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Lord of the Hood, Gang Leader

Updated on July 10, 2017
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Johnny Searching

Every night Johnny went out looking for him, hoping to catch him alone and off his guard. Johnny owed him something - revenge and a slow death.

One night, late, after hours of searching for his enemy, Johnny came to the old village church. The front doors were open and he wandered in. Johnny never did drugs or drank, but he did smoke a lot and he needed a gun. He had his last smoke over an hour ago and was having a fit.

"Maybe I can just take something small but valuable and get some money for it." The thought encouraged him to snoop around. He picked up the gold candle holders on the altar and started to leave. When he turned, a Padre who had somehow come in silently, stood there facing him. "You do not want to do that, son. Those belong to the church." Johnny pulled out a knife and told the Padre to back off. "I need the money, Padre. Now, don't do anything stupid to get yourself killed."

The Padre

The Padre held out his hands to the side, the full sleeves of his long white robe looking like wings. "Would you kill, my son? In the house of the Lord? No - I do not think you would. Put down the knife and let us talk."

"Talk? About what? The only thing I need to do is get out of here and get me a gun and some smokes then kill that man." Padre held out his right hand and said, "Give me the knife, son then we can pray for guidance. You will not kill - the Lord, the ONLY Lord of the Hood, is the one I serve," Padre looked up at an oil painting of a shepherd and his sheep he had hung on the stone wall many years before. "Our Lord will set things right."

"Pray! Are you mocking me? I don't need prayer, I need revenge. The last time I prayed was when Mama died. I was just eleven and she was the only thing in the world I loved, the only one who prayed for me! I lived on the streets for nine years till I met Marie. You want me to pray, Padre? For what?"

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Pray Johnny

"Pray for what, Padre?"

"For Salvation, Johnny. Pray for all the loss, hurt and pain that brought you here tonight."

Johnny lifted his chin and stared at the Padre. "How do you know my name? Who are you?"

"I am Efram Munoz, the Padre here for many many years," he dropped his hand. "I work for the Lord and He gives me what I need to know."

"Well, aren't you all wise and mysterious? He told you my name did He?"

"He did. Put down the knife, Johnny, and tell me your story. The Lord can carry you on His shoulders. He can make you more than you can be."

Johnny dropped the knife, tears in his eyes. "Marie, used to sing a song to me with those words in it. She would sing me to sleep on nights when I remembered Mama and I cried. Cried like a baby when she sang in her beautiful voice."

Padre Munoz started singing, softly at first then strong in his deep baritone voice. He touched Johnny's shoulder gently, yet Johnny felt such a surge of power and love that shook him to the core. He fell on his knees and cried as he heard again the words that lingered in his troubled mind.

"You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be"
- as sung by Josh Groban

Marietta

Johnny could not stop crying the whole time Padre Munoz sang. In between sobs Johnny started talking. He could not stop talking and sobbing.

"He killed her, Padre. My beautiful baby, my Marietta, my Marie. Lord of the Hood killed her because she would not join his gang and be his woman. They bragged about him killing her, his gang members - they bragged about it," Johnny shouted, rocking back and forth, arms wrapped around his middle, clutching his t-shirt in tight fists. The candle holders now lay on the floor, forgotten by Johnny.

Still on his knees, Johnny grabbed the hem of Padre's robe and held it to his chest like a baby would cling to a blanket for security. With tears streaming down his face Johnny sobbed. "She was a good girl, Padre, my Marie was, she had a good heart. Bless her Padre, bless her soul, please. She took good care of me, like Mama did and she loved me, loved me so much. Padre, she worked nights. She told me she got a great job as a connoisseur in a big fancy hotel. She got really big tips from the high paying guests she said. I worked nights at a restaurant and during the day I went to University to get a degree in medicine. I would have been a good doctor, Padre. Marie was helping me pay the tuition.

"Every morning, when I got home, Marie and I would have breakfast. Then she would shower, put on that cute little white dress, white heels, little white gloves and take her white purse and go sit in the church for a few hours. That girl prayed more than anyone I know. She'd slap my hand if I started eating before she said prayers. She prayed for homeless kids and mothers who had to work hard to support their kids. She prayed for me, that I would become a good doctor."

Johnny became very quiet when he mentioned the little white dress and how much Marie prayed. He seemed to be in another time where he was once again with Marie and so proud to be with her.

She was not There

"She did not come home from church one morning. I was sleeping, but I woke because I sensed she was not there. It was too still, too quiet. I got up, dressed and took off, walking to the church. I was about a block away when I saw a crowd gathering in the entrance to an alley. I stopped and asked a guy, a gang member I had seen around, what happened.

"He said a prostitute had been killed. Another guy said that the woman walked back and forth in front of his liquor store every night, waiting for a pick up. Men who came in and bought a bottle or two would pick her up on their way out of the store. A hundred bucks per hour one guy told me! Can you believe that? That gal got picked up at least five times a night! "Now look at her in that pretty white dress, white gloves," said the store owner. "She should have known in her profession that things like this happen."

"White dress, Padre! When he said white dress I screamed for Marie and tried to get to her. Two cops wouldn't let me through the yellow tape as I screamed her name over and over. They took me down to the mortuary for positive identification." Johnny fell on his side sobbing harder, his knees drawn up and arms around them as he shook from crying.

"My beautiful Marie, lying there in that pretty white dress all splattered with blood. Padre, she was brutally killed. Why? Why, oh God why my baby. Why Marie?"

Padre Munoz knelt and pulled Johnny up into his arms. He prayed for Johnny, blessing him with Holy Water and his cross. He rocked Johnny and prayed till the young man was finally quiet. Padre Munoz talked to Johnny, saying he needed someone to keep the church and little cemetery grounds in good shape, paint the church, do odd jobs when time allowed, so he could continue at University. "We will help you as we can, Johnny. You will become a doctor and a fine one. Your Mama and Marie will look down upon you with pride."

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Headlines

Johnny left the church, crossed the street and stopped in front of a newspaper stand. The headlines shocked him, he quickly put in coins and ripped out a newspaper.

"A Young Man Who Was Called 'Lord of the Hood' Brutally Tortured and Murdered."

Johnny could not believe his eyes till he saw a picture of 'Lord of the Hood' lying in an alley and covered in blood. He read:

"Lord of the Hood was on the run from the police. Three eye witnesses saw him kill a prostitute in an alley. They recognized 'Lord of the Hood' because everyone in that community knew who he was. Lord of the Hood apparently was not paying attention to the area and found himself in the territory of a rival gang who caught him, tortured him then shot him in the back of the head. An anonymous gang member had called the newspaper to tell what his gang had done. Those gangs love to boast about their conquests."

Then he saw a picture of Marie, lying in a pool of blood and fell to his knees again. He beat the sidewalk with the newspaper as he shouted, "Padre, Padre Munoz, he's dead, just like you told he would meet his own end just the way he dealt it! He's dead!"

Johnny felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up, thinking it was Padre Munoz. It was a younger Padre, in a black robe. "Son, are you okay?"

Johnny stood up. "Yes, Padre. I will be okay. Padre Munoz," he motioned with his chin to the church across the street,"helped me a lot. He talked with me and something changed within me, deep inside, I felt free and ... peace, Padre - I felt peace flow through me. He prayed for me, Padre, and blessed me. Yes, I will be okay now."

Padre Munoz

"I have been Padre of that church for twelve years now," the young Padre said as he gazed at his church. "Over that time I have heard about Padre Munoz helping those who really were struggling in life. He was a great man, a great and blessed Padre. He had a touch that healed people. Everyone loved him."

Johnny was puzzled. "Was? Padre Munoz just gave me a job, painting the church and grounds maintenance and the cottage to live in, rent free so I can continue at University," Johnny, too was staring at the church. "You are the Padre there? Where is Padre Munoz?"

"Son, if Padre Munoz gave you a job and the cottage out back, then you shall have it. I desperately need help. Oh, and the rectory needs painting, too."

"And Padre Munoz? Where does he live? I would like to see him again."

"And maybe you will if needed. Son, Padre Munoz passed on, left this world about 40 years ago."

Epilogue

Johnny did become a doctor, a fine one. He met and married a good woman who helped him overcome the past and be ever more faithful to the church and their Lord.

They have two teenage sons. Every Saturday Johnny and his sons drive to the church to make sure the grounds are kept clean. He started a congregational garden behind the cottage for the church potlucks and for those in need. The cottage was used for the potlucks and had a Soup Kitchen, where the homeless could come in any day for a free meal. Donations to the project came in regularly. Johnny's wife and other ladies from the church worked in the Soup Kitchen. Both Johnny's sons eventually became pastors.

Did Johnny ever see Padre Munoz again? No, but sometimes he senses the Padre's presence and says a prayer of thanks. Johnny wrote a book about how he was saved by the spirit of Padre Munoz.

Padre Munoz Lives on ...

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'd say that's a good friend to have in the wings for emergencies. :) Great story!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 2 weeks ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wow! What a great story! This may be your best ever.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image
      Author

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 weeks ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Will. I am so glad you like this story. A comment like that from you is a huge reward to me. Thank you very much.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image
      Author

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 weeks ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Bill. Thank you so much, I really appreciate your visits. So, what is happening with those kids in Tacoma in their summer? I hope we get another story about them. Take care.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 weeks ago from Texas

      Phyllis, you really touched with this one and I am crying like Johnny in your story, I can't tell you how but so many things relate to personal and raw to speak of.

      Is this a true story?

      Blessings my friend

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image
      Author

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 weeks ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Shyron my dear friend. No, this is not a true story, it is fiction. I am glad to know this has touched you like that (in a good way, I hope). Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Take care and many blessings to you.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Phillis. It's been so long since I've seen you! This work of fiction is quite powerful and has made an impact, Phyllis. It stirs emotion and touched my heart.

      Hope you are doing well and enjoying the creative writing site. Nice to see that you are putting out such wonderful stories. Keep doing what you do best!

      Enjoy the summer, Phyllis! Peace, Paula

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image
      Author

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 weeks ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hello Paula! My gosh it is good to hear from you.This story just poured out so fast, I do believe it was already written above and just poured out. I love writing fiction. It is going well at TCE. We have a great staff and awesome authors. The teamwork is phenomenal ! I wish you would come join us. Our rules have changed to be more flexible and several people recently joined us. It is a busy time. I love it.

      Summer is lovely so far - hope yours is, too. Enjoy and take care, Paula - Peace. Phyllis

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 weeks ago from Riga, Latvia

      A most wonderful and heartwarming story. Enjoyed.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image
      Author

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 weeks ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Rasma. Thank you. I am pleased you enjoyed this story. Take care.

    • Tamara Moore profile image

      Tamara Yancosky 10 days ago from No Idea Where

      This beautifully gripping story spoke to me in many ways, Phyllis, and I am blessed to have come by it. It is very powerful, and emotionally deep. It also provides much insight into the human condition of immense pain, but also that of hope, and restoration.

      Though in these times, many will fiercely disagree, I do full-heartedly believe that The Good Lord keeps watch, is actively in the lives of those who trust Him, and that His miracles come by way of natural means, such as: supplying our daily needs, friends who help us, and the countless things in our everyday life that we (I, myself, included!) take for granted, such as drinking water, food, protection from the elements, sanitation measures, and an endless scroll of other miracles and blessings.

      Thank you for this poignant, elegant story!

      Hugs,

      Tamara

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image
      Author

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 10 days ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Tamara. Thank you for such a lovely comment. I am so glad you like the story. Take care. Hugs and many blessings.

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