The Gonzago Principle [MultiFormat]
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eBook by William Norris
eBook Category: Mainstream
eBook Description: What is the link between a philandering televangelist and the first man to set foot on Mars? Why should the President-elect of the United States attempt to conceal the identity of the man who kidnapped and murdered his infant son? And what on earth has all this to do with Charles Lindbergh, the Great American Hero? To find all the answers, read The Gonzago Principle. Once again, British author William Norris has produced a fascinating blend of fact and fiction. But what is true, and what is fantasy? Someone, somewhere, knows.
eBook Publisher: SynergEbooks, Published: SynergEbooks, 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2004
New Orleans, 1988
She was so lucky. Sometimes Helen Grayson had to pinch herself to make sure that life was really happening. She stared with rapt attention at the handsome face of her husband, filling the television screen in tight close-up. That backlit halo of golden hair; that firm jaw; those steadfast eyes glowing with sincerity. His voice, sometimes cajoling, sometimes thundering, still sent shivers down her spine after nearly three years of marriage. Timothy Grayson had been acclaimed in Time magazine as the Television Evangelist of the Year. And, as the writer had pointed out with what Helen thought was unnecessary asperity, he had the bank balance to prove it.
Helen shifted to a more comfortable position on the couch, and sipped delicately at her glass of creme de menthe. She watched as the camera backed away to expose the choir behind her husband, and fifty young females in virginal shimmering white launched into a triumphant hymn. She reached for the remote control to turn down the volume. Just a little.
They were coming to the bit she liked best: the grand finale, when the sinners would come to be saved. Timothy did it so well, she thought. His arms outstretched in welcome; his face a picture of serene forgiveness as one by one the penitents left the audience to announce to the world that they were born again.
No wonder everyone loved him.
It was a good crop tonight; more than a dozen converts anxious to be saved. That was what Timmy always called it: a crop. He had planted the seeds of the love of Jesus in their hearts, he said, and now he was reaping the harvest. No doubt about that, she allowed herself to think irreverently. The harvest had been rich indeed. Helen chided herself for the thought. Wasn't he doing God's work? And didn't the Good Book say that the laborer was worthy of his hire? All those people who said it was wrong for a preacher to be so wealthy, to drive expensive cars and live in grand houses--they were just jealous, that was all.
At last the final new-born Christian received his blessing, and the Reverend Timothy Grayson launched into his invocation. Less an invocation, really, than an exhortation to the faithful to get out their check books and send more money. Well, thought Helen defensively, everyone had to live.
Soon the credits would be rolling and the show would be over. Not "show," she told herself firmly, "service." Remember that, Helen. Timothy got very cross with people who got that wrong. Anyway, now that the sh...service was almost ended he would soon be home. And she had something to tell him.
Helen Grayson opened her dressing gown and laid her hand on her still-flat stomach as though expecting to feel a heart-beat. Timothy was going to make such a splendid father. She just knew it.* * * *
Five blocks away, in an anonymous motel bedroom, the object of her thoughts looked at his watch, swung a well-tanned pair of naked legs out of bed, and headed for the shower. From a mass of tousled hair on the adjacent pillow came a disgruntled voice.
"Hey, Timmy, you're not running out on me so soon, are you?"
"'fraid so, honey. Duty calls. My wife never has cottoned on to the miracles of television recording, but the show was over five minutes ago and she knows just how long it takes to get home from the studio."
"But Timmy...." her tone was plaintive, "I need to talk to you. I need to talk to you real bad."
"Next time, honey. Next time, I promise. We'll just sit down and talk instead. If that's what you want." Grayson laughed. A pillow whistled through the air, missed, and thunked against the wall.
"You bastard." She was sobbing now. He hated women who burst into tears at every opportunity. Maybe it was time to end this particular liaison. She was getting too possessive. Could be dangerous.
"I'm going to have a baby, God damn you! Your baby."
"Oh, shit," said the Reverend Timothy Grayson.