Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"Jackass Blues" by Eddie Stack-a short story

Irish Short Story Month Year III
March 1 to March 31
A Reading Life Special Event
"Jackass Blues" by Eddie Stack-a short story
Eddie Stack

In an act of supreme generosity Eddie Stack has sent me 22 short stories to post for Irish Short Story Month.   I offer him my great thanks for this.  I intend to share all of these short stories with my readers.  He is a master story teller with a deep understanding of Ireland.   

Press comments on his work

Praise for Eddie Stack’s writing

"Mr. Stack's fiction is versatile and engaging...a vivid, compassionate, authentic voice...securing (him) a place in the celebrated tradition of his country's storytelling.”
New York Times Book Review

“This second collection of short stories by Eddie Stack has a wonderful sense of unreality, of weirdness among Irish characters and of downright fun.”

Irish Emigrant

“Eddie Stack’s stories jet back and forth across the Atlantic, contrasting small town Ireland and big city US. Every time they land, the author seems to test the borderline of what might and might not be possible in downtown bars, crumbling dance halls and drizzly farms. The result is a remarkably consistent collection of short stories.

Ian Wild, Southword

Author Bio

Eddie Stack has received several accolades for his fiction, including an American Small Press of the Year Award, and a Top 100 Irish American Award. Recognized as an outstanding short story writer, he is the author of four books —The West; Out of the Blue; HEADS and Simple Twist of Fate.

west-sml           blue-sml           heads-sm           simple-twst-sm

His work has appeared in literary reviews and anthologies worldwide, including Fiction, Confrontation, Whispers & Shouts, Southwords and Criterion; State of the Art: Stories from New Irish Writers; Irish Christmas Stories, The Clare Anthology and Fiction in the Classroom.

A natural storyteller, Eddie has recorded spoken word versions of his work, with music by Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill. In 2010, he integrated spoken word and printed work with art, music and song to produce an iPhone app of The West; this was the first iPhone app of Irish fiction.

"Jackass Blues"
Eddie Stack

During that slow, dark time between New Year and Lent, a black ass sauntered into town. Sleek as a seal, it had the fine features of a thoroughbred and moved gracefully through the street with a confidence that its working class brethren lack. It seemed curious about the town and gazed at the old wooden shop-fronts like tourists did, peered into laneways and stared at posters and notices tacked to telegraph poles. The animal showed no interest in people and nobody bothered it, thinking it was a stray just passing through.
After a few days, it discovered the televisions in the window of Harney's Electrical Emporium and would stand in the footpath watching Sesame Street, Bosco or whatever programmes were showing. When Bruce Harney switched off the sets, the ass would move on to spend the night in the shadows of a back lane. Then one evening when Harney pulled the plug, the animal got indignant and thumped its head against the shop window a few times. Bruce roared at him to 'bum off' and the animal lashed his hind legs against the window. The smash of glass brought everyone outside and the black ass galloped around the town square, bucking like a rodeo star.

Harney went to the police to make a statement for  insurance purposes and Sergeant Malone determined that the donkey should be impounded. Next morning he gathered a posse of local animal handlers: Coyne the butcher, Coco Ryan the blacksmith, Murt Lyons, Gimp McDonagh and Fonsie Duggan the horse-blocker. The butcher brought along a gun 'just in case'. He took control of the gang, psyching up the handlers until they were as rabid as a lynch mob.
“Chase him up Boland's Lane,” he ordered, “then we can lasso him. But we want to do it now. Immediately. Or else that animal will maul someone.”
The posse stalked the black ass for days but he outsmarted them every time, becoming a hero with street urchins and local dead-beats. As if aware of the sanctuary afforded to outlaws of old, the animal now took refuge in the church grounds at night. Father White would see him shelter under the trees, hear him urinate by the side of the house. Even with the gates locked and chained, the animal still somehow entered and Father White felt besieged by evil, his holy space violated. He urged the donkey hunters to double their efforts and hinted that the butcher's gun might be their only solution.
Before the week passed, the donkey gained a few supporters who protested against the posse. Receiving no quarter from Sergeant Malone, they came to Father White with their pleas. First came Gretta Green, the madwoman from Frowhell. She pleaded with the priest to call off the posse, explaining that asses were God's favorite animal and should be free to roam and do whatever they wanted. Coming closer she whispered,
“For all you know that ass could be here on a mission.”

Standing in pouring rain, Gretta referred to the bible and listed countless roles the species had played, reminding the priest of the many tight spots where asses had come to God's rescue. Father White nodded, rubbed his tired eyes; he set her mind at rest with a prayer that God would deliver the ass to safety as in the past.
A few hours later he had a second caller: MJ Kelly,  another ass lover, who extolled the animal's beauty and grace and pleaded that Greenpeace, Dúchas or the R.S.P.C.A. be notified about its presence. MJ said it was a rare ass and that it might have escaped from some zoo, like the one the English-man had in County Wicklow.

Vera Cruise the bank manager's wife arrived under a  yellow golfer's umbrella that said Pernod. She grabbed the priest by the hand and he could feel her bones shivering when she whispered,
“There's a soul trapped inside that ass. Look at his eyes, they're the eyes of a man in pain. A martyr. You have to bless that animal Father. Say prayers over him.”
He looked at her with compassion and said,
“Vera, you've been drinking again and it doesn't suit you.”

Father White had terrible dreams that night: armed with a bucket of Holy Water and a shaker, he was dueling with the ass in the town square; people hung out windows to follow the action. The parishioners were pitting him against a demon, putting him in a spot, making him earn his keep. Then the town became Jerricho and Father White saw Jesus and the apostles, all riding jet black donkeys. The holymen carried huge guns and the donkeys grew wings and turned into firey dragons. He was no match for them and lifted a manhole cover and descended underground for safety.
Next morning the priest was praying, sitting on the edge of his bed when he heard an urgent knock on the door. More trouble, he thought, wrapping a brown dressing gown around himself and trundling downstairs.
The man at the door was Trick Rodgers, an animal jobber from the far end of the parish.
“I'll catch that ass,” he said bluntly, “but I'll have to be paid first. If I fail, you'll get the money back.”
 A fee of five pounds was quickly agreed and before the jobber changed his mind, Father White hurried and took five crinkled notes from the church coffers. He looked Trick in both eyes and said,
“Have that animal out of town by tomorrow. I don't care how you do it, just get him out of here.”
Trick tipped his hat and said quietly,
“God's will will be done.”

Next morning when the the daily communicants dribbled to Mass, the ass was lying on his side at Cassidy's Corner. It was the talk of the church, especially when Father White offered up thanks to God for delivering the town from evil. Trick was loading the beast on a hay cart when the Mass-goers poured from the church. A crowd gathered around to get a close view.
“That's a hungry ass,” said Tim Wynn, “Hah? But look at the head o' teeth he has. Hah?”
“What age d'you think he's Trick?” shouted Paddy Hynes.
“Old enough to have sense,” muttered the jobber, rising a laugh from the onlookers that unsettled the bound animal. Women screamed when he threshed his legs and Trick shouted,
“Stand back or he'll ate ye!”
The loaded cart creaked out of town at funeral pace. Father White watched from behind the lace curtained windows of his breakfast room and said,
“Thanks God. Thanks.”

The donkey recovered in a stone-walled field behind Rodger's house, where he had great forests of thistles and a fine view of the Atlantic. Trick broadcast that the animal was at stud but when a few clients brought their mares, the jack ignored them and pranced around playing hard to get. Rumors spread about his virility and soon he was left alone to rest his chin on the stone wall of his lodgings and look out at the ocean. Eventually Trick forgot about him, left him in the field like an abandoned car.
Time passed slowly, spring was wet and windy and the jobber spent most of his time in pubs. When summer arrived, the sun didn't shine often and one grey day when Trick was cycling to town, the postman flagged him down. He looked at him blankly and said,
“Trick? Do you know the Frenchman an' his wife that bought Paddy Keogh's place beyond in Carageen?”
“The two hippies?”
“That's them...well they asked if I knew of anyone who had a good ass for sale. I told 'em I'd say it to you.”
“They want a good ass?”
“As good as they'll get, I s'pose.”
“I've an ass,” said Trick offering the postman a cigarette,  “a right good ass. I don't have any use for him and it's a pity. Maybe he'd suit them.”
“Sure he'd suit 'em grand' they wouldn't be workin' him too hard...I'll tell 'em that when I'm over that way again.”
“The best thing to do so,” said Trick, “is for me to write 'em a letter and give it to you.”
Trick got a pencil from the postman and scribbled a note on the back of a cigarette box.
I have a good ass for sale. Strong as a horse. Price £10.  T. Rodgers, Tobbarnave.

Sitting in the front seat of a yellow Renault van, the postman directed the buyers to Trick's farm. Bouncing over pot-holed roads, the strangers smiled at each other, shook their heads at the beauty of the heathery land and the quaintness of its people. Trick heard the motor approaching and was at the gate to welcome them. They introduced themselves, smoked a round of hand-rolled cigarettes and then the jobber brought them to the donkey. Starved of company, he trotted to his visitors like a puppy.
“A fine animal, God knows. And a strong animal Trick,” praised the postman.
“That ass is as strong as any horse and aisier to manage and feed,” the jobber announced.
“Ten pounds you say?” the Frenchman said.
“Ten Irish pounds. And I'd get twice that if I advertised him in the paper.”
The couple smiled, nodded and rattled to each other in French. The ass stood by the other side of the wall, listening to his fate dealers. There was talk of a cart, harness and tackle and when the ass raised his head to protest, the bargain was struck.
That night while the ass slept, Trick slipped a noose around his neck and in the morning brought him to the French people. He waved the animal good-bye with the sincerity of a mother sending her son to boarding school. The ass brayed but Trick walked away without looking back.

Returning home from the cattle mart in Ballyhobbit almost a week later, Trick went into Aggie Ryan's for a drink. Aggie did most of the talking, Trick not paying much heed until she said,
“God wasn't that awful about the poor French people below in Paddy Keogh's place. Very sad. Awful sad sure...”
“Who's that Aggie?” he asked.
“Ah you know 'em. A big tall fella with whiskers an' a black tam an' a lady-I don't know if she's his wife or not-she has long straggly hair and she wears long skirts an' big hob nail boots.”
“I know 'em.” said Trick, “Nice people. Hippies. What happened to them?”
“It seems they bought an ass from' whether he was broken or not, I don't know...but he attacked them.”
“Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph!” Trick blurted, stuffed a cigarette into his mouth.”What happened Aggie? They were attacked by an ass?”
“Well I'm not so sure what happened. Tommy Reilly was here today and he said the hippies were tacklin' the ass when he turned on them...he bolted from the stable an' kicked the door shut on 'em as he went out. They were locked in the  stable for three days and three nights, tryin' to get out an' couldn't. If Margo Flynn hadn't come along an' heard 'em roarin' they'd have starved to death. They'd be there yet. That's an awful lonesome place they live in down there. Sweet Heart of Jesus but didn't wan of the Keogh boys hang 'em selves in that same stable?”
“He did. But were the French people...hurt? Did the ass...bite 'em or anything?” asked Trick, shifting in his seat.
“Sure they were in a terrible way after it. Shocked more than anything, accordin' to Tommy.”
“Well as long as they weren't hurt or bitten, that's the main thing. An ass is a hard animal to handle. People think they're foolish, but they're not. Not by a long shot.”
“Oh sure they were lucky. That ass could have ate 'em, Tommy said.”
Up town in Egan's bar, Trick heard the ass had pitched Pat Hamil from his bicycle over in Clochar. The animal knocked walls all the way from Carageen to Cohey, letting hundreds of stock roam from home.
“That ass is on the rampage,” said Sonny Cullen, a heavy whiskey drinker. He shook his head, glanced at Trick and warned, “Jesus Christ Trick, when he gets as far as you, you'd better have an elephant gun.”
“An' Trick, if you don't mind me sayin' so,” wheezed Peter Egan the publican, “but you shouldn't have dumped that ass so near home. An' especially to them two poor hippies. Sure great God almighty, the nearest they ever got to an ass was on the  television. You should have kept that beauty for the Fair of Spancill Hill and sold him to some wan above in Kildare or Meath, where he could graze lawns. But...Excuse me gentlemen.”
He broke off: Mrs. Egan was calling from the kitchen. He returned a few minutes later and whispered to Trick,
“Herself said that Sergeant Malone is lookin' for you. He was up at Aggie's. If you can slip out through the kitchen and down the yard to the backlane.”
Trick nodded slightly, took a sip from his drink and nipped into the kitchen. The jobber's glass was in the sink when the lawman jabbed his head into the bar.
“God bless ye men,” he saluted, looking around, “Anyone see the jobber Rodgers?”
“He was here earlier Sergeant,” wheezed Peter, “he might be up in Aggie's. He was in town alright.”
“Who?” crooned Sonny Cullen, putting his hand behind his ear.
“You know him Sonny,” said the sergeant, “Trick Rodgers the cattle jobber. The tubby fella with the white coat and green hat.”
“Oh yes, yes, yes. Yes of course,” said Sonny, turning towards the sergeant, “you might find him in Lala Vaughan's. He goes there sometimes. If I'm not mistaken but Lala is some relation of his.”
“Alright, thanks men,” muttered Malone and left.
“Whether the law or d'ass gets to him first,” sighed Sonny, “but I'm thinkin' Trick is in the shit.”

Trick hid at home for two days, sleeping in the loft and peering from the skylight every time he heard a sound. The postman banged on the door one evening but got no response. Talking to himself, he walked around the house, rattled windows, asked the hens who was feeding them and left again. Then it was quiet for what seemed eternity.
Heavy pounding on the front door spun Trick from a shallow sleep. The Law. He crawled out of bed and listened to Malone and Constable Collins walk around the house, commenting on the state of the place.
“His bike is here,” Collins said and they banged on the back door and rapped the windows.
“Rodgers! Get up and open the door,” called Sergeant Malone, “We know you're at home.”
More pounding and thumping, threats of bursting down the door; talk of a warrant.
“Hello!” cried Trick suddenly, sticking his head out the skylight, “Hello. Who's that?”
“Police!” shouted the young cop, “Open up!”
The jobber met them in his vest and trousers, braces looped at the knees.
“Mr. Rodgers,” the sergeant announced, “we want you to come down to the station with us.”
“Station?” echoed Trick.
“The barracks!” barked the constable.
“Are you comin' or do we have to arrest you?” asked Malone, inflating his chest and poising his head like a cobra.
“Arrest me?” cried Trick, pulling up his braces, “What in the name of Christ are ye arresting me for?”
Malone took a black book from his tunic pocket and read some mumbo-jumbo about rights, but Trick wasn't really  listening. He was looking over the sergeant's shoulder at a black ass cantering down the road.
“That's grand,” said Trick, “That's grand. I understand all that...but what I want to know is what are ye arresting me for?”
“For sellin' an animal that wasn't yours to sell,” replied the young policeman. “The ass that Father White paid you to catch wasn't your's to sell and you sold him to a couple of  foreigners who wouldn't know an ass from a giraffe- thereby endangering their lives and the lives of the public in general.”
“You're wrong,” protested Trick. “That ass you're talkin' about and the ass I sold to them French people are two different asses. That ass behind you is the ass I caught for the priest.”
The black ass was galloping hard towards the house, his jaws hinged like an open scissors. The policemen scattered around the shack, skidding on chicken shit and discarded tea leaves. The donkey hawed like a fog horn, Malone shouted,
“ Rodgers-call off that animal!”
“Hold aisey!” roared Trick and to his astonishment, the donkey shuddered to a stop and turned docile as a lamb.
“That's a good boy,” muttered the jobber with relief, “that's a good fella. Hold aisey now. These nice men won't harm you. Hold aisey now.”
Malone peeped around the gable of the house and made a dash for the patrol car, followed by his constable. Safely in the car he rolled down the window and shouted,
“Rodgers! You haven't heard the end of this!”

Trick put his hands on his hips, looked at the ass and said,
“What in the name of Jaysus are you doin' here, you black bastard. Don't you know that I get into enough shit without the likes of you rakin' it for me? Jaysus Christ Almighty, couldn't you have been nice to them two poor hippies above in Carageen and have a soft live an' a bed to lie 'n at night. Why in the name of Christ did you act the bollix an' shit on us all?”
The ass raised his head and swaggered a few steps closer. He stared at Trick with deep black eyes. This is no ass, Trick was forced to think as he felt the animal harangue him. He sprang back into the kitchen when he thought he heard a bass voice say,
“I'm not just an ass, you know.”
“Fuck off outta here!” ordered Trick, standing behind  the door.
“Hey listen,” he was hearing, “it's okay Trick. I can explain...”
“Shag off!” roared Rodgers, bolting the door, “The butcher was right. The gun! The gun and a High Mass. An' I'll pay for the Mass. The devil! That's what you are!”
“Trick?” came a voice from under the door.
“Don't call me Trick you prick!”
“Well then, Mr. Rodgers...look...I know this is very strange...and it's not everyone I can connect with, but if you can give me a few minutes of your time I can explain everything...”
“Don't explain anything...that's my job. Just shag off out  of here!”
A couple of seconds later hooves cannonaded the door and Trick swore and cursed and invoked all the gods and angels, saints and sages he had ever heard of, to rid him of the  affliction. He sweated and his throat dried up asking for forgiveness for misdeeds and bad deals. The battering got louder and the kitchen vibrated like the belly of a drum. Dishes shivered and pots rattled until Trick thought the four walls would  collapse around him. When an old jam jug crashed from the dresser, Trick lashed a running kick that hit the door as the ass's hooves touched the wood. He rattled the animal to his teeth.
“Up yours too,” snarled the voice outside, withdrawing to the shelter of the cart house.
Trick sat at the table and smoked a cigarette. It was a day of shocks: visits from the law and talking asses, a dealer's doomsday. Attacked on all fronts, he sighed, looking at his mother's jug shattered on the flag floor. He had another cigarette and glanced out the window: it would rain again soon. That's the type of day it is, he sighed and decided to put down a fire.
He busied himself around the house and it occurred to him that if he was anywhere else in the world, this cloud might have a silver lining. A talking animal would be a  valuable piece of property in America. When he worked in Chicago there used be a television program starring a talking horse. Though getting this ass to America would be  complicated and probably backfire. The television station in Dublin wouldn't be able to handle the idea. A circus might be my best bet, thought Trick. A voice announced under the door,
“We've company.”
A few vehicles were parked out at the road. Trick recognised the hippies' yellow motorvan, the butcher's truck and the patrol car. More cars drew up, doors slammed and a crowd swelled outside the gate. A bull horn squelched and blared:
“Rodgers? Rodgers can you hear me? This is Sergeant Malone. Step out of your house.”
“Stay put,” said the bass voice, “I'll cover you.”
“Rodgers!” the sergeant again called, “Come out. We know you're at home, you have the fire down.”
Trick stuck his head out the door.
“What ails ye?”  he shouted.
The bull horn screeched.
 “We want you to help us in our inquiries,” Sergeant Malone hailed across two acres of rain.
Trick assessed the situation and pulled on a white cattle coat and trilby hat, grabbed a cudgel and stepped outside. He closed the door, muttering to the ass,
“Any jig acting now my friend and we are both down  the sink.”
“No problem. Just act as if everything is normal. I'm cool.”
The jobber took his time crossing the field and his  reception party were dripping wet when he reached them.
“I'm glad ye came,” he muttered to Malone, “because I want to see the priest right quick.”
“Why? Is it confessions you want?”
“Look, bring me down to Father White and tell the rest of these people to shag off home out of the rain because they couldn't be in a more dangerous place than here at this time. Didn't you hear about the devil appearin' at the dancehall above in Galway and the havoc that he caused?”
“What are you on about?” asked Malone, getting annoyed, “What has the devil to do with this, except that you're the fuckin' devil. Are you goin' to sprout hooves and horns for us?”
“Do you see that black ass?” Trick sighed,”Well that's no ass, I'll have you know. That's the devil.”
Trick's words surprised Malone.
“The devil?” he muttered, turning his eyes on the ass, “No....You're ravin''re dotin', that's just a mad ass.”
“Look, that's the devil and I know it. What's more, he spoke to me, and write that down in your book if you like and I'll stand by it.”

Blue lights flashing, the patrol car hurried to the parochial house and Trick was ushered to the sitting-room while the priest finished his dinner and listened to the sergeant's report. Father White was pale and harrowed when he came into the sitting room, sucking his teeth.
“How're you feeling Mr. Rodgers?” he cautiously asked, dropping into an armchair.
“How would you feel if you met the devil?”
The priest inhaled very deeply and joined hands over  his lap.
“The devil?” he sighed like a falling bomb.
“That's right.”
 “Let me tell you first Mr. Rodgers that the evil spirit can manifest itself in many forms and we are most vulnerable when we are fatigued, as often happens in certain kinds of weather. Why, I knew a man one time who was convinced the devil was always hovering around before a thunderstorm burst...just like today's weather...heavy, wet and clammy,” he smiled weakly and shook his head, “It may be nothing more than your nerves Mr. Rodgers...”
“Excuse me one second, Father, but what about the time the devil appeared in the dancehall above in Galway? Didn't you tell the story yourself from the pulpit below in the church? I'm only doin' my duty as a good Christian, reportin' what I know. There's no harm in that, and I thought that any priest, high or low would only be too delighted to have the chance to go to bat with the devil. T'would be good for  promotion and good for the parish too. And furthermore,” said Trick leaning towards him, “but t'is yourself that's the cause of all this trouble and I'll have to tell the newspapers and the bishop if there's any damage done.”
“For God sake will you stop it,” snapped Father White, rising from his chair. He turned away from Trick to blow  his nose and wipe his forehead. “Look,” he continued, “don't tell me that what started out a wild jackass hanging around the town has...has...has now become the devil and talks to you.”
“I will,” said Trick, “and what's more...I don't want him hanging above around my house because I'm not smart enough to talk to him all day, so I'm here to tell you that I'm bringing him back down here and you can put him out there in the orchard and ask him riddles.”
Father White closed his eyes and Trick thought he was praying. After a while he took a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and offered one to the jobber. He said softly,
“If you don't mind me sayin' so, but I think you are taking this donkey business too seriously. Hmm? You know, the  situation with the French people and all that... I know you were doing us a favor by catching the animal...and things didn't go well for you...I know that people here believe in the old  superstitions as well and you see, it might be only natural...that you might think there is some...well...evil influence involved.”
“Oh?” said Trick, stirring in his chair.
“Yes. It can be a common enough the way would you care for a little drop of brandy? It will help you relax.”
“I wouldn't mind, to tell you the truth.”
They clinked glasses in good health and the priest passed an hour or so telling stories about the supernatural and solving mysteries with the wave of his hand. When the jobber pressed him again about the Galway dancehall incident he topped up the tumblers and said,
“Mr. know...forget about Galway for a while...I think I should call Sergeant Malone and see if we can straighten out this affair...after all, you were only was trying to rid us of a nuisance.”
“Sure I walked right into it again,” said Trick and the priest excused himself from the room.
Everything was smoothed over in a couple of minutes. Another donkey would be found for the French people if Trick would promise to keep the black ass on his own farm. The priest smiled and the jobber said,
“Maybe you're right Father, sure maybe I was only  hearing things.”
“Well I didn't say that...what I meant was...”
“I know, I know...sure it might be all over when I go home.”
“More than likely. But you did the right thing by coming to me.”
The telephone jingled impatiently in another room.
“I hope it's not bad news,” Father White muttered with  a frown.
The priest had a puzzled smile when he returned a couple of seconds later,
“It's for you Mr. Rodgers,” he said.
“Me? Wanted on the telephone? Who? Where is it?”
“Out the door and the first room on your left,” directed the priest, “the phone is on my desk in the study.”

Trick picked up the receiver and said,
“Yes, this is me. Who's this?”
“It's me. Look, I'm calling from the phone box down at Carey's Cross. I rang the barracks and they said you were with the padre...”
“Hello? Hello! Who 'm I talkin' to?”
“This is Hee-Haw. Trick...look, I was just calling to ask you to leave the padre out of this. You know, no heavy prayers, Holy Water, Benediction or that sort of jazz?”
“All that'll be sound,” said Trick quietly. If he was anywhere other than the parochial house, he'd blaze the caller from the wire with a volley of abuse.
“So how's it going down there with you? Alright Iec hope.”
“Very well entirely. And with yourself?”
“Okey-dokey. The cop car passed over a couple of times and slowed down for a look. But no trauma.”
“I see. Well that's good.”
“Yeah. Yeah, and the postman called. Had no mail for you. Footless of course.”
The operator came on the line-
“Hello? Hello, Bunowan Two? Insert four pence please.”
Both parties ignore him.
“And it look's like the rain will clear up after a while,” said the caller.
“Great. Well thank's for callin'. I better get back to Father White.”
“Okay Trick. Take it slowly. Over and out.”
The receiver dropped and clunked against the walls of the telephone kiosk. Trick heard the caller awkwardly leave the box and clip-clop down the road. He looked up at a statue of Jesus standing on the priest's mantelpiece and asked,
“Why me Lord? Why me?”
And without opening His mouth the Lord answered,
“Trick, these things are sent to try us. Relax.”

 End of guest post

This story is the property of Eddie Stack, is posted here with his consent and is protected under international copyright laws.   It cannot be published or posted without his permission.

Mr Great thanks to Eddie for allowing this to be posted for ISSM3

Mel u

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