Friday, June 15, 2012
Fr. Kevin eased himself onto the straw bench in front of Su Casa Restaurant, and shook his head. It was barely noon, and he felt as if he had aged ten years. He was quite sure they had never covered handling murders in seminary school, and if they did, he, for sure, was not present at that lecture.
He had volunteered to accompany Sheriff Becket to the restaurant to break the news to Marco's widow. It was obviously his duty and obligation, being that Marco had worked for him, and had taken his last earthly breath amongst the chapel's azaleas. He had been present at a few passings before, offering prayers and comfort to the bereaved, but those had been in the dignity and quiet of a hospital room, and not the front lawn of his church. He wasn't really sure what to expect, but nothing could have prepared him for Mrs. Rivera's reaction.
After her initial shock, the new widow seemed more angry than anything else. She cursed everyone she could think of, including the Almighty, and had more than a few choice words for her departed husband. When he had tried to help her into a chair so she could compose herself, the ranting woman swore at him, and swatted him across the back with the broom she was holding. Needless to say, he offered her no further advice.
Sheriff Beckett took the woman's statement, and quickly skedaddled back to the court house, leaving Kevin unsure of what he was supposed to do next. He felt it wrong to just leave her, at least until someone from the family came to relieve him of this obligation. After much discussion, it was decided that Mrs. Rivera would call her sister , and that the restaurant would close, at least for today. When the sister arrived there was a new barrage of volatile language, this time in Spanish. While the two women snapped and snarled, he politely excused himself with a feeling of relief.
Unfortunately, as he left the building, he remembered that he had arrived in Sheriff Becket's squad car, and now had no way back to the rectory. In addition, he had left his cell phone in the sacristy when he had changed after Mass. Not wanting to go back inside to ask for the use of the phone to call a taxi, he decided he would just hoof it back across town, several blocks, in the 80 degree June heat. "If ever there were a day to enjoy the guilty pleasure of a joint, today is it." he grimly thought to himself.
Fr. O'Kenney picked himself off the uncomfortable seat, and started to make his way home. As he was leaving, he looked over his shoulder at the deserted restaurant, and noticed Marco's ungracious widow watching him from one of the building's front windows. Her action made the whole experience, from the dead guy on the church lawn, to the less than bereaved widow, seem like a lame made for TV movie. Problem was, it appeared he was to be a supporting character. "Joint my ass", he surmised, "I believe I'm entitled to the whole damn bag!" And with that thought, shuffled his way down the street, and back toward Holy Family.