Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fear of the Dark - Chapter 1.2 - The Reverend

The morning was just about the same as any other morning for the Reverend Timothy Mahoney. The first thing that always crosses anyone’s mind when they meet the Reverend, is how did an Irish Catholic boy become a Secretor of one of America’s largest Episcopalian churches? He’s actually quite honest about that one, when he says with his usual “knee melting” smile, “I was quite prepared to give my life to God in the Catholic Church, and then I had a little sit down with God on a pier back in Boston. He said to me, ‘Timmy my friend, celibacy is for the birds’ and the next thing you knew I was on my way to becoming a Reverend in ‘The Church of Catholic Light’ but God did surround me with Yankees fans to get even with my brief stint of heathenism,” which always sends people it to a pretty healthy laugh, even the Yankees fans. The second thing that crosses your mind is how amazingly beautiful this man is, so beautiful in fact that most would call him, “pretty” with a blush. Perhaps it is not always in that order.

He’s been on Manhattan Island now for eleven years, and despite his desire to get married when he made the decision which God to dedicate his life to, he never has. This brings up two of the multitude of things that people find strange about him as well. He hasn’t aged a day since he came to Manhattan, and trust me all of the women who flock to this particular church to swoon over him mention that frequently, and despite the fact that his charm has converted a lot of single women to the Anglican ways, he has remained very single. Let’s follow that path for a moment, as we talk about how Timmy, who refuses to be called reverend, Tim or even Mr. Mahoney, he is Timmy to every person he meets has been called one of the greatest things to enter the church in centuries. The bishops have begged him to take over the rector’s position in churches all across the country, and he refuses. He likes his place in Manhattan, and most people know why, from the rector of this particular parish, to the people who go to it, to his mother back in Boston, to even the New York Police department. He has a few obsessions that keep him firmly in place, and perhaps firmly single. He will talk at great length with anyone about them if they simply ask. It’s part of his great charm that he will talk to anyone about anything at great length, and the rector of this church has believed in God with a lot more verve since the day he was blessed with such a wonderful underling.

Of course symbiotic relationships never come without their costs. As Timmy sits at his desk in the Rectory he is forty minutes late. By his standards that should be considered early, and Reverend Peterson, the afore mentioned Rector even pointed out to him that it was nice to see him so early, as they exchanged weak smiles. “I left you a little present on your desk,” he also added as Timmy walked by him. Humoring him in his obsessions has become a form of play between the two of them, even though Reverend Peterson knows the second he spies out that newspaper he has probably lost Timmy for the day, it doesn’t really matter. Timmy will make up for any day lost in other ways, just like he makes up ten fold for being late every morning. He even smiled as Timmy’s eyes grew huge at the front page of “The Daily Journal” which is one of New York’s most obscure papers. “I checked out a few facts from it already, since I was in early, and it’s very accurate,” he then added as an after thought.

Timmy looked over the front page of the tabloid, and then with great shock sighed out, “My Lord there was a witness,” which got both men nodding. Timmy continued reading along the article out loud, like he often does when he really wants something to sink in, the Reverend Peterson has had a lot of news articles read to him in this fashion on slow mornings, but again it is part of both of their charm, “Whoever He Is, He’s Back” was what came out of his mouth as he read the top line, front page headline. “It appears that nine months is all we had to wait for another visit from God in the streets of Manhattan. More brutal than ever the serial killer once known as ‘The Shredder’ then ‘The Wrath of God’ and then later by most journalists abbreviated to just ‘God’ had unleashed his most brutal attack of all time last night on West 78th street between Amsterdam and Broadway, in what yet again is another baffling police mystery. This paper like all of the other papers in the city refuses to show pictures of the carnage, but will say that it had all the same signs of the other attacks by ‘God’ in the last eleven years. A corpse, completely shredded, as if it had gone through a wood chipper, and no blood anywhere to speak of,” and with that Timmy trailed off for a moment to look out of the window.

After clearing his throat he continued, “Unlike most of the attacks, the police won’t have so long to try to determine the victim who was identified as Martin Riggs, by a girl {name withheld} that Riggs was in the process of raping at the time. The girl’s father {also name withheld} was found across the street in critical condition after Martin Riggs had stabbed him just above the kidney and discarded him in the basement landing of a neighboring building,” and on that note Timmy let out a low whistle. “As many of you remember it took almost three full days to identify the remains of Officer Hector Reid, the last victim of ‘God’ who had almost lost his nickname for the attack on a police officer, until true to form, a fact finding mission had unearthed the officer’s horribly violent sideline as a child molester and drug dealer. Despite the long respite, it appears that he came back with a bang as the dozens of victims of Martin Riggs come forward finally feeling freed from the tyranny of this sick and twisted man.”

The Reverend Peterson excused himself from the room at this point, to go tend to some church business, but first said to Timmy, “The family are parishioners, and the girl’s mother Tam Blasdell, you know her, called to talk to you so that is the phone number at the bottom,” he gave his weak grin, “be a change for your church business and your hobby to coincide,” and with that he was out the door.

Timmy bid him a good day and then went back to his reading, still aloud despite being alone in the Rectory now, “Police refuse to comment, but you can assume that it is on their mind as to whether or not this is the prelude to ‘Gods’ continuation of last year’s weekly carnage that finally had to bring in the FBI to try to deal with the situation. Many people, and to be fair, myself included, believe that if the New York City police department were to start taking care of this soft underbelly that is beginning to re-infect the city then perhaps there would be no need for ‘God’ to patrol the streets at night and deal with them,” and with that Timmy gave a small grunt. Another wonderful benefit of changing houses as he had is that he can be for the Death Penalty in the Episcopal Church, but as a reverend he isn’t supposed to support it openly. He had always been a bit of the “hellfire and brimstone” Christian, despite his kind nature. “The police still respond that this type of vigilantism is NOT supported, and in itself may be more dangerous than the actual criminals that it responds to.”

Timmy places the paper on his desk and turns around to his bookshelf. Now this is the last bookshelf you would expect to see in a Rectory, but even the Reverend Peterson supports the pursuit of knowledge in all forms. The first book is, of course, a large bible with the spine practically converting to dust. Timmy is very happy to say that he has read the bible more than any book on his shelf, and it kind of goes with the job. Sitting directly next to it, is his copy of the Hadith. Timmy leaves his views on the Hadith to himself but leaves it next to his bible as a counterbalance; let’s just leave it at that shall we. The book of Mormon sits next to that one. He may have become a Mormon had he not loved his single malt every Friday evening, but he is after all Irish for God’s sake. Then there are all the stranger books, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, Salem’s Lot by Steven King, The Portrait of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, the Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien and then all the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling. The next shelf aside from an old set of the Chronicles of Narnia was littered with stacks of old Tales from the Crypt and Strange Tales comic books, which would give any young child, or even older ones nightmares. You kind of get the drift here.

As he dialed the phone he could feel the excitement of perhaps another piece of this puzzle that has driven the police crazy for the last decade. What probably drives the police the most crazy is the nosey reverend that shows up like a crime drama wannabe every time something like this happens, but Timmy has always had that feeling that this is some sort of theological battle, even before it had become apparent that all of the hundreds of victims this person, or monster has ravaged were monsters in their own right. There was an incredibly weak voice on the other end of the bad cell phone connection that prompted Timmy to say, “Hello, Miss Blasdell, this is Timmy from Saint Patrick’s, how are you all doing?”

Timmy always knows what to say, he is the consummate charmer, and he instinctively knew, without his seminary training even that the first thing you do during times like these, is to show your concern. First and foremost you ask how everyone is doing and you prepare to give the concern and ears that are required of you. The voice on the other end of the phone said, “Better than I thought I would, thank you,” and Timmy waited a moment to see if she had anything to add, which she did, “My Gina has a broken jaw, but she’s in good spirits despite that. My Jim was taken out of intensive care almost immediately because that freak managed to miss all of his vital organs and they were just concerned about all of his blood loss and his broken shoulder from the fall, but he will be fine they tell me now.”

Timmy chirped up here by saying, “That’s wonderful, and I want you to know if there is anything that I or the church could do for you, we are here no matter what, I even have one of those cell phone things now …” but he trailed off as she interrupted him.

“Gina wants you to come to the hospital if you can, she needs to talk to you really badly, well I suppose she needs to write to you, but it has been everything I can do to keep her calm and stop talking. She has been trying to tell us all that she needs Timmy, she needs Timmy now,” which of course Timmy had to control his emotions at this point as going in to talk to Gina was all he could think about from the moment he found out there was a witness. Tam continued though which froze him as the words came out, “He left things behind Timmy, and one of them was clearly for you. Gina hid them because she felt entranced to make sure that you got yours and she kept hers,” her tears started as she spluttered on, “It really scared me Timmy, so please if you,” she blubbered a bit, “If you could come to Mercy as soon as possible it would be really important to us,” and with that she trailed into tears that actually had Timmy scared.

His elation to be invited into the hospital was still at a breaking point, as he calmly said, “The mental and spiritual well being of our flock is the most important job I have Tam, you know I will be there as soon as traffic allows,” he thought for a moment, “God is holding everything together through you, and as hard as it is you just need to be strong a little longer until the rest of us can get there and hold you up, ok?”

She actually snorted a bit and said nothing. It was a bit disconcerting to Timmy as he held the phone, and then finally said into it, “I’m on my way,” but she hung up the phone before any response was ushered. … To Be Continued