Pagan Worship

As a rule, children spend very little time thinking about their parents, unless a parent does something mean, or a parent does something nice. They are caregivers. Not people.
Growing up, David knew only a handful things about his father: that he had been a Mormon, but that he had started a small church, separate from the Mormons, which in time had become a very big church and that his father was called pastor or, increasingly, with the passage of years, master.

Pagan Worship is a coming of age story about a young man named David, who is at first a negligible figure in his parents’ all-consuming ambition to build an outsize base of Christian power, but who is slowly, while his parents largely ignore him in favor of his younger sister, developing his own strong identity and discovering a world far outside the dumbed-down reportage of Fox News and the strict, right-wing constraints of Orem, Utah, where he lives. But perhaps it would have been better for David if he had allowed himself to remain the same dim bulb his parents consider him to be. For as his discoveries multiply and his awareness grows uglier after seeking greater and more detailed exposure to the larger world, he finds himself increasingly overwhelmed. First, of course, there is Trump and his monstrous reign of lies, ineptitude, and hypocrisies.

But if Donald Trump is at the diseased heart of these outrages, there are others, at home, that are equally terrible and altogether more personal: his father’s sexual predation, certainly against his female parishioners but perhaps against his “beloved” daughter, Angel, as well; the pastor’s further moral failings, in numerous ways similar to Trump’s, as he wrings more and more money out of his poorest church members, among other transgressions; the heinous arrest of a girl David knows at school, and her mother, for obtaining an abortion across state lines; and finally, the horribly needless death of David’s oldest friend, Jim, from covid-19, because his parents, for political reasons, refused to allow him to be vaccinated – all this, in the end, forcing upon David’s wounded psyche a mission he must carry out.

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More About the Book…

A Visit to the Library.

Elementary schools – otherwise known as grade schools or primary schools – can sometimes be very strange places, populated by very strange people, both administrators and teachers. The students are often the most normal people in these strange communities. This is because the students are simply acting like themselves – however young and however immature. Conversely, the adults behave as if their exposure to these students, and their absorption into this frighteningly insular world, has somehow created in them a distorted, funhouse version of their students – has somehow infantilized them to a lesser or greater degree.

When David was nine years old, his teacher, a Mrs. Hymes, told David’s class that she had a treat in store for them today and that she had reserved the school library for this special occasion.

When the class walked single file into the library, they found that the lights had been dimmed and that not even the school librarian was present. They also noticed that the area in front of the librarian’s desk, where she checked out books, had been cleared of any chairs or tables that might ordinarily have stood there, leaving a large, empty space. Several students then began a low, excited conversation when they saw that two or three dozen pool noodles in different colors – blue, black, orange, yellow – had been stacked in a wobbly arrangement against the wall. They were less quick to notice the two boxes filled with oversize black t-shirts in one box and oversize white t-shirts in the other. After a few moments, Mrs. Hymes instructed the boys and girls to separate into two groups and to form two separate lines standing opposite one another. The children did as they were told without demur. Roughly the same number of boys and girls stood three or four feet apart. There was some snickering but the teacher whispered shh! and the snickering abruptly ceased. The teacher then told the girls to go the box filled with white t-shirts and put one on. “Don’t worry about size,” she said. “They’re all the same and plenty big so they’ll fit over your clothes.” A few minutes later, the girls were back in line, wearing their brand new, white t-shirts. “Okay, now I want the boys to do the same thing with the black t-shirts.” The boys made no argument. Now both groups, the black and the white, faced each other across the floor of the library. David, who up till now had been following instructions with only casual interest, more focused on his friend Jim than on the scene as a whole, grew suddenly anxious. For no good reason, his heart was pounding. The two boys were situated in the center of their line.

Pagan Worship

By Patrick Beacham

A Little About the Author

Patrick Beacham

I have been writing since I was 8. This experience is described in my second novel, “Finding Shamoo,” available on Amazon. My influences are many: they range from John le Carré to Raymond Chandler to Hermann Hesse to Willa Cather, with many stops in-between. As a graduate of UCLA, I majored in political science with a specialization in international relations, and this, too, has continued to influence me. And oh, did I mention my film studies, which also inform my writing? Like any other writer worth his or her salt, what motivates me is simply the overpowering need to write, regardless of physical, psychological or financial condition.

Financially, I have been fortunate: I have, of necessity, while as a writer, re-invented myself several times, first as an art dealer, then as stockbroker and finally as a systems engineer at Microsoft.

Unfortunately, my psyche has not always been as cooperative, and I have experienced many psychological ups and downs over the years.

But perhaps most importantly, I have, throughout my literary career, received the unfailing support of my wife, Nancy, whose patience I continue to find altogether amazing.

The Story Behind The Story

Most people would conclude that I was motivated to write “Pagan Worship” by my supreme dislike of Donald Trump, and this is true. But to an even greater degree, I was motivated by those people who genuinely worship (or idolize) Donald Trump, despite calling themselves Christians, and in face of Donald Trump’s many non-Christian beliefs and practices, which are in complete violation of virtually all Christian (or Jewish or Muslim) norms. They are, in essence, “pagan worshipers.”

The novel addresses many other issues that I find extremely pressing as well, and these were equally important in motivating me, but because the novel is comparatively short, though still wide-ranging, I was unable to find room for all my concerns, including, for example, climate change.

How to characterize the novel? It is the blackest of black satires, and will probably give offense to many, both on the right and left. This is good. If, indeed, you read the novel, or listen to the audiobook that accompanies it, you are to be commended. You are to be commended because you are acting in the interests of free speech. No traditional publishing house, in this day and age, would ever dare to publish “Pagan Worship.” The negative blowback would be far too great. And if the book were ever to become widely known, there are many, in both the public and private sectors, who would seek to ban it.

Otherwise, please enjoy the book!

What Readers Say About

Pagan Worship

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Enjoy Reading!

I made the novel deliberately short so that it can more quickly build momentum. I also like to think that it leaves the reader wondering what the ultimate outcome will be until the very end. Indeed, even if, on one level, the reader does guess accurately, they will find that they haven’t. What does this mean? Read the novel and find out! You will be shocked and surprised!