Rory picked a quiet time and ducked into the confessional. He didn’t want to lose his street cred.
“Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. It’s been quite a few months since my last confession.” His voice was a whisper.
The priest sighed audibly. Months–this could take a bit of time. “Tell me your sins, child.”
“Well, it all started on Monday last when my neighbour got one of them leather sofas delivered from Sofaworld.”
“The ones that are 40% off, with no interest and no payments until next year?”
“The very ones. I’ve been promising the wife new furniture like… forever but I have to confess I was dead envious when I seen thon. It looked that squashy and comfortable, so it did.”
“I forgive you your envy, my child.”
“But that wasn’t the finish of it.”
“Go on,” said the priest, trying to sound interested.
“You know I haven’t worked these years, father.”
“Because you have no skills, no doubt?”
“No, because I’m too lazy.”
The cleric thought it would do little good to launch into a tirade on the evils of sloth and anyway he couldn’t be bothered.
“I needed to get my hands on some money,” continued Rory, “so last Tuesday I put on a bet.”
“Gambling is not a deadly sin.”
“Maybe not, but it’s dangerous enough if you steal from the wife’s purse to do it.”
“Oh, you should not have done that.” It was a familiar tale and usually one that ended unhappily.
“But I won, though… and then I won again, father, and then I got greedy.”
“Now that is a deadly sin,” the priest muttered but Rory was getting into his stride.
“And I put an accumulator on the dogs with a tip or two from auld Jim Hussler.”
“Jim’s a good tipper, so he is,” enthused Father Oliver who was fond of the dogs.
“And guess what? It came in, father!”
At that, the priest forgot himself entirely. “Holy Mary and Joseph, son, how much?”
“A hundred and fifty thousand.”
“Lord be praised!”
“So I went and bought one of them fancy sofas and replaced the money I took from the wife’s purse.”
“So, that was well done.”
“Only she’d already missed it and she gave me a hard time all day Wednesday. Nag, nag, nag–even though I slipped her enough for a new bag and shoes, she never let up all day. The top and bottom is, father, she got me that angry I slapped her one.”
The priest’s tone changed from one of excitement and vague approval to gravitas. “Oh, this is looking very bad. And did you make up after?”
“No, she’s away an’ left me–gone to her mother’s. And then on Thursday they delivered the new sofa and she’s not even there to see it.”
“So you went and got her back then, did you?”
“Not at all. I had a party. If she wants to be silly let her carry on, I thought. It was a great shindig so it was, father. Loads of booze, a proper caterer and some mates got a stripper round too–well, a few strippers to be honest and they did a bit more than strip if you get my drift, father.”
Father Oliver’s interest piqued. “You’d better tell me everything.”
“Gluttony, lust, debauchery… the whole bit. Those sofas are very versatile, father, and easy to clean just like they say. You should get yourself one.”
This suggestion shocked the priest back to normality. “And you would do well to get yourself a steady job and beg that wife of yours to come back and promise her you’ll never do the like of this ever again.” He sounded quite stern and Rory was taken aback by his tone.
“Just you hold your horses a wee minute there, father,” he said, trying to peer through the screen. “I came here for absolution. If I’d wanted your advice I’d have asked for it. Beg her? I’ll do nothing of the sort–a man has his pride, you know!” He swept his hair back and calmed himself. “Now, can we get on with it, please?”
Oonah V Joslin lives in Northumberland, England. Winner of the Micro Horror Trophy 2007. Most read in EDF, Jan 2008. Guest judge in the Shine Journal 2008 Poetry Competition. Bewildering Stories Quarterly 4 2007 and 1 & 2 in 2008. She has had work published in Bewildering Stories, Twisted Tongue 8 & 9, Static Movement, 13 Human Souls, Back Hand Stories and The Pygmygiant, Lit Bits, The Linnet’s Wings, The Ranfurly Review and Boston Literary Magazine. The list is growing every month which pleases her immensely! You can link to work, follow up-dates and contact Oonah at http://www.writewords.org.uk/oonah/ or http://www.oonahs.blogspot.com. Oonah says: “My thanks to all of you who take the time to read and comment.”