Brother Godfinger would stand under the tent in that damn spotlight and holler out loud to God to give him one last chance to heal us sinners. He wore a throat mike connected to a 500 watt Jensen amplifier and there were speakers all around the tent––you could hear him holler for miles. He’d get the people so worked up under the tent they’d get to shoutin’ with him too and between the whole lot of ‘em prayin’ and hollerin’ you’d swear God would’a heard them if He had a mind to.
Finally the cripples would start down the aisle, hobblin’ along on their crutches and their artificial legs. They was all part of the show––drivers and tent riggers. The crutches was part of the show too. Ol’ Godfinger didn’t leave nothin’ to chance. Nobody knew who these people were, ‘cause by that time they were so worked up they’d believe anything.
Then Brother Godfinger would come down off his podium and the overhead lights would follow him. He’d meet the cripples half way down the aisle holdin’ his Bible high and layin’ his finger on each and every one of them, shoutin’ out for God to give these poor creatures one more chance, and one by one they’d cast aside their artificial legs, and throw down their crutches, and begin dancin’ in the aisle. Then they’d go on up and grab the collection plates that lined the front of the stage and pass among the congregation for the Lord’s offering. The crutches and such would be gathered up, carried out of the tent and put back in the truck for tomorrow’s show.
He had a double jointed man with him––“Slats,” his name was––used to be in a circus up north. He’d lay in the aisle all knotted up, lookin’ like he’d spent his whole life inside a beer keg. When Godfinger touched him he’d start to tremble all over like he was connected to a light socket and one by one his arms and legs would snap back into place. He’d be shoutin’ along with Brother Godfinger and the crowd would be hollerin’ bloody murder.
What put him outta business was when he claimed that God had given him the gift of walkin’ on water just like He had to Jesus. It was an added attraction in a tent you had to pay extra to get in after the Bible meetin’. There was a four foot high plastic pool, and when the show pulled into town he’d run a hose from the pool down to the town fire hydrant. By show time the pool would be full of water. Well, just below the surface of the water there was a clear plastic shelf and he would walk back and forth along the shelf in his bare feet and everybody was convinced Brother Godfinger was walkin’ on the water––that is––until some doubtin’ Thomas come along one night and pulled the plug on the pool and left Brother Godfinger tryin’ to hold his balance on the plastc shelf.
It sure was easy goin’ up until then. I don’t expect we’ll ever see such good times again.
by Harry Buschman