Male 50+. 414 words.  PT Barnum: "Needful Things"

From To the Great Egress. By Paul Pasulka

I wonder, has He read my autobiography? I mean, He certainly knows it. He knows everything. Oh, dear. Every-thing. Well, I’m sure I’m not the worst. Nonetheless, I should be prepared. Maybe I should begin with a little anecdote. Let’s see… Something… innocent. Precocious?

I’m sure you know – Well, of course He does. As you will recall? No, too imperative. Hmm. Oh. As you know, I attended Bible class – well, religiously. Once, the question was posed, "What is the one thing needful?" My response – and mind you, I was a mere nine years of age. Ahem. “The lawyer might be of opinion that the needful thing is an unruly community, eternally bickering. To the clergyman it might be a fat salary with multitudes of sinners seeking salvation.” Oh. I wonder. Do they have humor here?

“But the proper answer: ‘The needful thing is to love God and to administer to our fellow-man. To live a life of true satisfaction, and to contemplate its termination with trust in Him who has so kindly vouchsafed it to us.’" Well, I don’t need to tell You that this occasioned some respect in the congregation.

He tries unsuccessfully to light a cigar.

Odd... Does eternal joy preclude corporal pleasure?  Interesting that I have the desire to smoke. And matches that do not function. Ah, well.

What to do? Even here I have the strongest urge to write a press release. “Today. In a command appearance. Phineas T Barnum. Showman extraordinaire.” Oh, I’m just as nervous as a schoolgirl on a first date. Suppose I don’t get in… No. I have to think positively. Bankruptcies, fires. Wiped out totally. Salvage what you can and move on. To here. (Calling out) Hel—lo-o…? Our father… Who art in heaven…