Chapter 26 – Peace Be With You
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"My MOTHER!" Flaw paused, looking around the church to make sure that he had everyone's undivided attention.

Then his voice rose another octave for added dramatic effect.

"My mother was a wonderful woman. Yes, she was… let me tell you about her story!

My mother was born on a Monday,

She was baptized on a Tuesday,

She was married on a Wednesday,

My father fell ill on a Thursday,

My father just got worse on a Friday,

My father died on a Saturday,

Yet, my mom was still at church praying on her knees on a Sunday,

Then, by the next Monday, my mother was the best prostitute on the block!"

The moment Flaw finished the poem, I choked briefly and Rocky barely managed to stifle a laugh.

Of course, it was not the first time we heard Flaw's little poem but he was a bit more energetic today.

The sway of his hips, the exaggerated gestures with his hands, and the hungry look in his eyes as he stared at everyone in the church screamed one thing – I need some money.

Flaw wasn't young so I was sure that such exquisite movements and voice projection cost him a large chunk of stamina, but it seemed that he was far from finished.

"Now, you might ask, why would I tell such a tragic story about my own mother? Well, I never really liked the woman, but it always made me proud how much she stuck to her ideals.

Everyone knows that despite my mother being a prostitute, she never once knelt for a client," Flaw paused once more as if waiting for anyone to challenge his bold claims.

I was not sure if anyone would come forth and say that his mother did kneel to give them a blow job, but the slums always seemed to surprise me.

Waiting a minute and finding no opposition, Flaw continued "When she gave a blow job, it would always be laying down or bending her back even at the age of 65,

My mother was a prostitute for 35 years before she retired!

My mother only knelt in church, and that made me proud to be her son,"

"Amen!" A man in the church yelled, "She didn't even kneel for me back then!"

Several more men and women in the church voice their agreements as murmurs echoed throughout the church.

At that point, I was sure that Rocky and I were the only two people in the church who weren't Flaw's mother's former clients.

"Thanks, my brothers!" Flaw yelled back, thanking everyone for the support.

I wasn't sure if lying on your back to give a blowjob was more respectable than kneeling, but Flaw's entire story just made me feel like we lived on different planets.

Living on a different planet was not such an impossibility now with the advanced technology allowing easy travel between The Earth and The Moon.

"My mother was not a very smart woman. In fact, she was as stupid as most of you in here. We, Slum-Dwellers, are not expected to learn anything after The Gutter School during childhood.

See, we even call our only school in the slums 'Gutter School'," Flaw stated, pointing at three people in the church who used to be his classmates.

"Now, my mom was one of the first to graduate from the Gutter School, and she would often help me with my homework.

One day, I brought home a paper that had 'x' and 'y' on it. We were supposed to do the assignment and take it back to the teacher.

My mother saw the assignment and got excited, so she said 'That's an X and that's a Y, and all these blank spaces mean it is an English assignment, so the word is SEXY," Flaw said, pausing to take a drink of water from the pedestal.

I was slightly jealous that Flaw had access to such clean water, but there was nothing to do about it.

I had considered becoming a priest many times in the past, but I knew I could not spout as much bullshit as Flaw.

At some point, you can lie until you start to believe your own lies, and I think Flaw was a step even above that level.

Rocky stared at the bottle of water and clenched his fist, probably remembering a time when we tried to rob the church and failed.

After taking a couple sips of the water, Flaw flashed a brilliant smile in our direction, and I was sure that he did it to gloat.

"When Zacar-I created the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden…" Flaw continued with his preaching, but Rocky and I had already zoned him out completely.

"I am pretty sure that's Christianity," Rocky snorted, this time speaking much lower so Flaw couldn't hear.

I snorted at Rocky's comment. He had repeated the same statement many times in the past and I had grown tired of hearing it.

"What shoes are you wearing Rocky?" I asked, hoping to bring his useless complaining to an end.

"Smoggers?" Rocky answered confused.

I shook my head in disagreement.

"That shoe was designed by Nike, but later Smoggers came and took over the fashion circles. Now, all the old shoes are branded 'Smoggers'," I stated, and then gestured to Flaw who was still preaching.

Rocky laughed and nodded his head in understanding "Who cares if it's Christianity's story right?"

"Right!" I answered since the majority of Zacar-I's Religion was built upon the principles of Christianity.

If there was any difference between The Church of Zacar-I and Christianity, it would be the fact that you only heard stories about Jesus' miracles, while Quartz-Energy healed people every day.

Sadly, even the origin story of Zacar-I was plagiarized since 'Adam and Eve' just became 'Adamcar-I and Eve-I'.

The ceremony continued for another thirty minutes until a sudden silence descended inside the church.

I didn't even need to raise my head to know what time it was – Collection Time. The only time that Slum-Dwellers would even bother to shut up was when money was being requested at church.

Flaw walked around the church shaking everyone's hands as a light pulsed that signaled the willing transfer of Cyber-Coins.

One Cyber-Coin was approximately equal to a dollar of Government Currency. It wasn't long until Flaw made his way over to where Rocky and I sat.

Well, it should have been Rocky and me, but the moment I turned to the left to ask about the next plan, Rocky was hidden behind a nearby pillar.

'Fuck!' I cursed internally, knowing I should have expected such a cheap behavior from Rocky. Rocky was someone who was cheap on his best day and robbing things on his worse day.

"Peace be with you!" Flaw said as he stepped forward to shake my hand.

For the briefest of moments, I considered just exiting the door, but I knew that I had no other options than to shake the hand of this devil who resided in a church.

I reached outwards and firmly grasped onto Flaw's hand as a light pulsed and I quickly released his hold.

In an instant, I was five Cyber-Coins poorer, but it seemed the devil did not yet collect all his dues.

"Peace be with your friend hiding behind the pillar," Flaw said, extending his hands once more.

I wanted to insist that 'my friend' receive his own peace, but that might affect Rocky's negotiation-mood later which would lead to a depreciation in the Quartz-Crystal.

I grasped Flaw's hand once more as another light pulsed and I was now ten Cyber-Coins poorer.

"Peace be to my after-hours consultation fee of 20 Cyber-Coins," Flaw whispered into my ear, and I barely managed to stay conscious.

It was fairly obvious that Rocky and I were here to talk to Flaw, but at this point, I was being extorted for all I had.

With the action of shaking hands repeated, Flaw still didn't leave me be, and I had a hard time keeping a simmering bout of violence restrained inside the depths of my mind.

Luckily, Flaw had a keen instinct and left without whispering another word in my direction.

Closing my eyes and taking a few deep breaths, by the time I looked over my shoulder, Rocky was right back on the seat as if he had never left.

"That fucking bastard!" Rocky cursed, and I stared at him confused, forgetting about all the Cyber-Coins I just lost.

"What?" he asked, seeing the confused look on my face.

"Who in the slums isn't a bastard? I mean, it would be rarer to find children who actually have their father in the slums," I stated since it was unlike Rocky to use such big words like 'bastards'.

Rocky looked me in the eyes and stated shamelessly "I don't know what the word means, but a lot of people curse Flaw that way, so I just used it,"

I slowly rose from the seat and followed Flaw deeper into the church, some of the mysteries in my mind finally being answered.

I now knew why Flaw thrived so much in the slums, the people here were just too stupid. I now had the final reason to never bring Aurora outside the bunker.