The Homily

CCC #54

“This is not a confession.” Father Tom began from the pulpit of St. Timothy’s. “Nor is it a plea for absolution.”

“I stand before you here today, a sinner.”

A near triumphant buzz of ‘I knew its!’ and ‘I told you sos!’ arose from the pews like a sour stench. 

Father Tom had never been popular with the congregation at St. Timothy’s. A working mans parish located in one of the least affluent neighborhoods in the city, comprised mostly of callused dock workers and their families, Father Tom’s effeminate ways had met with much prejudice when he was assigned to serve as their parish priest. 

Their previous pastor, Father Richard, had been a man’s man. A drinker, a gambler. A man not afraid to get his hands dirty, and never one to take umbrage at the occasional off color joke or misuse of the lord’s name. He had gone out of his way to emulate the lifestyle of his parishioners and in so doing had gained their trust and respect.

Not so Father Tom.

“A man wrought with desires which he has been instructed by Holy Scripture, to view as unclean.”

“I have not always been this man. For once, I was a boy. And my being a boy- Now, this was literally the worst thing that ever happened to me. Or so I had convinced myself at a young age.”

Had I been born a girl, I used to try and reason with God, everything I feel and desire would be exactly what I should feel and desire– I became angry at this God who caused me to be born a boy. Angry at the heavy cross he had given me to bare.”

“I was fortunate at this very confusing time in my youth, to have served as an altar boy under a parish priest- much like your previous pastor, Father Richard. A masculine man in every way, as much sought after to help put on a roof as he was for spiritual counsel. Father Richard was in my young mind, as close to all seeing, all knowing, as I had ever imagined God to be.”

“I knew from the first moment I set foot on the steps to the altar, the golden vessel set to hold the consecrated flesh of our Lord burning a hole in my guilt ridden palm, that if anyone could see through the facade of my feigned masculinity, it was Father Richard.”

“And saints be praised. I was right.”

“One Sunday, along the third or fourth year of my service, I was late in arriving, and as I sped through the dank undercroft of the church on my way to the sacristy, I nearly ran smack into Father Richard, who never missing a step, called out to me as I ran past, ‘You’re late, McNamara. See me in the library after mass.’”

“After sweating through what I was convinced was the longest homily I had ever suffered through, I changed quickly and arrived at the library ahead of Father Richard. There I imagined every conceivable penance that could be meted out to me. I was convinced my meeting with Father Richard was less about my being late, than it was about the incongruities of my potential manhood. My differences, if you will.”

“McNamara!” Father Richard boomed as he burst into the library, “Until you nearly bowled me over in the bowels of the church this morning, I haven’t had the heart to tell you how desperately hurt I am that you have taken it upon yourself to doubt the infallibility of God’s creation.”

“Now like many of you, I had only ever heard the use of the word infallible as it pertains to the Holy Father, and I mistakenly took Father Richard to be insinuating that I doubted the eminence of the Pope.”

“Father,” I bleated, “I have never doubted His Holiness!”

“Perhaps not. But you have, and you do doubt yourself, McNamara. You doubt that you are exactly as God intended you to be. You question the perfection of God’s creation because you don’t feel yourself a right fit. I must ask you, do you think our savior felt himself a right fit? Singled out as he was by his own people? Cursed, taunted, beaten and eventually crucified for what others deemed to be his differences?”

“I will say one thing more about this situation you find yourself in McNamara, and that is this. There is one thing and one thing only that separates your differences from those of our Lord. Yours must never be acted upon. Much like the physical desires that make me akin to men who have not taken a vow of celibacy, must never be acted upon by me.”

“You know to what I am referring, McNamara.” He concluded, as he ruffled my hair, which by this time was plastered to the top of my head in a sweaty mess.”

“You’re a bright boy, McNamara, and you love God. Of these two things I am sure.”

“I left the library that day knowing Father Richard was right. I had two things going for me. I was a bright boy. And I did love God.”

“It was shortly after that, I decided to enter the priesthood. I did so because I realized- the church was the right place for a bright boy who loved god to be.” 

“Of course, over time, I came to understand that a vow of celibacy sees no gender.”

“Alas, in the priesthood, I have found the place God has intended me to be. As among the ranks of my fellow priests,” Father Tom paused deliberately outstretched his arms, palms aloft, “I am accepted simply as another celibate. The norm. Not the anomaly.”

At this juncture, Father Tom bowed his head humbly, arms still outstretched in supplication and concluded.

“And this my friends, my family, is all I am asking of you today”

There was a sufficiently pregnant pause before Father Tom entered into the Profession of Faith, who’s opening line ‘We believe in God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and all that is seen and unseen.’  took on for me that day, a whole new meaning.

This piece was originally inspired by three prompts offered in different challenges by Peter Wyn Mosey:

Prompt #10 This is not a confession
Prompt #12 This is literally the worst thing that ever happened to me
Prompt #13 I haven’t had the heart to tell you

However, when Crispina’s photo prompt for Crimson’s Creative Challenge #54 came in while I was writing it, I knew I would never find a more fitting depiction of the bowels of the church to grace this piece, and therefore, all rules be damned, I am using it here as well.

Thank you to both of you for the glorious contributions you made to this piece.

Bastion’s Belch

old pharmacy 2 by Pedro Cardona Llambias

Little antique bottles some with gnarly hand written labels like ‘lightning’ and ‘toads wart’ sat on the shelf behind the counter at Mr. Mc Cready’s Amazing Pharmacy. Each waiting patiently to be called upon to cure an ill, induce a beguilement, or render a curse.

The most popular would be pulled down from the shelf daily. They would be polished to a shine on Mr. Mc Creadys soft white apron, and placed back in a position of prominence, as they were sure to be called upon again soon.

Such was not the good fortune of one small brown bottle that bore the handwritten label, Bastion’s Belch. It sat high on a shelf that could only be reached with a step stool, half hidden by a long abandoned spiders web.

Even Mr. Mc Cready had nearly forgotten about about that particular tiny tonic- until that is, Old Widow Nelson came in with a special request.

“It’s the Widow Henderson.” she snarled. “The old windbag never even stops talking long enough to take a breath. Mahjong has become intolerable, and don’t even get me started on the condition of the Wednesday Bridge Club since she joined in. Something must be done, Mr. Mc Cready! I tell you something must be done!”

“I have just the thing.” Mr. Mc Cready assured her without hesitation, as he drew the wooden step stool from under the counter and settled it into position just under the dusty bottle of Bastion’s Belch. “This old cure used to be one of the favorites, but in recent years, as folks gather less and indulge in technology more, it has fallen prey, shall I say, to progress?”

“I don’t care what its fallen prey to as long as it works. I am at my wits end! And I am not the only one. I’m just the only one who has the gumption to correct the matter.” Old Widow Nelson stated in a huff, punctuating the air between them with a proper ‘Humph’ to signify the extent of her displeasure.

Before Mr Mc Cready sent Old Widow Nelson on her way with a small vile of Bastion’s Belch, and explicit instructions as to how it should be used, the Widow Nelson could have sworn she saw, almost in passing, a youthful giddy-up in his step, a mischievous twinkle in his eye, and a sly crooked smile cross his lips- but this she would not even remember till much later on.

Wednesday could not come quickly enough. Old Widow Nelson was nearly beside herself with anticipation. Why surely if she could shut up that old windbag Henderson, she would be the toast of all the women’s clubs here in town.

“And wouldn’t that add the much needed nuance of notoriety to my eulogy!” She chuckled to herself as she wrapped the small vile of Bastion’s Belch in a violet scented handkerchief and tucked it in the inside pocket of the Sunday-go-meeting alligator bag she had been saving for just such an occasion.

Wednesday finally arrived, and when it came time to serve the tea and cookies, Old Widow Nelson, half pushed her hostess, Miss Irma Whitestaid, the only spinster in The Bridge Club, back onto her card table chair, and bustled past her to the kitchen.

“Now you just let me get that, for you Irma. I can tell by the way you hold your card arm against the edge of the table that your rheumatism is acting up, so you just sit right there and let me get the tea. It’ll be my pleasure.”

Once alone in the kitchen, Widow Nelson went over the instructions she had been given by Mr. Mc Cready. “Two drops,” Mr. Mc Cready had instructed her. “No more no less.”

Old Widow Nelson removed the dropper from the vile, and counted out the prerequisite two drops, and was just about to replace the stopper, when she thought it better to add just one more drop. For good measure you know, after all Mr. Mc Cready himself had said the potion hadn’t been used in a coon’s age. It could very well have lost some of it’s potency.

Armed with the sterling silver tea service that had no doubt once belonged to Miss Irma’s dear sainted mother, as never having been married, Miss Irma would have had no occasion to acquire one of her own, Old Widow Nelson nearly sashayed back into the parlor.

Had any of the ladies of the club been attentive enough to notice, they would have seen a mischievous twinkle in her eye and a sly crooked smile sprint across her lips as she poured tea and distributed the cups, but they were all too busy trying to avoid listening to that old windbag Henderson blather on about the trip she and her dear departed had taken into the wilds of Africa the year she sent her seven children to a very exclusive, and very expensive private summer camp in the Catskills.

“Drink up Ladies! There are cards to be played, and as always there will be no food or beverage allowed on the playing tables!” Old Widow Nelson nearly sang out, gathering every eye in the parlor, and cutting the Widow Henderson’s oration off at the Euphrates.

A tittering of polite conversation filled the air as the ladies sipped daintily at their tea, and nibbled on crisp buttery cookies. The Old Widow Nelson however, consumed at this point with an over-eager sense of anticipation, sat quietly behind the tea service, nonchalantly of course, watching for any tell tale sign that the potion was working on the Widow Henderson.

She didn’t have long to wait.

As the Widow Henderson bent to replace her cup on the sterling sliver tea service, a less than ladylike ‘puft’ of seemingly trapped air escaped her coral lips.

“Oh my!” The Widow Henderson exclaimed, visually embarrassed, as she quickly covered her mouth with a tatted handkerchief she had been gifted with only this past Christmas by Miss Irma herself, and made her way toward her seat at the fourth table hoping the other girls would follow suit and the games would resume in time to save what was left of her honor.

As she lowered herself gracefully into her assigned seat, a resounding, “bwafpht” exited her posterior unmentionables with such force her paisley printed skirt ruffled with the force. In a panic of sheerest horror, the Widow Henderson’s eyes darted about the room hoping to find a safe haven to rest on, even one in their number that had not heard, and was not staring at her in baited silence, awaiting some appropriately apologetic explanation.

When none was to be found, the Widow Henderson burst into tears and made a run for the door dropping her tatted hankie in her haste.

A rightful chorus of, “Well I never’s!” resounded around the room as everyone but Old Widow Nelson sat glued to their seat in utter disbelief.

“Wait! Your hankie!” a gleeful Old Widow Nelson sang out above the din as she bounded toward the door with the Widow Henderson’s handkerchief in hand, just in time to hear a raucous duet of trapped air and passing gases being played out in double time, as the Widow Henderson made her mad dash down the front walk, and over the curb, leaving in her wake, flowers wilting, and dogs panting in the shade…

This is the fermentation of two older prompts. Misky’s Twiglet #131 ‘lightning and toads’ and OLWG prompt #109 where the prompt phrases were:

  1. gnarly
  2. antique bottles
  3. flowers wilted and dogs panted in the shade

How a rabbit came to give me his foot.

“So be mindful of things you do not see.” Little Hop-Sing’s pawpaw always ended the tale of the windy feathered beasts that swoop down from the vast blue. “They have carried many rabbits before us off to their world above the trees. Few have returned. Those that have, tell of a land where there is no place to rest. It is thought the beasts capture us to serve as soft resting places, because our bellies are wide and soft, and their world offers little comfort.”

“Those that have returned to us, are often injured beyond healing, not at the hand of the captors, but rather from the fall back into our world. Most never hop again. Those that do, lead short miserable lives, painfully dragging themselves from place to place, and dying slow deaths ridden with hunger and sadness.”

“Many have said, should they be captured again by the beasts, they would choose to stay and remain the soft resting place of their captor rather than face the slow painful death they endured upon returning to our world.”

Hop-Sing had known of many of his folk whom were lost to the windy feathered beasts. He had not however, known any who had returned.

As time passed and he grew older, he spent much time pondering being taken by the winged beasts back to their world without a place to rest.

With his days primarily consumed hopping from sweet clover to savory grass, he had much time to think.

Many suns he dreamed of being whisked away into the vast blue by the windy feathered beasts, only to return and tell his heroes tale to the rabbit folk in his colony. He wondered what it would be like to provide comfort to a beast great enough to carry his like into a world far away, a world no rabbit had entered and lived to tell.

He often saw himself as the rabbit destined to see the world of the great winged beast, and return to tell the tale. Should he accomplish such a feat surely he would be a legend among all rabbit folk for many generations and his name would be spoken with reverence to bunnies for all eternity.

By the time he reached maturity he had decided such was to be his destiny. He spent much time in preparation, lifting his eyes to the vast blue, searching for the beast that came unseen. Sometimes he would sit like that for most of the sun. This greatly interfered with his ability to nourish himself. He grew visibly wane and was often goaded by other rabbit folk to do what rabbits do best.

“Hop-Sing,” many would say when they came upon him sitting idly in the fields, face upturned to the vast blue. “Surely you will perish from hunger before a windy feathered beast will see fit to carry you off. Think of the bony bed you would make. Fur and bones. They will throw you back to our world for sure, and you would live in agony all the rest of your days! Eat, Hop-Sing. Eat”

But Hop-Sing paid them no mind. He knew he was destined for greatness, and if suffering momentary hunger was the price for such greatness, he was willing to pay it.

The season soon came, when Hop-Sing’s attentions turned toward finding a mate, and it caused great distraction in the pursuit of his destiny.

It came about late one sun as Hop-Sing was approaching the fragrant clover field, that he happened upon a pleasing young she rabbit he had known since bunnyhood. Her name was Pitty-Pat.

“Fine sun, Pitty-Pat. Fine sun for sweet clover, too.” Hop-Sing mentioned in passing as he hopped ahead just far enough to see if she would follow.

“Fine clover indeed.” Pitty-Pat answered shyly before joining Hop-Sing and hopping into the center of the field where the sweetest clover could be found.

“Will you seek a mate this sun, Pitty?” Hop-Sing queried boldly, as he saw no use in hopping around the bush.

“I will. But I seek a strong, fat male capable of bringing me many strong, fat children.” Pitty-Pat answered. “Your spirit pleases me, Hop-Sing. But I must think about my bunnies. How could I raise them to be strong and successful in the fields if they see you, their father, sitting idle, refusing to spend your day in search of the nourishment that is our way of life?”

Hop-Sing thought seriously before he replied. “One day I will be the greatest rabbit in all folk lore, and your bunnies will regret your not having chosen me to father them when given the chance.”

Pitty-Pat did not answer, but rather nibbled at the sweet clover as she thought about what Hop-Sing had said.

As he awaited her response, Hop-Sing gazed into the vast blue with longing. This time, however, his longing was for Pitty-Pat.

He was surrounded in a dream of Pitty-Pat lining their warren in warm soft fur, when a great wind erupted. Before he could even turn his eyes to the vast blue, his captor was upon him. Great tine like talons piercing the thin fur on his back, and jerking him upward.

Startled though he was, Hop-Sing found he was not consumed with fear, as he thought at times he might be. Instead, he congratulated himself on his good fortune, reflecting on the many suns he had spent preparing himself for precisely this moment.

As the windy feathered beast carried him high into the sun, Hop-Sing took in the true vastness of the blue. It was all his eyes could see. Gone were the fields of sweet clover and savory grass. Gone were the trails his folk hopped every sun. And just as gone, was his dream of the warm soft warren Pitty-Pat would surely have prepared for him.

That thought gave Hop-Sing much determination to return to the only world that offered him contentment and happiness with Pitty-Pat and the fine strong, fat bunnies she would no doubt surround him with. A world he had all but forsaken when he was a part of it, but now, hero or not, was determined to return to.

At the precise moment in which he came to this realization, the windy feathered beast swooped below the drafts which held it aloft and when it did so, Hop Sing caught sight of a huge brier bush, bent and misshapen by many suns spent enduring powerful winds. Although cracked and broken, the brier bush extended far over the edge of the great rock toward which his captor was flying.

Without hesitation, Hop-Sing extended both his back legs to the fullness of their length, and with great luck, caught his long furry feet in the thorns of the brier bush. The abrupt stop caused the windy feathered beast to release it’s talon hold on Hop-Sing, and fall deep into the thorny belly of the bush.

As the windy feathered beast fought vigorously to free itself, Hop-Sing slipped unharmed through the thick brambles and made his escape.

On his long journey back to his folk, Hop-Sing stopped many times to nourish himself on savory grass and sweet clover. Though it took him many suns to recover the scent of his folk, when he finally did arrive back at the field of sweet clover, he was strong and fat.

Tired from his long journey, Hop-Sing found a particularly soft patch of sweet clover, and laid down to rest while he waited for Pitty-Pat to come nibble on the sweet clover as she always did at high sun.

As Hop-Sing slept soundly in the soft sweet cover field, dreaming dreams of fur lined warrens, and strong, fat bunnies, a hungry red fox watched intently from his den on the hillside. It was unusual for the hungry red fox to see a rabbit in the sweet clover this early in the day. And even more unusual to see a rabbit- alone.

The hungry red foxes empty belly growled at the thought of being filled with a strong, fat rabbit. He quickly gave in to the call of hunger and slunk silently down the hillside to catch his morning meal.

Slyly the hungry red fox crouched low to the ground and inched toward the rabbit, until he was close enough to cover the space between them in one long leap.

And then- he leaped.

When the now not so hungry red fox, had filled his empty belly, he started out across the field of sweet clover to return to his den. So contentedly full was he, that he didn’t even notice a whole warren of rabbits hiding silently in the tall grass watching his every move.

Once the rabbits were sure the red fox was safely asleep in his den, they hopped into the field of sweet clover to nourish themselves. Pitty-Pat herself came across all that remained of Hop-Sing. One long leg joint, licked clean, atop a perfect snowshoe rabbits foot.

Of course, it never occurred to Pitty-Pat that the perfect snowshoe rabbits foot could have once belonged to her own Hop-Sing- as that silly rabbit had been carried away by a great windy feathered beast, many suns ago. Never to return.

And the moral of the story is: Never fall asleep while in pursuit of a dream.

My Rabbit’s Foot

Another crack at it.

When Jonah quit using, he became the poster child for sobriety. Aced tech school while working as a breakfast cook seven days a week at two different diners. Got a job as a Junior Software Engineer that paid the bills while he furthered his education, graduating with a 3.9 GPA, a CIT and followed that up two years later with an MBA.

Currently the VP of Marketing at Fortune 500’s 77th ranked Top Tech Company, he was pulling down 800k a year not including bonuses and benefit package.

Throw in a sexy, young wife and a 4000 square foot house in Pacific Heights, and you got a trifecta.

“Well then face it, you f’ing suck at dangling the proverbial carrot, Timbo. And unless you kick start your game- you’re not gonna close Scienicon. They are too big, too bright and too fat to play ball with a dribbler. And guess what Timmy my boy, you ain’t just dribbling your drool….”

Jonah dropped the pontification mid word, hit the break and spun the wheel hard to the right, and narrowly avoided embedding the front end of his Shelby GT500 into the hatchback of a waning twenty year old Toyota Previa at 78 miles an hour.

“What the? Jonah! You alright? What the hell’s going on over there?” Tim’s panicked voice was blasting through the car’s audio system as Jonah righted the Mustang, and pulled off onto the berm, staggered. How could he have escaped getting hit from behind?

“Lemme call you back..”

Jonah crossed his arms over the steering wheel closed his eyes and allowed his head to loll slowly forward until the two met. Lying there, it occurred to him that he was right in the middle of ripping Tim a new one, telling him he better tighten up His game- when himself nearly buys it in the rear end of a Previa!

The idiocy of the whole thing caused him to groan audibly, as he rebuked himself, “Who the hell are you to talk?”

He was the guy that was so far off his A game that he was practically playing on another field. He was the guy that was so scared shitless that his reign as Golden Boy would be abdicated the minute anyone found out the blood lust he originally brought to the plate- was slipping away like dry sand through a sieve.  

He was the Boy with the Most Toys.. And he was losing it.

Take the situation he had himself in this minute- he was on his way home from work, for christ sake. He had no reason to be in a hurry. No matter what time he got there his beautiful wife, Carolyn, would either be already gone or en route to attend Pilates or yoga.

Now, that is not to say she was shallow. Not by a long shot. She was a gifted interior designer. Their home a showplace. Her cutting edge fashion sense kept both of them looking like they just walked off a runway. She could organize and execute with perfection any number of social events given reasonable advance.

She was exactly the wife any guy in his position would kill to have.

And she loved him.

So it certainly was not in effort to avoid any part of her, that he had lost his, what would you call it? That feeling that he used to get when he finally had an evening free? And he’d be rushing through traffic trying to get there as quickly as possible, so they could have the max amount of time together. The word escaped him, but it didn’t matter. Whatever it was, it was going at best.

Sure he still loved her. Yet there was something about the way he didn’t feel for her that he knew he had to hide. He had to pretend it wasn’t there. Just continue to go through the motions.

He had to be the only one that knew- that his life had become limp.

He no longer had a hard on for anything. Not his wife. His job. His money. His toys. To bastardize a line from an old song by Pink Floyd- he had become uncomfortably numb.

Torn from his introspection, Jonah jerked his head back hard when he heard a sharp rapping at the car window. He saw the cop, and his heart sank.

“Hey there Sir, how you doing tonight?” He said as he looked up and saw a cop that had arrested him for drug abuse and possession quite a few times in his distant past. Funny thing, he looked exactly the same. Twenty years, and this guy hadn’t changed.

“License, registration and proof of insurance.” The cop snapped back matter of factly, reinforcing Jonah’s initial observation. Still a by the book cop.

“What are you doing here? You can’t just park on the side of a main thoroughfare.” He continued as Jonah handed him his license and insurance, and slowly retrieved his registration from the glove box.

“I had a near miss accident, and I was pretty shook up, so I just pulled over for a minute to regroup.”

The cop scrutinized Jonah’s paperwork. He gave Jonah a hard look, reverted back to the picture on his license, back to Jonah, and said, “Reardon, that you? Says here your Jonah Reardon. 234 Byron Terrace.”

A bit taken aback Jonah answered, “Yeah, it’s me. I thought you looked familiar. Long time no see.”

“Looks like you’ve done a little growing up there Reardon. About time. I wouldn’t have recognized you.”

Jonah half smiled, remembering the last time they met up. He had been crawling out the garage window of an abandoned house in the city. He had crawled in there to get a little privacy to do a shot of dope, and was so high when he tried to get back out that he nodded mid window- feet out, head in, just hanging there. Shaking his head he almost couldn’t believe he was the same guy. He had come a long way.

“This is what I’m gonna do,” the cop informed him. “I’m not gonna shake you down, or make you walk a line. I’m not gonna do that, I should, but I’m not gonna. The reason I’m not gonna is you look good, Reardon. To say you look better than the last time I saw you would be an insult, because I can see you’ve changed your ways, even more than your looks have changed. And it is for that reason and that reason only, I’m gonna let you lock your car, and give you a ride home. I can’t let you drive. To do that I’d have to field test you and I wanna do whatever I can do to avoid throwing the wrench into your recovery.. Deal?”

“Deal.” Jonah heard himself answering without having given the matter any thought whatsoever. At least he wasn’t getting a ticket.

“Come on. Hop in the car. I gotta make you ride in the back. Regulations.” he said as he opened the rear door and instinctively tucked Jonah’s head through the opening.

When he realized the direction the cop was driving was the opposite direction of his home, he remembered the cop as having recited his old address, his mother’s address, as if it had been on his license. ‘Gotta hand it to him.’ Jonah thought to himself, ‘guy’s still got a crack memory if he remembers where I used to live.

Mom’s house would be fine. He hadn’t seen her in awhile anyway, and he’d already established he was in no hurry to get home.

As the cop car pulled up to the curb outside his mother’s house, the cop admonished him, “Keep up the good work Reardon. Whatever it is, you got this, you can turn this thing around.”

Jonah thanked him for the ride and had started up the walk, when he saw the kitchen curtain dropping back into place and knew his mother had seen the cops bringing him home- again.

‘Hey Mom.” Jonah announced himself as he entered.

“I saw you getting out of that cop car Jonah, so don’t ‘hi mom’ me like nothing’s going on. What on earth have you gotten yourself into this time?” She had herself so worked up, she was breathless by the time he leaned in to give her a peck on the cheek.

“Nothing Mom.” Jonah tried to assure her as he whipped the kitchen chair around and straddled it backward the way he had always done when he was young and cocky. “I avoided what could have been a serious accident, and pulled off to the side of the road to…”

“Sleep it off?” she interjected.

“No, to sit for a moment and regroup before I got back on the road. And that cop, he remembered me because he used to arrest me on a pretty regular basis back in the day, and he got confused and…

“Oh, he got confused. It’s always someone else with you Jonah. It’s never you.”

“Ma, hold on, what are you getting all bent out of shape about? Would you just let me tell you…”

His mother placed both hands flat on the table and leaned in toward him. “No Jonah. No. For once I will not just let you tell me. There is too much at stake this time. You think you know everything. You always have. But I know some things too. I know that there is an elephant in the room Jonah. I don’t know what it is, but I do know that until you admit to yourself that it is here, that you can see it, and tell me what it is so I can see it, I can’t help you- and you can’t help yourself. Just hold on Jonah. Hold on tight. If you can just hold on long enough- you can to learn to love yourself.”

In the distance, Jonah could hear a loud bawking sound. Bawk. Bawk. Bawk. His mother turned in silence and walked away from him, and toward the sound.

When a reasonable amount of time for his mother to have reached the source of the sound, came and went, and the sound not only continued but intensified Jonah became agitated.

“MOM!” he yelled out not knowing how far away she had gone and wanting to make sure she would hear him. “MOM! Shut that thing off!”

Bawk. Bawk. Bawk.

“Hey there buddy, I could hear you yelling all the way down the hall. Calm down. No, don’t try to sit up. Everything’s gonna be okay. This is a hospital, you’ve been in a serious accident. We thought we were gonna lose you there for a minute, but it looks like you’re gonna get another crack at it.”

Written for D. Wallace Peach’s Speculative Fiction Prompt