God’s salesman


“There’s a 2 sq.ft hole in our church floor. School needs expansion…” , the secretary lists the Church’s needs eyeing the once-upon-a-time snake-oil salesman turned Reverend.

“That unused cemetery acre, Mrs.McGrave’s plot? Can’t we use that? Surely she will understand the needs of poor children…”

“She hates children”

“I’ll talk to her”.

After service, the Reverend walks up to the frail old Mrs.McGrave. “How lovely to see you my dear….”

— A few months later —

A new 2 sq.ft plaque , covering the once-upon-a-time hole on the church floor reads: “Herein rests Emma McGrave….”

Outside the construction crews were busy building the McGrave wing.

— end —

This 99 word story  is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields each week.  This week’s photo prompt – © J Hardy Carroll

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes on the same photo prompt:

40 responses to “God’s salesman

  1. Very clever. He has the right background. Nicely written with a surprise ending.
    You need a stop after “She hates children”


  2. I think Mrs. McGraves realized that getting buried inside the church would be great honor.


  3. Dear Ansumani,

    The snake oil salesman turned Reverend hasn’t lost his touch, has he? Clever story.




  4. Great story and great word play. And what a timely death of a wealthy benefactor.


  5. A good former snake oil salesman makes an excellent reverend.


  6. C- Something about the tense is bugging me. How can the entire piece be in present tense (real time)? The conversations preceed the outcome (the lady dies and donates) which takes place three months later but it is still presented in present tense. It doesn’t work for me. I probably didn’t explain that very well. The premise was very good.


    • Tracey – thanks for that feedback. There are three events that are narrated in present tense -in the order of occurence. The “—” between them was meant to make them distinct and each a separate “scene”. If you take a play – each scene happens in the present “tense”. I was trying to bring that play effect here.

      With that said, I still think there is room for improvement – just that I can’t think of what exactly can be done.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like he could sell snow to the eskimos. Nice one.


  8. Great story! Everyone got what they wanted in the end. The vicar hasn’t lost his touch 🙂


  9. Snake oil salesman “turned” reverend? You mean there’s a difference?!


  10. I love this, they both get what they want, and I even think Mrs. McGrave is a tougher negotiator, being buried in the church, and having the new wing named after her… C– Worked for me, I found it clever and entertaining.


  11. I have the sense that the creepy reverend might have accelerated her demise….


  12. i hope she died of natural causes. that would be nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Cynical but probably true to life – or death!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Good story. I liked the three scenes.
    C – You are missing a ‘the’ before service and “on the church floor” should possibly be ‘in the church floor.’ The last sentence in the second paragraph could be restructured to have it flow better.
    Cheers Irene


  15. I love the name, Mrs. McGrave–how clever 🙂 This guy is slick. I’m surprised he didn’t go into politics.


  16. Excellent! Truly enjoyed this, lots of mystery wrapped up in so few words. You might consider adding one more word and making it a true drabble.
    A drabble is a story done in exactly 100 words. Easiest way is to take ‘there’s’ and make it a ‘there is.’ Simple. Shooting for exactly 100 words makes the flash so much more fun!


  17. Win-win! Fun read.


  18. I guess everyone got what they wanted. A little piece for everyone. Original take!


  19. C-
    Piggybacking off Tracey’s comment, I stumbled a bit with the tense as well. I think it’s because certain parts read much like stage directions. (“After service, the Reverend walks up to the frail old Mrs.McGrave.”) It suits your projection of this being like a play, but may make for a slight hurdle without having that format in mind.
    Aside from that, it’s nice to see the power of persuasion used beyond personal interest. Well, assuming that those “poor children” weren’t themselves swindled by that salesm– I mean, Reverend.


    • Thanks for the constructive crit. Maybe a heading like “scene1 /act 2 ” would help next time I want to project a story like a play and bring the reader to the same wavelength.

      There is always room for improvement in writing and I’m trying out various formats to see how it works.


  20. Good story, Ansumani. Maybe the old lady was just waiting for an otfer of a buriel inside the church and for the wing to be named after her. Clever woman. I suspect she just was biding her time. 🙂 — Suzanne


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