An Important Notice to Readers...
Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience. Please be advised.
|The mango incident|
Against all better judgement, he folded his hands across his chest, and asked, "Back so soon? You didn't get very far."
Maureen's reply was stalled as she struggled to slow her rapid breathing, beads of sweat forming at her hairline despite the cool temperature. She leaned against the door, fingers grabbing the frame for extra support, and stared daggers at her husband of less than a week. Then, without a word of anger, picked up a mango from a bowl Alberto had deposited there only moments before, and lobbed it at his reclining head. It wasn't the reaction Beckett expected, and in his moment of hesitation, he made an easy target. The ripe fruit caught him instead in the left shoulder, splattering gooey mango guts across his chest in a sticky mess. Across the room, Maureen giggled, and grabbed for another, which might have this time hit its mark had not Alberto chosen that very moment to return with the needed supplies.
The man stood in the doorway, bewildered at the crazy scene playing out in front of him. But out of respect for the Colonel, he made no comment, and scurried about the adobe, stocking the cabinets, and wiping down the assorted furniture. During his endeavors, the Colonel sat calmly on the sofa, fruit dripping down the fruit of his shirt, as his bride stood across the room, avoiding his eye, and picking at her fingernails.
"You want I should make you a nice fire, Colonel? Very romantic, for the senora, Sir." He tried for a bland face, not wishing to offend, but couldn't help the corners of his mouth turning up.
Throughout, Beckett had remained non-plussed, ignoring the wet glop, and remaining perfectly calm. "That won't be necessary, Alberto. The Missus and I will be...just fine. Thank you for all your help, my friend."
The little man bowed. "Is no problem, Colonel. I am happy to be of assistance. I will return tomorrow with more groceries, and to see if there is anything else you will be needing. Until then, I hope you and the Senora have a pleasant evening." He nodded to Maureen, giving her a smile and a wink as he left, that turned her cheeks a deep, rosy pink.
Maureen and Beckett remained silent and motionless until they heard the man's truck pull away from the deserted building. She watched his face in the yellow lamp light, expressionless, except for a slight tightening of his jaw. Then, he crooked a finger at her, and pointed to a spot next to him on the sofa. It was obvious in her face that several notions were filtering through her mind, and she shook her head vigorously, while her fingers curled around another mango.
Beckett stood, making himself a much bigger target, and arched an eye brow as he noted the position of her hand. "I'd strongly advise against it, baby. But you go ahead, and do what ya gotta do." He took a step to the left, and ducked, just as the fruit whistled by his head, and came to a thump against the adobe wall. He shook his head, and smiled. "Aww now...you shouldn't have gone ahead and done that, sweetheart." He stepped from around the sofa, and moved closer to where she was standing. "You should know better than to set-up a challenge like this. Nothing I like more."
Maureen's hand rested on the door knob, indecision warring in her brain. She pulled it open and peered outside, then quickly closed it, shutting her eyes and sighing. Digging deep for courage, she grabbed another mango, and slid away from the exit. She'd face him inside rather than risk whatever was outside in the dark. "You stay away from me...you...you jerk! I mean it. As soon as it's daylight, I'm out of here." She gripped the fruit tighter, her nails leaving little rivets of juice running off her fingers. "And until then, you're gonna leave me the hell alone. I mean it. You stay on your side of the room...I'll stay on mine."
Her husband moved slowly in her direction, and she flung the projectile, hitting him across the right temple and spraying the fruit pieces in all directions. To her utter amazement, he grinned, and moved in the opposite direction away from her. She watched in horror as he leaned over the table, and blew out the candle in the glass lamp, plunging the room in complete darkness. "Game on, baby," he chuckled.
During this particular week, if someone where to ask Fr. Kevin if he thought all people had some shred of goodness in them, he would surely have answered with a resounding "no". It was his great misfortune to have made contact with three different people in the past several days, who he would be hard pressed to say anything nice about.
As far as he knew, the psycho Cassie McKreedy was still out there, causing whatever havoc she might, despite Beckett's insistence, before he disappeared into thin air, that everything was under control. Then there was the downright horrible Tessa Peppers, who returned from the nut house simply to make his life miserable. And now, as yet another plague upon his person, there was Samuel Belkins. A mean-spirited, nasty little man who apparently viewed him as some kind of pariah to the priesthood because he wasn't much of a book keeper.
Belkins had reviewed the parish financial records, and in his own words, had found them "sorely incomplete." He had refused to grant Holy Family, or Fr. Kevin, any type of long term extension to get things in order, and had stated he would be be back in one week to review the necessary changes. This meant several grueling days, hauling down the stacks and stacks of old records left by his predecessor, and hours of time required to go through them all, to fulfill the auditor's demands. With Maureen gone, he was short handed, and swallowing his pride, he was forced to ask Roxanne for help with the whole process, rather than admitting to any of his noisy parishioners that the church's finances were under a cloud.
It had to be nearly a 100 degrees in the cramped storage room over the garage, and he regretted wearing the whole black suit complete with collar. But with Roxie sitting next to him, alone in the tiny space, he felt it best to keep the atmosphere as professional and formal as he could. But that didn't mean he wasn't sweating like a pig in the process.
Admittedly, Roxanne had been a tremendous help. She was an organized thinker, and had quickly come up with a system to sort the records into neat, logical piles. And her pleasant demeanor and quirky conversation had made a difficult job less awful. He was just about to suggest a break for dinner, when Roxie pulled out the strange locked box from an old crate.
"Hey...what do you think this is?" She ran a hand over the leather cover, wiping a layer of dust from its cracks and crevices. There was a small padlock attached to the snap closure in the front, and she gave it a tug. "Seems to be locked." She handed the odd element to Kevin, who appeared just as clue less about it as she.
"I don't know. I've never seen it before. I went through some of these bundles last summer, but gave up after a few days. Most of them contained old church bulletins, and nonsense, so I figured I'd get to another time. Never happened. You know how that stuff goes. Best laid plans." He fingered the brass lock, adding his attempt to pull it apart. "Maybe we can use a screwdriver, or something, to pop the lock?"
With a laugh , Roxanne pulled a small pocket knife from her jeans, and held it up. "Think this might work? I'm seriously curious as to what's in that thing. Maybe it's a pile of old money, or some valuable church relic?"
"Here in the storage room at Holy Family? Not a chance, Rox. Those kinds of things never happen to someone like me."
Copyright 2013 Victoria T. Rocus
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