by Jack Cameron
Father Michael walked through the empty church. He loved this place. The stain glass windows, the candles, that big crucifix. Jesus looked damn good for a guy on a cross. Father Michael looked behind him. No one. Good. His secret was safe.
There was a time when this sort of thing wasn’t a big deal. He could do it whenever he wanted. But things had changed in the church. Nowadays Father Mike was bigger than ever and any indiscretion was carefully analyzed. It was like they wanted him to fail.
Father Michael unlocked his office door and quickly locked it behind him. He stood perfectly still, listening for any sound at all. Nothing. He was safe….well as safe as a man with an addiction like his could be. Tim would be here soon. Father Michael opened a drawer and pulled out a $20 bill. It would be enough for Tim.
Father Michael sat in his chair and waited with anticipation. He began to sweat. He used the bill in his hand to wipe it off. He hoped Tim wouldn’t mind. Suddenly he heard a familiar knock on the window.
He looked to see Tim. Tim had long hair and baggy pants that stayed up by some unknown means. His face was wet with rain. Father Michael opened the window. Tim stepped in as he had done countless times before.
“Good afternoon, Father Mike.”
“Hello, Tim. Thank you for coming.”
“Well, I know this isn’t easy for you and I know how careful we have to be. It’s okay though. I really understand. My dad was like you once.”
Tim set his backpack down. The phone rang. Father Michael put a finger to his lip, telling Tim to be quiet. Father Michael answered the phone. “Hello? Mrs. Davis. How nice to hear from you….Mrs.Davis, can I call you back? I’m in the middle of writing next week’s sermon….Thanks. Goodbye.”
During this time Tim had opened his backpack and begun to take things out of it. “Hey Father Mike? I don’t mean to be rude or anything but we should probably get this over with pretty quickly. I know what will happen if we get caught.”
Father Michael gave Tim a disarming smile. “Of course, Tim. By the way, will twenty dollars cover it?” Father Michael handed Tim the twenty. Tim reluctantly took it.
“I feel weird taking money from you for this, but it’s not free, y’know?”
Father Michael looked at the things Tim had taken out of his backpack and salivated. Tim started naming them off like it was a roll call:
“Three packs of twinkies, two packs of ding-dongs, and a pack of Pringles. Once you pop, you can’t stop.” Tim laughed.
“Thank you, Tim.”
“No problem. See you tomorrow.” Tim left the way he came. Father Michael shut the window and looked at all of this food and smiled.
It was not easy being a four hundred pound priest.