SO out of character. I couldn't help myself. It wasn't even supposed to turn out like that. But whatever. Sorry for the disappointment, Gen Ken.

HAHAHA. This is so WEIRD.

I love it.

Love Lolly.

- 8 -

Monsignor Constantine was recovering from his near death experience. Heaven forbid he could have actually died, with all of that choking he did.

I, of course, took his place in the confessional. I hardly expected any children to come and confess their sins to the Lord, for they assumed that the Monsignor would be here as per usual.

I sat in the confined box, rather bored. Prayer would have been a good option to occupy myself, but I've found that I rather have a guilty pleasure.

That would be the Gameboy that Susannah introduced me to.

Aaah, Susannah.

I do not know what I am going to do with that one. A young girl with such courage, yet no faith.

I slumped back in the confessional, looking around. No one looking?


I slid out my packet of cigarettes, and plucked one out. I extracted a crucifix from my pocket. A cleverly disguised lighter. Blatant sacrilege. May the Lord have mercy on my tobacco-addicted soul.

I inhaled in the smoke, closing my eyes in satisfaction.

That was when there was a shuffling in the other concealed side of the confessional. In panic, I dropped the butt – my cigarette, pray, nothing else – onto the ground, and stamped on in hurriedly.

'Monsignor? Is that you?'

Good Lord . . . it was Susannah.

I deepened my voice, and coughed. 'Yes.'

I could almost feel her rolling her eyes.

'Okay, dude, you're gonna have to give me a hand with this, I'm not exactly the world's most frequent confessor,' she said in such speeds that mere mortals can only hope to reach. 'Of course,' I feigned my voice again, for she would tell me nothing if she knew it was me.

'Right,' she said. 'Um – '

'You say, "Bless me father, for I have sinned," first.'

She repeated that anxiously. I could hear something of guilt lacing her tone.

'Then, say how long it's been since you've last confessed.'

'I've never confessed, duh.'

'Of course.'

' . . . Monsignor?' she checked again suspiciously. 'Is that you?'

Dear Lord, I was being far too . . . not to speak ill of my collaborator, but . . . courteous. In a gruffer manner, I said, 'Of course it's me, child. Do hurry.'

May my deceptions be forgiven.

'Now confess,' I said.

'Yeah,' she mumbled in uncertainty. There were obviously some hesitations with revealing her sins. 'Well . . . I've totally sinned. Like, really bad. You see . . . I love someone who's like, totally unattainable.'

Aaah . . . the Jesse situation.

'Go on?' I smiled knowingly.

'Well, this guy . . . we can never be. I mean, he totally has morals, and stuff, and it's not like we can ever come out in public and say we're an item. He's just . . . he drives me insane. I'm so in love with him. I think about him all the time. I even try to go to Paul – um, some other guy, to try and forget about him. Because it's a love doomed from the start. But that's so not happening. He's on my mind. He's just so . . . sexy . . .'

My eyes were wide. Mary Mother of God . . . I knew that I should have put a stop to this a long time ago.

Again, I said, 'Go on?'

'Well,' she shuffled in her seat, sounding like she was getting comfortable, 'I just can't stand it anymore. All I want to do is tell this dude how BADLY I want him, but he'd give me this totally weird look, and then he'd tell me that I'm too young for him, or some shit – '

'Don't say such vulgar things, Susann – '

'What?' There was a stunned silence. 'Monsignor?'

'Yes, I have repeatedly told you that it is me,' I forced myself to snap. 'Please continue, and keep profanities to a minimal.'

'Whatever. So yeah. All I want to do is shove this guy up against a wall and kiss his brains out. But I so can't. Because he'll be all, 'Susannah! That's inappropriate! Blah, blah, blah,' or whatever.'

She seemed quite unaware that she'd revealed her identity.

'And,' she sighed wistfully, 'I know in my heart that it can't work. My love will remain unrequited for the rest of eternity. And besides, I'm Jewish, and he's not. Dunno why I'm even here. I just had to tell someone. I mean, I could never tell Jesse about this, or anything.'

. . . One moment . . . the way she said that, it sounded as if Jesse was a third party . . .

'Sorry?' I said.

'Jesse. Oh, he's my . . . um, boyfriend. I can't tell him that it's not him who I'm totally hot for,' she whispered in exaggeration.

I sat there, perplexed.

'But if it's not Jesse – or this Paul – then who in God's name are you talking about?'


'Can ya keep a secret, Monsignor?'

'Of course.'

' . . . Father Dom.'


I whipped the little flap between the confessional segments open. Susannah gasped upon seeing my face. 'Susannah!' I scowled furiously.

'Father Dominic!' she shrieked. 'I – you lied! You said you were – '

'I – ' I was quite at a loss for words. Oh, deary me. Susannah . . . in love with me . . . how complex . . . 'Susannah,' I tried to explain softly. She just looked horrified, her hair curling around her face youthfully. 'I – I am a Roman Catholic priest. I'm – '

This was a DIRE situation. Good Lord . . . Mother Mary . . .

'I just can't help it!' she wailed. 'You and that white hair . . . those less-than-fashionable-but-still-really-cute robes, that cross, the whole taboo-ness of it all . . . and God damn it, your eyes are so hypnotic . . . Father D – will you marry me?'

I paled.

Was this child possessed?

I did not want to exorcise her soul again, but if it was the only way to –

She leant forward in through the small window. 'Please say yes, make me the happiest sixteen-year-old alive? I don't want much. Just marriage. And kids? We can adopt, because I bet Dommy Jr. stopped working properly a few decades ago.'

I paled even further.

However, at that precise moment, Susannah's face cracked into an evil grin. 'You should see your face at the moment,' she hissed at me.

And promptly feel back into her segment, doubling up in fits of HYSTERICAL laughter.

I was astonished.

'HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!' she roared. She was obviously banging on the walls. I could feel the dust unsettling from the roof. 'HAHAHAHAHA!!! Oh my FUCKING GOD! YOU THOUGHT I WAS SERIOUS.'

'Susannah!' I found my voice, 'Do not be so . . . blasphemous! We are in a house of God!'

My dignity had crumbled away. And for the first time in my sixty five years, I felt an inkling of what drove men to violate the sixth commandment.


'How did you know it was me in here?' I asked in a slightly raspy voice. I was in shock. I had never been so alarmed in my life.

'I smelt smoke. I knew you'd come for a drag, duh,' she snorted, trying to catch her breath. 'I can't BELIEVE you FELL for that!'

And she giggled madly, once more.

'That's it,' I narrowed my eyes. 'You're not to see Jesse for a month.'

That shut her up.