Father Jon

February 6, 2011
By , Fair Oaks, CA
Fr. Jonathan Lee woke up at exactly 6:00 am. He did this everyday, and today was no different. He slid out from under the covers and made the bed before kneeling down by his bed. “In Nomine Patri, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.” After his prayers he headed off to the bathroom. He brushed his teeth, flossed, and then headed back to his bedroom. He quickly dressed and scanned the morning news, where the headline was “MURDER-RAPIST RELEASED FROM JAIL.” He sighed and shook his head as he drained the last dregs of his coffee.

Fr. Jon grabbed his wallet and made his way to the door. He stayed in an apartment downtown. The Church of St. Josephine had decided to place him in the projects, to see if he had any influence on the locals. He stepped out into a gray New York day. The skyscrapers could barely be seen through all of the fog and mist. At the bottom of the stairs to his apartment was one of the locals, Thomas Delacroix. Thomas was built rather impressively, and was known around town as “T-dog”

“I can’t stay to talk T” said Fr. Jon hurriedly. “I’m already late.” “I know Father, but something happened. There was a firefight down the street. Take a different road.” “Thanks T.” Fr. Jon groaned internally as he turned down a different street to get to the church. If there had been another shooting, then he would need to bury more people. He hated only being able to treat symptoms of the problem, and not fix the root cause – all of the evil in the world.

Fr. Jon entered the church with a smile on his face. He loved walking into the church in the early morning – when he could hear the pigeons, when the roses around the altar were fresh cut and their scent wafted through the church.

He entered the back room to talk to Cheryl, the woman who managed all of the phone calls coming into the church. She was overwhelmed, her fingers dancing away at the computer and the phone pressed to her ear, held there by her shoulder. He walked over to her desk and grabbed the top note on her spindle. It read “Women’s shelter on 9th. Call this morning” He stuffed it into his pocket and turned around to go over to the shelter.

Just as he reached for the door that lead out of her office he heard Cheryl call out, in her high pitched voice “Father! Wait a second.” He turned around and saw her rifling through her purse, pushing aside lipstick, various trinkets, and spare change to reach for her wallet. She popped the clasp and extracted a few fives. She passed them over to Fr. Jon, saying “Here. Take a taxi over to the shelter if you are going to go. There was another shooting this morning, so a taxi will be safer.” Fr Jon accepted the money graciously and said “Thanks Cheryl. I’ll see about you getting compensated.” “Nonsense! I’m just trying to make sure you don’t get yourself shot.” Fr. Jon smiled as he left the church. If more people were like Cheryl, maybe the world would be a better place.

He flagged down a taxi and clambered into the back. “Hello!” called the taxi driver, over the partition. “Where to?” “The women’s shelter off of 19th.” Replied Fr. Jon. As soon as the words left his lips the taxi took off, like a dog that had just spotted a cat. He weaved in and out of traffic quickly, going as fast as he could without physically touching the other cars. Fr. Jon held on for dear life.

Ten minutes later Fr. Jon arrived at the women’s shelter, and handed the driver a couple of fives. The taxi driver thanked him and sped off, becoming one of a thousand taxis in New York.

Fr. Jon entered the women’s shelter and made a beeline for the receptionist, who was speaking quickly on the phone. She cupped her hand over the phone and said “She’s in room 8. She’s in pretty bad shape though.” Fr. Jon nodded and headed down the corridor.

He opened the door to room 8 and he felt like someone had just pulled the floor out from under him. The young woman sitting by window was in a very bad shape. Her arms were covered in bruises and her fingernails were blood red where she had tried to fight off her attacker. One of her eyes was purple, bruised and puffy, and her nose was crooked. The top button of her shirt had popped off, and a few threads were still clinging to the fabric. Her entire face was covered in small scratches. Fr. Jon smiled at her and told her that he would be right back.

Fr. Jon went further down the hall and found the storage room. He grabbed a medicine kit and some spare clothes. He returned to the room and popped the medical kit open. “This is going to sting” he warned her. She said nothing and didn’t move a muscle, or even acknowledge his presence. He approached her slowly and she looked up. She didn’t say a word but she stretched out her arms, cooperating. He started by disinfecting and cleaning up the cuts on her face. He helped her use a nail cleaner to pick the gore out from under her nails, and then cleaned up the eye. He closed the blinds in the room and told her to try the clothes on – if they fit, rap once on the door, if not, twice. He stood outside and waited.

A few moments later a single knock came from the door. He entered and retrieved her old clothes. She was still sitting in the same position by the window, and still did not acknowledge him when he walked in. He walked back to the storage room and found a sewing kit and a spare button. He sewed the button back on then deposited the repaired clothes into the buildings washing machines.

He walked back out to the front and spoke to the receptionist. “Did she say who did this?” The receptionist slid a newspaper clipping at him. The newspaper clipping was the same one Fr. Jon had seen this morning. He felt anger rise up in his breast. The man had been out of jail for less than 36 hours and he had already permanently scarred another woman. Fr. Jon was tired of the fact that he was only able to fix things after they had gone horribly wrong, and decided that he was not going to let this happen again. He scanned the clipping and located the address. The man wasn’t that far away.

He spent the rest of the day with the woman, simply talking to her and asking her about her life and her family. At the end of the day he headed over to the perpetrators apartment. He rapped twice on the door. He waited, and was about knock again when the door swung open, revealing a skinny man clad in a blue polo shirt and jeans. He had a beer clutched in his hand and Jon could hear the TV running. “Whadda want?” the man slurred.

The sight of the man standing in front of him drove him over the edge. God would not have dropped such a perfect storm of events into his lap if he hadn’t wanted Jon to do something about this man, and Jon was going to do it. Jon curled up his right hand into a fist and slammed it into the other man’s face. The other man reeled from the blow, obviously unprepared for a priest to punch him. Jon stepped into the apartment and seized the vase of dead flowers on the table by the door. He swung it and it connected with a resounding thud on the man’s head, and he fell to the ground, with a gash in his head.

Jon stepped over him and walked into the kitchen, where a large butcher’s knife waited for him on the counter. It was as if God himself had come down to scream what he wanted at Jon. Jon seized it and walked back the unconscious man. “In Nomine Patri, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.” was all Jon said before he kneeled, and brought the knife down. The blade tore through the flesh like a hot knife through butter, and blood immediately began to pool around the wound. Jon, with the knife still embedded, began to pull the knife toward him. He did this action again and again until he had four lines exactly 90O from each other. The blood had begun to pool on the linoleum floor, and Jon’s hands were covered in gore.

He stood up and walked over to the sink, where he washed the blood off of his hands, letting it run down the drain. He grabbed the knife and cleaned it off as well, before finding its box and taking it with him. He walked home quickly and by the back streets, and went immediately to his room to change. He stripped off all of the clothes that he had worn that day and redressed himself. He then jammed the knife blade between a kitchen drawer and pushed down, snapping it. He wrapped the handle in the blood covered jacket, and dropped the blade in the dumpster than sat below his window. He gathered up his clothes and headed down to the basement, where the furnace that kept the building warm was. He carefully opened it and threw all of his clothes in, as well as the knife handle. He went back upstairs and went to sleep.

The next day Jon woke up and repeated his daily ritual. This time, as he drained his coffee, the headline read “NOTORIOUS CRIMINAL FOUND STABBED TO DEATH IN OWN APARTMENT. CROSS CARVED ON CHEST.”

Jon smiled.

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