Pastor Needs a Boo by Michele Andrea BowenPastor Needs a Boo by Michele Andrea Bowen

Pastor Needs a Boo

byMichele Andrea Bowen

Paperback | July 8, 2014

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Michele Andrea Bowen made a name for herself years ago during the African-American inspirational fiction craze. Now, in Pastor Needs a Boo, she's back with an amazing journey of faith, drama, and love.
It was a regular New Jerusalem Gospel United Church work day for Reverend Denzelle Flowers when Veronica Washington, Keisha Jackson, and Marsha Metcalf showed up after losing their jobs on the same day, same morning, and almost at the same time. Denzelle struggled to solve that first problem. The other problem-the lovely Marsha-would be much harder to solve. Denzelle didn't even know how to fight wanting to turn in the playah's card and getting "booed" up with the poster girl for "church girls."
Marsha Metcalf and her fellow unemployed church members aren't Denzelle's biggest problem, though. He is running for bishop, and his enemies-a more ruthless consortium of corrupted clergy-want power badly enough to go to rather extreme lengths for it because the stakes are just that high. Now, his ex-wife was back and sleeping with the enemy, digging for dirt. Reverend Denzelle can't fight this battle alone. This pastor needs a 'boo' who will stand by his side. Before the dust settles, both Marsha and Denzelle's faith and love will be put to the ultimate test.

Michele Andrea Bowen grew up in St. Louis, MO, with a large, church-going family. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, and also the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked in Social Work, Public Health, and Education.Michele became one of the groundbreaking writers in the area of contemporary Afric...
Title:Pastor Needs a BooFormat:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 8.22 × 5.44 × 1.04 inPublished:July 8, 2014Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312643373

ISBN - 13:9780312643379


Read from the Book

Chapter One “New Jerusalem Gospel United Church. This is Dayeesha Mitchell. How may I help you?”“Put me through to Reverend Flowers.”“Excuse you,” Dayeesha said, frowning. She blew air out of her mouth loud enough to be heard by the caller. She couldn’t stand Mr. Rico.“What part of, let me speak to the pastor, don’t you understand?” Rico Sneed spat out into the phone.“Oh, no, you didn’t,” Dayeesha shot back. She looked over at the door leading to the pastor’s private study, or the “inner sanctum,” as her husband, Metro Mitchell, always called it.“Look,” Mr. Rico began, “I know your daddy is the big, bad, Big Dotsy Hamilton. And, you need to know for the record that I’m not scared of him.”Dayeesha started laughing. She’d always thought Mr. Rico Sneed was a big, bellowing poof of punk-time hot air. Now she knew he was that, and a big liar, too. Her daddy pimp-slapped Rico Sneed back in the early 1990s, before Big Dotsy Hamilton got saved and started working for the Lord. The word on the street was that Mr. Rico got slapped so hard, a man asked, “So, tell me, player. What does next week look like, since you just got slapped there?”Mr. Rico had wanted to haul off and slap that man. But he managed to hold on to a remnant of his already ragged and deficient swag. Plus, Rico knew the man was Big Dotsy Hamilton’s friend. He was also the person who told Big Dotsy that Rico was trying to steal one of his women away from him. Rico Sneed told the woman that he’d seen Big Dotsy down at the courthouse getting a marriage license to marry Dayeesha’s mama. It was a bold, brazen, and outrageous lie. That day Big Dotsy had been dragged down to the courthouse at gunpoint by Dayeesha’s mama’s big brother to sign over one of his houses to her mother.Unfortunately for Rico Sneed, Big Dotsy got wind of Rico’s ploy, found him at the Sock It to Me strip club in Warren, North Carolina, and beat him like he stole something. According to Dayeesha’s daddy’s fans, Big Dotsy kicked Rico’s butt and then made him run in front of his brand-new Buick LeSabre. When Rico got tired and bumped into the LeSabre, Big Dotsy put the car in park and pistol-whipped Rico for getting sweat on his new ride.“You oughta be scared of my daddy, butt hole,” Dayeesha said, laughing, and hung up the telephone. She stared at the phone a few minutes, hoping she had a good comeback line when Mr. Rico called back. Because a loudmouth like Rico Sneed always had to call back and have the last word.The telephone rang, causing Dayeesha to jump. She hadn’t had enough time to come up with good comeback lines.“New Jerusalem Gospel United Church. This is Dayeesha Mitchell. How may I help you?”“Dayeeeeesshhhhaaa,” Marsha sobbed into the telephone. “IIIIII got fiiiirrrrrreddd. What am I going to doooooooo?”Dayeesha Hamilton Mitchell stared at the phone. She’d been the church’s administrative assistant for three years and had never heard Marsha Metcalf sound like this.“Let me put you on hold,” Dayeesha said quickly, and pushed the button before Marsha had a chance to whine some more into the telephone. She didn’t want to hang up on the girl. But that whining was getting on her nerves real fast.Dayeesha started to buzz the pastor’s line but remembered that he had gone to get them both something to eat. She was about to hit him up on the cell when she thought it best to try and get to the bottom of this before calling Reverend Flowers. Sometimes the pastor needed a buffer when folk called the church hollering and crying on the telephone. He had enough on his plate and didn’t do well when he was forced to try and understand what somebody was saying in the middle of a crying and sobbing and calling on the name of the Lord fit.“What to do? What to do?” Dayeesha said out loud, taking a moment to admire her manicure. She loved the new manicurist at the Raleigh store for her husband’s Triangle-based chain of hip-hop stores, Yeah Yeah. Shontaye Reed was the only nail specialist in the area who could silk screen pictures onto your nails and make it look like she had painted the pictures with nail polish. The three Mitchell children’s pictures were screened onto the second, third, and fourth fingers of each of Dayeesha’s hands.She looked at the image of her younger son, Jeremiah Crentwan, on her right ring finger and frowned. She needed to call his teacher and talk to him about Jeremiah’s science project. Dayeesha flipped the phone off of hold, hoping Marsha had calmed down enough to be understood when she started to speak. She wasn’t in the mood to listen to somebody talking like one of her kids when they were crying all over the place.Dayeesha could hear Marsha sniffling and blowing her nose.“Girl, calm the heck down and stop all of that sniveling. You are getting on my nerves,” she said.The phone was quiet on Marsha’s end. But Dayeesha could hear that her breathing was calming down to a lower “drama index” rhythm. Sometimes folk who breezed through college in four years, and were all smart and good acting like Marsha Metcalf, had trouble handling the inevitable storms that could rage in your life no matter how good and perfect you tried to be.Dayeesha’s daddy, now the saved and redeemed Elder Dotsy Hamilton, always said, “People who pride themselves on doing everything just right can get the misguided notion that those degrees, and following all of the rules, will stop them from having to deal with the hard times life will lay at your feet. Sometimes the storms of life make you stop trying to control everything in your life. They make you stop being so prideful in yourself and all of your accomplishments, and throw in the towel and say, ‘God, I need you because I can’t do this all by myself.’”Dayeesha Mitchell definitely wasn’t one of those folk who had been real good and did everything the right way. She didn’t always have a degree from Evangeline T. Marshall University or a job running the entire administrative division of a large church. And she hadn’t always been a married woman who went to church regularly, either.Years ago she had babies by Metro, but they weren’t trying to get married. They just liked going together. In fact, Dayeesha used to be proud when Metro told people that she was his favorite Baby Mama. But that was before they got saved and got some sense. Neither Dayeesha nor Metro could believe they used to roll like that.“It’s really bad, Daye,” Marsha whispered in the phone.“Why is your crazy butt whispering into your own phone, and you’re in your car all alone? Who do you think is listening to you?”Marsha laughed for the first time that morning. Dayeesha Hamilton Mitchell was a trip. Marsha said, “Girl, it’s bad. I just got fired and will get my last check at the end of the month. Daye, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m just getting back on my feet from all that divorce stuff I went through with Marcus’s dad before he died.”Dayeesha nodded at the phone. Marsha had a point. She had been through the wringer. Lost half of her income when Rodney walked out, leaving her with a high mortgage, the IRS tax debt, and credit card bills up to the wazoo.Marsha had been a real trouper through all that. She bravely filed Chapter Seven bankruptcy, gave up her beautiful home, and moved to a smaller, cheaper place with such flair and style you would have thought she’d planned it that way. The town house was half the size of the old house, but Dayeesha secretly liked it and the new neighborhood a whole lot better.“Dayeesha,” Marsha sniffled, “are you even listening to me? I got fired. Yolanda Richardson…”“That monkey-faced Yolanda Richardson is behind this?”Marsha nodded, and then remembered that Dayeesha couldn’t see her. She said, “Yeah.”Dayeesha flipped on the speaker phone so that she could get up from her desk and walk around while talking. This was not a conversation you had with somebody sitting down.“So what did that skank-ho-heifer say?”“At first she just slipped a note up under the door,” Marsha told her, wondering if Dayeesha had forgotten that she was at work, and at work at church.“She is such a chump,” Dayeesha spat out. “Marsha, if I wasn’t trying to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, I would go over to that old stuck-up store and beat that Botox right off of that heifer’s face.”“You think Yolanda has had some Botox shots?”“Think? THINK? I know she has. Her face looks just like my daddy’s face did when he thought he liked some new woman at his church. I know you saw Daddy when he was walking around always looking like he was scared the police was after him.”Marsha busted out laughing. She remembered seeing Dayeesha’s daddy walking around looking like he was running from the po po. She had wondered what was wrong with him but never thought that it could be because of Botox shots.“I hate you lost your job, Marsha. But you know all things really do work out for the good of them that love the Lord. And everybody at this church knows that you love the Lord so much, a lot of folk think He is your first cousin.”“Dayeesha, you are just as crazy,” Marsha said with a warm chuckle.“You feeling better, aren’t you?”“Yeah. A lot better than I did when I first called.”“Well, thank goodness you are calmer than you were when I answered the phone. I thought I was going to have to hang up on your butt for a moment there.”“You know that’s wrong, Dayeesha.”“All I know is that it works. The number of irate, hysterical phone calls to our church has dropped considerably since I’ve been in charge of basic operations. So, do you want me to set you up with an appointment with Reverend Flowers?”“Oh … I don’t know,” Marsha answered.“But you called the church in crisis mode. So that means you need to talk to Reverend Flowers, right?”“I don’t want to worry the pastor, Dayeesha. He has a lot on his plate.”But you obviously don’t mind worrying me, Dayeesha thought, and then said, “Miss Thang, this is kinda like his job, you know. You really need to talk to the pastor about this. Do you want to come in on the same day as Veronica Washington?”“Why would I want to come and see the pastor with Roni, Dayeesha?”“Because she just lost her job, too?”“Veronica Washington is no longer worker for SNAC? I thought she just signed the contract as their marketing guru or something like that.”“She did,” Dayeesha said. “But something happened and they reneged on her. No explanation. Just gave her a, Girl, bye, and her last paycheck, which was actually her first paycheck.”“That’s messed up,” was all Marsha could say. Of all of the people she expected to avoid losing a job, it was her friend Veronica Washington.“Yeah, that it is,” Dayeesha told her, and then said, “So, you want to come in to meet with Reverend Flowers this coming Tuesday at ten in the morning? Rev doesn’t have a full plate on that day, and it’s when Veronica is coming in.”“Yeah, I guess I can do that.”“Okay, I have you down for ten a.m. on Tuesday. Do you want to meet with the pastor alone before your meeting with him and Veronica?”“Uhh, I don’t think that’ll be necessary, Dayeesha. I’m sure the meeting with Reverend Flowers and Veronica will be good enough.”Dayeesha started smiling at the telephone. Marsha was always finding a way to avoid being alone with the pastor. She didn’t know why Marsha wanted to act like she didn’t have a crush on Reverend Flowers—as if there was something wrong with that.Reverend Flowers was supersingle. He didn’t have a girlfriend. He didn’t have a woman in his life he claimed to “care about.” He didn’t even have a good “friend-girl” he spent more time with than he did other women. As far as Dayeesha was concerned, the pastor’s life was pretty dismal in the girlfriend department. It was like what she always said to Metro when Reverend Flowers started getting her on nerves, being all extra.“Ain’t nothin’ wrong with Reverend Flowers, except pastor needs a boo. If he had a woman in his life, maybe he’d calm the heck down and quit worrying the poop out of me.”Marsha Metcalf fit the boo bill perfectly as far as Dayeesha was concerned, because the pastor was about as sweet on her as she was on him. He talked about Marsha a lot when she wasn’t around. And Reverend Flowers always broke out into a big smile when he saw Marsha at church. Sometimes Dayeesha would make it her business to get right behind Marsha in the receiving line at the end of service, just so she could watch the pastor try and act like he wasn’t happy to see her.Only a trained eye like her own could decipher through all of that “I’m so into being a preacher, I don’t need a woman right now” baloney Rev was always trying sell to folk. The only reason he was running from Marsha Metcalf like he was doing was because he was scared of falling in love—as if he weren’t already there. No need to run from loving someone unless you loved them and was too dumb, stupid, stubborn, and ignorant to admit it. Dayeesha would have added “horse’s ass” to the list, but she was thinking about this while working at church and did not want to have offensive thoughts in God’s house.Plus, Dayeesha had met Reverend Flowers’s ex-wife, Tatiana Flowers Townsend, and could understand why he was afraid of love and commitment. She’d be scared of love and commitment if she had to deal with Tatiana, too. The woman was drop-dead gorgeous, and a stone-cold playah. Metro told her that Tatiana could trump any man who ran his game at full throttle in her sleep.Maybe she needed to introduce Tatiana to Rico Sneed, so they could game each other to death. But then, that wouldn’t work. Mr. Rico didn’t have enough money for a gold digger like Tatiana. And she probably had the most game and would put her foot up Rico Sneed’s butt in a playah play-on matchup.Despite his troubles with Tatiana, Rev still had game. In fact, he used to be a skillful player who functioned at the top of the game. He was a retired FBI agent who had no qualms about shooting criminals; he was one of the “Baller, Shot-Caller” preachers in the Gospel United Church, had some deep pockets, and was so sharply dressed it bordered on the ridiculous. Reverend Flowers was also the player who didn’t have sense enough to stop playing until several errant female church members clowned him during a church service. But he still had not been able to do a thing with Tatiana Flowers Townsend.Dayeesha could understand why Marsha was uncomfortable around Reverend Flowers. Denzelle Flowers was fine—just over six feet, muscular build, caramel complexion, close-cropped hair with the perfect amount of silver sprinkled through it, full and round mouth, and those round, dark-brown eyes that got even rounder when he was excited, upset, or mad. But the pastor’s best assets were his outstanding wardrobe and that high, round behind that seemed tailor-made for a pair of dress pants to hang off of.Reverend Flowers had a lot of swagger and knew how to talk the kind of junk that would make a sister blush and say something like “Boy, you so crazy.” Even though he had long since turned in his player’s card, Denzelle’s high-level game capacity was still apparent to most folk. And that could prove to be unnerving to a woman like Marsha Metcalf, who had spent very little time out in the world collecting cool points.Now to be fair to Marsha, Dayeesha had noticed that she was someone you needed to be careful about trying to run game on. And that was probably the main reason Reverend Flowers was so uncomfortable with Marsha Metcalf. He knew he couldn’t deal out any mess her way. He also knew that if he rolled up on Marsha as the “big dawg,” he risked yelping away like a pup with a newspaper popped on his nose.There was one pastor of a sizable Gospel United Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who practically ran when he crossed paths with Marsha Metcalf. Metro once overheard him talking to Reverend Obadiah Quincey about Marsha, when she walked past them at an annual conference. That joker had said, “That is one scary woman. She knows too much and can see straight through you. And get this: She don’t even know she can do all of that.”Dayeesha couldn’t figure out what Marsha had said or done to make that preacher so scared of her, so she asked her what happened.Marsha said, “Girl, I don’t know what I did to that boy. All I did was have coffee with him at the Caribou Coffee place on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. We talked and laughed for hours about a bunch of crazy church stuff. After that, he never contacted me again. At first, I thought I’d done something to him. I even asked Reverend Quincey’s wife, Lena, about him. She told me the only thing he said was something crazy about me being ‘scary.’ Imagine that, Dayeesha? He thought I was scary. Me, scary. Girl, can you believe that?”Dayeesha didn’t say anything. She thought Marsha was quite scary to a seasoned player like that preacher. And that thought was confirmed when she talked to her husband, Metro, about Marsha and that preacher.Metro suprised Dayeesha when he said, “Baby, a woman like Marsha scares the hell out of a playah—especially one who is trying to operate undercover. He didn’t know what to do with Marsha. She didn’t chase him. She treated him well. He couldn’t make a subtle suggestion about a secret rendezvous, because the baby doesn’t have enough playah points to pick up on that. And she didn’t get her butt on her shoulders when he didn’t call or ask her out again.“That scared the pee out of him. Brother like that don’t know how to react to the very thing he is always preaching about—a Proverbs 31 woman.”Even though Metro was laying it all out in such a reasonable manner, it still sounded like the thinking of an imbecile to Dayeesha. She said, “Metro, that may be all well and good about old boy. But how do you explain why our Rev is so careful and guarded with Marsha? Sometimes he acts like he gets mad at her for just walking around and being on earth.”“You’d get mad at Marsha, too, if you were a man and you knew she was the kind of woman you could and should fall head-over-heels in love with. Rev just ain’t trying to go out like that right now.”“Metro Mitchell, whoever heard of trying not to be bothered with someone you know will be a blessing to you?”“It may be crazy, but it is true. Why do you think I acted the way I did with you for all of those years? Dayeesha, you had me all in love with you and I was Metro Mitchell. I wasn’t having that at the time.”Dayeesha didn’t say another word. She kissed her husband on the forehead and went to make sure their kids were doing their homework. She’d always suspected Metro of being guilty of something dumb like he had just shared. But to hear it out loud made it seem even more like the talk of a lunatic.“Men are some complicated creatures, Lord,” she whispered, shaking her head and answering the telephone. Dayeesha had a ton of work to do today, and she was wasting precious time sitting around thinking about men and their craziness.She couldn’t believe this day. First Veronica Washington lost her job and called the church all upset. Then Marsha Metcalf lost her job and called the church, crying and carrying on. And now it was her best friend, Keisha Jackson, on the other end, upset about being fired for going off on the athletic director’s other woman over some “school supplies,” cussing everybody out, driving her red-and-white Mini Cooper all over the landscaped lawn in front of the Athletic Department’s building, and then escaping from the campus police when she saw their blue lights bearing down on her.Dayeesha reminded Keisha that this was a church line and not the club line, and to stop cussing. She put her on the schedule for that same ten o’clock meeting with the pastor the other two recent firees were scheduled for. That was going to be some kind of meeting. She made a list of pastries, teas, and some fancy coffee she’d need to get, so that she would have a legitimate reason to keep going in and out of Reverend Flowers’s office during the appointment. Dayeesha was not going to miss one word of that meeting if she could help it.She was going over her “spy list” of goodies for the pastor’s meeting with Keisha, Veronica, and Marsha when a big, thick brother with close-cropped hair and a silver mustache and goatee stormed into the church office and slammed the door behind him. Dayeesha got up and walked right past the man without opening her mouth, looking for the security guard.“I’m telling the pastor to fire that joker,” she mumbled under her breath, and then went back to her desk to finish working on her list.“Am I invisible?” Rico Sneed snapped.“I don’t know. Are you?” was all Dayeesha said, without even looking up from her work.The man reached over and knocked Dayeesha’s bottle of Fiji water off of her desk and onto the floor.“Is something wrong with you, Mr. Rico?”“I told you to put Reverend Flowers on the phone. But no. You had to get all smart and beside yourself. So I’m here, in your face. How you like that?”Dayeesha didn’t blink. She didn’t frown. All she did was open a drawer on her desk, reach in it, and pull out the custom-made Glock Metro and the kids had given her for Mother’s Day.She took the safety off the gun and pointed the barrel at the man, using both hands like she’d seen Agent Prentiss do in her favorite TV show, Criminal Minds.“Pick that water up, put it back on my desk, leave my office, and close my door softly. You are not talking to Reverend Flowers today or any day in the near future. And I’m telling my daddy on you.”Rico Sneed bristled and started cussing like he was out in the streets and not up in church.Dayeesha stood up and held her head to the side with the gun aimed at Rico Sneed’s hip. She hoped this fool would not do something to force her to shoot him. He already had his toes shot off by Reverend Flowers back in the day, when both of them were still young men.Plus, shooting people was some real messy business—especially when they started bleeding all over the place, hollering, and getting on your nerves. Dayeesha did not feel like going through a police report because Mr. Rico pissed her off. And she especially didn’t feel like having to order some new carpet for a second time in three months. They hadn’t even had this new carpet long enough to clean it.“You have exactly no seconds left before I start shooting.”Dayeesha’s gun clicked, and Rico Sneed hightailed it out of New Jerusalem Gospel United Church. She saw him run to his car, hop in, and peel off the church parking lot, burning up all of the rubber on those new tires.She put the safety back on the gun and put it back in her desk drawer.“Served him right—coming up in my church bothering people like he don’t have good sense.” Copyright © 2014 by Michele Andrea Bowen

Editorial Reviews

"Readers will find themselves laughing out loud at certain bits. Underneath it all are acute observations about African-American history and community. Readers who went to church with Bowen before will be delighted to return, and her choir should get bigger." -Publishers Weekly on More Church Folk"This inspirational novel uses humor, local color, and vividly descriptive, if startling, language to good effect, ably demonstrating once again why Bowen is the queen of African American Christian fiction." -Booklist on More Church Folk