As he shoved an extra sweatshirt into his backpack, Fr. Kevin wondered why he even bothered. Maureen never listened to him. Not ever. He thought back to the time when they were kids, shaking his head at her wide array of half-baked ideas. Plans destined from the start to turn out badly, and usually rooted in some deep-seated need to get even. Despite pleading suggestions from him to reconsider, she would always refuse, calling into question his brotherly loyalty, and insisting on his faithful participation in her doomed scheme.
He recalled the time she was in the sixth grade, and being harassed by the class bully, who, it was revealed years later, had suffered from an aching middle school crush on her. For several weeks that winter, Sean Fitzmorrow...funny how he still remembered the kid's name...would lie in wait along her usual route home from school, and when she passed by, would pummel her with freshly packed ice balls, all the while yelling out "Momo O'Kenney is flat as a penny."
Determined to fix her would be suitor once and for all, she designed a plan to give the misguided Sean a taste of his own medicine. A battle proposition, that would, of course, require the help of her favorite brother. Mo's stratagem had her placed in the role of "bait', forcing the clue-less tormentor to chase after her past a collection of low lying bushes, where Kevin would jump out and lob a torrent of well-placed snowballs. It sounded simple enough, but he'd felt silly as a 15 year old involved in her grade school kid play. He had tried to convince her to just walk home a different way, ignore her bully, and hope he'd tire of her and turn his attention elsewhere. For days, she had cried, pleaded, cajoled and whined, until sick of hearing her, he gave in and promised to help.
On the day in question, he showed up at the assigned location to find that she had already prepared a stack of ice balls, and in addition, had covered the 4 feet of sidewalk in front of the spot with a slicked down patch of ice. Ordering him to stay in hiding, she ran of to find her prey, and it wasn't long before she came sailing by him, screaming like a banshee, with the love sick Fitzmorrow in hot pursuit.
"Now, Kevin! Now!" She hollered, and pointed wildly at the chubby boy behind her.
A snowball in each hand, Kevin threw them one after another toward the racing kid. Surprised to see someone appear out of nowhere, Sean lost his balance and began to flail and slide, just at the very moment one of the solid orbs made contact with his upper lip. He went down hard, falling on his right elbow, with blood streaming from a gaping split below his nose.
Horrified, Kevin and Mo had run back to the house, the kid's high pitched squealing ringing in their ears. In the hours that followed, the punitive Mr. Fitzpatrick Sr. had showed up on their door step, cussing a blue streak, and threatening to have Kevin arrested as a juvenile delinquent. It seemed that the snowballs Mo had prepared in advance had been enhanced with several large flat rocks, one of which had not only split the kid's lip, but also chipped his front tooth, requiring a trip to the local dentist. In addition, the lad had ripped his best winter jacket, and sprained his right wrist. It had cost his father $100 in cash, and a bottle of his best Irish whiskey, to convince the angry man to not call the local cops.
Immediately following that ordeal, Mo had been sent to bed without supper, and Kevin's old man had whopped his ass but good. In addition, their father made him work off the money, and the cost of the whiskey, with every dirty, back-breaking chore he had come up with for the next six months. When he complained that it had been all Maureen's idea, he's received a crack to the back of the head, and an admonishment that he was older, and should have known better.
It wasn't the last time Mo had sucked him into breaking the rules. He couldn't count the times he had helped her crawl through his bedroom window, the number of cigarettes he had hid in the back of his closet, or the piles of bad report cards he had forged for her. When it came to his baby sister, he could never say no, Even now, though he had reached the maturity of his 30th birthday, and considered himself a faithful servant of the Church, very little had changed in regards to his feelings about Maureen. He wished his father was still with them. He could definitely use a crack to the head right now for what he was about to do.
This Thanksgiving trip to Beckett's cabin was, without a doubt, an absolute nightmare in the making. He had known Cassie McKreedy for six months, and there was no way she would have willingly invited he, or most notably, his sister, along on this romantic trip to the woods. He couldn't begin to imagine why the Sheriff had insisted they'd come along, and when he thought about it, the reasons made him nervous. He should have put his foot down, and forbidden her to go. Calmly explained to the Sheriff that spending time with his sister was irresponsible. Pull rank...use his position as Pastor...tie her up...do whatever was necessary to keep them from making this huge mistake.
Instead, he was up here, packing for a trip he didn't want to go on, while Mo was downstairs, happily humming as she put the finishing touches on an iced angel food cake. He grimaced as he hefted the straps of the heavy pack over his shoulder. It would take more than just angel food cake to make this weekend work. It would take the angels themselves.
Copyright 2012 Victoria Rocus