Pastor Swank’s Story Hour

It’s the end of the week, which means it’s time for more pearls of wisdom from America’s Worst Minister, Pastor Joseph Grant Swank:


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

He murdered a fellow. Would I visit him in prison?

Great way to start off a column, Pastor Swank.  I think it’s your best lede since "The demons crawled our church walls."

I lived in Walpole, Massachusetts at the time. So being near the famous Walpole Prison was a given. Being a pastor was also a given. Therefore, the call came for me to make a visit to a man incarcerated for killing another.

Damn… I don’t care how many people this guy killed- forcing him to meet with Pastor Swank is just plain cruel.

Now those living in Walpole eventually got tired of being known as the New England village with the prison. So the name was conveniently changed. It moved from Walpole Prison to Cedar Junction. All in a name change!

It’s kinda like when Pastor Swank got asked to appear in a porno flick because some producer thought his name was "Grant Wank."

I had on a new jacket. At least it was new to me. Our church had a free clothing center. So the night before at prayer meeting, Mary Lou said to me, "Pastor, I was going through the clothing that just came in. There?s a really sharp jacket in there I think would fit you." Sure enough. I tried it. It fit. And it was no shabby piece of thread. Actually, I pictured some rather well to do fellow casting off his attractive jacket for simply another new buy. I got the good part ? his jacket leftover ? and a clever fabric at that.

So Pastor Swank would take clothes donated to his homeless shelter and keep them for himself.  I may be rusty with my Scripture, but I can’t imagine Jesus slapping a seal of approval on this…

Dressed up in my "new" jacket, and off to Cedar Junction, my morning was falling right in line. When getting to the prison, I knew the rules, having visited numerous prisoners prior. So I shed my jacket, putting it on a hook in the long hallway. Then, giving up my watch and keys and other basic objects, I walked through the metal detector. Fine.

"I thanked God that it wasn’t set off by all that mercury in my brain."

I spent some time with Mike, a new person in my book. Of course, I learned a long time ago not to get into detail as to why an individual is in prison. That?s just not courteous. But I never found it difficult finding a myriad of other subjects. Therefore, the time went by quite interestingly ? at least for me. And I believe it was for him as well.

"Yeah, I told him stories about demons infesting my church and how I helped convicted sex offenders get cheap lawyers.  We had a swell old time!"

After our time together, I once more walked with the others out into the hallway. Now we were on our way to freedom ? home or wherever. Anywhere but inside the prison house. Not a very happy environs. Not, for sure.

Well duh, Pastor Swank- it’s a freaking prison.  I know you listen to Rush Limbaugh talk about how coddled criminals are, but real jails (i.e., not the ones Rush would go to were he convicted of drug abuse) are not a lotta fun.

I noted the woman guard ushering everyone to the exit door but me. Quickly, as if a master sergeant, she pointed her index finger in my direction. With crisp orders she chirped: "Sit over there." I did. Believe me, I always did what I was told when walking toward the prison, entering the prison, in the prison, and exiting the prison.

"There were times when I’d pick up the soap in the shower for a fellow.  It was not all that good, not for sure."

Anyhow, I sat pronto on a little bench in the hallway while the female in uniform left me.

"Have I mentioned that nothing turns me on more than a female in uniform?"

In a few minutes, the henchwoman opened the far end door. She peered at me as if I were a worm near ground cover.

Anyone out there know what a "worm near ground cover" looks like?

Didn’t think so.

"Come here." With that, I rose to my feet, walked toward her uniformed authority, and waited for the crime read.

"And whatever the crime was, I hoped the uniformed female henchwoman would give me punishment by spanking maximum!"

Yet she did not say a word. Instead, she pointed me to a window with a shade. The shade flew up. Another guard ? male ? sat on the other side of that pane. He had not a smile upon his countenance. Not a one. He stared at me. He called through the speaker system into that narrow hallway.

"Do you know what we found in your jacket?" he bellowed.

Well, if the title of the column means anything, I’m gonna guess they found a miracle.

I felt like a naughty urchin at the principal?s office.

OK, I’m gonna refer to Pastor Swank as "Naughty Urchin Swank" from now on.  I mean, if that ain’t a porno name, I dunno what is.

My knees buckled. My face flushed. My palms turned glassy with sweat. And my heart, young at that time, was leaping out for parking lot freedom.

"Look here." He pointed to a piece of paper on his desk. There in the middle of the paper was a mound of something.

"What?s that?" I asked politely.

"Weed. We found weed in your jacket. You can?t bring weed into a prison. Don?t you know that??" I could have keeled over and said my final prayers. Weed? The pastor with weed? I figured he didn?t mean dandelions or wild grass.

"I can tell you what happened, sir!"

"Oh wow, man, I like totally don’t know how that got in there!"

Above: A young Pastor Swank frrreeeeeeeaks out the Normals.

So with that I proceeded to tell him that I was a pastor at the church in the village, had overseen prayer meeting the night before when Mary Lou told me there was a nice jacket in the free clothing center that she thought would fit me. I tried it on. It fit. I figured that if going to the prison that morning I could try on my new jacket, I?d do just that. And that?s how the jacket came to be on my back, then on the prison hook, and now in his office.

To buy Pastor Swank’s story, there are a few things you have accept:

1.) That some stoner would be stupid enough to leave a full bag of pot in his jacket and donate it to the homeless (not likely, but entirely possible- the wacky tobacky makes you do some funny shit).

2.) That Pastor "The Demons Crawled Our Church Walls" Swank never tried psychedelic drugs in his youth (highly unlikely).

3.) That Pastor Swank isn’t stoned right now (virtually impossible).

In other words, we can safely conclude that Pastor "Wavy Gravy" Swank is totally full of shit.

Would the grouch guard however believe that cock and bull story or what?

Yeah, see what I mean?

Yet it was the gospel truth.

Uh-huh.  I don’t think God likes it when you call the gospel a "cock and bull story," Pastor Swank.

I knew it. God knew it. But would he buy it? Prayer meeting? Clothing center? Mary Lou? Pastor? New-to-me threads? Nary a pocket felt?

"Bum, bum, buh-duh-bum-bum,

Buh-duh Bum, bum, buh-duh-bum-bum,

One pill makes you larger, and the other one makes you small,

And if you drop some acid, you’ll see demons crawling up the walls,

Go ask Pastor Swank, when snorts an eight-ball…"

He turned away from me. I stood all alone in the narrow hallway, not even the female guard there to stare me down. He lifted his phone. I could not hear a word. He shut off the system. Who was he calling? He didn?t know my district super. He did not know how to reach my wife. He had no contact related to me in the whole wide world. Who was he talking to?

Acting paranoid won’t help your case much, Pastor Swank…

In what seemed to be an eternity plus some, he put down the phone, opened up a shoot in the wall, shoved my jacket in it, then pushed it through to my sweaty palms.

"I just talked to my superior," he bellowed.

I thought: "And yes, I?ve been talking to my Superior, too."

"He says you can have your jacket and get out of here. If this ever happens again we?re taking you to court." (Several days later I got a letter on prison letterhead from the "superior" stating same. They meant biz). I grabbed the jacket. Went through several more mechanical doors. And flew for my car. Turned on the ignition and got out of that parking lot as fast as a driver could muster considering armed guards positioned in cages in the sky.

Now there?s an old-time hymn that I?ve sung since a kid. I sang it ? car windows wide open ? all the way home. It goes like this: "Glorious freedom, wonderful freedom. No more in chains of sin I repine! Jesus, the glorious Emancipator, Now and forever, He shall be mine." Ask me if I believe in miracles. The answer? I do.

I believe in miracles too, Pastor Swank, but getting banned from visiting a prison because you got caught sneaking in a dime bag ain’t one of ’em.


Comments: 15


Thank you for this story. Upon perusal, I had not a frown upon my countenance. Not, for sure.


This is an incredibly boring story and I can’t believe I had to read it till the end to find out that he was stretching it out for all it’s worth, cause he’s so freaking pleased that something’s exciting has finally happened to him.

“Dressed up in my “new” jacket, and off to Cedar Junction, my morning was falling right in line” — his morning was dressed up in his new jacket?

suburban refugee

But the most important question is still unanswered: What happened to that fine herbal product that miracously appeared in the jacket?


I think it was all Mary Lou’s devilish plan. She wanted to get the Pastor busted.


I think it was all Mary Lou’s devilish plan. She wanted to get the Pastor busted.

That’s right. Pastor Swank has a history of demons possessing his parishioners. It seems that Forces of Darkness are out to kick his ass.


Stealing from the clothing bank? And bragging about it? Yeah, I’m sure Jesus is cool with that.


cages in the sky? yeah, he’s blitzed.


“Do you know what we found in your jacket?” he bellowed.

And thus, Swanky was smitten for stealing clothes from the homeless. However, God slapped himself on the forhead as Swank mistook his divine punishment for a miracle.

Also, Brad, you forgot to link back to the original Swank piece.


Thanks Hemlock- should be fixed 🙂


I spent some time with Mike, a new person in my book.

He’s writing a book! He’s writing a book!


So, do they systematically search jackets left by visitors outside the visiting area? Is the hall with hooks patrolled by drug-sniffing dogs? I wonder what happens if you leave a few bills in the pocket of your jacket?

So many questions and not an answer in the story. Not a one. My heart, of a certain age, is raging aroung the room demanding satisfaction.


This is a miracle?

And what the hell is “a shoot in the wall”?


I hope he means “chute”.
Like the thing they used to dispense the xmas presents in jail in the episode where Bart shoplifted. Nelson got a book of carpet samples.


Sure thing Pastor! If i were to believe this cockamaimie weed whacky story then i got caught bringing an eight ball in the pair of pants that mary-lou gave me from the clothing bank ar the Walpole church. They let me go because they wanted my blow OH! They didnt bar but thay later called me for another blast of the past ya no whats i meana? You smoke pot Pastor which makes you the master blaster and you are a disaster for making up this pastor. if the guards caught you with the weed you would have indeed not suceed so pasta you need to casta after and blow anpother joint.


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