Father Timothy He Got Game
Dylan O’Mara dipped his fingertips into the holy water, knelt down at the end of the aisle, made the sign of the cross, stood up and looked around the interior of St. Teresa’s church. The old stone building settled like a brick in the middle of a snow mound was showing its age yet appeared well maintained and clean inside and out. He noticed that in place of real flowers there were elaborately folded paper ones in the nearby vases. Hearing an unseen door open at the other end of the church, he waited patiently in hopes of encountering someone who could direct him to the priest he’d cautiously driven the main road that had been plowed just that very morning through Falls to find. A few moments later a slim man wearing an old-fashioned priest hassock made his way down the east wall aisle with a group of small children following in his wake. Seeing Dylan, the priest raised a hand in greeting and nodded as he continued leading the children to the main front entrance where an elderly Mexican woman sat waiting at the end of the very last pew near the windows. After a brief exchange, the children and woman exited together through the doors behind Dylan. Hands deep in his coat pockets, Dylan walked to meet the priest halfway. “Father Timothy?”
“Good day, Father. I’m Dylan O’Mara. I just need a minute of your time, then I’ll be on my way.”
“Nice tto mmeet you, Mmister Ooo’Mara. How cccan I hhelp you?”
Dylan looked the young-looking priest in the eye for a moment trying to get a sense of the man. It was clear that he had Father Timothy’s full attention but beyond that, Dylan couldn’t be certain of anything including his age. ”I’ll keep it short and to the point. I’m looking for my son. He’s been out of touch since this snow hit. His mother is worried sick. My boy, he’s not the most regular church going Catholic, but he minds his ps and qs. I’m making the rounds because my wife has this notion that maybe he got snowed in with some friends and might have caught a mass someplace other than the usual. He’d be about my height. Half my weight. Fit, but not muscle-bound. Mid twenties with longish brown hair that’s kind of wild-looking. Have you seen anyone like that at mass recently?”
Father Timothy took a few steps backward then carefully looked Dylan up and down. He shook his head slowly. “I’m sorrry. Haven’t ssseen anyone your height who looks like yyou.”
“Oh no, Father, he doesn’t look like me except for the height. Sarge is big, but not like me. Leaner, longer build. Has a kind of hard boned look to him. Got a pretty boy face with hazel eyes. Not brown eyes like mine.”
Father Timothy shook his head again. “No. I wwould rrremember vvery tttall and wwhite. I can kkeep an eye out ffor him. I’ll ccall if you give mme your number.”
Dylan nodded as he pulled a business card out of his wallet. “Thank you, Father. I appreciate your help. So does my wife. Thank you so much for your time.” He handed his card to the priest. ”Well behaved kids you brought out earlier. Quiet, polite like.”
Father Timothy’s face light up with a bright smile. “Oh ttthey’re aaa joy. LLotts of ppparents work. Wwe ttry to help out as much as pppossible. Lots of older people hhelp wwith aan hour or two. They’re like ffoster grandparents. They make warm meals for the ccchildren when their parents work late shifts. And we ttry to mmake sure every ccchild gets sssomething ggood to eat from us aaafter school. It all adds up.” It wasn’t lost on Father Timothy that Dylan O’Mara was studying him intently while giving the appearance of only partially paying attention to him.
“Yeah. A little here, a little there. It adds up. Thank you.” Dylan turned to go after shaking the priest’s hand and then he turned back with an expression that said he’d forgotten something. “Before I go, one more thing, Father. You wouldn’t happen to know a young lady who goes by the name of Lily, would you? Any chance of that?”
Father Timothy put his hands behind his back and nodded. “ I do kknow someone named LLLily. Do you have a last nnname for your Lily?”
“No. I don’t. Sorry. Does the Lily you know attend Mass here at St.Teresa’s?”
Father Timothy shook his head. “Not usually. Ssshe follows aaanother path. It’s all ggood in the eyes of our Lord. I seem ttto be eempty handed for you. I will wwatch out for your son.”
Feeling slightly unsettled by the unexpected certainty that Father Timothy would indeed keep an eye out for Sarge, Dylan nodded his thanks. He made a slow exit out onto the steps of the church where he stood with his coat collar turned up, hands back in his pockets, and his eyes taking in everyone and everything in the area. She follows another path. What the hell does that mean? That does not help me, good Father. It does not help me at all. More to you than meets the eye, Father Timothy. Hell yeah. You’re a cagey one with that ‘your’ Lily, ‘my’ Lily number. Not willing to give up a last name either. Working it so that if I ask more, you’re gonna shut me down in case I’m some sort of pervert.
Dylan turned towards the sound of children laughing. Two older teen-aged Asian girls were leading another group of children, each carrying a little brown lunch bag same as the first group, down the church steps towards a waiting van. Like you said, a little here, a little there and it all adds up. I owe you for that, Father. I don’t know why, but I have the feeling you’re the type who just might call me if you see Sarge. But for some reason that does not rest well with me.
Suddenly Dylan pulled out his wallet, took two crisp hundred-dollar bills from it, walked back inside the church to the donation box and slipped them inside. Then catching sight of a vase of small paper roses by a statue of the Virgin Mary, he put another hundred-dollar bill into the box. He turned hard on his heel, not wanting to be seen again by the priest or anyone else and quickly left.
Carefully making his way across the recently shoveled and sanded sidewalk to his car, he spoke aloud to himself, “What kind of priest puts out paper flowers for the Holy Mother Mary? I know what you are, Father Timothy. Oh yeah. You’re a subversive. A genuine commie lefty wearing a priest’s collar for a disguise while you rock the status quo boat. Sack lunches, warm meals, foster grandparents. It all adds up. I hope to hell my Sarge does not get a whiff of you. Goddamn it all. Last thing I need is my eldest son getting some idea about joining the priesthood in order to do good works. No way! No f’n way! Not after all the damn pussy I’ve thrown at him to keep that from ever happening.”
Breakfast Special #1 https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/breakfast-special/