Sunday, July 8, 2012
Finding the quickest route on MapQuest, Fr. O'Kenney pedaled his way through the streets of Dollyville, waving at his sheepish parishioners as he went by. The day was much too warm for Roman collar and jacket, but as this was to be an official visit, Kevin felt he needed to look the part. He tried to ignore the sweat pooling around his neck, and instead focused on what he needed to explain to the Sheriff went he got there.
Despite the punishing heat, it was a pleasant ride through the town. Every garden was in full bloom, and the quietness of a Sunday morning gave him a sense of calm. He passed the home of Tessa Peppers, and breathed a sigh of relief that the old woman was no where to be seen. He was quite sure that after their visit last night, the widow would have more than a few unkind words for him. Seeing the huge campaign sign on her lawn, he shuddered to think of this town under the reign of the bull-headed Mrs. P.
A few blocks later, he found himself on Parker Boulevard, and rolled to a stop in front of 1642.
The Sheriff's home was a beautiful white Victorian, with a front porch that ran the entire length of the building. That porch was currently being guarded by a full grown German Shepard, who growled softly as Fr. Kevin made his way up the steps, but moved not a muscle.
"Easy, boy. Nice doggie." the priest murmured, as he gave the doorbell a quick press. He waited a full minute, his eyes never leaving the dog, and pressed again, this time holding the button for a bit longer. Still no response. Trying one more time, he gave the doorbell a final, long push, and followed it up with a demanding knock. From within, Fr. Kevin could hear footsteps, and stepped back from the door, waiting for the Sheriff's arrival.
"Hold your horses! I'm coming!" With a gruff bark, the Sheriff flung open the front door. His hair was wet, and he was barefoot, wearing only a pair of neatly pressed black dress pants. It was obvious by his expression that he was shocked, and not happy, to see the young priest on his door step.
"Fr. O'Kenney? What are you doing here? It's Sunday morning...shouldn't you be holding services or something?"
"Good Morning, Sheriff Beckett. I hope I'm not bothering you?"
"As a matter of fact, Father, you just caught me getting out of the shower. I have somewhere I need to be in an hour."
"Well, Sheriff, this won't take long, and it's very important. I just recalled this morning, that on the day of Mr. Rivera's murder, there was a woman in church. A young blond woman...praying the rosary."
" And why would you think that unusual, Father O'Kenney? Isn't that what you people do?"
Knowing full well that he was being patronized, Fr. Kevin stood his ground. "It's just that I had never seen her before, and I thought...well..maybe she might have witnessed something going on with Marco. Plus, we did find that rosary in the church garden."
"And, are you sure the rosary you found is the same exact rosary the blond was using that morning?"
"Well...no. I guess I can't be positive it's the same one. But it sure is a coincidence, isn't it?
Maybe I can describe the woman for the sketch artist. If we have her picture, there might be someone in town who would recognize her. I think you should a least talk to her...find out what she knows."
Folding his arms across his chest, and leaning on the door frame, the Sheriff let out a quiet laugh. "Like I told you before, Father. This isn't CSI Las Vegas. We don't have the resources those big cities have. Hell... we don't even have a 'sketch artist". If I need something drawn, I usually just go ask Mrs. Dunbar, the art teacher over at the high school for a favor. I don't mean to be rude Fr. O'Kenney, but I'd appreciate if you'd just take care of soul saving, and leave crime solving to the professionals." Standing up straight, and reaching for the door, the Sheriff continued, "Now if you don't mind, Father, I really need to finish dressing for my date. If you want to discuss this further, you can make an appointment with Julie over at the Court House. But right now, I'd really appreciate you letting me have my day off."
A moment later, Fr. Kevin found himself staring at the closed door. Disgusted, and more than slightly embarrassed at being given the brush off, he made his way down the steps to the sidewalk.
As he left, the German Shepard stood on all fours, sending him off with a deep throated growl.