Hey there, it's Mike Rowe. This is the way I heard it, the only podcast for The Curious Minds with a short attention span.
This is episode number 175, and it's called His Brother's Keeper. His Brother's Keeper.
It was written where I'm sitting right now at my kitchen table staring across at my old pal Chuck, who some of you may know as an indispensable cog in the machine over at Mike Rowe Works and who others may know as the indispensable producer of this humble little podcast.
How are you, old friend? I'm very well, Mike. How are you? I'm great. And when I say old friend, I made it in every sense of the word.
Chuck is nearly as old as I am, which is old by any definition. And I've known him for 41 years. 41 years.
Yes, old high school buddy. And we've stayed in touch over the years and over the last couple of dozen years.
It seems, you know, I don't know that we ever really lost touch.
No, no, we didn't. We didn't. We didn't. We never lost touch. There were times when we didn't see each other as much or didn't talk as much. But but always, you know, I don't think we ever went six months without talking.
We never went dark. It's it's a bit like stepping in gum with you.
Honestly, I get that a lot. You look down there he is now. Chuck is has been a dear friend, and it's it's such a kick to have you up here. Now you I mean, I'm asking questions. I know the answers to, of course. But you have to ask in this day and age, how are you weathering the pandemic?
Very well, isolating quite a bit. You know, I drove up here instead of flying so that that was safer, didn't want to get any, you know, covid on Friday or anything. So no. Yeah, I'll leave my dog out of this. Absolutely. He's got an agent now. He has expectations early. So many mentions. We can do a fredi before I get a bill.
Sure. Sure. I understand. It's awkward. Yeah. Maybe you have a friend like Chuck, somebody who who you talk to when you go on walks.
Chuck and I started walking, like, in earnest seven months ago back in March.
And the boy is lost.
What have you lost. Thirty pounds. Thirty pounds.
Walking and talking with me.
Yes. And now here you sit in my home.
Anyway, that's Chuck. He is the producer of this podcast. I wanted you to hear his voice today because in the future you may be hearing it a bit more. What do you think of that as a tease? That's very exciting. It is exciting.
The podcast is called His Brother's Keeper. I wrote it because a lot of people on the Facebook page asked if I would be reposting the Edgar Allan Poe piece I put up last October. And the answer is sure. But it also occurred to me that in the spirit of work ethic, perhaps I could write a new story, something a bit more original than The Tell-Tale Heart. And that's the story I'm about to share with you. Chuck, you have listened to the story.
Indeed. You have lightly edited it, as you often do without overselling it. What are your honest thoughts on it?
Quite possibly the best episode ever. Come on. Really? Oh, it's up there. It's definitely up there.
And we did a little something sassy in it, too. We did something just a little sassy. We did. We did.
We put a light effect. I don't want to say too much, but a light effect in the story. And this is a very exciting for us because, you know, the only production value in this podcast is really that little guitar sting. Right. And, you know, we always wanted to keep it simple and straightforward. And now here we are dabbling with special effects.
It's crazy. All right. I have no doubt whip you into a frenzy. The story is called His Brother's Keeper. I will I will share it with you forthwith. Let me first thank our sponsor. They are light stream and light stream has been a great friend to this podcast, and I always welcome them on because they're one of the few credit card companies that says, look, we don't want you to pay a penny more than you have to their credit card consolidation company.
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Yes, I've seen that copies. Oh, OK. Well, it's over eighteen percent. Right. Which is just kind of scandalous. Scandalous. That was the word I was thinking.
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For once Chuuk is actually going to earn his keep here. He's with me. He's a professional voiceover artist, and there is a disclaimer that I am duty bound to read for you, but Chuck, I'm going to ask you to just swoop in here and show me how it's done.
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Do you hear how he did that? Didn't take a single breath through the whole thing. The story, however, just might leave you breathless. Don't want to oversell it, but it's called His Brother's Keeper and it is, as always, the way I heard it.
Long before he became an ordained minister, Daniel knew there was life after death as a boy, he had seen with his own eyes the many spirits that haunted the farmhouse where he was raised oftentimes during the sciences, his parents held in the parlor. Thus, when his older brother began acting like a man possessed, Daniel assumed a demonic infestation and plan for an exorcism, an exorcism that he would conduct himself. Preparations for the ritual took place in Daniel's office in midtown Manhattan, where he and his brother had once worked together.
There, he recalled the exorcism of Rolando, the 14 year old Maryland boy whose demons were expelled in 1949 by an intrepid team of Jesuit priest. Daniel knew the case because Roland Doe's story had inspired William Peter Blatty to write The Exorcist, the most terrifying book that Daniel had ever read, which in turn inspired William Friedkin to direct The Exorcist, the most terrifying movie that Daniel had ever seen. A shiver ran down his spine as he recalled the scene where 12 year old Reagan McNeil violated herself with a crucifix and vomited green slime all over that poor priest moments before her head spun around 360 degrees.
That particular exorcism had only ended when the demon jumped out of Reagan's body and into Father Charise, who promptly dove out the second story window, sending the demon back to hell but ending his own life. A happy ending for Reagan, but not so great for the priest on the bookshelf over his desk between the Holy Bible and the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe. Daniel found a tome of sacred texts, a collection of exorcism spells sanctioned by the Catholic Church.
At the top of the very first page were the words warning to be read aloud only by priests. Daniel began reading anyway, adumbrated de Spiritist, knackwurst him, paradigm omnipotent, you Aidoo, jato spiritist, Nick Quassey paradigm omnipotent ardo dark spiritist that questioning the omnipotent you. Hijau, the most evil spirit by almighty God. Adjure, of course, is just a fancy word for command, and what followed were many other commandments and many other Latin phrases buried in dozens of ancient prayers, all intended to be strung together and repeated over and over by a consecrated priest in the course of conducting a church sanctioned exorcism.
Daniel considered these sacred texts very carefully and ordained minister is not the same thing as a consecrated priest, did Daniel dare utter these holy words aloud in the name of Jesus Christ?
Might he do more harm than good relying on words that he was not qualified to utter? Perhaps you should call an actual priest after much deliberation, Daniel closed the book of sacred texts and returned it to the shelf. Then he took a seat behind his typewriter. Holy water, rosary beads and crucifixes were one thing, but when it came to words, Daniel decided he would use his own. He would create a new kind of text specifically for his brother's situation, a text not in accordance with the rules of the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, but rather in accordance with his own belief that a man could vanquish his demons if he heard the right words.
And Daniel believed he knew the words his brother needed to hear. After a few weeks of typing, Daniel was optimistic, so, too, was Judy, his brother's wife. The new text was shaping up nicely, but Daniel could only write so fast and his brother was getting worse every day. Like the demons who possessed Ragan MacNeill, these devils offered no quarter, day and night. They tormented their host, hollowing him out, turning him into something, something unrecognizable.
Reports of his brother's deterioration made their way back to Judy, who called Daniel at his office with growing alarm. I'm scared, Danny. He can't fight this alone. We have to get him back to New York. I know, Judy. I know I'm writing as fast as I can. He doesn't even sound like himself anymore. He needs to be here where we can help him. Don't worry, said Daniel. When he sees what I've written, he'll be on the next flight back, I'm sure of it.
Who knows, maybe it would have worked, maybe Daniel's unorthodox text would have inspired his brother to come home where his real friends might have helped him battle his demons. Alas, it was not to be. Daniel was nearly finished the text when the phone rang. It was Bernie Brillstein calling from a modern day Gomorra three thousand miles away. It's over, Danny, we found him this morning, he's gone. I'm so sorry. Sick with grief, Daniel leapt to his feet and ran to his brother's brownstone in the West Village, desperate to reach Judy before the press got a hold of her there, he held her hand and broke the tragic news as gently as he could.
Her husband was dead. His demons had won. Cocaine and heroin often do. Daniel sat with his brother's widow as she grieved for the loss of her husband and he for the loss of his best friend, the best friend he still refers to as his brother, the older brother who had joined him just a few years earlier on a mission from God and might have joined him again in a role that was written just for him, the role of Peter Venkman, a non-traditional exorcist on a mission to rid the Big Apple of its many unwanted demons, a role played to perfection by Bill Murray, but written.
For John Belushi. By his younger brother, his younger blues brother, who hoped to save his best friend from the demons he could not shake with a text he could not ignore a text for a movie called Ghostbusters dreamed up by an ordained minister. Named Dan Aykroyd. Anyway, that's the way I heard it.