Booze and Smokes
Father Pleasant carefully closes the car door of his beige 95 Mercury Sable wagon, timing it just right so as not to injure the pack of sneezing dogs around his feet. All the dogs looked a little worse for wear, but they were all wagging and fat, so they can’t be doing that bad. “Must be rescued dogs, at least he’s an old softie” Father Pleasant thinks to himself as he makes his way to the door of Buddy’s farmhouse.
Father Pleasant hears a call from the open dark doorway, “Evenin’ Father.”
“Well, I told ya I’d come,” the priest replies. As the light pops on he sees Buddy in the doorway, in his typical uniform of plaid and overalls beckoning him inside.
The two make the usual introductions, as Father Pleasant walks in he sees a well kept home and a prepared meal. He struggles to contain his sigh of relief, but buddy notices.
“Thought you might be in for it huh?” Buddy asks.
“Like murdered?” Father Pleasant laughs, “nothing so horrific. It’s just as a priest when you are invited out to someone’s house for dinner and to discuss a situation, it’s rarely so inviting.”
“I can imagine. Desperate people are by nature selfish people, I’m embarrassed of me bein’ so desperate the other night.”
“Well, if this tastes as good as it smells, you can consider yourself forgiven.”
The men wash up and sit down for dinner, after the first few silent bites, Father Pleasant speaks up, “Alright, all is forgiven. This is pretty darn good. So, what is the plan tonight, do we go out there and start diggin’ around or do we wait it out here?”
“I’m figurin’ we wait it out here,” Buddy replies. “It’s been happenin’ every night for a half week or so.”
“Sounds good to me, how do we kill time till then?”
“Well, I figured with dinner, a drink and a smoke,” Buddy says with a scoff.
“Oh thank god,” Father Pleasant sighs again.
As the sun goes down Father Pleasant and Buddy sit on the front porch of Buddy’s somewhere out where the outskirts of Midwich meet the periphery of Kingsport. They are each sitting next to empty plates of what Father Pleasant will henceforth refer to as, Buddy’s famous chicken, while sipping on home-distilled whiskey in tumblers.
“You get enough fixen’s, Father Pleasant?” The old farmer asks with a tinge of pride.
“Oh, God yes, Buddy. Thank you, and call me Cotton. If we’re gonna eat and drink and look for goblins together you might as well call me by my name,” Father Pleasant responds.
“Yes, sir there Cotton,” Buddy gets up and asks him if he needs a refill.
“Yes, please,” Cotton says, with much enthusiasm. “It’s nice to drink with a friend and not a parishioner, Buddy. It’s liberating. I may be a little brash, but I take my role seriously. I always have to exorcise leadership and blah, blah, but it’s nice to eat, drink, and feel free.”
“My pleasure,” Buddy says, walking into the house to fetch the bottle.
Cotton looks down at his feet. Sleeping there are four dogs. The dogs freaked out barking when he showed up, then followed him around sneezing for an hour or two before becoming his best friends. It might have been the scraps, but he likes to think that it is divine intervention. “I guess I like to think that about a lot of things,” he muses.
Buddy returns, fills Cotton’s cup, and opens his other hand to him. In it, there is a cigar and a joint. “Take one or both, yer call,” Buddy offers and Cotton grabs both. He fumbles in his pocket, finds a lighter, offers it to his host first, and they both light up.
“Cotton is an odd name,” Buddy says, “only ever heard it with them witchfinder people on the history shows.”
“Oh yeah, ya like history?” Cotton questions. Buddy nods a yes while looking over the horizon in contentment. Cotton continues, “Yeah, it’s from that. Supposedly, we are related to the Mathers. My dad’s name is actually Increase, if you can imagine that?”
“You ever hunted any witches?”
Cotton pauses and ponders the question, then answers, “No, but I’m looking to.”
“Odd desire, Father,” Buddy suggests.
“Buddy, I like you and for some stupid reason, I trust you even though I don’t know you. I figure you’re a man of few words and if we’re up here looking to find a goblin I might as well say out loud to you something I have never told anyone, yet have been dying to get off my chest.”
“Well, then Father, I mean, Cotton, looks like we’ll be needing our shags now,” Buddy says, picking up his cigar and motioning Father Pleasant to do the same. Buddy leads the priest inside the house where they take up watch next to the fire and Father Pleasant tells Buddy his story.