Suddenly, the swinging door of the saloon swings open wide to reveal a tall dark figure standing in the doorway. He is dressed entirely in black and in his right hand he holds a big black book, which appears to be a Bible. He presses the book against one of the doors to hold it open. Just as suddenly as his visible appearance, his booming voice rings out throughout the saloon: "Repent, ye sinners! Repent before it’s too late!"
The music stops and there is a general hubbub of speech and laughter. The bartender throws his hands up in the air and shouts: "Hey! What is this?"
The preacher steps slowly into the saloon. "Repent," he cries out again. "You are sinning against Almighty God. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Repent and believe in Jesus!"
Most of the men laugh loudly, and one observes: "We sure got a bunch o' Bible thumpers tonight!"
As the preacher keeps on preaching, a few of the men begin to get up and walk out. The bartender is beside himself. He looks first at the preacher and then at our three friends. "Out!" he orders. "Out, the four of you! This is nothing but a conspiracy of religion to destroy my business! First you guys come in here talking' about what a great wrong we’re doin' here, and then this preacher comes in here a-hollerin' fer everyone to repent an' believe. Well, y' ken take yer religious gobbledygook elsewhere! Now be gone with ya! Out, I say!"
But the preacher continues: "I’m a man of God. I don’t need t’ listen t' th' likes of you. The Bible says it’s better t’ obey God than man. The Bible also says that Jesus is coming back soon and in order to go with Him, you must be born again! You must repent and believe--"
The bartender motions to several of the bigger men around the bar. They step forward and form a semi-circle around the four, raising their fists in the air. Walt speaks out: "I-I-a-think we get the point. Come on, fellows!" The other three follow his lead and all four walk slowly out of the saloon.
When they are safely out on the street, the preacher speaks: "Well, it’s good t' know I’ve got some sympathizers at least. It’s always good t' know who you’ve been thrown out of a saloon with."
They introduce themselves.
"Where are you three from?" the preacher asks.
"Oh, from here and there. And you?"
"I’m the Reverend Mr. Black, originally from Kansas City, now circuit ridin' preacher. I ride all over th' country, bringin' th' gospel to those who need it most." The preacher pauses and scratches his head. "So, I take it that before I arrived at the saloon, you three were already defendin' th' Word o’ God?"
"Actually we were only standing up for common morality."
"But, you are believers in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, aren’t you?"
"We are believers in God--that’s all," replies Walt.
Daniel decides to change the subject. "Boy! They sure do live wickedly out here, though, don’t they?"
"They certainly do," replies the preacher.
"But we’re going to bring about an end to all that, aren’t we, fellows?" blurts out Kerry.
"Kerry!" yells Walt, "you don't have to--this fellow doesn’t need to know--"
But Daniel puts his hand on Walt’s shoulder. "Oh, I think he has a right to know. After all he’s a man of the cloth."
"To know what?" asks the preacher, curiously.
"Well, you won’t believe this, but we are time travelers. We are actually from the year 2025, and we came here in a time cylinder."
The good reverend looks a bit puzzled, but then shrugs. "Well, with the Lord, all things are possible."
"We can only travel a certain distance back in time at one time. We are going back in time step by step until we reach the beginning--what’s the name of the place, Daniel?"
"Eden. The garden of Eden."
"Uh-huh." The preacher nods.
"And we are going to warn the original people who fell and committed the first sin."
"Adam and Eve," inserts Daniel.
"So that they will realize what they’re doing and not partake of the forbidden fruit. Then, sin will have been prevented, and all evil, corruption and disease will be banished from the human race forever."
The preacher raises his eyebrows. "You mean to say that you think that by going back to the garden of Eden, assuming that you could get there for sure, you could actually prevent sin and evil--that you could actually reverse the course of history so that those things will no longer exist?"
"Ah!" asserts Kerry. "You’ve got our idea perfectly!"
"Well, my friends," the preacher asserts, his countenance taking on an air of solemnity, "I’m sorry to inform you that such a plan can never work."
"What do you mean?" All three speak at once.
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