The Case of the Incontinent Curate - III

By Diogenes (articles) | May 19, 2005

Further adventures of our fearless sleuthette.

Chapter Nine

Driving slowly through the quaint Cape Cod village, Nancy found the church and parked her sporty auto on the side of the leafy street. She climbed the porch steps of the large clapboard house, and summoned up the courage to ring the doorbell After a few moments the door was opened by a white-haired housekeeper in a gingham apron.

"Is this 33 Millfield Street?" asked Nancy.

"I'm not at liberty to answer at the present time," answered the woman slowly. "Please direct all inquiries to the appropriate diocesan chancery official."

What's that thumpy sound? "May I speak with the pastor?" Nancy persisted.

"Fr. Bernie spends Tuesdays with his boyfriend," she replied.

"Gracious!" exclaimed Nancy, "Can I talk to the handyman, then?"

"Oh dear," the woman said, shaking her head and smiling sadly, "That Paul is such a rascal. You can't talk to him because he's back in jail again. I said to Fr. Don that he was a natural born mischief maker but Father has a soft spot for naughty young men. In fact Paul used to be Fr. Don's boyfriend come to think of it. That was before he introduced him to Fr. Bernie. Well here I am rattling on and it's almost time to get supper ready!"

"Is the handyman in jail for something serious?" Nancy gasped.

"I suppose it was youthful high spirits, really," chuckled the kindly old housekeeper. "Paul found a new gentleman friend at one of those special parties they have, and drove to him the beach to 'watch the sunrise' as they call it." She laughed indulgently and paused to wipe the corners of her eyes with her apron. "Well, it seems the young person in question was a bit sunrise-shy and Paul bludgeoned him with a tire-iron and stabbed him in the skull with a knife. Tried to bury him on the beach but made a mess of it, of course. That scamp is trying to deny it, but he parked his friend's car right here in our driveway during the whole episode. Fr. Bernie has half a mind to dock his paycheck and I wouldn't blame him if he did!"

"Speaking of that," replied Nancy, adjusting her natty apricot ascot, "Some people seem to think the parish accounts are missing half a million dollars or so. Do you have any idea where the money might be?"

"Don't bother your pretty little head about that," said the woman with a twinkle in her eye. As Fr. Bernie says, 'God loves a cheerful giver, and if I don't spend it, somebody else will!' You'll probably find Fr. Don at the Jib & Gerbil, by the way. He's known as Gladys there."

"Well, it seems to be just another ordinary week on the Cape," Nancy mused as she descended the porch, "but judging from the state of those rhododendrons beds, this handyman has not made himself too handy about the place. But, wait! What's that scratchy sound...?"

To be continued.

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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