When the Wolfbane Blooms — Chapter Eight

by Arnold Snyder


The next day, I called Father Mcgillicuddy to apologize for my unchristian behavior the prior evening.

“You know, Dustin,” he said, “I fully understood. And I hope you forgive me for my impudence. I knew she was your girl. I deserved the throttling you gave me.”

“How’s your neck, Jim?”

“Just a flesh wound. You were amazingly gentle with me considering the circumstances.”

“And your ear?”

“A scratch. Hardly noticeable.”

“I regret getting so carried away.”

“Think nothing of it, Dustin. My neck is intact, my ear is fine, and so is our friendship.”

“How about I’ll take you to lunch, Jim. Bessie’s Barbeque. We’ll split a rack of baby backs.”

“I’ll take a rain check on that,” he said. “I’m going to be downtown all afternoon. It’s the Feast of Corpus Christi. We’ll be having the full procession this year. Outdoors, marching down Twelfth Street. The bishop is coming. It’s the first big celebration in our new church. I won’t be carrying my cell phone. The bishop is very intolerant of cell phones. People use them in church all the time now. Mostly texting. One of the bishop’s aides told me he rebuked a priest at a dinner party when the priest’s cell phone went off. If you need to contact me, leave a message at the rectory. Priests from all over the city will be participating, plus hundreds of acolytes and members of the congregation.”

“You’re having a procession outside?” I asked.

“I’m very excited about it. Three monsignors who are visiting from Italy will be walking with us.”

“Right here in Strait City?” I said.

“Downtown. The procession will start around noon, right after high mass. Then we’ll return to the church for the benediction around one.”

“Where downtown?”

“Twelfth Street. About a half-mile east of the shopping district.”

“Half a mile east? That’s not a very nice neighborhood,” I said. “You built a church there?”

“Our Weeping Lady.”

“Those are all abandoned tenements down there.”

“You’d be surprised how many people are squatting in those buildings. It’s the shame of the city.”

“It’s a bunch of crackheads down there, Jim. Did you get a parade permit?”

“Oh, yes, absolutely. This is all very legit. I’m sure we’ll be covered in the news. We’ve done press releases and everything. You should come to the procession, Dustin. Come see our new church. We need all the support we can get.”

“I won’t be able to make it,” I said. “I have a date later this afternoon, Jim. With Bridget. A real date. We’re going to the movies. I think she likes me. She’s so totally my type.”

“I give you my blessing, Dustin. Is she Catholic?”

“I don’t know, Father. I never asked her.”

“Why don’t you both come to Mass on Sunday? I think you’ll like my new sermon.”

I had been planning to ask him to leave the church and join me and Bridget in the First Church of the Sacred Wolf. I decided against it. He was hopeless. As a proselytizer for the Catholic Church, he was now our competition.

Go to: Chapter Nine

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