Friday, June 22, 2012
The voice outside the window, decidedly female, scolded, "Fr. O'Kenney! Is that any type of language for a man of God? And you being a Pastor, and all that! My word! I'm shocked!"
Fr. Kevin regained his composure, and asked, "Is that you Mrs. Peppers? I do apologize
for the rather foul language...it's just that you startled me. I didn't expect anyone to be standing at the window...especially with the rose bushes right under them. What can I do for you?"
"Well, you can start by inviting me in, Father. It's ridiculous to be carrying on a conversation between glass." She turned away in a huff, and made her way to the front door.
For a second, Fr. O'Kenney thought about not letting her inside the rectory. Fact was, the woman totally creeped him out. But common sense took over, and he went to unlock the front door. It was ridiculous to be uneasy around someone who was probably just a very lonely, old lady, looking for a bit of company. It certainly didn't help his uneasiness when he opened the door to find her standing there with a large hammer in her hand.
Before he could ask, Tessa explained, "I hope you don't mind, Father? I took the liberty of putting a large lawn sign in front of the church. You know...for my campaign as Mayor? After you so graciously offered me your support this afternoon, I didn't want to waste a second. Thought I should get it in front of the church before Sunday Mass and all"
Fr. Kevin tried hard not to make a face. He had neither offered his support, nor permission to
place anything on the lawn. Using his best "Pastor" voice, he tried to reason with the woman, "I'm not sure the diocese allows us to get involved in political issues, Mrs. Peppers. How about I give the diocese office a call on Monday, and check the policy. In the mean time, maybe I better take the sign down. You know...just to be sure. Besides, you probably don't want to post your sign on the church lawn right now, well... with all the crime scene tape and such. Bad vibes, and such..."
"But that's the whole point, Fr. O'Kenney! People in this town need to see the kind of job the present Mayor is doing! He's soft on crime! Like I said this afternoon, when I'm Mayor, things are going to be different." Changing the subject of the lawn sign, she added, " By the way Father, my good friend Jenny Hoffman mentioned that she saw you coming out of Sheriff Beckett's office this afternoon. What ever in the world did you need to see him about? Was it about that terrible murder?"
Trying to take control of the conversation, Fr. Kevin replied, "Oh, just checking in with the Sheriff...a little of this and that." He was glad that he had picked up the papers from Marco's file, and stacked them on his desk, out of the busy body's sight. Killing her with kindness, and hopefully knocking her off this track of questioning, he asked, "You must be parched from the long walk over here. Can I get you a cold drink?" Lifting the pitcher off the table, he suggested, "Some nice lemonade, perhaps,"
"Oh no. Never touch the stuff. Nasty, it is! But I could do with a nice cup of tea, English Breakfast, if you have it."
"I can see what I have in the kitchen. I'll be back in a few minutes." Seeing her make herself comfortable on his sofa, he added, "It's such a lovely evening, Mrs. Peppers. Maybe we should sit on the front porch." He thought that if they sat on the porch chairs, he would at least have gotten her out of the rectory, and hopefully, closer on her way to leaving.
"Oh here is fine, Father," she said, patting the sofa cushions with her plump hands. "I don't care much for the night air."
He banged around the kitchen, trying to find tea of any kind. He put the kettle on to boil, and dug around the top shelf of the pantry. He was a coffee person himself, and unless there was something left over from the pastor before him, he was doubtful Mrs. Peppers was going to get her cup of tea. Eventually finding a dusty box of green tea, a give away of unknown age from the local Chinese carry-out, he placed a tea bag in the cup, and added the boiling water. He carried the cup and saucer back to the parlor, careful not to slosh the hot liquid on his hands.
He started to apologize for his lack of English Breakfast tea, but stopped when he noticed only the hammer was sitting on the sofa. Looking around the room, he stood in shock...at loss for words...as he watched the bold Mrs Peppers, standing over his desk, flipping through the files on Marco's murder.