by Brian D. Beckstead
Richard was pacing back and forth in front of the two Apostles. Looking them in the eyes as he passed by them. “Now, tell me again, why you two snuck off without your bodyguards, knowing full well how dangerous this situation is today?” He was trying to be as diplomatic as he could. He would pause and put his hands on his hips, then continue to pace. All the while, his active mind imagined what it would have been like to be having the same conversation with any of the early Apostles. Elder Palmer smiled and reached out and patted Richard on his thin lanky frame. “We’re okay Brother Trumane. No harm no foul. It’s a beautiful day, and we just wanted to take a walk. Everything’s going to be fine, son. God watches out for us.” Encumbered and hot under his white shirt, Richard turned and faced him. “No, really? I know he does. They are in the form of men who carry weapons to protect your back sides.” Richard snapped back, with a large dose of sarcasm. Elder Briggs, who is a close friend of Richard’s, loved the astonished look on Elder Palmer’s face, so much that he burst into a short fit of laughter. The two aging, white-haired Apostles seemed almost oblivious to the danger that could have been wrought up on them. Richard was not amused as he took in a deep breath. “With all do respect, Brethren, this is not a laughing matter. Right now, one of my men is lying dead on the roof of the temple, with a gun shot to the back, which went out of his chest leaving a hole the size of my fist. We have a sniper taking shots at firefighters battling a fire on the west side, and you two are behaving like little boys!” Richard shouted at the two Prophets as he momentarily lost his temper. Elder Briggs face grew concerned immediately. “I’m sorry Brother Trumane. We had no idea how it was this serious.” Elder Morris and the five security agents were sprinting toward them. Without hesitation, Richard got between the two Apostles and softly grabbed them by their arms.
“Elder Morris, will you take them to the safe house and here, cover them with these until they are out of plain sight.” He opened two black umbrellas and put them in their hands. “I don’t want anyone to see them. Understood?” Morris acknowledged with a nod of his head, and didn’t say a word. He knew better than to argue, or justify his team’s mistake with his mentor. Richard pointed his index finger towards them. “I’ll deal with you five later! There is no excuse for this kind of dumbassery!” Noticing the way they looked at him, Richard pointed toward the street and yelled, “Go! I’ll explain that word to you later, and whatever you do, do not let these two men out of your sight.” The five security men surrounded the Elders and whisked them off. Morris followed after Richard, who was heading back to his office. The task was not easy since Richard has long legs and Morris had to do double time with his short stubs to keep up. After what seemed like an eternity, Richard finally broke the awkward silence, “What went wrong Ted?” Richard demanded as he stopped and faced the new director of security. He never addressed anyone in church authority by their first names. It was a matter of respect. Elder Morris gasped for air, “I don’t know. We have gone through several scenarios, including one just like this, and have never had a problem, until now.” Richard started to walk again.
“Now is not the time to have a problem. This is not a drill, damn it! There’s a sniper out there, possibly two, and what if they wanted to take out two leaders of the church, with me standing in the middle of them?” Richard said arms flailing. “This will not happen again. Period!” The young Morris didn’t argue. More sirens were blasting away in the distance. “Did you tell Elder Briggs about his grandson?” Morris asked almost snide quickly realizing he was taunting his mentor and knowing he should have kept his mouth shut. The question threw Richard. Nobody knew about Jason’s death. The local authorities had not been called, as of yet. Richard had just been told in the last thirty minutes about the incident, himself, and he found it unsettling that the man he was training to direct church security had the same information so quickly. “How do you know about the Briggs boy?” Morris started to back peddle recognizing he had indeed, said something wrong and possibly out of line, but he trusted Richard. He had no choice but to trust him. Richard eyeballed the fidgeting man as beads of sweat formed on his upper lip. “Come with me, Ted. We need to discuss this in private.” Elder Morris swallowed hard as his short legs continued to try and keep up with his longer framed mentor.
This is an excerpt from Beckstead’s book, The Stallion Warriors.