STOP! Read no further until you have read Fall Out Chapter One here.
“I don’t follow.”
“After the crucifixion Judas was so racked with guilt he attempted to return the 30 pieces of silver to the Sanhedrin. They refused calling it blood money. One Gospel accounts is that he then took the money purchased a field and hung himself. A second is that he fell in the field and his entrails burst out. The culminating result being that he suicide and the church’s doctrine that taking one’s life would forever keep you away from God and in Hell was commenced.” I said.
Bronwyn looked at me with her piercing green eyes. She is remembering the religion classes of her youth, and learning the stories and doctrine. She is looking around the section, someone’s idea of humour I gesture to the quarters throughout the blood. A quick count and yes there is thirty. “Whoever did this, using the quarters to mimic silver coins of Ancient Israel, is saying this one was a traitor.” As the tech’s lower him (I think it is a him, but the face has very delicate features) down, there is white peaking up around the collar. I motion and Bronwyn gets the tech to loosen the noose. The individual now deceased wore a classic Presbyterian collar.
Bronwyn looks up, “care to share with the rest of us?”
“Someone, possibly himself, chose death while wearing his clerical garb. The white band is commonly called a clerical neckband, but it originates out of Presbyterianism that style specifically. What we are looking at is the death of a clergy that is labelled a traitor.”
The tech pulls out the wallet and two identifications fall out. One of the deceased with a short brush cut that we found him in, and the name being listed as John Smythe, the second, a picture with longer hair and the name Joanna Smythe.
Looking at the deceased, then the two identifications Bronwyn looks to me, “hate crime?”
“Probable, if Smythe was a clergy and then transitioned.” I responded.
Bronwyn delegates some checks to people on her squad then looks at me. “Thank you.”
I ascertain a `your welcome’, but really have no clue what I had done. Nothing I had said was not available in the public sphere with very little digging, but then she like that always wants to show the gratitude piece.
We leave to make it to the Mass and my meeting with the Bishop, Bronwyn seems pleased as the case appears open and shut once they trace the trace evidence left at the scene they should be able to find the killer. Unfortunately I am not so sure as I have niggle that there is more to the story.
Mass is unique, the Bishop has been playing with the liturgy types allowable during the weekday Masses. Today we had a pre-Vatican II flashback as we went Latin for the ten of us in attendance. It is over tea, as Bronwyn waits for me, that I meat with the Bishop in the reconciliation room. The chairs aren’t as comfy as St. Clare’s had, but what can you do?
The Bishop is an old white man (what else is new in the church), in a normal clerical suit (black pants & jacket, with a black shirt with the white tab). The tea is weak, some people just should not make tea. “Your Monsignor would be talking to you but he has been recalled to the Vatican.” Ah yes, that little thing about shifting around child rapists no doubt. “But your little Anglican use parish has created quite the embarrassment for us.” Here it comes, like I really have an ability to control Satanists bursting into my building and trying to free a demon from wherever it is they are from.
“The explosion and PR fallout are nothing in comparison to what has come to light.” Well that’s new news to me. A whole building imploding is minor. So then what is this about? “Is it true you gave the Manse to Buddhists?”
“Yes, b—“ Doesn’t even await the full answer, it was done in the spirit of ecumenicism.
“That you converted much of the land to a community garden?”
“That you sold church property to aid parishners in paying rents, bills and providing tuition to students?”
“That you are currently working with a network of Mosque houses to keep the parishners fed?”
I cannot even get the answers out even more.
“That you have let these Buddhists and Muslims preside at Mass?”
Methinks the witch hunt has come, or what was it known back in the day, oh right, the Inquisition, now it is the commission of church and doctrine or some such nonsense, but essentially attempting to route those they do not think are “holy” enough to be in “holy orders”.
“That you have provided sanctuary for refugee families’ facing deportation and as such stopped the judicial due process?”
I lean back and take a sip of the weak ass tea. The writing is on the wall. Someone in the Diocese has discovered what the land the building was on is worth. Since I am the only clergy that will work the Shire then it is me they need to get out of the way. I simply shrug and smirk.
“And the final one, that you have involved yourself in police business, outside the jurisdiction given you by your religious order or the Hoy Father?” I simply nod, they are looking for a means to railroad me, but the Order should protect me, but do I want to keep the vows?
“And the gravest of all, that you are currently living in a single female parishner’s home?” As opposed to the final one? Now we have final and gravest, what is it with these people?
I put the cup down on the coffee table. I look the old stout man in his greying bronze eyes. “And what if I am? I lost my home in the fire, she is a parishner and a friend, she offered her couch until I could get back on my feet.”
“For six months, that is improper for a man who has taken vows of celibacy!”
“As opposed to the twat that was recalled for butt raping boys, or for you and the sister who have been carrying on in private for fifty years? How the hell is sleeping on her couch, and having morning tea improper you fuckin’ old fool?!”
“I have spoken to the Holy Father, and your Minister General. You Friar Tuck are a heretic, blasphemer and possible Satanist. As such, you are removed from communion with the Holy See, your vows are revoked, and your order casts you out.” Twats one and all.
I rise slowly. He throws a bag at my feet with track pants and an oversized grey hoody. I look at him as I drop my robe in front of him, standing there in my boxers. “And how much did you sell the Shire’s soul for arse clown?”
I pull on the close as he stammers “What the hell does it matter if we have claimed back the deficits you created on that land.” And the truth comes out, they have sold to the developers I have spent years scaring off. I pull on the close and storm out to the Bishop screaming I will not be welcome in any parish in the world that is in communion with the Holy See.
I mumble under my breath.
As a tear trickles down my cheek.
- St. George’s Dragon (A Tuck-Bronwyn Mystery) (tyragan.wordpress.com)
- Fall Out Chapter One (tyragan.wordpress.com)