DEAD AS A DODO • by Derek McMillan

“It’s a good to see you, Finn.”

Father Michael’s smile was as welcoming as ever. Finn reflected that although the policemen always seemed to be getting younger, surely the priests did not. He had known Father Michael all his life and so had his parents.

“Now, Father, I have been totally meaning to come to Mass since, er, Easter or was it Christmas, but what with one thing and another…”

“No, it’s all right, Finn. It’s not about that at all. It’s…” Father Michael looked, if that were possible, as if he were embarrassed.

“It’s just, Finn, that my thoughts and my words have not been what they should be.”

Finn wondered wildly where this confession was leading.

“You see, Finn,” Father Michael continued, “I have had this vision.”

“A vision, Father?” said Finn, who was really worried now and looking around for an exit.

“Well, it’s a vision box, if you quite know what I mean. The man from British Telecoms brought it in and fixed it all up, for an unholy price I might say, on Tuesday last. It worked for a good few hours all right but then the lights started flashing various colours, I’m colour-blind so I couldn’t tell you which, and the broadband just failed. Totally failed. And now it is as dead as a dodo.

“My thoughts and my words about the box and, may God forgive me, about British Telecoms in general are not as they should be. Would you like to, er…”

“Have a look at it? Of course, Father.”

Father Michael ushered Finn into the Sacristy where, sure enough, the router sat sullenly beside the computer, resolutely refusing to work.

Finn dutifully ran through the procedures. He switched it off. He switched it on. He checked the cables. He changed the cables. He watched as the colours changed to blue, green and orange but never actually stayed blue long enough to suggest the infernal machine was going to actually do its job. Father Michael wandered off and made him a cup of tea. It was, as Finn’s mother would have called it, “water bewitched or tea begrudged” because, she claimed, Father Michael had been using the same teabag since he was ordained.

As Father Michael looked on in some surprise, Finn took a paperclip and unwound it.

“You’re quite sure you know what you’re doing, Finbar?” Father Michael reverted to that childhood name.

Finn said nothing as he pushed the paperclip into the back of the router and counted to five.

The router came back to life and Father Michael’s eyes lit up like the witness to a miracle.

He thanked Finn profusely, who modestly looked down. As he left, Finn didn’t say it out loud but his thought was, “The good Lord made a mistake, He didn’t put a reset switch on the dodo.”


Derek McMillan is the author of Stories from the Mirror of Eternity which is available on Kindle. Amazon allows you to “try before you buy” so you could have a look. Derek is a retired teacher and his editor is his wife, Angela McMillan.


If you want to keep EDF around, Patreon is the answer.

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Every Day Fiction

  • Joy Manné

    Yay. What fun. Thanks for a good yarn.

  • Joy Manné

    Yay. What fun. Thanks for a good yarn.

  • MPmcgurty

    This reminded me of a Reader’s Digest story. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. 4.5 million people read that publication for just this sort of lighthearted story. You always feel the author’s winked at you, and that’s not a bad thing on a Monday morning. My mind tends to go down the grisly path so when Finn put the paperclip in the router…well, you know.

    Love the dialogue. I could hear the good Father Michael in my mind. Thanks, Derek.

  • MPmcgurty

    This reminded me of a Reader’s Digest story. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. 4.5 million people read that publication for just this sort of lighthearted story. You always feel the author’s winked at you, and that’s not a bad thing on a Monday morning. My mind tends to go down the grisly path so when Finn put the paperclip in the router…well, you know.

    Love the dialogue. I could hear the good Father Michael in my mind. Thanks, Derek.

  • Vision? Vision box? ” . . . my thoughts and my words have not been what they should be.”?

    These seemed very out of place to me. I mean, we’re talking about nothing more than resetting a router with a paper clip; something just about everyone has probably done a million times (I know I have). Why complicate it for the sake of making it into a story?

    My apologies if that sounds harsh, but I really didn’t get this one. Thanks for sharing.

    • “I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words”. I am not going to suggest you should meet more priests. And If I have told you once I have told you a million times, don’t exaggerate 🙂

  • Vision? Vision box? ” . . . my thoughts and my words have not been what they should be.”?

    These seemed very out of place to me. I mean, we’re talking about nothing more than resetting a router with a paper clip; something just about everyone has probably done a million times (I know I have). Why complicate it for the sake of making it into a story?

    My apologies if that sounds harsh, but I really didn’t get this one. Thanks for sharing.

    • “I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words”. I am not going to suggest you should meet more priests. And If I have told you once I have told you a million times, don’t exaggerate 🙂

  • macdabhaid

    There is nothing ‘wrong’ with the piece, but there’s nothing particularly engaging or ‘right’ about it either. It’s someone making an observation and camouflaging it with the devices of fiction towards that observation as punchline. It just left me lukewarm.

  • macdabhaid

    There is nothing ‘wrong’ with the piece, but there’s nothing particularly engaging or ‘right’ about it either. It’s someone making an observation and camouflaging it with the devices of fiction towards that observation as punchline. It just left me lukewarm.

  • After reading the story three times, I still don’t know what the relationship between Father Michael and Finn is. It seems as if Father Michael is the quite elderly parish priest who’s known Finn and his family all their lives. But then why is Father Michael talking to Finn as if he were confessing, getting embarrassed, etc. Is Finn a parishioner who happens to be an electrician? Am I trying to read too much into it? I agree with the comment which referred to Reader’s Digest. This does read as a pleasant, sure-to-make-you-smile anecdote.

  • After reading the story three times, I still don’t know what the relationship between Father Michael and Finn is. It seems as if Father Michael is the quite elderly parish priest who’s known Finn and his family all their lives. But then why is Father Michael talking to Finn as if he were confessing, getting embarrassed, etc. Is Finn a parishioner who happens to be an electrician? Am I trying to read too much into it? I agree with the comment which referred to Reader’s Digest. This does read as a pleasant, sure-to-make-you-smile anecdote.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    The priest’s voice was excellent.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    The priest’s voice was excellent.

  • Chris Antenen

    I really liked this story. Some lighthearted tension as we try to figure out what the priest needs from this particular parishioner. Then we are ‘blessed’ to encounter this simple and humorous scene of the priest watching Finn take out a paper clip to fix the ‘box,’ and then — a believable and happy ending. Everybody has a dodo that needs a reset switch.

    A fun read and well done. Easy five for skill and story.

    Just one thing. I hope Finn will show the priest how to reset the router if it happens again. In real life it will!

  • Chris Antenen

    I really liked this story. Some lighthearted tension as we try to figure out what the priest needs from this particular parishioner. Then we are ‘blessed’ to encounter this simple and humorous scene of the priest watching Finn take out a paper clip to fix the ‘box,’ and then — a believable and happy ending. Everybody has a dodo that needs a reset switch.

    A fun read and well done. Easy five for skill and story.

    Just one thing. I hope Finn will show the priest how to reset the router if it happens again. In real life it will!