The Riches of Babylon–Inspired by…

Be sure to vote for the stories from the 1st week of January. You can do that by clicking here.

Today’s story idea comes from…a mysterious person… 🙂

Well, not so mysterious to me. Because I know who came up with the idea. But my friend asked to remain anonymous.  Here is the mystery person’s idea…

Character: Christian

Setting: Modern Day USA

Conflict: Invested in the Iraqi Dinar (which inflated greatly by the war). Slated to have millions. Conflicted by Biblical prophecies he sees fulfilled in modern day Iraq.

Christian walked down the hallway with purpose. The hard heals of his shoes clicked on the marble floor. The sound made him feel important. Because he felt important, he walked faster. The cell phone in the inside pocket of his suit buzzed.

He fumbled to get the phone into his hand. The clumsy movement made his walk slow, his face contort into an awkward frown.

The screen of the phone read “Restricted”.

“Hello? This is Chris,” he said. “Can I help you?”

“I believe that I can help you,” the female voice said on the other line.  She had a British accent. “You’re the gentleman who invested in the Dinar?”

“Yes. Who is this?”

“You’ll know soon enough.” The phone clicked off.

That was strange, he thought.

As he returned the phone to his pocket, he resumed his purposeful walk. When he got to the office, he paused. Smoothed his suit. Checked the knot on his tie. Took a few breaths.

He opened the door.

“Chris,” Michael said. He stood, looking over a document by the receptionist’s desk. “I didn’t expect to see you today.”

“Do you have a few minutes?” Christian walked to him, hand extended. The men shook hands. “I have some questions about investments.”

“By all means, I’m your man.” Michael winked at the receptionist. “I’ll see you later, honey.”

“Okay, Mikey,” the young woman said, blushing.

As Michael lead Christian to his office he put an arm around him. “You know, there are very few benefits of having a wife that travels 4 out of 7 days a week. But Stacie out there is one of the best parts.”

“You’re an idiot, Mike,” Christian said, pushing the arm off.

“I’m not so sure about that. You should see her when…”

Christian cut him off. “Not another word, Mike. Seriously, you say anything else about it and I’m out of here.”

“Since when did you have a moral compass, Chris? You just aren’t any fun anymore.” Mike stopped in the hallway, leaned against the wall. “What happened to funny, different girl every night Chris? Man, we had so much fun in college.”

“But then we graduated. That means we were supposed to grow up.”

“So, you’re still going to that church, huh?” Mike started walking again. “Good for you. Good for you.”

“You know, when somebody says something twice like that, I always question their honesty.” Christian followed him. “And, yeah. Still going to church.”

“I mean, that’s fine, man. Just don’t try to recruit me.”

“We don’t recruit.”

“Really? You could have fooled me.” He opened the door to his office. “All religious people try to get new recruits.”

“Converts. That’s the word for it. And it’s not about numbers.” Christian dumped himself into one of the chairs in front of the desk. “Just never mind, okay. I promise, I’m not going to try and recruit  you. Or convert you. Or whatever.”

Michael sat behind his desk. “Alright. So why are you here? You said something about investments.”

“Well, I was given some money.”

“And where should we put it. You know I’ll have to take a percentage, right?”

“It’s already invested.”

“How much?”

“$50,000.”

“Geez, Mike. Why didn’t you go through me. You know I’m trying to pay off my Mercedes.”

“Terribly sorry that I can’t help fund your luxury car.”

“It’s alright.” Mike waved it away. “So, what did you invest in?”

“The Dinar.”

Mike’s mouth fell open. He didn’t blink his eyes for a moment. “Do you know how much you’re going to get? That is, if it pays out?”

“Somewhere around 21 million.” Chris thought about it. “No. 21 and a half.”

“What are you going to do with it?”

“You’ll hate me if I tell you.”

“I already hate you.” Mike rested his head in his hands. “Do you know how many girls you could get?”

“Listen to yourself. How do you not make yourself sick?” Chris leaned forward. “You really want to know how I’m going to spend the money?”

“Of course. And how do I get in on the action?”

“So, there’s this mineral mine in Africa. You know, the components for smart phones. That’s where they’re mined.”

“Yes, yes. I’m with you there.” Mike leaned closer. “That’s got to be worth a fortune.”

“And, here’s the thing, they don’t have to pay the miners.”

“Who does the mining?”

“Slave labor.”

“Well, I guess it’s better than them just sitting around.”

“Well, the money from the mine funds war lords. You ever heard of the Lord’s Resistance Army?”

“Yeah. Rush Limbagh said they were Christians.”

“He was wrong. Listen, they’re this group of really tough guys who make kids be soldiers. And their war is funded by the sale of these minerals.”

“So, you want to buy the mine? I’m confused.”

“No. I want to fund the opposition to the LRA.”

“So, we wouldn’t profit from the minerals?”

“Nope. In fact, we’d give all the money away. All $21 million.”

Mike leaned back in his chair. “Is it April Fool’s Day?”

“Not even close. I’m serious.”

“So, no girls?”

“Sure. But we’ll be building schools for them.”

“Those aren’t the kind of girls I was talking about.”

“Will you help me out? I need an accountant to help put the money where it needs to go.”

“How much do I get paid?”

“Not much, my friend.”

“Can I just ask one question?”

“Sure.”

“Why are you giving all the money away?”

Christian looked at the man across the table. Michael had always had loose morals. He’d never understood the effect his actions could have on other people. How would he understand Chris’ conflict with the money?

“It’s just the right thing to do,” Christian said.

“Let me think about it, man. I don’t know. I’ve got so much else going on right now.” Michael checked his planner. “I’ve got somebody coming in here for a meeting in an hour. I’ve gotta get working on some stuff for that guy. You know how it is.”

“Yup. Well,” Christian stood. “Thanks anyway.”

Christian walked through the ally toward his car. A man stood next to the dumpster.

“Hey, you got any cash I can have?” the man asked.

Chris felt his pockets. “All I have is one dollar.”

“Come on, man. You don’t got another buck? I gotta catch the bus back to Kalamazoo.”

“That’s all I have. Sorry.” Christian handed him the dollar.

The man grabbed his arm. “You know, man, the end of the world is coming.”

“Okay, let go.” Chris struggled with the man.

“All that stuff about Babylon in the Bible. Dude. It’s comin’ true. You know that, don’t ya?” The man’s breath was laced with decay, cigarette stink. But no alcohol. “It ain’t nothin’ to joke about. You know? That stuff’s for real. Babylon’s going through the final stages of prophesy. Then the world’s gonna fall to a lake of fire.”

“Right.”

“And the riches of Babylon gonna take everybody down with it. Everybody that touches them riches of Babylon’s gonna be cursed. Don’t be a partaker of Babylon’s sin!”

Christian broke free. He left the man, still standing by the dumpster. He walked backwards, not wanting the man to sneak up behind him.

“Take heed, young man. The riches of Babylon is bloody. The riches of Babylon is murder and greed and anti-christ. The riches of Babylon is bringin’ about the Apocalypse. “

By the time Christian pulled his car out of the parking lot, his heart was racing, his breathing unsteady.

 That night, Christian slept terribly. Dreams of fireballs crashing down from the skies. Piles and piles of money trapping him inside. He was powerless to escape. The cash fell on top of him. Crushing him.

The man from the ally yelling “Just another buck, man. Don’t you just have one more buck?”

Michael, stuffing bits of cash into his pockets with one hand, his other holding onto the receptionist “I gotta get more girls. More girls.”

One last fireball flew from above, catching Christian ablaze. His screams were muffled with the bills.

He woke, sat straight up.

I can’t cash in on that money,  he thought. It’s going to destroy me.

He got out of bed. Went to the kitchen. Poured himself a bowl of cereal. His phone was on the counter. It buzzed.

The call received was ‘restricted’.

“Hello?” he asked into the telephone. “This is Christian.”

“Yes. Hello.” The woman’s voice. British accent. “I called earlier today. I apologize for hanging up on you.”

“Who is this?”

“Well, I had to end the call earlier because someone came into my office. It would have been a risk for him to hear me speak of your intentions.”

“What intentions?”

“For the school. Here in Congo.”

“What do you know about it?”

“I’m sorry. I think I assumed you knew about me. My name is Martha. I’m a missionary here in Congo. I’ll be working with you to build the school. And to shut down the mine.”

“Oh, yes. Okay. I wasn’t sure if I’d get a phone number.”

“I just wanted to thank you. Even for wanting to help. Being here, it’s easy to forget that anyone cares. These kids need to know that they have an advocate.”

“Well, I’m just hoping to do the right thing for them.”

“Can I tell you a quick story? I know it’s probably dreadfully late for you right now.”

“No, I’m up.” Christian pushed away his bowl of cereal. “Go ahead.”

“We had a boy come to us, to the mission. His father had been working in the mines when the LRA came to their village. This little boy was forced to rape his mother.”

“No.” Christian’s stomach turned. “Why?”

“To show control. Then they took the boy and trained him to be a soldier. He’s killed so many. He is twelve years old.”

Christian tried to control the rage that was rising from his gut.

“Christian, he needs you. And you are willing to help him.” Even from thousands of miles away, Christian thought he could hear her smiling. “You’re going to change lives.”

“I have to tell you,” he said. “The money is from an investment in the Iraqi Dinar. Do you feel at all conflicted about that?”

“What’s conflicting about a redemption story ?” She sighed. “Listen, I need to go. I’ll contact you in a few days to finalize plans. But, until then, thank you.”

Chris held the phone to his ear even minutes after the conversation was ended.

He went back to bed. He slept deeply. Soundly. Knowing that the Lord would bring redemption to the riches of Babylon.

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