First Chapter:


by God

(I am often asked: Why do bad things happen to good people? I get this question a lot—from individuals in their private moments, in their prayers, in the confession booth, or from theologians at long, pointless symposiums. In fact, it is probably My single most-asked question. However, in all the millions of years I've been on the job as your Supreme Being, I have never, not once, been asked: Why do good things happen to bad people? Strange, because good things happen to bad people all the time; I make sure of it. Why? Well, let Me cite some examples and then, perhaps, it will become obvious.)

Chapter One

Henry Cavanaugh

In 1993, Henry Cavanaugh, an ex-con with a hair-trigger temper, mugged an elderly woman in Philadelphia, stealing about $28. To avoid being caught he ducked inside a nearby camera store where, to his surprise, he was met by flashing lights, showered with confetti, and handed a check for one million dollars—he was the store's one millionth customer!

No longer needing to steal to make a living, Cavanaugh moved into a swank apartment and took up photography. He became quite proficient at it, taking pictures of the poor and the homeless, becoming, according to one review, "a brilliant interpreter of the plight of the underclass." His photographs showed so much empathy for their subject that they were used in a magazine campaign for economic justice.

Then, last year, at an exhibit of his work, Cavanaugh lost his temper and conked an art critic on the head with a cocktail glass. He received a seven-year sentence for parole violation, but served only a few months in the Pennsylvania state penitentiary before making a daring escape. He is still at large.

Ezra Walterman

Ezra Walterman ran a small dress shop in the heart of the garment district in New York City. He became quite wealthy, in part because he paid meager wages to illegal immigrants and worked them like slaves. But he wasn't satisfied with being rich—he wanted to be filthy rich. So, he hired some hoodlums to burn down his factory. The arson squad never traced it back to Walterman, who collected millions from the insurance.

With his abundant wealth, Walterman bought a huge mansion on Long Island and hired a bright young graduate student to manage his affairs. One night the young man overheard Walterman talking in his sleep about the fire. When confronted, Walterman panicked. To buy his silence, he told him he could have anything he wanted. The young man asked for financial backing for an invention he was working on. Eight years later the "invention" turned out to be the enormously successful Krazy Glue.

Of course, Walterman sued for all the profits from Krazy Glue, claiming he was the sole investor, and he won his case. The day after the decision he was crushed to death by an overturned Brink's truck.

Veronica Monet

Veronica Monet had a rough early life. Barely thirteen, she ran away from home, and at eighteen she was working as a prostitute in Detroit, making hundreds of dollars a night for her pimp, a violent character named Ronnie.

But, after months of taking Ronnie's verbal and physical abuse, Veronica decided she'd had enough. At a busy intersection in downtown Detroit, she pushed Ronnie into the path of an oncoming Mercury Cougar, a couple of tons of steel and chrome going forty-five miles an hour. Ronnie went flying in the air. Right behind the Mercury came a Brink's truck, which swerved and overturned, killing a pedestrian (see above).

Veronica looked on in horror as the results of her impulsive act played out in front of her, when suddenly a large canvas Brink's sack landed at her feet. She didn't hesitate, she just picked it up and ran.

There was $520,000 in unmarked bills in the sack. Veronica, taking it as a sign from Me, bought a beauty parlor, something she had always dreamed of, and built a successful business.

Then, just recently, her beauty parlor was robbed and ransacked by an escapee from a Pennsylvania penitentiary. She had no insurance; as a result, Veronica was forced to return to prostitution. This time, however, she's on her own, and doing quite well.

Todd and Lulu Markel

Todd and Lulu Markel had been married for four years when Todd lost his job at a meatpacking plant. They were already deeply in debt from overspending on personal items, like jewelry for Lulu and a new sports car for Todd. Now they had to find a way to pay off their mounting bills, especially the rent.

Their landlord, Mr. Houghton, was a mean and selfish man who spent lavishly on himself but gave little to his wife and kids. He drank heavily, too, and everyone knew it. Todd and Lulu devised a scheme where they would get rid of Houghton by getting him drunk, driving him in his car to the edge of a cliff, then hopping out of the car just before it plunged to its fiery destruction. That was the plan. What happened, however, was something else.

They got Houghton drunk all right, but when Lulu tried to jump out of the car she found herself stuck—some Krazy Glue had spilled on the seat—and only Todd was able to escape before the car plunged off the cliff and into a deep river gorge. Miraculously, the car landed upright on the river bank and Lulu and Houghton found themselves relatively unhurt.

They were so traumatized that she confessed her scheme to him, and he forgave her. Then they drove off together, starting new lives—and assuming new identities—as Bob and Rowena Cathcart. Meanwhile, Todd collected $150,000 in life insurance for the missing and presumed dead Lulu.

William Jefferson Clinton

William Jefferson Clinton was well into his second term as 42nd President of the United States when, faced with having to testify before a grand jury looking into an extramarital affair, he chose to "bend" the truth rather than answer certain personal questions more directly. As a result, he became the first President to be impeached since Andrew Johnson. However, even though he was publicly embarrassed, Clinton emerged more popular than ever.

With his approval rating at an all-time high, Clinton felt that he could do no wrong. He arranged a weekend trip to Camp David, ostensibly to work on his State of the Union address, but really to rendezvous with Veronica Monet, a woman introduced to him by Dick Morris.

The first night at Camp David, Clinton spoke on the phone to a number of moderate Republican Senators while Ms. Monet performed non-biblical acts on him. The second night they were joined by a couple of swingers, Bob and Rowena Cathcart. While the four of them cavorted in a "group grope" (as the President called it), an escaped convict, Henry Cavanaugh, was breaking into an adjoining bedroom. Cavanaugh grabbed some valuables left on a dresser and climbed out the window. As he was about to hop the fence he turned to see the President in the midst of a wild orgy. He pulled out a small 35-millimeter camera and took a picture, then escaped, unnoticed. He is still at large.

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