Page Title: Gerasene Writer's Conference: Fox's Confessor - Chapter Six

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Page Text: When Father Overbee drank he often thought Of St. Augustine (“To The Burgundy, Thence I came…”) but refused to think what brought Him to such a pass: he knew the company “The Legless Fox” kept was most nights only “Me, myself and rye.” So he thought it strange To have someone other than a barfly Or transient intrude on his solo binge: Parishioner or not, encounters made him cringe. Tonight’s visitor in natty long coat And pin-striped three-piece was holding in hand And close to vest a fancy leather tote: That’s where, thought Father, lawyers keep contained Such secrets convictions that sins defend… The priest avoided making eye contact And turned to his drink as the stranger scanned The room for signs of life. In fact, he attacked His beer: shall I be shit-faced tonight, or just shellacked? Before too long, though, half way through the priest’s Latest coat of liver stain, the stranger spoke – Not to him – to imaginary guests – Or so it seemed. Perhaps the priest mistook The man for his appearance: homeless folk Have taken to wearing upscale suits, he thought. Intrigued, he listened to the stranger talk. A beer later, the stranger began to shout, Then looked at – or through – the priest, and quickly ran out. “There goes the evening’s divertissement…” The cleric said, and, shrugged to silence, sipped His glass and munched at a free assortment Of nuts and snaps at the bar. As he tipped His glass to drain it, someone lightly tapped His arm. A fat fellow sat a stool away And watched the glass the priest held as it dripped Its final drop into his mouth. “Good day,” He said. “I’m Lonnie Cash. Are you enjoying your stay?” “Good day – evening, sir. I’m actually not A regular guess – I came for the cashews And stayed for Wilmaukee’s Best. Look at that… Late fer New Mexico and no excuse. A bishop-forced vacation – can’t refuse.” “Are you a priest by name of Father Andy?” Asked Lonnie barging through the priest’s obtuse Palaver (Although that’s not quite the way That he put it later to Peyton: “He was high!”) “Who needs to know? You can tell Mrs. Conway –“ “Are you a priest?” (Although still dressed in his blacks, He had his Roman collar stashed away In his back pocket.) “Whew, this ‘Headless Fox’ Sure’s gotten busy tonight. ‘Matter facks, I am – or was – or…whaz on your mind, son?” “We’ve got a guest in Six-sixty-six – He’s very ill, you see – and a Christian – And he’d like to have a priest to do confession.” * * * * Thought Lytlewood, once more in the lobby. He pounded on the call-bell like a drum And Peyton Cash appeared almost instantly Behind the desk. Or the insanity Of an old man. “I’d like to take my suite.” “Yes sir, Mr. Lytlewood. Here’s your key. I would suggest you take the stairs tonight As the elevator is cranky – and it might –“ “You expect me to take six flights of stairs?” “Of course not, Mr. Lytlewood, go straight On down the hall and there’s elevators To left and right, but take the one on the right.” But Lytlewood shot a severe look at The man. “You damn well know I’ve been before. Who’s taking care of baggage this late At night?” Even Peyton Cash – cool cucumber Extraordinaire – struggled to keep composure. “We’ll…We’ll have them sent up A.S.A.P….” “What kind of place you run–“ Whatever else The aging thug thought he was going to say Was lost in vertigo and closing walls – He gripped the desk to ride out the crippling spells Of nausea, letting fall to the marble floor The dossier from Music. When the chills And shakes subsided, Peyton standing there Beside him, both saw its contents spilled everywhere. * * * * * As Father Overbee replayed the scene, Bizarre and of a piece with how his night Was shaping up, his presbyterian Instincts assumed a sober defense of rite And sacrament: while he agreed, despite His clodded judgment, to see the sick man, He told the thumbless fellow – as he spat Tobacco juice into a brass spittoon – “Sish sishty-sish, huh? Good nummers for confection…” “Well, Padre, spurt it can’t hurt spurt can it?” “I’ll need a hole and stoly oils – a stoles For extreme inaction – what? Bah! Emmit fit To drivel meself and get a couple miles To walk –“ “Oh, don’t sweat spurt the details There Padre – just spurt go and do your thing. The little stuff are just the devil’s Excuse for spurt to make the ol’ purse strings Of pig tails – or is it honey spurt for the bee stings? “Shit, I don’t know – the point is spurt…Well, shit, What was my point?” “The rask of gitting lust In detools?” "Ex – spurt – actly! Did I hit The hammer on the tail?" "– I think I mussed Your name, Mr….?” “Lonnie Cash, your host… I’m owner of these here praymises, too.” And Lonnie, pausing half a second, thrust His hand at Father Overbee and threw A look at his piled empty glasses. “Want to play through?” Posted by JOB at

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