Daysong Graphics
Stealing Martin Memorial Baptist Church

Lucille Posh, a prominent real estate broker, had just contracted with Huge Boxx Stores as a buyer’s agent to acquire a twenty-acre (minimum) tract within a year for a new store. As she drove home, she planned her strategy. The commission structure is lucrative, but I could make a killing by buying a property cheap and selling it to them for close to their maximum price.

As she often did, she cut through the parking lot of Martin Memorial Baptist Church to avoid a couple of traffic lights. She’d never paid much attention to the church’s twenty-five-acre campus before, but that day she saw it with different eyes. This place is perfect!

The next morning, she instructed her lawyer to set up a dummy corporation to make a low offer on the property. That step was easy; convincing the members of the congregation to sell their land would be the challenge. A week elapsed before she figured out how to accomplish her plan. I’ll join the church and lead a campaign to sell. They have a sign advertising their Wednesday-night prayer meetings, so I think I’ll attend and see what goes on.

A pleasant Wednesday evening in March found her in the church’s parking lot at 6:55, but there were so few other cars, she feared that the service had been cancelled. She went inside and counted eighteen people in attendance. As luck would have it, the monthly business meeting was being held that night. The pastor introduced himself to Lucille, told her about the meeting, and suggested that it might be boring for a non-member, but he welcomed her to stay. She did, and by observation, she learned something about how the church conducted its business.

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The Sweater

“Jeri Byrd prefers you to me,” Melissa told her husband, Lloyd, as she brushed her long, black hair. “Haven’t you noticed how she excludes me from conversations? It’s so obvious she likes you better.”

“I think you’re wrong, hon.” Lloyd tried playing peacemaker. “Don’t you remember those cookies she brought over?”

“Those cookies were for you! I just ate a few of them.”

Newlyweds Melissa and Lloyd Baker had recently settled in Carpinteria, California. They couldn’t have found a better place to spend their first years as a married couple. Life was one continuous honeymoon with the ocean and mountains as romantic backdrops. No wonder the people who resided in the little beach town called it Paradise!

And so it was. At least until Jeri Byrd introduced herself. She lived in the condo next door and had macular degeneration. She had once been a very fastidious lady, but because she had trouble seeing, she now appeared in public with unsightly stains on the sweats she always wore. Although she was legally blind, she saw plenty, or so it seemed to Melissa. Jeri often commented how she’d spot Lloyd coming home from work, and at those times, the old lady dropped in unannounced for visits.

“What do you want me to do?” Lloyd questioned. “Quit being nice to her?”

Melissa heaved a sigh. “I don’t know what to do. I can’t make her like me, but I feel so unworthy when she’s around. Like I’m just another speck of dust on the floor she can’t see.”

“You’re taking this way too hard, Melissa. Cut her some slack.”

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ACFW Book Of The Year
Fossil Hunter