At last, Della Verne wound up his sermon. Outlaw Accountant came back out to lead the congregation in a couple numbers, while the High Priest blessed the flock before slipping away.
Guyton joined the general flow toward the exits, but detoured to the bathrooms first. Only while he was looking for the "Fellowship Hall" downstairs, where they served lunch to visitors who felt like sticking around, did Della Verne's hidden message strike him: it's okay to cheat on other things, if you give the profits to God.
"Clever," he muttered, as he found the stairs at last. He was setting up his flock for doing everything from skimping on tips to outright tax fraud—in the name of God. It was a message that, no doubt, resonated with the Gold and Platinum members.
Reaching the basement, he found the Fellowship Hall easily enough. There was an open serving area between it and the kitchen, and a large space set up like a cafeteria. The available seating was far greater than the number of people using it. Guyton picked up ham salad and egg salad sandwiches, a handful of chips, and a soft drink; then he found a place where he could watch everything.
Sooner than expected, he hit paydirt: the kitchen workers loaded a cart with food and drinks, then wheeled it through a back door. Once again, Guyton tried to visualize the layout. If the kitchen and cafeteria were under the "worship center," then there was plenty of room for an elevator behind the kitchen. And it would line up perfectly with the skyboxes.
"So," Guyton muttered around a ham salad sandwich, "our big-shots enter from another level entirely." He took his time with his lunch, though. Members, usually in couples, took seats and chatted up the other visitors. As usual, nobody noticed Guyton, and he was left to himself.
Finally, he took up his soft drink and slipped through the exit to a spacious parking lot. It was half-empty, and thinning out as people finished socializing. To his left, toward the back of the church, the lot gave way to a generous expanse of lawn, with a utilitarian fence at the far end. It seemed to mark the end of the earth, and Guyton followed a hunch.
"This 'not being noticed' thing would have been handy when I was alive," Guyton muttered as he stepped onto the grass. Reaching the fence, he looked down at the entrance to an underground parking garage. As he leaned on the fence, sipping his drink, a grey Bentley rolled into the sunshine. It followed a narrow lane and disappeared around a copse.
"Gotcha." Guyton debated the wisdom of walking around to the garage itself, but decided whatever Della Verne had for security would notice even him walking into the millionaires' club entrance. There was an aerial shot of the grounds in the info packet the higher-ups had sent; he remembered seeing it but did not pay much attention at the time. But it would tell him where the entrance was.
He and Andrea—the soulburn woman—would test their disguises come Friday. It might a week from now, maybe a month, but he would finish Della Verne.
Then what? He had no idea.
YOU ARE READING
There's a special place in Hell for those who abuse their authority, and Ronald Guyton abused his with gusto. But on his way to his final reward, he finds himself diverted. Damned souls return to the world of the living, looking to pull a few more o...