Editor’s note: The following is the latest in a series of stories written by local author Richard Mays the Daily News is featuring on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The stories, presented in serial fashion, are works of fiction.

The three sat in silence for several minutes. Brent eventually broke the reclude by offering, “When I no longer need them, I’ll give them to you Father.”

Father could feel the honesty and sincerity in Brent’s voice. Father nodded his head and stood up.

J.D. followed suit.

He pointed both index fingers at Brent and J.D., “This ends here. No one will ever talk about this and no one will ever know that any of this has ever happened.”

A ramrod straight finger pointed at Brent, “Agreed?”

“Yes.”

A second ramrod straight finger pointed at J.D., “Agreed?”

“Yes, Father.”

He accepted both answers and said, “All right, I’ll see you two in church.”

J.D. pointed a question to Father, “What about the figurine?’

Father stopped in his tracks as he was making his way toward the door.

J.D. was truly sorry about breaking it, that became crystal clear to him. He decided that in order to keep this secret, the only course of action was to deal with this problem that started this entire mess.

“It will be fine. I will take care of it.” Having J.D. do some penance for Mrs. Worth would raise unnecessary questions, and Brent would do well to stay away from her also.

“Go to the church and say two ‘Hail Marys.”

J.D. accepted this and answered, “All right.” He just stood there. Father finally said, “Now!”

A surprised J.D. responded, “Oh, OK.”

Before he left, Brent looked at J.D. and said, “I’m sorry you got in trouble with the police.”

J.D. scrunched his eyes a little, “What police?”

“They caught you doing this right?”

J.D. shrugged his shoulders a little, “No.”

A confused Brent asked, “So how did you get caught?”

“I didn’t, I went to confession,” was his response in a matter-of-fact tone.

Brent turned to Father, “You violated the sanctity of confession!”

Father looked at him and said, “No, I never said a word. You did.”

Brent ran a quick replay in his mind only to reveal that Father did in fact protect the confession. He only assumed that Father knew.

With that, J.D. exited through the front door.

Before the door shut, Father looked at Brent in his easy chair wearing ratty slippers, with a thick photo binder on his lap. He physically looked very small in Father’s eyes.

He slowly tried to comprehend how a lifetime of compulsion came to be focused into a single album.

“Goodbye, Brent,” he said in a kind tone. Brent’s eyes never left the album. Never raising his head, he answered, “Thanks, Father.”

See Thursday’s Daily News for the next chapter in this ongoing story.

Richard Mays is a resident and businessman of Decatur County. He is also the author of “Tokek’s Indonesian Adventure” and “Greensburg, Indiana…why here?” He may be contacted via this publication at news@greensburgdailynews.com

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