Monday, March 01, 2010

The Rosary

What follows is a rushed dialog only piece to enter the flash challenge hosted by Daniel O'Shea over at Going Ballistic. Cormac mentioned it and I did not think I could come up with something based on "where folks hit their knees", what with me being the heathen that I am. Anyway, here is my effort, whether I make the deadline or not. And please, I did not mean to offend anyone. It is just a story after all.

The Rosary

"Father, what are you doing?"

"Well Sister Agnes, I am replacing the cords on some of the rosaries we just got in."

"I see. Why would you do that Father?"

"Some of our wonderful flock have been complaining of late about the quality. I have heard complaints about them just not holding up during strenuous prayer vigils."

"Prayer Vigils Father? I have heard nothing of any event or catastrophe that would warrant a prayer vigil inside the parish."

"Actually Sister, the problem seems to be in one of our affiliate organizations. Primarily the complaints have come from the local Odd Fellows chapter."

"Oh, I see. You know the Vatican does not ....."

"I know, I know Sister. The Odd fellows do not currently enjoy the favor of Rome. But they are some of our most faithful and generous parishioners. Should I not at least give their concerns over such mundane matters as the quality of the rosaries some consideration?"

"I guess so Father. But really, the Odd Fellows? The ones I know make me so nervous......Why just the other day, one of them wanted to massage my neck when I complained I had awakened with a cramp."

"That seems innocent enough. Just a good Samaritan offering of his time and energy."

"Father, the cramp was in my thigh."

"Sister Agnes, please. Enough about the Odd Fellows. I have fifteen more rosaries to re-string."

"Yes Monsignor, of course..............."

"Well Sister Agnes is that all? I do have to complete these rosaries by this Sunday."

"I was wondering if you had heard about the awful occurrences happening over at the Methodist Church?"

"Why No Sister, what has happened?"

"Apparently several of the more affluent members have been found strangled and hanging upside down from their barn rafters."

"Oh Dear. That is awful. How many unfortunate protestants have they found?"

"Seven so far. Constable Akins is checking other farms for more........Say Father?"

"Yes Sister."

"What kind of cord are you using to re-string the beads? It looks much more robust than it needs to be for simple rosaries."

"Sister Agnes, I really had hoped you had not instigated that nosy nature of yours. It really leaves me no choice I guess."

"Uh, why is that Father?"

"Let's just say I think it is time we retired to the barn. I want to show you why the rosaries........ You see if Elder Milton had not been overheard calling us Bead Mumblers, there would be no need to fortify the rosaries. Please Sister....this way."

Image from Chris2fer


David Barber said...

I like that one Mike. A nice little ending and very well written.

Anonymous said...

I know Sister Agnes. Had her for eight years. Once she figures what's going down here, she'll kick the holy crap outta the good Monsignor. And stuff his fortified beads up his you know where. Never mess with Sr. Agnes!

Fun read, Crummy. Good outline for a Sister Agnes series on Mystery Theatre.

Chris said...

Nice twist on this one too. I enjoyed it.

Four Dinners said...

Nice twist is an understatement.

Allright..I'm a newby at this story telling stuff but I like what I like.

This I like.

So there.


Four Dinners said...

Bloody Hell!! For one awful second I thought it said 'Lost In The Boyzone'.....shudder

MRMacrum said...

David - Thanks guy. Naturally upon re-reading it, I want to change it. Even though I know my re-edits often back fire on me.

PresterJohn - Having grown up in the times when Nuns carried weapons and were not afraid to use them, I do not doubt your claim. My wife, sister in law, and many Catholic contemporaires all have outrageous tales of Nuns with violent habits. Glad you liked it. Thanks.

Chris - Thank you for the good word. I seem to be in a phase of experimentation with the dialog only thing.

Four Dinners - I would say that you and I are not that far apart. I only started to really throw serious effort at this fiction thing last Fall. It actually gets easier the more I do it. The quality, well, it comes and goes. Glad you liked it.

"The Boyzone"? Damn. I never considered it might look that way. But now that someone has pointed it out, well, maybe I should become a priest in Boston.

Laura said...

I like the image of death by rosary, as well as the related image of this priest, re-stringing beads on something substantial enough to stand up to the task. Dark!

Matthew McBride said...

First off, thanks for the awesome compliment on my story!
Second, this was great! Want to read more of yr work, I will def be following yr blog

pattinase (abbott) said...

A good laugh at long last. All dialogue is perfect for a flash piece.

susan said...

That was very wry and witty.

Joyce said...

This was so clever. Having grown up with nuns toting yardsticks, and who knows what else under those long black skirts, I think Sister Agnes could probably take care of herself in the end. But still, this was great and a lot of fun. Thanks much for sharing this with us!

Übermilf said...

I'm betting Sr. Agnes escapes. But I want to know more about these Odd Fellows!

This is one of those Flash Fictions that's really more a start to a larger story than a fully-contained short story. You should hold on to this idea for later.

Dottie (My Blog 2.0-Tink's Place) said...

I guess that's why you never honk off a priest, those rosaries can do just about anything.....Great work!

Dottie :)

Beach Bum said...

Mike that blew me away. Given the "troubles" many Catholic priests have put themselves in this doesn't seem far-fetched.
Awesome story!

sunshine said...

Lost in the "Boyzone"... Hahahaha.. I love it!!!! Omg.. I can't stop laughing at that one. :P

Great story Mike. I think all bitchy nuns should be strung up so, I liked this one a lot.
(sorry, bad Catholic school memories).


MRMacrum said...

Laura - I have always been fascinated by the various religious baubles different religions use as tools of their trade. Glad you enjoyed it.

Matthew McBride - I still chuckle when I think of Lowes, $12.99. So ridiculous, yet it worked in so well. Anyway, Thanks for the atta boy.

pattinase (abbott) - As I am still fumbling around finding better ways to write, I got my teeth into this dialog only thing as a way to work on making dialog work better for me. And I think you are right, Flash is a perfect vehicle.

You commenting on the laugh factor is interesting as I felt the same way after so many seriously strange and forboding tales read in one sitting. Thanks for swinging by.

susan - I love that word - wry. A polite way to call something twisted. And indeed I was going for twisted. BTW - have you moved to the Maritimes yet?

Joyce - It's odd, but when Cormac mentioned the challenge and it's prompt, I chewed on it for several days. I just could not come up with anything that did not emulate the style of the better writers than I was. And yesterday it came to me when I spotted the Misbaha (Islamic prayer beads) hanging from a hook in my office. No, I am not muslim, but a friend who converted recently is. He gave them to me. Why? Not sure. Anyway, once the seed, uh bead had been planted, I pounded this out in less than 30 minutes.

I am glad you enjoyed it. Writing it made me chuckle more than a few times.

Ubermilf - Until you made this observation, I had not even considered it as part of a larger story. I re-read it and yeah, it could be taken somewhere.

Odd Fellows actually exist. They are one of those groups like Free Masons, Shriners, whatever. Begun as civic spin offs of the Catholic community back in the mid 1800s, they did something to piss off a Pope and fell from grace. The only reason I know about them is I used to drink cheap on fridays at one of their halls in the Baltimore area back in the day. Baltimore, hell Maryland was started by Catholics. The state is chock full of them. But what state isn't?

Dottie - Who needs piano wire when all you need is some faith and a string of beads? Thanks for the good word. I appreciate it.

Beach Bum - Thanks guy. I wonder if the Church had not been so tolerant, so willing to turn a blind eye, would these "troubles" had peaked so catastrophically?

sunshine - I am seriously considering a change. Confusion like that could land me in a confessional somewhere.

Not having felt the harsh and rigid rule of catholic school, I never could reconcile the image of kindly looking ladies wearing robes visciously smacking children around with pointers and yard sticks. But too many of my friends who did suffer under their heavy hand contend some Nuns could be brutal and seemed to enjoy it.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

I've heard many stories from my mom (and my long-deceased dad, back in the day) about the nuns teaching school, and the holy hell and hot water they could dish out.

But I loved this line in your comment, above: My wife, sister in law, and many Catholic contemporaires all have outrageous tales of Nuns with violent habits.

No doubt that's true, but permit me to compliment you on a brilliant pun.

Randal Graves said...

This is for all those beatings by ruler, isn't it.

I loved this.

susan said...

Like everything else nowadays, it's an overly complicated process.

My husband told me about the graduating 8th grade class in his Catholic school who gave the teacher-nun a baseball bat as a parting gift when he and his friends were finishing 7th grade. They didn't look forward to September.

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Jimmy Callaway said...

Rushed, schmushed, that was cracking good.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Well paced with a very good ending.

MRMacrum said...

El Cerdo Ignatius - When I was writing this, I thought of all the good Catholics I knew. Your name came up. And then it was dropped like a bad habit. But thanks for noticing the nun pun. ;)

Seriously, I added my disclaimer because some religious folks can be touchy about playing fast and loose with the sacred icons of their religion. Can you say Fatwa?

Randal - Actually the beatings I recieved were dished out by public school lackeys and military men. One whacking will always stand head and shoulders above the rest. It was one Saturday in May, 1970, the day before the Sunday I was to graduate from high school. I had high marks in the book learnin, the discipline department, well not so higha rating. I still had over 100 demerits to work off before a diploma could be issued. For that last time in my military school career I bent over the gun rack filled with M-1 rifles in the armory. The Colonel laid 5 heavy strokes across my backside. The man did not hold back. Guess since he was upping the number of demerits per whack by a large margin, he felt obligated to make them count. And count they did.

Susan - Hope it wasn't a Louisville Slugger. Be a shame to ruin such a fine bat.

Jimmy Callaway - Some of them just pour out. What I hate is when I have all the time in World. And I take all the Time in the World. But it never comes out right. Glad you liked it. Thanks.

Paul D. Brazil - Thanks much. All this is starting to feel more comfortable. Maybe I will get as comfortable with words somewhere close to the comfort level you seem to exhibit when you write. One could only hope.

Cormac Brown said...


Good turn, MRM!