Hoover vacuum


P A S T O R A L     S N A R L

When Detective Wilson took command of the MSC investigation, he had one single priority: protect Roy Atwood at all costs. Wilson knew that Roy was a moral vacuum. If the poor guy came with an electrical cord, you could plug him into an outlet and use him like a Hoover. To be sure, the dean of NSA is so empty that he actually blamed the casino’s existence on another Christ Church officer, saying that Ethan “received permission” from that officer to open the illegal casino. And Wilson countenanced this horse manure. But by letting Ethan and Roy abdicate their responsibility, Wilson put Christ Church between a rock and a payoff.

Of course Wilson’s dilemma was the direct result of his own blunder — canceling all debts owed to the house ($4500) and commanding the young bettors to return their winnings to the house ($1000). Certainly he hoped that everyone would pay their bills. If they did, then the ledger would be even and the scandal would disappear.

But things didn’t go as planned. Six months after Wilson’s pastoral bull, the casino house still hadn’t received a dime from his debtors. It turns out that the young gamblers called Wilson’s bluff. They had all the cards, and they knew it. So they refused to pay back the house and suddenly Pastor Wilson found himself in “a pastoral snarl, a tangle,” created by Detective Wilson.

This was his dilemma: If he pressed the debtors to pay up, then they could say, “Why should we? We did nothing wrong. Dr. Atwood says that his son had permission to open the casino.” And if Wilson threatened them with church discipline for not paying their debts, they could say, “Oh, do you mean the debts that you created when you took away our winnings — money we won at a casino managed by Dean Atwood’s son? If you discipline us, then you have to discipline Atwood.” Wilson had no leverage and he knew it. He was completely compromised. So when the casino house asked, “Where’s my money?” Detective Wilson could only wish that Lieutenant Columbo had been assigned to the case.

Douglas Wilson exchanged the following emails with the casino house. It was the first communication between them since Wilson’s December 19th email.


From: “Brett Bauer ” <—@com>
To: <dougwils@moscow.com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2002 3:37 PM
Subject: Casino


It was my understanding from your earlier email, pasted below, that we were going to return to the status quo with regard to the money that was transacted in the casino. Doing this would require various people paying me a total of a little over 900 dollars. Ethan should know the exact amounts. It is my understanding that a couple of months ago you were informed that the people owing this money had not paid me yet. As of today no one has paid me any money nor have they contacted me or even acknowledged that they owed me anything. How would you suggest that I proceed in this matter?


“What we want is for all of you to do what it takes to get back to the status quo ante — the way it was before the big money betting started. In other words, if you got a check from Brett for three hundred dollars, we want you to get that money back to him. If you cannot do this for financial reasons, please let me know. If you owe money generated out of credit, then the elders have determined that you no longer owe the money. All the betting was illegal in the state of Idaho, a misdemeanor, and as soon as the elders discovered that brothers in the church were treating one another this illegal and unloving way, they determined to cancel the obligations on the basis of the principle contained in Numbers 30. The day we heard of it, we said that brothers in Christ under our charge were not to be permitted to act this way. Therefore, to the extent that real money changed hands, we want it to go back to the original owner. To the extent that bets were made on credit, those obligations are now cancelled. If anyone has any question about what they are to do, please ask me.”

“As for me, I do want those involved to pay you back, and will continue to pursue it.” — Detective Douglas Wilson


From: Douglas <dougwils@moscow.com>
To: “Brett Bauer ” <—@com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2002 4:05 PM
Subject: Re: Casino

Dear Brett,

I had checked on this once or twice, and will do so again. But my understanding is that you told — — (who is one of those who owes you money) that you did not want him to pay you. Is that an incorrect understanding on my part? As for me, I do want those involved to pay you back, and will continue to pursue it.

[Douglas Wilson did not sign this email]

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