Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Prompt 10: just keep talking

Prompt 10: An all dialogue challenge: Someone has something to confess.

I've missed you all! Had to step away for a while, but I'm back. Here's what I've been working on.

PhotobucketAs always, I encourage you to respond to this prompt in the comments, your own journal (please link back!) or the wild open fields of your own imagination.

A swoosh of curtain.

"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I've never been to confession."

Old wood creaked behind the dry screen. "Never?"

"No, sir, I'm not a Catholic."

"I understand. What compelled you to come here today?"

"I don't know, sir. I just. Um. . . . Your church is really pretty. . . . Big."

"My son, if this some sort of prank, there are many more people in line--"

"No! Sorry, sir, I just --"

"It's 'Father.' No one calls me 'sir.'"

"No one?

"No. And we haven't said the 'bless me, Father' part since at least the seventies."

"Oh. I watch a lot of television."

"Then we have somewhere to begin."


"You should confess your sin of idleness."

"But that's not what I have to confess."

A creek of the bench as a considerable weight leant against the wood paneling. "A sin is a sin."

"You want me to confess to watching too much TV?"

"When you're ready."

"I thought I just did."

"My son, there is a procedure: first you confess your sins to me, then I grant you absolution from God for them. But you must admit your sins and truly wish to atone for them."

"O . . . kay. I admit I watch too much television. But that's not the sin --"

"I forgive you for that sin. Three Hail Marys and two Our Fathers."

"Sure. Thanks. Right now?"

"Didn't you have something else you wished to talked about?"

"Yeah. Um. You're not going to believe it."

"Son, I've been in this business a long time."

Clicking noises -- fingernails picking apart vinyl cushion. "You can't tell anyone, right?"

"The confessional is sacred."

"That's a no?"

"That is a 'no.'"

"This is harder than I thought it was going to be."

"Is it something criminal?"

"No. Never."


"Depends on how you look at it."

"Is it an action you've taken against another, or words that you've spoken?"

"It's something I'm going to do."

"Then no sin has been committed."

"No, it has."

The wood paneling creaked again. "Is it a woman?"


"A man?"

"Not like that."

"Son, I can't spend all day playing 'animal, vegetable, or serial killer.' Perhaps you didn't notice the half hour line you stood in before this booth became available."

"Father, I'm supposed to give you a message, but I don't think I'm going to be able to do it."

"A mes-- excuse me?"

"A message. From the angel Jophiel. It's not something I know, it's not like I'm going to sit here saying 'I know something you don't know.' It's something I've got to show you. But I think when the time comes, I won't."

A leathery burp as a great weight shifted over vinyl cushioning. "Young man, you must listen to me. See the secretary in the hall, Sister Ann Michelle, she's a very kind woman. She can give you a number to a very competent service. There's people from St. Anthony's hospital who would be happy to talk to you about this angel, and you needn't pay if you cannot afford to --"

"Father, I appreciate that. But I don't need those kind of people. I just need to tell you what my sin is."

The air hung in the stale cubical. "All right."

"First of all, Father, I should apologize. I lied."

"You did? That -- It's a very big sin to waste a priest's time, there's so many people I must help in a day."

"I'm sorry."

"Well, to be honest, I'm relieved. Then you haven't seen the cherub Jophiel?"

"No, I meant that I lied about not being a Catholic. I had to be sure that you'd believe me even if I wasn't one of your kind."

"A priest doesn't . . . all men are . . ."

"I don't see the angel, I just know how he works. And he's been leaving me little clues all my life, like tests, you know? And I keep failing them. Little things, but also big things. Sometimes really big things."

"The Lord . . . His tests are meant to --"

"Anyone can fail a test, but I think if the angel picked me, then I should have passed them, you know? So I think that means I must be a really bad person, or maybe not a person at all. So I'm sorry, Father."

"Son, please listen to me, every human on earth is a sinner. We require the light of Jesus to restore our souls --"

"So I think I'm going to fail my final test. But don't worry, Father, you'll be there and you'll get it right. So, I guess that's my big sin. Can I have my penance now?"

"Can you --? My boy, I don't -- You say I will be there? Be where?"

"Don't worry, Father, it won't hurt." A small creek as a bench is relieved of its burden. "Well, I guess you don't have a penance for a demon. Don't worry, I fell a lot better. I guess I'll see you later. I'll do those Hail Marys and Our Fathers. You're right, I do watch too much television."

A swoosh of curtain.

Groan of wood as a tremendous weight springs from it.

"Wait! See Sister Michael, she has a pamphlet --!"


The thundering silence of a dozen staring, enqueued Catholics at a helpless, panting priest.

Photo credit.

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