Wednesday, January 29, 2014

32. Death of a thousand stones

"We've given him more than enough time to get rid of that damn cross.  Obviously, he has no intention to cooperate.  If he won't do it himself, somebody else will have to do it for him," said Smith into the phone.

"Yes, Reverend.  Consider it done," said Samuel Bachman, Jeremiah Smith's side kick.

"I don't care how you do it.  Just don't get caught."

"No worries, Reverend."

The same night, the solar cross died the death by a thousand stones.  There was collateral damage done to the rest of the front roof, which had to be replaced, in which process the wreckage of the solar cross was discarded. 

Trevor was on his new electric scooter following Shannon's Ninja 250 on this Sunday ride.  School had resumed and Trevor was back in Pennsylvania from Arizona.  Shannon thought that he should acquire some two-wheeled freedom of his own, and scooter-riding required no license.  This model had a top speed of 50 mph and a 50 mile range - adequate for short Sunday rides.  Perfect for Trevor as a starter bike, and when she eventually would move up to a 600, he could inherit her 250.  Meanwhile, they just had to avoid the freeways. 

When they came to the church, she pulled into the empty parking lot, with Trevor in tow.  It was past noon and the worshippers had gone back to their mundane pursuits.  The first thing they noticed was that the Solar Cross was missing.

Up close at the front door, she saw that the metal plate backing the door-knocker bore the inscription "Knock, and it shall be opened to you."  She knocked, and the door was opened by the Rev. Robert Lowry.

"My, my, look who's here!" he said with a tired smile.

"Father Lowry, I saw it on TV a couple of weeks ago when it happened," said Shannon without preamble.  "I just want to drop by and see how you are fairing and if necessary give you some moral support."

"The Catholic Church is handling it on the national level.  But locally, and personally, I sure can use all the moral support I can get.  Come on in."

She and Trevor took a back pew, and Rev. Lowry took the pew in front of it, but turned around to face them.

"I'm sorry I didn't catch your names the first time."

"I'm S. Lynn Stone, attorney at law, normally known by my first name as Shannon, and this is my son Trevor."

The reverend extended his hand to Trevor, and they shook on it like old pals.  
"I notice that the cross is not back up," said Trevor.

The priest lowered his eyes involuntarily.  "Well, put it this way.  If I take the confrontational approach, it will start a feud that will never end."

"So you're just gonna sit here and take it?" Trevor persisted.

"Trevor, be polite," chided Shannon.

"That's okay.  That's a question I've asked myself a million times," said Lowry humbly.  "For now, the public is condemning them."

"Let's haul them off to court," Trevor still persisted.

"First they have to be caught.  They were all masked and their vehicles had no plates.  The police have no evidence to pin on anyone."

"How do your parishioners feel about it?" asked Shannon.

"They mostly say to turn the other cheek."

"Out of love or fear?" asked Trevor.

The reverend looked back up.  "That's a great question, Trevor.  You know, Shannon, I like this young man.  The answer, unfortunately, is mostly fear, some my part." 

The silence was deafening.

"If I put up another one, and it's not cheap, they'll just do it again, this time perhaps with a little bonus on top."

"This time, we'll be ready," said Trevor.

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