Another Goblin Plea

In one of the many bars in Midwich, a priest steadied his beer mug in his left hand while trying to aim a dart with his right.

“This is your last chance, Father,” the rough and tumble man standing behind him said.

The priest dropped his dart hand and looked at the man with annoyance.

“Are you going to add cheating your vicar to your list of ‘unforgivables’, Jason?” the priest asked.

“No Father Pleasant,” the man said with a childlike huff and waved on the priest.

The feeling in the room was tense as Father Pleasant took aim. Behind him, his three well-lubricated blue-collar opponents held beer mugs to their lips, waiting for the final throw.

Father Pleasant held his breath and fired the dart. It went whizzing across the room and made a loud thud as it missed the dartboard entirely, hit the wood paneling, and immediately fell to the floor with an abrupt click.

All were quiet.

The room burst into laughter.

“Fuck all of you,” Father Pleasant chuckled. “I’ll see you all in Hell.”

He walked over to the bar to find a shot of well-whiskey waiting for him. He slapped down a few bucks, downed the ounce-ish of whiskey, and looked back at his opponents and said, “You better be at Sunday Mass there, Jason… you and your posse of drunken man-children.”

“Yes, Sir,” Jason assured him. The baseborn mob went back to laughing and drinking as Father Pleasant stumbled out the door with a wave to the bartender.

He half-tumbled out into the street singing ‘Hide and Go Puke’, his favorite punky-oldy to himself, “I’m so drunk I’m laughin’ now, now, now, but I feel so bad, I could die. The red, red sun is coming down, and I see your face up there in the sky!”, ending with an off-tune crescendo that echoed through the old stone streets of Midwich.

The darkness of the night brought the man no fear. Luckily this was his parish, these were his people, and, most luckily, his church was right across the street. He schlepped his drunken carcass across the small colonial city road with the varied gate only a man that has had 8 pints and 4 shots in three hours could manage.

He tripped up the sidewalk and onto the lawn of Midwich’s own Corpus Christi Church and School. A small church, a smaller school, but Father Pleasant was nonetheless proud of it.

Don’t mistake his brash demeanor, Father Pleasant was a devout man, deeply in faith with his church, and deeply in love with his lord. Admittedly, he took the acts of forgiveness and confession a little far, but after being through what he’d been through in his several lives, he felt he was given a little white-sin leeway. He’d seen too much of the afterlife to believe in all of the unforgiveness for mistakes and the manmade binding rules on humanity. He had also seen too much of the afterlife to not believe that God was real and that God loved him and most of all, that God never gave up on you, no matter how many times you fuck up. This left Father Pleasant with an attitude of “I will try not to fuck up, and if I do, I will try again to not fuck up tomorrow”, at least for the little things. It’s not like he’s out there breaking the top 10 list. To many Catholics this may sound like a dangerous path to walk, to counselors and psychologists, it probably sounded pretty healthy, to Father Pleasant, it was the only way to forget and remember at the same time.

He passed the front of the church, floundered down the side walkway, and got to a side door with a tattered screen. He swung it aside, fumbled for his keys, and opened the door.

Home finally. He walked in right into the church’s kitchen where he performed his second ritual of the day, drunkenly making a single man’s dinner of cold leftovers from a congregation event and sidecar’d it with a can of Coke. He stacked his bowls, utensils, and beverage in his arms and made his way out of the kitchen and across the nave.

While he walked across the chancel, about halfway to the altar, he realizes that there was a man sitting in the front row pue looking at him.

“Holy fuck!” the priest yelled, dropping a fork that tinged across the stone-tiled floor.

The man got up apologetically with an outstretched hand to help. “I’m sorry, Father, I didn’t mean to startle you. I was lost in thought and I think I musta’ realized at the same moment as you. My name is Buddy,” the large woodsman said to the priest.

“Christ, Buddy. You practically scared the literal crap out of me,” Father Pleasant said with relief.

“You don’t talk like a priest,” Buddy admitted.

“Yeah, well, I’m drunk. Normally I’m a little more eloquent,” Father Pleasant responded with irritation, then asked, “How’d you get in here?”

“Sorry, Father, the door was unlocked and the lights were on,” Buddy explained.

Father Pleasant rolled his eyes and sighed, “Damn it, Mrs. Shrewsbury”. He looked back at Buddy and continued, “Yeah, sorry she’s… old and forgets things, but a wonderful woman nonetheless. We’re supposed to be closed. What did you need, Buddy?”

“Are you [email protected]?” Buddy asked outright.

Father Pleasant paused before he answered. “I was once when I was… shameless, but now it forwards to my new email, which, by your definition, I guess makes me [email protected]… but I must admit it doesn’t have quite the bite of the old one.” He set down his armfuls of sustenance on the already dressed for tomorrow morning’s mass altar. “Am I going to hate myself for asking why you want to know, Buddy? And please, call me Father Pleasant, just Father, or Cotton, or even Sue… just not that email address. Alright, Buddy?”

“Yes, Father,” Buddy assured him, holding his hat against his chest. “I was gotten in touch with you through an in’ernet friend’s son’s friend, which is not a relationship I’d usually trust n’ all, but I’m hoping it shows you how much I need your help.”

“And what makes you think you need my help? Confession? I’m guessing it’s not for youth group?” Father Pleasant asked, eyeing Buddy with suspicion.

“The word is that you help people with,” Buddy paused, then proceeded, “ya know, weird stuff? Stuff that’s not supposed to be happenin’, like in the real world,” Buddy paused again, “Weird stuff like paranormal, like ghosts and demons and such.”

“Do you think you’re possessed, Buddy?” Father Pleasant asked through apathy and intoxication.

“No, I think that goblins are living in a cave on my property,” Buddy responded.

“Oh, thank God,” Father Pleasant sighed, “For a second there I thought you might be dangerous. Now I see you’re just, ya know, a little squirrely. Like needing help… mentally.”

“I assure you, Father, I am not crazy,” Buddy asserted.

“Well, there’s no such thing as goblins, Buddy.”

“I’m guessing that when most priests are told there’s no such thing as God they tell you to read the book,” Buddy argued.

“True, that’s what they would normally say,” Father Pleasant agreed.

“Well, then, let me tell you my story and you decide,” Buddy said as the priest nodded in agreement, flopping his drunken body into the pew next to him.

Buddy told Father Pleasant the story he had told The Professor and Charles. A story of strange alien children going through his trash and harassing his dogs. A story of chasing them across the field to the wood and the old man. A story of a rich old gay couple coming out to take a look and then writing him off.

“An old gay couple?” Father Pleasant asked?

“Well, one was old. The other looked like a marine in a suit or something. But yeah, I think they were a couple.”

At the mention of the Professor and Charles, Father Pleasant says, “Alright, you can stop. I’ll come and take a look.”

“Just like that?” Buddy asked.

“Yes, just like that.”

“If you’re thinking of converting these fellas, they are long gone, father.”

“Fuck no,” Father Pleasant said, cutting Buddy off. “I know them, or at least I did a long time ago. I also know that if they show up there might be something there. On top of that, I also know that the marine, as you call him, is a wonderful man, but the old guy can be a right fuck head, so I’m willing to take a look.”

“Thank you so much, Father,” Buddy said with gratitude as he stood up.

“In the morning, Buddy. In the morning,” Father Pleasant groaned out. “Tonight, I sleep.”

The men exchanged information and parted ways with a handshake. Buddy drove off into the night and Father Pleasant fell face-first onto his humble twin bed for the next eight hours.

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