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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

         Monday mornings seem to appear earlier, and with much more sun shiny gusto, than other days of the week.  It's as if Mother Nature needs to give you  a gentle pat, a reminder that weekend playtime is over, and your presence is required elsewhere.  For Fr. O'Kenney, this particular Monday's sunrise was more like a boot in the ass.  He squinted open one eye, barely wide enough to acknowledge the piercing light, and quickly snapped it shut, the pain traveling to his head, and down into his stomach. He'd have to think hard to recall the last time he felt this awful.

        He knew he should check the time, although he guessed it couldn't be much after 6 AM.  He congratulated himself on having the foresight to schedule morning Masses for 8:30, as it would take at least that long to be able to open both eyes at the same time.  Attempting to roll over, he realized that he was laying face first in a plate that smelled suspiciously of smashed bananas, and the movement, plus the odor of decaying fruit, was causing his stomach to roll in sea faring waves of nausea.  He tried to remember exactly how many shots of Jameson he had foolishly consumed, but the strain of thinking caused the hammer in his head to pound with greater fury.  If his condition was any indication, it must have been quite a few.

         After several minutes, Fr. Kevin attempted to sit up, and swing his legs over the side of the bed.  Things seemed fine for a bit, but suddenly the contents of his gut fought for escape, and he ran, hand over mouth, to the bathroom down the hall.  With his head in the bowl, he could hear his cell clanging away in the bedroom.  Even in the throes of his hangover, he knew a phone call this early in the day was generally not tidings of good news, so as soon as he was able, he splashed some water on his face and went in search of the phone. Finding it under the dresser, he looked at the caller I.D. and saw the call had come from the Sheriff's office.  Before he could even return it on his own, the phone rang again, the Sheriff obviously determined to reach him.

      "Good Morning, Sheriff.  No, you didn't wake me...I was getting ready to..ah...take a shower.  No, it's perfectly alright.  What can I do for you?"  As the Sheriff continued his end of the conversation, the young priest felt a sudden need to sit down.  Perching himself on the end of the bed, he said, "That's terribly sad, Sheriff.  Horrible stuff.  Do they know what caused the fire? Yes, I understand, they'll need to do an investigation. Well, I will certainly do what I can.  I believe Mrs. Rivera had a sister.  Remember, we met her after Mr. Rivera's murder? Yes, I can see if I can locate her.  Okay, Sheriff.  I'll check in with you later."

      Clicking the cell phone off, Fr. O'Kenney laid back across the bed, trying to ignore his throbbing head and queasy stomach.  Both Riveras...dead within a week.  He didn't know either of them very well, but he guessed they must be pleased to find themselves together again in heaven.  At least he hoped so.  It was just that both of their ends had come so violently.  It was terribly depressing...and odd, like the plot in some second rate movie.  Not knowing what else he could at that moment, he quietly prayed for the two of them, and promised he would offer some Masses for the repose of their souls.  In the mean time, he would do his best to find Mrs. Rivera's sister, and offer her whatever help he could.

       Dragging his reluctant body off the bed, Fr. Kevin got down to the business of starting his day.  A long shower had made him feel somewhat more like a human being, and the pounding in his head had subsided to just a dull whack.  He thought he might be able to do with a cup of coffee and a piece of toast, but his missing shoes seemed nowhere to be found.  It was then that he recalled he had left the shoes, and his 1oz proof coin, on the dresser as "fairy gifts".

        It was the first time all morning he had the opportunity to even think about that weird experience the night before.  He was pretty sure he didn't even he want to tackle that strange discussion until he got some caffeine into himself.  Turning to go downstairs, something caught his eye near the window.  Looking closer, he noticed it was a pile of acorns and a note written in fancy longhand,
" Lad, thanks for the hospitality and the gifts.  Be seeing you soon.  Brian"  A stunned Fr. O'Kenney, didn't know whether he should be amused...angry...or possibly freaked out. "Damn!" he mumbled.  "The little shit stole my shoes and the gold coin!"




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