AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story features Vince Mott, one of the characters from My New-Found Land. You can read more about Vince by following the tag at the bottom of the post.
Vince pushed his way through the crowds of refugees on the sidewalk. There were more than usual this weekend and he wondered why. El Duque hadn’t done much for city sanitation and now that the weather was turning warmer, it was much more pleasant to camp in the mountains or in the bosque by the river than here on the filthy streets.
He was still puzzling over the matter when a pretty young woman thrust a paper into his hand.
"Jesus loves you."
Vince stopped and assessed. The girl’s white dress fit badly and was dirty and fraying at the hem, but curves like hers weren’t easily hidden and she had the kind of lips that begged to be kissed. “I love you too, babe.”
She blushed and gestured at the flyer she had given him. “Jesus. He died for your sins.”
Vince scanned the flyer with a frown. It was an announcement of Easter services at someplace called God’s Holy Temple of the Glorious Second Coming. He tried to give the paper back. “That was nice of him, but it was a dumb thing to do. I’m just going to sin again.”
She refused to take the flyer and looked up at him with earnest eyes. “Jesus died for all your sins. Even the ones you haven’t committed yet.”
He read the paper again with renewed interest. “So it’s like when I pay in advance for guns or marijuana, and the guys bring it when they’ve got it and I don’t have to pay upon delivery?”
“Uh, sort of.”
With a nod of approval, Vince folded the paper. “Very cool.” He grinned at her as she tucked a stray lock of hair behind an ear. “So since we’re all paid up on our sins, you doing anything tonight? I’ve got a run of pharmaceuticals to move, but after that, I know a hotel where the beds are clean and folks don’t ask questions.”
The girl blinked and drew herself tall. “It doesn’t work that way.”
“But you just said—”
“You have to be sorry for your sins.”
“I am. Some of them. At least until I’ve had a little hair of the dog.”
“You also have to ask Jesus for forgiveness.”
“Are you sure?” Vince unfolded the paper and read it again. “I don’t see any fine print.”
“But if he already died for my sins, what’s with the extra collection racket?” He balled up the paper and threw it into the street where a spotted mutt lunged at it, yapping.
She tried to hand him another one. “Come to the service tomorrow morning. Or to my workshop this afternoon. I’m going to be talking about—”
“No,” Vince said. “You’ve explained enough already. Are we on for tonight, or not?” He took a new flyer and asked for a pen.
She handed him a pencil stub. “You’re crazy, you know that? Jesus says—”
“Yeah, I know some of the things Jesus said. Hate the sin but love the sinner, right?” He scrawled an address on the flyer. “This is where to meet me tonight. Wear something sexy.”
“Jesus isn’t forgiving you!” she shouted as he moved off into the crowd.
“Sure he is,” Vince chuckled to himself. “He's already paid my debt in full.”