Disclaimer: I don't own SOSF, the characters or anything associated with the show. The characters are current muses for writing which is done for fun and skill development.
This is a WHN next for "The First Day of Forever", what had significant religious themes - some of which are explored here.
"The First Day of Forever" Episode Summary: Beverly is a prostitute and a target of a zealous madman who tries to kill her and others whom he deems unclean. After a near miss, Mike assigns Steve to protect her. Steve is reluctant at first and not at all accepting of Beverly's chosen profession. Beverly, too, is somewhat judgmental of her police protector. Over time, the two get past each other's professions and find that they have more in common than not. The episode closes as Mike reveals to Steve that because of him, Beverly found the courage to pursue a new lifestyle.
Beverly and Bartimaeus
Inspector Steve Keller looked into the side view mirror as he guided the brown LTD away from the curb, leaving Beverly Landau to her new life as a restaurant hostess. Steve couldn't suppress a smile as he thought of the slim brunette starting a new, and hopefully, more respectable stage in her life.
"What?" Lieutenant Mike Stone asked curiously.
"You. You're really something, you know that? `Pull over and get me a newspaper`, you said. Was that the best excuse you could come up with?" Steve was still grinning at his partner.
"Well it worked, didn't it?"
"You'd think I'd learn by now." Steve chuckled before becoming serious. "I just hope she makes it."
"She will. She's a tough lady and thanks to you, she has a new life," Mike agreed. "It reminds me of last Saturday evening,' he added thoughtfully.
Steve was puzzled and tried to think back to late that prior week. "Okay, give me a clue here."
"Oh, sorry. You weren't there. It was at Mass. I was remembering the Homily."
"Let me guess, was it about Jesus and the prostitute?" Steve knew Mike was a religious man. Throughout their working relationship, Mike's faith was something he discussed openly, but not something that he pressed with his younger partner. As a result, it was a comfortable topic between the pair.
"Oh, you`ve heard about that story?" Mike half jokingly surmised that if Steve knew a Bible story, it would involve something sordid. The Bible was one of the rare topics in which the young man did not demonstrate much proficiency.
"Well, admittedly, I'm not much of a New Testament reader, but the idea behind `he who is without sin casting the first stone' is absolutely a keeper." the young man added.
"Actually, the woman in that story was not necessarily a prostitute. She had only committed adultery."
"My kind of girl," Steve smirked.
Mike sighed. "Well, before we go too far down that path, I wasn't thinking of that particular story at all. Nor was I thinking of adultery or prostitution, so get your mind out of the gutter for once."
"I'm hurt," Steve retorted with a slight smirk.
Mike ignored his protégé. "I was thinking about Bartimaeus."
"He was a blind man who lived in Jericho and had a strong faith in Jesus. When He came to visit the town, Bartimaeus hoped that Jesus could cure his blindness," Mike instructed.
"So what happened?"
"Bartimaeus called out to Jesus when he heard Him coming. The townspeople told Bartimaeus to be quiet." Mike leaned toward his partner to make his point. "But instead of being quiet, he yelled louder until Jesus heard him. That's when Jesus called him over and asked him what He wanted Him to do."
"So Bartimaeus asked Jesus to cure his blindness, right? And I'll bet He did." Steve answered while he shook his head.
"What do you think?" Mike questioned.
"Miracles like that don't happen, Mike. If they did, there'd be no blindness among Christians and all those who believe in Jesus would have perfect health, wouldn't they?"
"You're too logical, Buddy boy. Sure, if you were to believe the story literally, but symbolically is what counts here."
"Symbolically?" Steve asked as he continued to drive.
"Surely you've had a literature class at that fancy college," Mike teased. "Don't you remember symbolism?"
"I might have heard about it as a literary technique at some point." The young man accepted the teasing and responded dryly. "How does this relate to Beverly, anyway?"
"Bartimaeus was an outsider. He had something wrong with him and he was prejudged by the townspeople as undesirable. The townspeople didn't want him to call out to Jesus. They felt that Jesus was there for them only. They were the insiders."
"But when Jesus called the blind man over, they realized that Bartimaeus was an insider too," Steve concluded.
"That`s probably what they thought. But what they should have realized is that there are no insiders or outsiders. We are all children of God and we shouldn't be holding each other back."
"And you figure Beverly was an outsider, too? Because of her background, people wouldn't accept her for being anything but a prostitute," Steve reasoned as he made a right turn.
"Am I right on that one?"
Steve said nothing, but contemplated Mike's comment. "Loren Graham certainly did. That bastard made himself her judge and jury all in the name of `cleanliness'. I suppose he felt like he was doing God's work."
"He was a sick man, you know that. And he most definitely was not doing `God's work'."
"There would be some who would argue with that. I struggle with the zealots who find every reason in the world to ostracize people."
"If you know the meaning of `symbolism', you must know about ostracizing," Steve kidded. "It's people's nature to push others down just to elevate themselves. If there's a way to label people, there's a way to put them down or keep them in their place. A person can be considered no good because of their color…or their religion…or where they are from. Or maybe their parents were divorced and they were raised in a single parent home. Or what they do for a living doesn`t live up to their standards. It goes on."
"We, as a society, spend too much energy tearing each other down. Look at politics. You would think that every man who runs for office is an escaped convict. We can treat each other like vicious savages if we're not careful. But if we could only lift each other up instead of knocking each other down, we'd all be better off."
"You're right, but then we'd probably work ourselves out of a job," Steve commented.
"It's a job that I'd be happy to work myself out of. After all, I'm close to retirement. And you, you're smart enough to do something else."
Steve smiled at the thought and the pair rode in silence. All the while Steve processed their discussion in his head.
"You know, I'm just as guilty," Steve confessed. "I prejudged her. Because she was a prostitute, I wasn't too keen on being assigned to protect her."
"Why was that?" Mike sounded more like Lenny, the department psychologist than the senior homicide detective.
"Really, I figured she'd give me all sorts of grief. I figured she'd be ungrateful and call me 'pig'. I just didn't want to deal with that."
"Did she do what you thought she`d do?"
"No, as a matter of fact she didn't. And it was ironic, too. You know that night I spent with her in the hotel, guess what she gave to me to read?"
"I have no idea, what?"
"The Bible. I took her up on it, much to her surprise. I read it all night."
"Well, good for you."
"I slowed down, of course, when it got to the good parts with prostitutes and fast women."
Mike shook his head and uttered under his breath, "Idiot."
Steve chuckled at the rise he got from his mentor. "But wait a minute: You were talking about symbolism and the curing of Bartimaeus's blindness. How does that figure with Beverly?"
"Ah, yes. When Bartimaeus left Jesus, his sight was restored. Jesus said, `go - your faith has healed you'. It's the same with Beverly. She was able to open her eyes to what she was and saw that she didn't have to be like that. She had to believe life could be different for her and that she didn't have to be an outsider. It was her faith that healed her."
Steve said nothing, but Mike could tell he was absorbing what they had said. "Bartimaeus, huh?"
"We should all be that way to each other, no matter what our faith or tradition. No one should be treated like an outsider," Steve considered. "So when you assigned me to protect Beverly, did you think about Bartimaeus?"
"I'm not that calculating. No, but this was a lesson I learned long ago. We protect and serve all the public, not just a portion of it. This was a chance for you to get to know someone from the other side of the tracks. I knew you would be able to consider Beverly as an equal part of the public."
"It didn't happen instantly, though."
"Of course not, but it happened just the same. I have faith in you, Buddy boy." Mike gave his partner's right arm a punch.
Steve was humbled by the remark. How did he get so lucky to have someone who cared that he learned certain lessons? Steve decided not to question his good fortune but gave a quick glance to his partner while trying to hide a slight blush. "Thanks!"