Film Noir SML…or When Tithing Hurts

Well, tomorrow marks another milestone for me at work: My 7 year anniversary of working here. Seven glorious years working alone in an office, doing books and lovin’ it. Or something like that.

(Insert wavy flashback lines)

FLASHBACK of Two Years Ago, filmed in black & white…

*Scene begins with sillouette of someone outside office door, visible through the glass*

Cue VOICE, film noir style…

“Monday morning hit me harder than yesterday’s salami on rye.” (SML enters shadowed office, wearing high heels, taking off trench coat and hat, turning on the radio, sitting down at computer)

“News on the radio can’t be any worse than this sludge they call coffee.” (SML begins typing)

“It was just like any other day. Same old story, same old line. The days had a way of blending together like the sea of faces rolling past me through the smoke at the club last night.”

(Large black rotary phone on desk rings. SML picks up, says hello, nods…after a few moments she pulls receiver away from her ear, looks at it with confusion, and slowly hangs up)

“Something wasn’t quite right. I knew it as much as I knew Bush shouldn’t be president. My boss never called this early. His ‘Good morning!’ sounded too happy, too intimate, too personal. What did it mean? I wouldn’t have to wait long for the anser.”

(SML picks up folder labeled TIME CARDS and opens it. She suddenly stands up with paper in one hand and check in the other, a look of shock on her face)

“I had never been hit with something like this. My heart was racing faster than the news that Brittney Spears’ boobs aren’t real. Here was a check, made out to me, in the amount of one thousand dollars.”

(Cue Dramatic Organ Music, one note, lasting five seconds. SML looks away from so many zeroes to read note)


“SML –

This check is our thanks for five years of hard work for our company. Your dedication is a key factor to the continued success of (our company.) Keep up the great work! Thank you!

(The Boss)”

(SML sits down slowly, shock still on her face)

“Either I was halucinating or my ship had just come in. I needed to make a few calls to see if hell had in fact frozen over. My mind raced with immediate thoughts of how and where I was going to spend the money. This was the answer to my prayers! I could buy all the art supplies I needed to fund my secret habit. I could finally take that trip to Austria I’d been dreaming of for ten years. Or I could be nice and plan a real vacation with my family for the first time. The possibilities roared through my brain like the wrath of God.”

(SML looks up, right at the camera, lips open in surprise)

“Oh…God! That’s right! How could I forget Him at a time like this?”

(SML folds her arms, bows her head, and says a silent prayer of thanks at her desk. She looks up and grabs her purse, and begins to rummage through it)

“I knew I had better take out tithing first, before I spent what wasn’t mine of this bonus. Tithing checks to me were like taxes…hold the money aside weekly, but pay it as seldom as possible. I didn’t realize I had this many checks in my purse. The stack before me rose like the Tower of Babel.”

(SML adds stack of checks on calculator, then look of confusion and disbelief on her face….then frantic re-adding on the calculator)

“What the…..Something started to smell, and it wasn’t just Mrs. Pollock’s Brussels sprouts from downstairs. No matter how hard I added what I’d already paid and what I had to mail, my tithing was coming up shorter than a micro mini skirt on Paris Hilton. EIGHT HUNDRED NINETY-SIX DOLLARS short, to be exact. I needed some answers, and I needed them FAST.”

(SML dials phone, is shown speaking into phone with eyebrows raised…silence during this part)

“My husband was on my list, and I don’t mean my list of people I’m sending a Christmas card to. He was the one who wrote my tithing check out each week, and put it in the envelope in my purse. But apparently in May and June, when we traveled so much for soccer games, he felt like we couldn’t afford it so he thought he might have skipped a few payments. This story was getting uglier than Martha Stewart’s underwear drawer. If I added the tithing I owed from before with the $100 I owed on my bonus, the total came to $996. I was left with exactly four dollars.”

(SML sits with look of total abject despair, because now she realises what she must and will do with the money)

“Filling out that tithing slip hurt worse than childbirth. There was no way in hell I was going to tell my non-Mormon husband about this bonus. My only consolation came when I realized that if I ever needed it, I’d have the best faith-promoting story to tell the next time the Stake President picked me out of the congregation with no forewarning to share my testimony, as he’d done 3 times before. Obviously God had prompted my boss to gift me my tithing money when I didn’t even know I was short.”

(Cue victory music…SML smiles peaceful smile with tears of joy in her eyes as she licks the tithing envelope closed)

***********THE END****************Pans across screen.

I can’t tell you how this true story (minus the dramatic film noir!) irks me. I can only shake my head at myself. It’s a real testament to my husband…I told him about it a couple months later. It’s a miracle he didn’t commit me to a mental institution. He’s an amazing man. He actually didn’t say anything. Not even, “Why didn’t you talk to me about it first?”

Truly amazing. I really love my man.

(Original Post found here.)

6 thoughts on “Film Noir SML…or When Tithing Hurts

  1. You don’t get it, Lisa. If you had only paid your tithing timely then your bonus could have paid off the credit card.

  2. Dang, girl. Loving the story.
    And hating it. Your husband must be a gem. And so happy you are soooo over that Mormon thing.

  3. I still smart everytime I read the family history of my great, great, something grandmother Ane Pedersdatter, and her conversion to the church and her paying over, as tithing, hundreds of dollars that she considered “backpay” from before she was even LDS and then being quite destitute in bringing her family over to Utah from Denmark. She paid BACKPAY on tithing! Arrrrgggggg!

    I guess she wanted “fire insurance”. 😉

  4. You know what they say SML…the difference between LDS and LSD? With LSD, you eventually stop hallucinating.

  5. This post is fab! SML, you are one good writer. I can’t believe you gave your whole bonus to the church. But I still think it is good karma for you. :-)

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