The Short, Bitter Tale of Brother Roscoe

art by Joey Feldman
art by Joey Feldman

The boat sat anchored, barely visible from shore. On its deck a minister stood unsteadily and studied his surroundings – rain drizzled from above while agitated waves slapped the hull. Fins sliced through the swells nearby.

Grasping a deep red, leather-bound Bible with his left hand, he raised the right to the sky and prayed:

“Merciful Jesus! This day you receive the wretched soul of Brother Roscoe, a cruel and vicious man. He lived a selfish, terrible life and sinned wickedly against your children, O Lord. He was vain. He was prideful. He was faithless. He lied, stole and cheated, and leaves nobody to miss him.

“But your Prodigal son comes home a beaten man, humbly begging redemption and forgiveness. Christ, I pray you bring peace to this miserable sinner.” The minister opened his Bible to the eleventh chapter of Matthew and read, drops of rain blotting the page.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

He closed the Book and sighed.

“It is finished.”

With those words, Reverend Roscoe Lee Harper slid over the rail and offered himself to the hungry waters below.


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