04 April 2012


Alone, Father Marc Pierson pulled a dark green Oldsmobile to a stop into the only available spot in a vast parking lot.

Reluctant to leave the safe cocoon of the Oldsmobile, he sat behind the wheel examining the dials on the dashboard as he figured the mileage. He was almost a hundred miles away from the boundary of the diocese, in a vehicle that had been donated for use in the manifestation of God's work. Somehow he wasn't certain that he was about to do that.

Somewhere, a car door slammed forcing him away from this thoughts.

Three scantily clad young women exited a smoke filled minivan two parking spots away. Father Marc smiled warmly at the trio, watching as they crossed in front of the Oldsmobile, their six inch stiletto heels pounding against the concrete like rapid gun fire. Ta-ta-tat. Ta-ta-tat. Ta-ta-tat.

Laughing heartily amongst themselves, the women sauntered across the parking lot and disappeared inside the building. 

Standing beside a vacant stool at the entrance, were two male figures clad in matching black outfits. They chatted as they surveyed the parking lot.

Besides them, the parking lot was still.

Relieved that he hadn't been noticed, Father Marc sighed and removed the white collar fastened about his neck. Slowly, he turned it over in his hands studying every inch of it. Sighing, he placed the collar inside his jacket and looked over at the building. He wondered how they had engineered the light to make the building glow and yet remain almost completely shrouded in darkness.

Father Marc reached for the key and the Oldsmobile shuddered as the engine ground to a halt. Taking a deep breath, he stepped out into the darkness. His face glowed rhythmically, alternating between red and yellow, the reflection from a neon sign pulsating high above him on the side of the building. Slamming the car door shut, he looked up and read the neon sign as each word illuminated against the black sky, “Tit, Strip, Stop”. Forcing himself to face the building, he turned, swallowed hard, and strode toward the entrance.

Alone in the foyer, Father Marc stood motionless with one hand poised to push open the final glass door that separated him from all the depravity inside.


A shadowy figure began to materialize over Father Marc's left shoulder.

“Are you alone?”

“Marcello?” Father Marc turned toward the voice, “Is that you?”

“I've been waiting.”

“I am alone. I came as quickly as I could.” Father Marc shrugged. “It's a long drive from the rectory.”

“I know Father. That's why I am here.”

“We must talk.” Father Marc pointed to the entrance. “The car?”

“Yes. I,” Marcello emerged from the shadows just as three men entered the foyer.

The one in the center wore a white lace garter about his head. His white tee shirt boldly depicted a diamond engagement ring with the words 'she said yes' printed in it's center. Clearly inebriated, the young man was being supported on either side by his friends as they guided him into the foyer.

Discretely, Marcello receded into the shadows, forcing Father Marc to hold the glass door open for the three men. The trio barely acknowledged the priest as they struggled to get inside. Their eyes were focused on a lone spotlight illuminating the center stage where a semi-nude blonde female with her back to the crowd was slowly reaching down to touch her toes.

Father Marc shuddered. “You want to go in?” Marcello's voice whispered behind him.

“No,” Father Marc released the door handle as if it had suddenly become charged with electricity. “The car,” he turned to face Marcello. “This way.”

The two men walked out of the building and into the parking lot in silence, Marcello trailing behind the priest. As they approached the row of vehicles, Father Marc pointed to the dark green Oldsmobile. “It is not locked.”

Marcello nodded and cast a glance over his shoulder as he opened the passenger side door. They sat in the vehicle together, neither man offering to break the silence.

Finally Father Marc reached into his jacket pocket. Taking out the collar, he fastened it about his neck. “It is time, Marcello.”

“I didn't do it, Father. I couldn't.”

“I know, Marcello, I believe you but it is not up to me. There are accusations that must be faced and you cannot continue to run.”

“I know I am not perfect Father, but she was,” Marcello's voice grew hoarse and he struggled to continue. “She was my everything. How could they.” The young man gritted his teeth as he tried to swallow the bitterness that was beginning to wash over him. “How could they think I would do that to my own,” he swiped a tear from his cheek, “my only child.”

Father Marc sat silently, his hands clasped tightly in his lap and his eyes focused on the steering wheel.


The priest exhaled slowly. “Running only confirms their suspicions, Marcello. If you stand still and face them, they will be forced to look elsewhere. Let me take you to them,” he turned to study the young man's reaction. “Let us end this madness.”

The young man sighed, "You are right." He reached for the seat belt and fastened it about him. “Let us go, Father.” He nodded at the priest, leaned back into the seat and closed his eyes. “I am ready.”

Father Marc placed the key into the ignition and glanced up at the rear view mirror.

The little girl sitting in the back seat giggled as she fiddled with her curly brown hair.

© Ehmee Smith, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ehmee Smith, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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