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Saturday, August 18, 2012

         For the second time in 24 hours, Fr. O'Kenney returned home from the hospital in the wee hours of the morning.  Although his left arm hurt like a sonofabitch,  he was grateful that he was still alive, and not the lead story of last night's evening news.

       Despite the problems of the ongoing investigation, the Sheriff had graciously offered to drive him home, and see that he got settled in.  Kevin felt a little silly having Ted Beckett fuss over him like he was some kind of invalid, but the fact was, he really felt awful.  He helped him off with his suit jacket, careful not to rearrange the bandages covering the upper part of his left arm.

       "Been shot myself, Father.  I sympathize.  Sometimes the wounds in the fleshy parts hurt more than the serious ones."

        Kevin hoped he'd never have the opportunity to compare, and took the Sheriff's word on it.  He had seen a passing glance of himself in the hall mirror downstairs, and had shuddered.  Eyes black and blue, swollen nose, his left arm all bandaged up, and dried blood decorating the front of his jacket.  More like prize fighter than a pastor.  Wonderful.  The Bishop was sure to hear about this.

       "I called Father Wilton over at St. Luke's.  He's going to come and take care of your morning services for you.  I hope that was okay?  I figured you guys covered for one another."

        "That's very thoughtful of you, Sheriff.  I'm not sure I'm going to feel up to saying two Masses in a couple of hours."

        "I thought not.  Once those pain killers kick in, it's going to be lights out for several hours. Good thing too, 'cause when the initial shock wears off, that arm's gonna hurt like hell."

         He couldn't imagine the thing hurting anymore than it all ready did, but felt it rude to contradict the Sheriff on an issue he had far more experience with.  The man helped him into bed, fixing the blankets, and fluffing up the pillows for him, as if he were a kid with the flu.  "So, Sheriff... what happens to Tessa Peppers now?"

        "She's still at Jefferson Memorial, waiting on a psych eval and under 24 hour guard.  You know, she did confess to stabbing Marco Rivera, and setting the fire at Su Casa."

        "Really?  Did she say why she did it?'

       "Claims the Riveras had photos of her "little hobby"and were trying to blackmail her.  They wanted her to change her Town Council vote regarding their liquor license application, and of course, a tidy sum of cash.  Mrs. Peppers, on the other hand, wanted to purchase the land the restaurant sat on, and was hoping to force them out of business.  Neither side was willing to negotiate, and it escalated from there.  We found the matching glove to the red one you found, and empty gasoline cans tucked in a corner of her garage.

        "But what about the gas explosion?  And why come after me?"

        "Peppers claims she had nothing to do with the explosion, but there was a large pipe wrench in her basement.  And as far as her run in with you, she said she got a text yesterday afternoon from a number she didn't recognize.  It said you were in on the "scam", and that you had her $80,000."  The Sheriff narrowed his eyes, and bluntly asked the priest, "You wouldn't know anything about that, now would you Father O'Kenney?"

       Kevin tried to keep his face as impassive as possible, and answered, "No Sheriff, of course not.  I'm a little offended that you asked that."

        "No offense meant, Father.  Just doing my job.  Tessa says she lost the cell phone over at the explosion site, so I'm going to see if I can find it and trace the number.   Maybe shed some light on why she came at you."

         "Sorry, Sheriff.  It's been a long night."

         "I understand, Father.  And if you don't need anything else, I'm going to get going.  I have to get down to the Court House to see about Tessa's arraignment, and Cassie is supposed to come home this afternoon.  I have a full day in front of me."

          "No, you go ahead, Sheriff.  I'll be fine.  And...ah...thanks for everything.  I appreciate you seeing that I got home okay."

           "Your welcome, Father.  I'll probably swing around much later and check on you."  With a nod to Kevin, the Sheriff made his way down the stairs and out the front door.

            Kevin laid his head back on the pillows, and was almost asleep before he could finish the first decade of the rosary.  He thought he heard the bedroom window open, but couldn't force his eyes lids to move, and drifted into relative unconsciousness. Brian saw that the lad was already asleep, and tip toed quietly over to the bed.

           "Ya did good lad.  Margaret is surely proud of ya today."  The little man tucked  the covers around the young priest, and softly patted his arm.  Then, he placed the gold proof coin on the nightstand, and slid out the window the same way he'd come in.

Copyright 2012 Victoria Rocus


1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much. I really enjoyed the story and the minis. (Great work on both!)