About Father Steve


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“Well stone the bloody crows!” Geoff exclaimed still rubbing the sleep from his eyes, but already swiping through the days top stories on his cell. “They’ve arrested Father Steve!”

“Our Father Steve?” retorted his roommate Virgil from the adjoining bathroom through a garble of toothpaste froth. 

“Yeah. Listen to this, ‘Father Stephen Downey, a tenured senior staff member at St. Vincent’s Preparatory School since 2002, was arrested this morning upon his release from St. Joseph’s Medical Center where he was being treated for complications resulting from an unsuccessful suicide attempt.”

“Sources close to Father Downey report the tenured professor of Literature and Humanities has fought an ongoing battle with depression and mental illness dating back to the late eighties when he suffered the tragic loss of his then fiance, Miss Julia Griffith, to an apparent suicide.”

“Father Downey was booked and released pending further investigation.’”

“Whoa!” Virgil exhaled the word more than spoke it as he slunk down into a sitting position at the foot of Geoff’s bed. “I can’t believe it. Father Steve! Suicide? Engaged? He’s a priest for chrissake!”

“He wasn’t born a priest! I can’t even imagine what that must have been like for him.”

“What? Becoming a priest?”

“No, you idiot! His fiance committing suicide. I wonder how old he was then?”

A bit rebuffed, Virgil meandered back into the bathroom as Geoff dialed a number on his cell.


They met up again later that day at the student union. 

“Who’d you call?”

“Sister Magdalene. She’s been at St V’s forever. I figured maybe she’d know something.”

“Oh yeah? What’d she say?”

She said, “One of the hardest things for boys to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them.”

This piece is a combination of one of Peter Wyn Mosey’s writing prompts #20, Stone the crows, and the literary prompt offered this week by Kristian on 50 Word Thursday. The literary quote was, “One of the hardest things for boys to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them.” ―  by Alan Bennett , The History Boys

This is the first 50 word Thursday I did not write in 50 word increments, but the word count is a multiple of 50 so I believe it still fits.



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