To announce and celebrate the release of my novel, The Violent Season, in paperback, I offer this excerpt from Chapter 2, “Soldiers of Christ.”
A paper copy of the book is available from the publisher, Unlimited Publishing, LLC, at http://www.unlimitedpublishing.com/gleason/. Soon to be available in paper from Amazon.
Father Peters came into the church from the sacristy still dressed in his alb and cincture. He gestured to one of the nuns.
“You’re Sister Agnes, are you not? You have the eighth grade at the school,” he asked?
“Yes, Father,” she responded.
“Sister, two of your boys, they were sitting in the second pew next to that negro boy, they were talking and carrying on during my entire sermon!”
Sister Agnes’ face reddened. “Oh… that is probably Joseph Simon and Michael Dwyer. We have more trouble with those two…”
“I want you to speak to them, Sister. Deal with them. They were most disrespectful. And, with Jesus right there on the altar in front of them! What have you been teaching these young hooligans for the last eight years?”
Sister Agnes’ face was now burning. “I shall take care of them, Father. Oh, yes, I shall!”
An hour later, Joey Simon and Mickey Dwyer finally emerged from the church onto Crescent Street. Under the close supervision of Sister Agnes Immaculata, they had spent an hour on their knees, on an unpadded kneeler in the side chapel, praying all fifteen decades of the Rosary, five decades for each of three, the “Joyous” the “Sorrowful” and the “Glorious” mysteries, a hundred fifty Hail Mary’s, fifteen Our Father’s, one Apostles Creed and an Act of Contrition thrown in for good measure.
Before releasing them, Sister Agnes had made both boys promise to go to confession the very next Saturday afternoon and confess to Fr. Peters that they had disrespected the Blessed Sacrament, the Mass, and him by talking and carrying on during his sermon. So, the boys could look forward all week to another thorough tongue lashing and another hour or so on their knees begging God for forgiveness.
The good news, as far as the boys were concerned, was that they didn’t have to take a beating from the nun. Sister Agnes rarely raised her hand to her students, but she had other more subtle ways of getting her point across, as the boys’ aching knees bore witness. Now, if they could figure some way of explaining to their parents why they were over an hour late getting back from church, they were home free.
“I never saw old Aggie Mac so pissed off! Her face was so red I thought she was going to explode,” said Joey.
“Christ! How am I going to explain this one to my Ma,” responded Mickey, “I was supposed to bring the rolls home from the bakery for my old man’s coffee.”
“Just tell her you were over my house,” said Joey, “I’m sure as hell going to tell my mom I was over yours. They never check anymore.”
“I just wish you wouldn’t pull that shit in church, Joe!” said Mickey. “We only got a couple more months of this shit and we’re sprung.”
“That’s a fine way to show your gratitude,” sniffed Joey, pretending to be insulted.
“Gratitude! What the fuck are you talking about? Gratitude for what? I just got reamed out by Aggie Mac, my knees hurt so bad I may never be able to walk right, and I got more of this shit to look forward to Saturday!”
“Ah, my child,” quipped Joey, “Had the good sister not kept you after church, you would have sought out the fair-haired and lovely Lori McShea right after mass. Then, right after having received the sinless and immaculate body of Christ, you would have filled your perverted and twisted guy-mind with sinful and lecherous thoughts. And, as the good sisters have often taught us, even to think such dirty things is in itself a mortal sin. So, this morning, I have saved my best friend’s soul from an eternity in hell. Or, at least from a bad case of blue ball.”
“You’ve got one twisted mind, Father Joe,” answered Mick, “One really twisted mind.”
“Come, my dear fellow soldier of Christ,” said Joey, grandly gesturing down Crescent Street, “There is no time for girls when we must dedicate ourselves even unto death to the holy crusade against the curse of Godless communism.”