The Last Sacrament, flash fiction by JPK at
Isabella Fischer

The Last Sacrament

The Last Sacrament

written by: JPK


“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”

“Is it yourself, Mary?”

“It is, Father Cleary. It’s been a day since my last confession.”

“Not quite a day, Mary. Did you think about what we discussed yesterday evening?”

“I did, Father, and I prayed very hard as well. I must have said fifty decades of the rosary. Sure my knees are raw from it.”

“That’s a lot of praying, right enough. I don’t think I gave you anything like that many.”

“You didn’t, Father. Just five Hail Marys and a Glory Be. I said those too. I love saying the old Hail Marys, so ‘tis not really penance at all. Is it a sin to like penance?”

“Not at all, Mary. It’s a good thing that you get joy from praising Our Blessed Lady. But did it help you think? Will you take my advice and turn yourself in to the Gardaí?”

“Well I very nearly did, Father, and maybe I will one day. But after I’d been praying for several hours didn’t I get to the point where my knees had stopped hurting and go into a State of Grace. Can you guess what happened?”

“I think I probably can, Mary. Yes.”

“Didn’t herself appear to me?”

“And where was she this time?”

“She came out of the washing machine, all gleaming white.”

“Well, I suppose she would be. Didn’t she appear in the fridge last time?”

“She did, and the dishwasher the time before that.”

“We’d better let the Catholic Herald know. They’ll be calling her ‘Our Lady of the Domestic Appliances’.”

“Ah, now, Father. Don’t be teasing me.”

“I’m sorry, Mary. Tell me, what did the Blessed Virgin say to you?”

“She said that Aiofe Blaney had been leading the Union of Catholic Mothers down a very dark path and that I was right to stop her.”

“You’re telling me that the mother of Our Lord condoned the poisoning of a seventy-five-year-old woman?”

“She did, Father.”

“For serving chicken at the UCM supper?”

“It was a Friday, Father.”

“That’s not a sin anymore, not since 1966.”

“And what about all the poor souls condemned to hell before 1966? Sure that’s not fair at all, Father.”

“And what about Mrs. Delaney?”

“That was self-defense, Father.”

“You sneaked up behind her and pushed her in the Shannon. If she hadn’t have washed up at Portumna her poor family would never have known what happened to her. How is that self-defense?”

“She kept putting lilies on the altar, Father. She knew full well that I’m allergic to the pollen. I had to sit at the back of the church for a week. I couldn’t even hear your sermon, Father, and you know how much I love your sermons.”

“That’s very kind of you Mary, thank you. But all the same, you can’t keep killing off the other members of the congregation. I have to tell you that I’ve asked Mrs. Ryan to call Bishop Maher’s secretary for an appointment. If you won’t go to the appropriate authorities yourself then I have to ask for His Grace’s dispensation to speak to the Gardaí.”

“I know that, Father, Josie Ryan and I always meet for a whiskey in Madden’s bar on a Tuesday. She said she was going to call him this morning.”

“Well, that’s the long and the short of it Mary. I’m sorry it had to come to such a pass.”

“So am I Father. I’ll miss my Tuesday nights with Josie. I thought about what you’d said to me about Mrs. Delaney and I’ve made sure they’ll find her body a bit quicker this time. With a bit of luck the first train won’t damage her beyond recognition.”

“Now Mary, I’m surprised at you telling me fibs. Mrs. Ryan is grand, she popped me my morning tea into the confessional just before you came in.”

“I’m sorry, Father. I made your tea myself this morning. I couldn’t have you putting His Grace in harm’s way, such a saintly man. I hope you can forgive me.”

“Ego te absolvo peccatis tuis, in nomine Patris, et Filius, et Spriri…”

“And the same to you, Father. Rest in peace.”

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