waiting, which gave Brad the time to look more over the room, a man of about Brad's age approached the counter.  The age was about the only comparison that could be made between the two men.  The employee, or perhaps he was the owner, DID have on a tie and he WAS clean-shaven.  Of course the tie was so wrinkled the design was not discernible and the clean-shaven face was marred by bumps on the man's skin that gave him a, for lack of a better word, gross appearance.  Great. If a bat suddenly flies across the room, I am out of here.  "Can I help you?" Asked Bumps, more politely than Brad expected.  Just when he was thinking maybe this would not be so bad, the other man flashed a smile that would have been better left undone.  The few teeth in his mouth were not all evidenced by obvious decay, some were not terribly bad, it was the crookedness that gave him a strange appearance.  Brad smiled back, self-consciously and for no real reason, doing so with his mouth closed.  "Room for the night if possible," the business man stated.  Bumps looked over some paperwork on the counter, as if all the rooms were full and he was searching for one that was available.  When he smiled, Brad noticed the bumps jiggled on his face.  And yes, in a creepy way.  Six hours sleep and Brad would make sure he could make it to that Comfort Suites next time.  "Here you go, room 12, right outside, first door on the left."  "Great" Brad said, excited to just get in the room and in the bed.  Even the shower would wait until tomorrow.  The shower.  Can't wait to see that.  
Brad hesitated, waiting for the worker to tell him the price.  They locked eyes for a few seconds, still no response.  Brad broke the silence.  "How much for the night?"  Bumps smiled again.  Brad did not.  Please let me not die tonight.  The image of Bumps smiling was not what he had in mind for his last sight when he gave his last breath.  Bumps leaned closer and dropped the smile.  "No charge."  Brad gave a perplexing look.  "No charge?  you do not charge for your rooms?"  Another inch closer, this time releasing his, to say the least, unpleasan
 breath upon Brad, Bumps still did not smile.  "Renovatin' the rooms, no charge this week."  Brad was certainly not in the mood to argue and just gave in.  No matter, a free motel room was strange.  Bumps was strange.  This whole conversation seemed strange.  But Brad was tired.  He smiled, said thanks and taking the key and his bag, went to his room.

      The room was not as bad as expected, including even the shower.  Brad changed into his warm-ups and top for the night, the latter being a black t-shirt with a Bible verse that read, "With God All Things Are Possible."  Cracking open a little New Testament that the businessman carried everywhere, Brad began to read.  This habit was more of a conviction than anything else, that had formed within weeks of him becoming a Christian three years ago.  Everyday, no exceptions and for at least twenty minutes and usually more.  Exhausted, he disappeared into the restroom to take care of the normal before-bed necessities, but decided to wait on the shower until morning.  His prayer time was brief, which had been the norm lately unfortunately, though this time was due to his tiredness than lack of time.  Within a few minutes, Brad was asleep, his last thoughts were on reaching his destination tomorrow.  
     Click.  Brad awoke.  His eyes rested on the ceiling.  Was he dreaming or did he just hear a noise?  Seconds went by. Nothing.  His eyes closed.  Click.  He forced his eyes open, getting agitated at being awakened again.  Perhaps the window was open some and someone was doing something outside.  He was so tired he just assumed behind the stained curtains the windows were closed.  Better get up and close it so he could get back to sleep.  Wanting to blame his interrupted sleep on the person apparently outside, Brad put away his grumpy demeanor and realized that his nemesis could be a bird or a squirrel or some other animal.  The room was completely dark.  Brad intentionally turned off the bathroom light because there was an outside light shining in when he went to sleep.  Now however, there was no outside light and the room was pitch black.  Even the light on the alarm clock was dark.  He suddenly felt a little creepy.  Not good.  He started to sit up.  "Mr. Strom."  Brad  bounced off of the bed.  What!  Here he was worried about a noise outside and there was someone right in his room!  His mind flashed!  A weapon!  Was there anything in the room that he could use for a weapon?  Brad was knocked to the ground, tackled.  "You will be coming with us, Mister Strom, now calm down.  Any fighting you do will only tire you out."  Two men.  The voice, which was the same one he first heard, was above him and a few feet away.  Brad struggled, but to no avail.  " Buddy! Stop fussing or I will have to knock you over the head and drag you!"   This from the one who had tackled him and was now lifting the shocked businessman up as if he were a suit of clothes.  Whoever he was, this man was big...and strong! " What do you want, is this a robbery" asked Brad, speaking to the darkness.  Very eerie, why couldn't they at least turn the lights on.  An odor was suddenly noticeable.  Brad discerned it came from the monster that now held him in his grip.  The man's hand had to be the size of a gallon of milk.  The first man answered.  "This is no robbery Mr. Strom.  But you are our prisoner."  Brad's mind attempted to digest what he had just been told.  " Your out of your mind, whoever you are!  Let me go before I call the police!"  The second man snorted.  The first maintained the serious and calm demeanor he had had since he first spoke.  What he said was stated in such a serious and gripping tone that it was terrifying, for lack of a better word.  " Mr. Strom, you will never leave here. Never."  Fear gripped Brad.  What was this!  Some game!  Some sick persons idea of a practical joke!  He wrestled, or tried to, but to no avail.  It was then that everything went black.
     The lights were on now.  Apparently his attackers thought that he would be unconscious for longer than he was.  The two men were gathering up his belongings.  Monster, and what an appropriate description it was, was doing most of the gathering while the other was going through the luggage and paperwork. The behemoth seriously stood what looked like nearly seven feet tall.  And he was possibly the ugliest, most grotesque person the distraught businessman had ever seen.  Must be brothers with the lobby clerk.  Creepy and Monster.  Wow.  Where was Rod Serling?  The other man was quite a contrast, well-dressed and well-groomed.  And about a foot shorter than his partner in crime.  Brad scanned the room.  Then he prayed.  Not the shallow prayer that he occasionally offered when it was done more out of duty, but a heartfelt pleading for The Lord to help him.  Both men were towards the front of the room where the only door was.  Knowing his time was limited, Brad Strom, tired and not very energetic when it came to athletics and really no more than a boring salesman, did the unbelievable.  He stood quickly, grabbed his sneakers from the floor that he took off before falling asleep, and headed for the window at the back of the room.  His captors were caught off guard and looked just in time to see Brad crashing through the glass!  
     Caring more about getting away than where he got away to, the disheveled and distraught man did not even stop to put on his shoes until he reached a clearing about three yards away from the hotel.  Fortunately it was beginning to get light, meaning it was probably Surprised there was no sound from his persuers, Brad discerned that they must have went out the front door rather than take the exit he did, which allowed him not much, but some, extra time.  He had a feeling that every second counted.  Nikes on now, Brad noticed a building a few hundred yards distant.  It reminded the salesman of the chicken breeding structures he saw many times in his travels. Except from what he could tell, this building was about double the width, at least five times the length, and extremely run down.  Still quiet, Brad wondered if perhaps his dramatic and surprise escape did not scare away his attackers. Possibly the pair took off, concerned that their captive-to-be would stop a passing motorist and was on his way to the authorities.  A practical joke was ruled out for sure as evidenced by the rough treatment he received from Monster and Suit.  Still no sign of anyone, Brad took a breath and ran towards the huge elongated shack. 
     The door opened and he quietly slipped in.  No noise, the place was apparently abandoned.  The building was basically one very long corridor with dozens of doors on each side.  Brad tried many of the doors, all windowless, except the one that finally opened. He entered and instinctively hit the light switch, both surprised and relieved when the lights came on.  The room was basic, a bed, table and  chair.  One strange thing was that there was a toilet to one side, instead of being in a separate room.  There was no shower, but there was a sink next to the toilet.  A barracks perhaps?  A Boy Scout camp?  Brad heard a siren in the distance.  Perhaps somehow the police had been called, someone reporting the ruckus in his room.  If so, this nightmare would soon be over.  He still would have plenty of time to get to Kingman, though he had no interest in showering back at that creepy hotel.  Curious, the somewhat more settled salesman decided to investigate further.  Stepping out into the hallway, there was still no sign of life.  Inspection of the next few rooms revealed a uniformity to the first one.  All identical and all empty.  The next door had a window and as Brad looked up the hallway, it appeared that most, if not all, of the remaining doors had windows.  Peering through the window, all Brad could see was darkness.  Talk about ironic.  Trying the door he discovered it was locked.  Continuing down the corridor it seemed all the doors were.  Peering in another window, as if on cue, the lights came on simultaneously, apparently in every room as well as the hallway.  Brad could not believe his eyes.  The room held a person and this person gave all indications of being a prisoner!  He looked very disheveled, was wearing pair of dirty and worn overalls and had a beard growth that looked unplanned, evident by it being matted down and grimy.  The room itself was not that bad, exactly uniform to the unlocked rooms, except for the obvious signs of vacancy.  The man was just getting out of bed and went to the sink towards the sink.  What was going on here?  Is this what these creeps had planed for him?  Brad went to the next room and found the same, this one inhabited by a female.  As he went down the corridor, Brad was becoming more tense.  He had inspected over a dozen rooms and each held a person.  A prisoner.  He shuddered at the thoughts that came to him.  Especially the one that was of him being one of them that was captive.  Time to get out of this place.  Get help for these poor people.  And for his safety, which Brad guiltily realized was his main goal to leaving this insane place.  Ck 
     The horrified businessman, who should be just getting out of bed himself, doing his devotions and preparing to leave in his Cobalt, went back the way that he came.  Hopefully the police were e at the hotel investigating what happened and locking up those oddballs that attacked him.  Stepping back outside, it was now clearly daylight and as he made his way to and through the clearing, voices became audible.  Being quiet and careful, Brad made his way closer and saw a sherrif's car, the law enforcement officer talking with Monster and Suit.  Finally this strange incident would come to an end.  Relieved, he stepped out and began moving in their direction, just as the officer went back to his vehicle, while the two others entered the hotel.  Strange.  They must have talked their way out of their predicament.  If he was going to do this, he had to be careful.  He needed to get the attention of the sherrif's deputy without alerting the two men.  The car started and veered towards the exit,  the left turn signal flashing. Optimistic, Brad started running towards the woods that should be a shortcut to the highway.  If his timing was right, he could make it the short distance and be at the road just before the deputy came by.  Problem was he did not expect the big grotesque would-be-captor to see him and take pursuit.  He hit the section of trees and brush just as the officer turned in the expected direction.  Monster was getting closer and Brad thought he would have been at the highway by now.  More seconds passed, more running and more exhaustion.  After this harrowing incident was over, the businessman was determined to hit the gym and get I to shape.  Finally!  But Brad could not believe his eyes!  The police car was already passed him!  And by only seconds!   With no other opportunity and with the big man only about thirty feet behind him, Brad started towards down the highway in the direction of the car, screaming at the top of his lungs!  The thought of him not escaping this nightmare terrified him.  "Help!  He began waving his arms.  Anything to get the deputy's attention.  Monster was less than twenty feet behind him now.  " Help! Stop!"  Fifteen feet and the officer was getting more distant.  "Help!"  Close enough now Brad could hear the breathing of his pursuer.  The sherrif's car turned.  Brad was tackled.  Brad's fear worsened. A prisoner.  Locked in a one room cell for who knows how long?  "Let me go!" He screamed!  What kind of devils were these he was dealing with!   Big arms wrapped around him.  He was completely helpless.  His heart sank.  It was then that the discouraged and beaten man saw the law enforcement vehicle heading towards them.  He has turned around!  Monster loosened his grip.  The car screeched to a halt and the deputy got out, hand on his holster.  "What's the problem here boys?"  Brad was shaken up.  Badly.  "This man and another man tried to kidnap me!"  His words came quick.  "They attacked me in that hotel!  There are people locked up in a building in the woods!  He dusted off his now dirty clothes, to no avail of course.  "We have to help those people!"  The officer stepped closer.  Monster did not move.  " Now calm down Mr. Strom.  What is this about people being held prisoner?  And you being attacked at the Rest Stop Inn?  Do you have any proof of this?"  The deputy eyed Brad's attacker and took his hand away from the holster.  "How about we go inside and speak to Mr. Wagner and get this confusion cleared up?"  Brad held his hands out, palms out.  "No, I am not going back in there!"  Suddenly a thought struck him.  Actually, floored him.  "How did you know my name?"  The deputy whose name tag read Officer Thomas Jenkins" stepped closer.  Brad's terror was coming back.  The officer smiled.  "Now that you have entered our little resort Mr. Strom, you will only leave when we allow you.  Other than that, this just might be your home for the rest of your life."  The deputy winked just then, still maintaining his smile.  
"Look at it this way.  You won't have any bills."  Then he laughed.  Brad eyed the both of them.  " You are crazy!  You can't get way with this!  What is it you want?"  He was after all, a businessman and that side of him seemed to take over momentarily.  The officer glanced at Monster, then back at Brad.  "You'll find out soon enough."  He stepped closer to Brad, Monster doing the same.  Brad looked in all directions. It was evident there was no getting away.  His fear came back, this time increased.  A locked room.  No freedom.  How long would he be in this predicament.  What if he never escaped?  He shrieked loudly!  "This is madness!  Your all nuts!"  With no strategy, the scared businessman jumped towards the two men, as if miraculously they would be knocked down and he would be able to flee to safety.  Deputy Jenkin's swung the butt of his 38 pistol onto Brad's head, quieting him as he slipped into unconsciousness.  
      He awake in one of the rooms.  Feeling drugged, the imprisoned man stumbled out of bed.  His clothes were the same, but the pockets were empty.  They had his wallet, his ID, charge cards, everything.  The room was laid out the same as the others he saw and it was just as impersonal.  His mind wandered.  There had to be a reason for all this.  Identity theft?  Extortion?  Brad grimaced at the next thought he had.  Scientific experiments?  How glad he was that his parents did not allow him to watch horror movies when he was growing up.  However he did watch some crime shows and one thing he learn was that most people were after money or power.  Brad certainly had none of the latter as a common, boring and uninfluential salesman.  

Ten Seconds of Terror! Based On a True Story!



In about five minutes, or maybe even less, Ross Purcell knew that he would be dead.
Most people seem to die from automobile accidents or heart attacks. Many older men and women meet their demise simply by growing old and their bodies ceasing to function the way they have for 70 or 80 or 90 years or so. But here he was, Ross Purcell, or R.P. as many of his friends called him, at the point of death because of some freak accident. Why him, he questioned over and over in his mind? At his prime at 40 years old, Ross Purcell’s name was known in the building industry as the best in the business. Sure, his homes were expensive, but as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. And these executive types with their fancy wife’s and perfect children didn’t mind handing over a half of a million dollars for one of his finest! The bulky, somewhat overweight man moved slightly as his mind flashed to what brought him to this predicament.
Ross had heard about a great land deal only two counties above where he lived. He could have scheduled an appointment for next week to see the property, but he wanted to take no chance at missing this bargain that could eventually bring him well over a million dollars profit.
So Ross turned down the offer of attending church this morning and decided to drive up and scan the possible investment site. His wife, Maggie, who was quite upset at Ross’ decision, and his 4 year-old daughter Mary, still went however. Maggie had been pestering Ross lately about bringing religion into the family and Ross had grown tired of it very quickly. It was all that fellow’s fault, Mark whats-his-name, that she worked with, who showed up at his house a few Thursdays ago with the preacher of his church. Ross recalled what a sight both of them were; Bibles in hand and everything. They even had the nerve to ask Ross to turn the television off!
Anyhow, Ross remembered it crystal clear. Maggie sat listening to every word and Ross trying to politely ignore the two of them as they quoted Bible verses and talked about Jesus dying for he and Maggie’s sins. Though there was one phrase that the Pastor had said that strangely stuck with Ross since then. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” The big man normally could only remember the latest sports scores, yet these words kept popping into his head! In fact, even as he was walking the land, those very words seemed to gnaw at him, to haunt him almost.
Anyway, as the important Ross Purcell was happily calculating home sites and how to minimize expenses, he neglected to see the large hole that he stepped into! Of course, part of that was due to the brush that almost camouflaged the entire crevice. Down he went! And a long fall it was, at least to Ross it seemed twenty feet! The worst part of it was that when he dropped he caused many layers of dirt and debris to follow him, trapping the big man, leaving him no way to escape!
That was hours ago and the air was running out! Every breath was a chore! Guessing that he had just a few minutes at the most, Ross struggled again to suck some air into his pleading lungs. His mind racing, knowing the end was coming drastically closer every second, he began to panic. He could barely move as well, which frustrated him greatly and aided in his frenzy. Thoughts that he was sure would be his last came and went. Maggie! No more Maggie! And his little Mary! Too never see them again...for his precious Mary to grow up without a father, what would ever become of her? No more nice cars and name brand living! What does it matter now?
Again, Ross inhaled to the best of his ability but it was only a fraction of a normal breath. Tears formed as he began to cry like a baby.
Suddenly the thought came again. “What shall it profit a man...” Maybe the preacher was right? Surely he was a sinner, Ross decided instantly. Thoughts came to him now as he saw things in a different light. Terrible thoughts! Lying...his drunken binges...his lust...he was lost! It was clear now, he was doomed! There was no hope for him! In mere seconds Ross somehow knew that he would enter that horrible place that he had laughed about for years-that place of blackness and! If only he had another chance! Then the big man remembered the words of the preacher. Those words too had new meaning. With every ounce of his strength, Ross Purcell lifted up his eyes to the darkness above him. I will turn to you Jesus, his heart cried out, save me from this death and I will believe on you. There was no more will power, no more time, no more air.  Long seconds, perhaps even a full minute came and went as Ross drifted in and out of consciousness. It was over. Darkness......but then...something...was it...could it be...yes it was! A faint, a very faint light! Then followed noise. A steady, hammering noise! Ross could see, his lungs started filling with air...he could breath! Ross was alive and he was going to be saved! With a fresh energy, Ross kept looking up and was rejoicing! He saw some sort of machine tearing up the soil. They found him!
Just minutes later the shaken man was above ground. Two men had pulled him out and steadied him and in a shorter time than expected, Ross had regained his strength and soon his lightheadedness too, was gone. “They told us you might be up here somewhere sir” stated the taller of the two. Ross looked at both of them. They wore coveralls labeled with a power company insignia. “I thought you would be a rescue team or something, or from the sheriff’s department, you work for the electric company?” Ross questioned. The shorter man employee answered now. “Mister, you were out in the middle of nowhere. You would have been dead by the time anyone got out here. The sheriff called after your wife could not get hold of you. We just happened to be in the area putting some poles in and we saw this notebook...then we saw where we guessed you fell in.” Ross eyed the logbook. It was his for sure. “Well, thanks” He said as he took the journal and shook both of their hands. “Thank you two so much for savin’ my life.” The rejoicing was quick and then Ross turned to walk away. Glancing at the land, monetary figures began speeding through his mind again. Here he was, the Ross Purcell. Good as new and ready to make some money. So he lost a few hours? Suddenly he recalled the pleading he did the last few seconds in the hole...his promise to turn to Jesus. Taking a deep breath, Ross gave a satisfied look as he gazed at the acreage around him. That’ll have to wait, he decided. Maybe later he would let Jesus save his soul. Paying no attention to the screaming voices of the two men behind him, Ross turned and unknowingly stepped onto a live wire and immediately hundreds of thousands of volts went through his body, then he fell to the ground and died.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
Mark 8:36


We live in a day where fathers will teach their children to hunt and fish, but will not open the Bible and teach them about Jesus Christ and how to prepare for heaven and hell.
You have only one chance to raise a child.
It is not enough in these wicked days to try to get by with only ten minutes of Bible a day.
If your Christianity did no more for you than give you a place to go to church, then you better check out if you got the real thing.
Do you give the Lord every day the time you used to give the Devil?
You can’t send your children to the world’s schools and expect Godly children.
Some of you women think that God gave you your jobs outside of the home, but the Lord never violates His Word.
Most of God’s people give like they are still making minimum wage.
Are you born again and can you prove it by how you live?
If churches really kept the requirements laid out in the Bible for elders, there would be a shortage
of Pastors in America.
Are you devout enough like Job, that the Devil knows your name.
Not only does HBO stand for Hells Box Office, but ABC stands for Already Been Condemned, CBS stands for Central Blasphemy System and NBC for the Never Been Converted Network.
Though the Bible is available at any dollar store, Wal-mart and K-Mart, we live in a Bible-ignorant society.
Most of you wouldn’t think of throwing away your t.v. set because you just love the world too much.
If some of you ladies spent half as much time in the Word of God as you do in front of the mirror, you just might get an idea of the role God has for Christian women.
If you fathers spent as much time with Jesus as you do your sports teams, you might turn out Godly children.
Godly children or worldly children; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Some of you lousy husbands would open the door quicker for a stranger than for your own wife.
The Bible never tells you to pray for a burden for souls.
Most of God’s people would never let a drunkard or a fornicator or a sodomite into their home, but these people are welcomed in every day through the devil-vision set.
If Christians were to give as much towards missions as they do on entertainment, the problem of world evangelization would be solved.
In the pulpits of many of these fancy churches, you hear men like Finney and Edwards quoted. If the godly men of yesteryear were to step into the same churches and preach their same messages, they would be run off within minutes and the “professing” crowd behind them would be shouting “legalist” all the way to the front door.
A church is never stronger than the man behind the pulpit.
The reason why our Christians are so worldly is because most of the men behind the pulpit are.
If you don’t teach that the woman belongs at home, don’t tell me that you believe the whole book!
There will be no revivals as long as the devil-vision stays plugged in.
It used to be a joke to say that someone’s momma wears army boots.
Maybe the reason why you do not have an Acts 20:20 vision for souls is because your spiritual eyesight has been blurred by your love of the world.
The family that ministers together stays together.
Where is the home where God is the Lord
Most Christians will meet Amos in heaven and have no idea what he did.
Most of God’s people will tell the preacher he is wrong at what he preaches, yet they do not even know the Book that God gave us.
100 years ago a Sodomite was unheard of, 50 years ago they were ashamed of themselves, 25 years ago they started creeping out of the closet and now in 2004 if you do not accept that sin,
Live for Christ now while there is still time and live so that you will have no regrets at the Judgment Seat of Christ.


Redeeming the time, because the days are evil”
Ephesians 5:16

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

If an individual spends an average of 2 hours a day watching television that is 730 hours a year. Giving some liberty, let us say that a child begins watching at the age of four. By the time the child reaches the age of 16, ONE FULL YEAR has been devoted (notice the word) to the t.v. Following the same pattern, and again at only an average of 2 hours a day, by the time the same person reaches the age of 76, they have lost 6 years of their life. Now if an individual views an average of 4 hours a day, then the amounts are doubled. By the age of 16, TWO FULL YEARS have been spent watching and by the age of 76, 12 years are gone. I have been very gracious with giving statistics, realizing that in many homes the image box is on 6,7, even 8 hours a day!
Even if the programs were neutral in nature, could a born-again, washed in the blood, Christ-following believer justify such a waste of time. Of course, it does not take a moral genius to recognize that neutral programs are difficult to find these days, even if one had a moral detector.
Now if the majority of these hours were spent viewing harmful or immoral programs, imagine the damage that is being done to our children as well as ourselves! Is it any wonder that even those that profess Christ as their Saviour are not led by the Spirit of God! Is it any wonder that those that take up the pew space in our local churches know so little of the Word of God, that surely it grieves our Lord! Is it any wonder that God’s people do not weep for lost souls and do not witness for the Lord that they profess!

Giving some liberty, I am going to estimate that the average Christian spends 60 minutes a week witnessing for Christ. This works out to be 52 hours a year or 520 hours every 10 years. So, lets say that a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ at 10 years old. Forgetting the normal excuse that they haven’t grown yet to the point of being able to witness and seeing that the redeemed of the Lord should certainly be able to say so, regardless of their age, this young person witnesses for his Lord this 52 hours a year. By the time he has reached the age of 22, he has witnessed the equivalent of 26 days in that 12 years. (Compare that to the statistics above).

If a Christian spends 4 hours a week in church, hopefully receiving biblical instruction and teaching and spends 30 minutes a day doing private bible reading and studying that is a total of 7 ½ hours a week or 390 hours a year. Every 12 years that would mean that the person would spend the equivalent of 195 days studying or reading the most wonderful book that has ever been available to mankind.. (Again, compare with the statistics above)