Dan O’Shea is hosting one of those Flash Fiction Challenges. All of the pieces have to involve a church.
Here’s a link to a list of all the entrants:
I tried to write a short story, but this thing kept wanting to be a short play. I’m too old to fight with my work.
So here it is:
Finger Lickin’ Doom
(Lights up. A confessional in a church. FATHER DENNY enters, a priest in his late-thirties. He approaches the confessional and opens one of the doors to reveal BETTY, a woman in her twenties. She sits, eating a bucket of what looks like fried chicken. Periodically throughout the play a tinkling bell can be heard.)
FATHER DENNY: What are you doing?!
FATHER DENNY: Eating! But… What?
FATHER DENNY: I… This is a House of God!
BETTY: I didn’t know anybody lived here.
FATHER DENNY: Get out!
BETTY: They’re angel wings.
FATHER DENNY: Angel wings?
BETTY: Yes. The wings of angels. Want one?
FATHER DENNY: No! Come out of there!
BETTY: I’m okay.
(Pause. FATHER DENNY collects himself.)
FATHER DENNY: You really should come out of there.
BETTY: I don’t see why.
FATHER DENNY: Eating in a confessional… it’s not proper.
BETTY: I shouldn’t eat wings in here?
FATHER DENNY: No!
BETTY: Not even angel wings?
FATHER DENNY: I don’t think they’re angel wings.
BETTY: They’re very good.
FATHER DENNY: Whatever they are, you’re making a mess! They’re greasy and gritty and crumbly.
BETTY: They’re extra-crispy. And a tad Holy. Want a taste?
FATHER DENNY: They smell very good, but no thank you. Will you come out?
BETTY: I don’t think so.
FATHER DENNY: Where did you get these “angel wings?”
BETTY: Some guy.
FATHER DENNY: Some guy?
BETTY: That’s right. He was selling them on the street. Wicked grin, pointy beard, walked with a limp. Just some guy.
FATHER DENNY: You didn’t get them from Kentucky Fried Chicken or Popeye’s or Cluck and Jive?
BETTY: All those places sell chicken.
FATHER DENNY: That’s right.
BETTY: These aren’t chicken.
FATHER DENNY: It’s just that they look…
BETTY: They’re angel.
FATHER DENNY: That doesn’t make sense!
BETTY: Doesn’t matter. These are wings from the messengers of God.
FATHER DENNY: How can you be sure?
BETTY: Some things you just take on faith. Bite?
FATHER DENNY: They look very good, but no thank you.
BETTY: Suit yourself.
FATHER DENNY: We used to have chicken every Sunday at my Grandmother’s. Sometimes fried, sometimes roast, sometimes this wonderful recipe where she stuffed a whole lemon inside the bird. She’d bring it to the table, take out the lemon and someone would always say, “The chicken laid a lemon.” Chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, chocolate cake and fresh baked bread. No matter what else Grandma cooked, her house always smelled like fresh-baked bread. They were good meals, filling and pleasant. I still have a good meal every now and then, but not like those.
(BETTY coughs and chokes for a second, then pulls a long, white feather out of her mouth.)
BETTY: These aren’t chicken, they’re angel.
(BETTY hands the feather to FATHER DENNY.)
FATHER DENNY: Wouldn’t you feel a little more comfortable eating somewhere that you can have more room?
BETTY: I’m really okay.
FATHER DENNY: Isn’t it cramped in there?
BETTY: Maybe a little. What is this closet thing, anyway? Is this where priests hang their coats?
FATHER DENNY: It’s a place for people to confess their sins, for the Sacrament of Penance, for Reconciliation. It’s a sacred place.
BETTY: It’s kind of like a phone booth. Is that what it is? A phone booth for calling God?
FATHER DENNY: In a way. If you come out of there, I’ll tell you all about why it’s a good idea to get your sins off your chest.
BETTY: I like my chest. I’ll stay in here.
FATHER DENNY: You look too young to know what a phone booth is.
BETTY: What do you mean?
FATHER DENNY: There aren’t any phone booths any more. Cell phones have made phone booths go the way of the Long Jawed Mastodon.
BETTY: I’ve had a cell phone since I was seven.
FATHER DENNY: Phone booths are forgotten, extinct, dead and gone.
BETTY: Like God!
FATHER DENNY: Such a thing to say!
BETTY: You sure you don’t want one?
FATHER DENNY: They seem very good.
BETTY: Their truculent.
FATHER DENNY: I think you mean succulent.
BETTY: I know what I mean. Just one little, teeny-tiny nibble?
FATHER DENNY: I’m very tempted, but… You need to come out of there.
BETTY: It’s a shame, really. You don’t know what you’re missing. Every bite is a symphony of harps and haloes. A tender crunch, meat that just falls off the bone, flavors that mix and mingle like a prayer. A taste of these wings could be the closest to Heaven that some people ever get. I think there’s even a little bit of a lemon zing.
FATHER DENNY: Lemon?
BETTY: Just like Grandma used to make.
FATHER DENNY: I doubt they’re that good.
BETTY: (Holding out a wing.) Only one way to find out.
(FATHER DENNY takes the wing from BETTY and hesitantly takes a bite. He chews, swallows and smiles.)
FATHER DENNY: Rapture!
BETTY: I tried to warn you.
(FATHER DENNY takes a bigger bite of the wing. He continues eating while he joins BETTY in the confessional.)
BETTY: Shouldn’t we say Grace?
FATHER DENNY: What’s the point?
(FATHER DENNY and BETTY eat angel wings as the lights slowly fade.