I came with the intentions of murder. I came to reveal the truth about the wolf in sheep clothing. So what is stopping me? William H. Matters It is three hours before the stroke of twelve a.m., in Buffalo, NY. William Matters is dressed in a black suit, black wool coat with his collar turned up, the wind is blowing snow sideways, coating his unruly Afro somewhat like the rage inside of him. He is amongthe crowd of saints and sinners walking into New Ministries Baptist Church. The familiar scent of Florida water. The huge crucifix with Jesus hanging on the wall, the chandeliers that sparkled with the light, the stained glass windows and his mother sitting in her gold and red seat. The fountains of healing oil that sat at the entrance his father required each member to get a bottle of. The choir dressed in white and gold robes singing, “ Lord. I lift your name on high”. The time of year that reminded him of the past and made him face the pain he kept well hidden. His mission every year was to expose what his father had done to him and several other children. Years ago and even today he set out to murder his father in cold blood while the world watch. He planned it perfectly at the stroke of the twelve he would introduce him to his death and blow a bullet hole through his father’s heart. It would be the only way to murder the big bad wolf. He made a promise to his mother that he would not become another son fallen victim to the streets or jail. So for the sake of his mother he kept his promise. William has guarded every secret with lock and key including his own. As a child he was forced with fear to never speak of it. As an adult to protect himself, to protect Tasiyana and his brothers because he feared the dangerous ramifications towards those he loved. How can you reveal the truth about the man many deemed a saint? December 31st will always be the day he will remember and though he has tried to erase that night it still haunted him. Standing in this church he could remember as a child sitting in the red and gold chair proud to be called “the boy wonder”. Standing with the choir singing his heart out and then preaching a sermon about the goodness of the Lord. A person dropping money on the altar because they could not imagine a ten-year-old reciting the bible and preaching God’s words so eloquently. William shook his head as he stood in the vestibule of the church. The pews filled with eager parishioners ready to receive the word of God. It became standing room only with members of the congregation from the hustlers of the hood to the elite in the community. They praised the Honorable Bishop Gerald Goode and in their eyes he could never sin and the fact he has an undying love for the Queen City of Buffalo. His father loved the spotlight, the awards and praise he embraced the title media whore. Every picture, food drive, rallies, and anything he did called for the attention of the local news cameras and a photo op. The spotlight is on Bishop Gerald Goode Sr. and as always he is dressed in an elaborate robe embossed in gold, a diamond encrusted watch that sparkle in the light, his wide smile showing the gap in his teeth and deep dimples. His skin is the color of sand, eyes the color of hazel that have dark circles around them, his curly hair is thinning and now fully gray. Age and the secrets he kept weighed heavy on his spirit and physical appearance. He spoke with his inherited southern drawl and made sure to highlight the good he did in the community. He did it every year and the tradition didn’t change. William Matters also kept with tradition to appear every New Year’s Eve. He’d known the outcome of him walking in and eventually being escorted out. For William his presence to stir up something in his father hoping he would reveal the truth about his past sins. Bishop Goode had lived in the sin so long that he believed he’d wash it away with repentance to the Lord. His father tonight would be a repeat of his famous sermon, “Forgive and go forward.” Bishop Goode’s baritone voice roared through the thousands of parishioners listening as he preached on the power of repentance and forgiveness. The whirl of the fans cooled the body temperature of parishioners, the heat blasting at 85 degrees but nothing was hotter than the anger boiling inside of William as his father began to speak. “My God is forgiving and merciful. How can you not forgive those who wrong you when God gives you second and third chances? Yall don’t hear me when I say some of yall carry hate and malice in your heart about the past. It is the cancer eating at your soul, you losing sleep, drinking, drugging, and messing up all cause you can’t let go and let God carry your burdens. God forgave you tell me why you can’t forgive someone who has hurt you? Some of yall don’t want to hear me but you know what I am speaking is true. Tonight, I want you to meditate on scripture Matthew 6:14. For if you forgive others and their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” He preached. William’s mother stood, held her finger up, and handed him a monogrammed handkerchief. The congregation shouted, “Amen” and “You better preach, Bishop.” Some of the women ran up and down the aisle while the other faithful followers clap their hands and shouts, “Hallelujah”. He bought women and men to tears with his powerful sermon and singing. His father took his handkerchief and rubbed it across his face, adjusting the headset as he shouted, “Y’all better hear me when I say there is nothing like forgiving and repentance of your sins. Some of yall block your blessings because you just won’t come to the Lord and ask for him to redeem you from what hurts you. In an hour will be another year and I ask that you let go of the past. You can’t change it or erase it. Some of yall folks sit trying to get back yesteryears when you should be starting new beginnings. God wants you to go forward with your life and let go so you can receive his blessings that he so patiently has been waiting to give you. Will you do that for God and forgive someone so you can go forward?” He turned towards William and his eyes became slanted; his ears pointed up he smiled as his fangs revealed his true self, the wolf. Only William could see it so maybe that made me crazy but he knew he stared at an animal versus a man. His father began to sing and the parishioners sung along with him. Some sat in the crowd crying while others spoke in tongue. William stood unaffected by the trance he put them in. His father took over the lead and sang hitting high note even most accomplished singers couldn’t. His father had the power of tongue, the gift to speak life into those who souls where dying. His sermons gave hope and inspiration but William could see through his father. Bishop Goode took notice at his son standing there they both glared at one another for a moment. He began to speak again but stopped mid sentence, breathing heavy, bright lights shining on a father and son re living the past. Memories filled William’s head of that night his father did the unthinkable to him, and Tasiyana. William walked slowly down the aisle sat in the first pew reserved for the Deacons and his V.I.Ps. His mother put her hands close to her face and began saying a silent prayer for her son. William reached inside of his coat pocket wrapping his hand on the cold steel, his finger on the trigger and his eyes turned the color of orange as they did when he was angered. His mother shook her head no and her eyes pleaded with him not to do it. William removed his hand and clasp them together to avoid shooting his father in front of his congregation for today he would let peace be still. First Lady Betty Matters- Goode also a gatekeeper of her husband’s secret. His mother always been a petite woman now seem almost frail, her long hair thinning, dyed the perfect black and in her signature bun. Her eyes sunken in and her smile invisible as she sat in the red and gold chair. She did her duty as the perfect wife and loyal servant. She stood by him even though in her heart she loathed his actions. She made a pact with God and her husband to be forever faithful and hold the keys to gate of secrets. She whispered when she spoke and lived by the motto to speak when spoken to. Bishop Goode had garbage bags full of sin hidden in the closet. If the key opened the closet the truth could ruin a community, break up happy homes, and create scandal that would rock the city of Buffalo. Truth is dangerous in the right hands. Truth has taken down many men and women of God living a lie. Bishop Goode protected his very image and brand deemed the saint. He covered all bases and tracks. Bishop Goode is throwing his hat in the political arena and running for Mayor. He would not allow anyone to prevent him from ruling the city of Buffalo. His father feared his truth more than God’s wrath. He repented and served the Lord and community so all was forgiven in his mind. He served and honored the people of the city because they believed in him. They worshipped the ground he walked on and it was his reason for running. He felt he could change the direction and brings Buffalo back to the great city of excellence. Bishop Goode invested in Buffalo by creating jobs by buying small franchises, bringing new and exciting businesses and building relationships with some of the leading industries in Buffalo to hire those with tainted backgrounds, credit history and in return each of these businesses getting tax incentives. The contract goal was for them to keep them employed for a year. He would reach out to his members, who held various degrees and consulting businesses to train them on job readiness skills. His motto was reaching one and teach one. Each week he implemented new programs such as parenting classes, cooking, and even cleaning. His father is a great visionary and great leader. William’s father looked straight ahead through his glasses to his loving congregation, ignoring his son’s presence as he always did when he made an appearance at his church. After all these years he still couldn’t look him in the face. William’s purpose for showing up every Watch hour service for twenty years was so his father could face him and at least be man enough to admit all his wrong doings. He again spoke but stumbled over his words as he try to preach the word that he claim came from God. Bishop Goode motions for his security and pointed to William to be removed from the premises. Ten minutes before midnight his oversized bodyguards approached William he stood greeting them. Tank dabbed the napkin to his forever-leaky glass eye and pointed to the door. The organist played soft music to bring peace back into his father’s house of worshippers. William caused ruckus; he brought rumble in the house of the Lord. William could bring down his father’s empire, crash his dream to run the great city of Buffalo. He feared William and his son loathed him. “Father am I not welcome in your church?” He asked. He folded his hands smirk, his eyes filled with fire, his hand inside of his jacket. The lights dimmed, the church became silent, and no one even whispered. He waited for him to speak but his father turned his back. He didn’t utter a word as he went and sat next to his wife. He whispered something in her ear as she dabbed her eyes. “Just leave peacefully and no harm will come your way. We do this every year, William and you know you are not welcome in this church. Don’t do anything you’ll regret later or end up dead for. ” He announced. Tank snorted like a bull, wiping his leaky eye with the tips of his fingers while his other hand press the gun into his back. William stood still unmoved by the idle threats they made every year. The scare tactic he became accustomed to. He inherited his father’s stubbornness. He called out his father’s name and asked, “ Bishop Goode, before I go you said to me on several occasions God has already forgiven you but answer me this one question. Do you forgive yourself? Has God truly forgiven you and all of you’ve done? Is it that easy to sin and kneel on your knees and repent?” William looked over at each member of the congregation who all had eyes on them. Some thirsty for knowledge at what transpired between a father and a son. His father swallowed hard, his eyes open wide, sweat rain on the top of his forehead; his hands trembled with fear. He looked over to William’s mother, who finally addressed him. “Son, just go and leave please. ” she spoke softly.’ He waited for a response to his question for Bishop Goode to look him in the eyes and say that God had forgiven him. The two gentlemen wrapped their arms around his back; Tank pressed the gun deeper into his back nudging him to the door. His father turned from him and instructed the choir to sing drowning out the sins of his past, to drown out the truth. William turned on his heels and began to walk towards the door. God knew what he wanted to do and that is to murder the big bad wolf of his childhood. The gun sat in its holster his heart heavy because yet again he let him live. Some of his father’s victims where paid, some of them too embarrass about being tainted, others ran from the truth and some disappear as if they never existed on this earth. All under the rule and thumb of his father because whatever the Bishop Gerald Goode wanted he got. “ Don’t worry father I won’t step foot in your church again. You answered my question. May God have mercy on your soul.” He said before walking out of the door. William pulled up his collar and stood in front of the church. William father made valid points about forgiving the past. The truth is you will never forget it.
He always stated, “God had already forgiven me and I have permission from him to forgive myself.” William’s mother hung her head low and weep. Nothing hurt him more than knowing that his own mother wouldn’t speak up for him. She allowed him to run every aspect of her life she became his puppet. He took the back of his hands and erased the tear and the flakes of snow dropped on his face. He tortured his soul the final steps to walk out the door and watching it close let him know he could no longer keep doing this it hurt too much. He stood out into the blustery cold waiting for his mother to appear and console him. He had hoped his mother would follow behind him if nothing else to give him a hug. He knew where her loyalty lied and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. What his father did ruined his brothers and became the reasons they gave up on their own lives. He did whatever he could to save them but often he questioned whether his silence put the nail in Luck’s coffin. Luck’s death rested on his head and Chance residing in Clinton Correctional Facility for the murder of a police officer’s son and daughter often made him feel like he put him in his cell. Gerald who was considered a musical genius drowned his sorrows in every drug known to man. The entire result of him closing up and not speaking up ruined lives. He was the Gatekeeper of Secrets and the reason the key was locked with fear was because he was afraid. Chapter 2 The saint who has sinned As he walked to his car he heard the choir voices still and he thought back to a time when he led that choir. The radio’s is playing Smokie Norful’s “ I need you now.” He thought back to his childhood and how he used to worship the ground his father walked on. William wanted to be like his father in many ways back in the day. The very acts of community service where taught to him by his father. To reach and save a soul is apart of William. He opened his car door and leans his head against the seat. He at one time thought he would also serve the Lord. He led the members in prayer and worship, he sang lead in the choir and quoted the bible every chance he got. Now in his own unique way he uplifted the community by providing out reach services. William used to listen to his father sermons every Sunday and he hung on every word. He wanted his first born son to be his predecessor it would have been the greatest honor to be given. His father groomed him, taught him lessons about being a man of charity, humility and a man of honor and valor. He taught him that a man always wore a shirt and a tie. A man stood with his head up and shoulders back. He listened to what people said and attentive to their actions. He is always clean and well groomed it showed he care about the way people viewed him. That he wore a watch because it represented he is always on time and had consideration for others. You valued time because you couldn’t get it back once lost. He taught William how to speak and hold the microphone to bring the church to their knees and taught him how to sing to bring tears to parishioner’s eyes. His father saved the souls of the lost, fed the hungry, and clothed those who had nothing to wear. William watched, as his father would give the coat and boots off his feet to a homeless man. Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday he’d have them prepare turkey and cheese sandwiches while his mother made pots of soup so it could be serve to anyone who required a meal. He father instill in them that no man, woman and child should go without the basics necessities. That if you saw a man, woman, and especially a child hungry you fed them and not ask questions. His father always made sure they where well provided for with the best of clothes, shoes, and education. He worked two jobs as well as attending seminary school because he said that he would one day have a church of his own. His father despised poverty and living in squalor to him was the ultimate sin. William couldn’t recall a time they ever wanted for anything as a child.
His father thinking came from living in poverty and he feared the most being in a state where he wondered when his next meal would come from. As a child he lived hand to mouth and on small morsels of food. He spoke of having to where raggedy pants and didn’t get his first pair of shoes until the age of ten. He father explained he prayed and asked God that if he took him out of poverty he would never let anyone he saw go hungry. He kept that promise by opening three food pantries. He provided a meal to any homeless man or woman he saw on the street. He hated seeing food wasted you weren’t grateful if you didn’t finish your plate. You sinned by being ungrateful to the Lord. William could recall Chance throwing a sandwich in the garbage and his father made him take it out and eat it with dirt and feces. The lesson was he should never be greedy they where surrounded around children who where hungry everyday. If you couldn’t finish share it with someone else but never throw food away. William took on that same attitude it is why he never was wasteful of food in his mind he too believed it was a sin to throw away food. His father on the surface is a perfect man with great intentions for The community and his congregation embraced them both and love them dearly. In the dark and in the still of night was when he revealed his demons. The time when he would take off the robe of God and put on Satan’s horns to do what no man considered a saint would do to him, his brothers and Tasiyana. The nights he would creep in his room waking him in the middle of the night instructing him to kneel and pray while his father jerked himself off. He had no clue what he was being introduced to but what he knew it was wrong. William whimpered and shook his head to erase the images of his father asking him to do the unthinkable. William would fight and kick him screaming for his mother but she would never come into the room. His father eventually stopped because William one day brought in a knife and tried to stab him in his sleep after that night he hurt Tasiyana. William began sleeping in his brother’s room after he figured his father was doing the same thing he did to him. He guarded his brothers’ life with his own. His father would bang, kick and threaten William to open the door. William would not move the dresser and bed. Months later he would move his bed into his brothers’ room and take Tasiyana in there too. Memories flooded and he began to cry. His parents would often open their home to those abandoned, misguided, and abused. He introduced them to the family as their god brother or sister. He would treat them as if they where his own children buying them clothing, shoes, cleaning them up if they where dirty. Months later things would change he would move them out. In the streets when his father would come they would run or cry. William could not understand their fear of him until he became his victim. William only saw the sheep and never the wolf. His father started his church from their house, to a storefront and finally a mega church that now serves two thousand plus members. He later opened a community center, McDonald’s franchises, foster care agency, a cell phone company, two soul food restaurants, and a clothing store. He is a community leader but also a wealthy businessman. His whole mission was to bring financial stability to Buffalo by creating jobs, creating opportunities for those who are less fortunate it had been his goal from the very beginning. He currently lived in a mansion in Orchard Park. He wears the finest clothes and drives a custom made Bentley. He has power beyond belief but also the respect of the entire Western New York area. Little did they know he is a wolf leading the sheep to be eaten? In the public eye he is without sin, he is perfection and even the small faults they did find his good outweighed his bad. Bishop Goode in the Queen City of Buffalo could do no wrong. He would lead you but the moment he wanted what you have he would show his fangs and gobble you up. He’d hurt your children and those who knew of his secrets would later disappear from the community. If only one of them had the courage to reveal who he really is. Chapter 3 The man with the Afro
. William heard the alarm ring and the voices of her cries. He woke up every morning drenched in sweat and the horrid nightmare disturbing his sleep. He looked at the clock and it is 5:30 in the morning, the house is cold and dark. He sat up, yawned, and stretched as he kneeled to say his prayers. He thought of Tasiyana and always wondered what happen to her. After he left for college he tried to forget about her but he couldn’t they’d shared a good portion of their life together. He was plagued by guilt of leaving her and never reaching out to her. He stood up and looked outside reminiscing about her and his life. The rain on this Friday morning is pouring and he hoped it would wash away this sad feeling inside of him. He puts on a pair of sweats, a hoodie, and sneakers. He needed to take a run to clear his head more than to stay in shape but to erase the guilt, to try for at least an hour to forget the past. He felt like crying a good soul-cleansing cry but he knew if he started he wouldn’t stop and he couldn’t lose control of his emotions. He purposely bogged himself down with running four half ways houses, going to meetings, trying to save the world all so he could forget. Like his mother he became an expert at masking his pain and misery. William Goode-Matters born on July 11,1976. He graduated from City’s Honor at the top of his class, earned a full scholarship to Howard University where he became the guy who fed the poor and ran every charity event to raise money for those less privileged. On the surface along with his credentials of Two Masters degrees one in Social Work and the other in Business Administration as well as being the C.E.O of My Brother’s Keeper, a transitional housing program for ex- offenders and multi- service agency. He is a man of perfection but underneath all the degrees, the success he is a man in deep pain. He covered it up by wearing a mask that he is a man who has it all under control. William did things that are unthinkable, learned skills and carried blood on his hands. He hid that side the day he stepped foot back in Buffalo.
As his feet hit the pavement, the rain is pouring and the music of K’Jon on the ocean is playing as he is reflecting on his life. He needed to vent and let go of the pain inside of him someone who wouldn’t judge him about his past. It is days he wanted to scream but instead falls into his lifestyle of work and more work. William couldn’t even confide in the woman he is dating because she is so shallow and self absorbed. When he is running it where he finds clarity about the things he faced everyday in his life. It is the time he turned off his cell phone, didn’t worry about his clients, and prayed. He ran until his legs felt like rubber and all to forget about the past and try to live in the now. His clothes where sticking to his body but for some reason the combination of rain, his thoughts and music where cathartic. With each step he counted his blessings but also thought of the situations and people he needed out of his life. He thought about Imani, the woman he had been dating on and off for a year. She is in love with him but the feelings are not mutual. With their schedules being so hectic Imani and William rarely saw one another and when they did it either was to have sex or go to functions as his date. Imani is indeed beautiful, auburn dyed dreads that cascade down her back, chestnut brown skin, deep chocolate brown eyes, and a body like Halle Berry. William thought every human has a flaw and for her it was her damn personality that sucks to hell. When they spend more than two hours together they argue over everything from politics to social welfare. He often feels as if they are running for a political office because every issue has to turn into a debate. She always has to be right about everything and anyone who needs a hand up is lazy freeloader. Born with a silver spoon in her mouth and diamonds on her finger she could never identify with poverty. A pampered princess who has never wanted for anything with her parents owning several hotels in Buffalo she wouldn’t have a clue about struggle. It is why they would never marry or go farther then being sex buddies he thought. He wanted more than sex he desired companionship and a woman willing to understand the man he is. He wanted a wife and to start a family. As he ran the second lap the rain slow up some, a large amount of snow washed away. He stretched his legs, leaned his head back, and rotated his neck. He started off again with only two miles left He normally put in five miles a day. A woman runs past and waved her hand at him and he nods. He found that often women stopping and greeting him. William is the type of man who got stares because he had that biscuit brown complexion, he stood at 5’11, hazel eyes, and 200 pounds of muscles, and when he smiled he has deep dimples that sunk into his cheeks. His hair is normally braided straight back but today he is sporting a bushy Afro. William has had his fair share of women because he is the first to admit he is not a saint. He has fornicated, drank to get drunk to at least wash away the pain and hurt dwelling inside of him. He had blood that forever stained his hands. He never imagined coming back to Buffalo but God has a way of changing your plans. What brought him back was the death of his brother Luck. William made a decision to stay after the several failed attempts to open up his own transitional housing program in Washington, D.C. So he quit his job as resident director and stepped out on faith to start his own non-profit organization. He wrote a proposal and presented it to his father. His mother delivered a million-dollar check given to him by his father and the memo written was a million dollars to stay out of his life. He copied the check before cashing it and framed it. William started his transitional housing program for men who where being released from incarceration. He created this so men could have a second chance on life. The program offers a one-stop module where they are provided shelter, medical care, drug addiction, and mental health counseling. When each resident walks into the door they are introduce to a home like setting. Each room equipped with a television, DVD player, radio, basic cable, fresh bedding, and linen. A weight room built in the basement of each building so they can keep with up with their physical health. Upon entering each resident is given a 200-dollar gift card to Wal-Mart to purchase hygiene products, underwear, socks, and shoes. Each Wednesday a barber is paid so that each man can have a haircut and lessons on proper grooming.