October 23, 1937;
22:03:18 - 22:18:00

- - Pulaski and the Father have a rosy discussion.



There was enough rain for the hole in the awning to provide means for a generous stream of water to pour onto the cement of the church's backdoor entrance. Heavy drops met the pavement and rooftops in loud splashes which spread widely on impact. Pulaski kept his body turned away from the leak and the doorway while standing under the edge of the canopy, watching the alleyway glisten from the storm and listening to the rain drops sizzle as they hit the electric wires that were running from the rear of the towers across the road. He was thankful that there was little wind tonight; the temperature was cold enough without the autumn rain, and he didn't have to be so concerned about his clothes getting wet. He stood in place but gently bobbed side to side, leaning his weight to the left, then to the right, patiently waiting for Espinoza to meet him. After spectating the shower for a while, Pulaski dug into his suit jacket to look for a cigarette and was ready to take it out - but the door opened behind him.

"You still need patience.", said Espinoza with a smile.

"I got bored and fidgety. Sue me."

"Yes, I should have been quicker, considering the rain. Well, come in."

The Father held the door out to Pulaski and quietly closed it himself after he came inside. The pair walked silently through a doorway that led to a small hallway lined with checkered shades of marquee wood, and took an immediate right turn that led to a small room. Inside, a lit fireplace softly crackled with burning pine and cast extra light on the chair of the dining table set that faced away from the pit. The fire was there mainly for warmth, as there was no lack of illumination inside; four small fixtures of ornamental brass were lit by glass bulbs in the corners of the room and another pair of bulbs filled the room with light shining through an elaborate crystal chandalier that was hanging above the table. The priest entered the room first and promptly took his seat, opposite of the fireplace, which is where he was situated earlier. A Bible bound in red leather and a small stack of prayer intentions resting by a pen and blank sheets of paper marked his previous location and actifity. Pulaski hung his coat and hat on the standing metal rack near the doorway before seating himself across from him, appreciative of the warmth waiting for him in the chair.

"I guess I can't say that I was late because I just prepared this fire for you."

"I suppose not, but it would be touching." answered Pulaski before laughing.

Espinoza politely and silently smiled in reply, then folded his hands over the table, resting his right elbow on the edge of the Bible. He waited intently for Pulaski to start. With the father watching, he rocked his body slightly in the seat, settling himself into the cushion, then unbuttoned the top of his collar before loosening his necktie. After a few seconds of listening to the firewood, he took in a long sigh before speaking.

"I don't know how but I got into it again, with her."

"Over what?"

"A golf club monogram, yeah. We were busy talking about a movie I had just seen, and that got me to remember that some guys I went to see it with were talking about going for a round some time next week. So I get that in mind and I ask her, 'Hey hun, what would be something neat to monogram on a club?'. We were sitting there talking for a while so when she replies with 'What?', I get mad about it. From then on I made like that was her answer, that 'what' was her answer, and was trying to be all smarmy about it. I just kept going and going on about it, making it like it was the dumbest thing I heard, until finally she just keeps staring at me but there's tears in her eyes."

"Why didn't you just repeat the question?"

"At the time I felt like I had already done this before, that I told her that if she wanted me to explain things, she should say what she wants explained."

"Why should she?"

"Well I'm not a mind-reader, so if I ask a long question and her only reply is 'what?', what am I supposed to do with that? How am I supposed to answer? How am I supposed to know what she's asking?"

"So she should specify her question because you don't necessarily understand her intention."

"Exactly, pops."

"Even though she didn't necessarily understand yours."

"Hey, come on," Pulaski said before gesturing with a facial grimace, "the question was in simple English. What didn't she get?"

"Appearently, something you assumed she would. Is she a mind-reader?"

Pulaski's eyes narrowed as he breathed in more pronounced rhythm. With both hands he grasped the edge of the lace tablecloth and crunched it between his fists before speaking further. Espinoza's stance remained the same throughout, the tender smile resting gently on his face, his hands resting steadily on the table's surface.

"She should know better than to make me repeat myself. How many times have I told her-"

"And why can't you tell her once more?" asked Espinoza in a cutting tone.

The steady downpour of rain striking the rooftop was the only sound in the room for a few uneasy moments as Pulaski darted his eyes around, looking as if he could find an appropriate response hidden somewhere on the striped wallpaper or in the ceiling. The father then neatly folded his hands and rested them directly before his torso on the tabletop. Soft pops of consumed timber echoed in the room and provided the only other sound inside the chamber. Pulaski sighed twice, then finally spoke again.

"I get that. But I don't know why I didn't get that at the time."

"Did you apologize to her?"

"Yes. And she said it was OK, but her voice was different this time."

"So it seems worse this time?"

"Just saying sorry didn't seem like enough."

"Did you think of maybe doing something more to show your repentance? Like say, write her a card?"

"Oh come on, that corny crap?"

Espinoza raised an eyebrow at the response which prompted Pulaski to embellish further.

"She would totally see through it. Besides, that's almost extortion. I never do that crap, and just because I did something dumb, I should have to scrape up some dumb card and maybe flowers too? How about a box of chocolates while I'm pouring money out of my pocket? Should she expect me to do this every time ever after if I get in an argument with her?"

"You said you never do anything like that?"

"Yeah, never." Pulaski answered with a scoffed laugh. "I ain't made of money and sappy junk. Besides, flowers coming from me would be totally insincere - she would totally see that I'm just trying to butter her up and it would look like I believe that spending some money on junk makes it all OK, when it really doesn't."

"I don't see how a token of sincere apology at certain times is better than always doing nothing."

"I don't see how I wouldn't be expected to send her flowers every time some crap happens after doing it once."

"I guess that depends on her mind-reading abilities, once again," said Espinoza with a wide grin, "because unless she starts deliberately picking fights to extort flowers out of you, you don't really have a point."

"So you really think she'd actually appreciate me sending her a gift or something? A card?"

"How much I'm not sure, but it probably wouldn't make things worse."

"Yeah, you're right." Pulaski replied with a defeated sigh. "I guess I'll do something for once. Sometime in the week."

"Try tomorrow."

"Hey, Father Genius, you know tomorrow's Sunday. Nothing's open."

"There are open fields of flowers everywhere, and if you're fortunate, so too will be her arms, ready to embrace and forgive you."

"Oh, Jesus." Pulaski moaned in response while visibly rolling his eyes.

"It's who I ask for answers." stated Father Espinoza with a beaming smile. "Therefore, so do you."

"How about I just ask you to write the card for me, eh? Put some of that sugar to use."

The Father's laughter filled the room, causing Pulaski - despite his best efforts to avoid it - to smile once more.

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