Friday was just a brutal day. I was up and out of the house by 4 in the morning in order to pick up my parents and drive them to the airport in time for a 5:30 AM flight to England where they will be holidaying over the next few weeks.
I then returned home, got ready and went to work for another 8 hours and then came home, packed my bags with whatever I was going to need over the next 5 weeks or so and have moved into my parents vacant house to look after their miserable dog and ensure the house is taken care of during their absence.
(see Sunday Morning for the background to this entire unfortunate story)
As I was unloading the car in my parents driveway, the reigning neighbourhood busybody for the past century or so, the elderly Mrs. Bellington, approached and proceeded to tell me all the news in the neighbourhood over the last 10+ years.
Being totally exhausted from the days events, I could do nothing but lean against the car as the old lady went into painstaking detail about everything and everyone.
"I am glad your not leaving your parents house empty while they're away. I've seen a great deal of strange people lurking around the neighbourhood lately", she advised.
"A lot of transients and flim flam men on the prowl these days, they don't know it but I see them all", she warned.
Finally the old crow completed her paranoid monologue, bid me good afternoon and headed back across the street to her house, undoubtedly to polish her binoculars and high powered telescopes.
I finished moving all my "junk" from the car into the house, had a quick snack and then fell asleep for a long overdue rest.
I woke up early Saturday morning to a beautiful warm day, very refreshed I proceeded to make myself some breakfast and then make plans for the day. After a couple of hours of laying about the house doing nothing, I figured I should head outside when the telephone rang.
So far my parents had only been gone 24 hours and Mom had already called three times. First to make sure I was actually there at the house and next to advise me where she kept certain things that she thought I needed to know and lastly to tell me about an envelope she had left on the dining room table for the Reverend to pick up for his donation drive today.
"There is a lot of money in it," she advised, "from all the woman in my bridge club, so be sure you don't lose it".
I was pretty sure I would not lose it because I would not touch it until the Reverend arrived to pick it up. I then headed out to do a little shopping over to the neighbourhood strip mall.
I ran into old Reverend Green outside mall just as I had pulled up.
Not exactly being a regular church goer, I had not actually seen the old Reverend since my sisters wedding seven years ago. He looked a great deal older than I remembered him and he was slowly walking with a cane. He recognized me immediately and asked if I would be at church this Sunday and also if I was helping out with the Handicapped Kids Bottle & Donation Drive today.
Not wanting to answer negative to either question I immediately advised him that there was in fact an envelope at home that Mom had left prior to their departure for this most worthy cause and it was ready for pickup right away. This statement made the old man light up and totally forget about me attending his long winded church sermons on Sunday. I was off the hook!
Reverend Green informed me that he was just dropping off flyers to all the strip mall tenants advertising the drive. After bidding me a Good Morning, he headed into the bakery and I turned towards the liquor store to do my shopping.
I then noticed a rather shabby dressed man in his late twenties with thick glasses and a limp pushing a cart of empty bottles past the liquor store. He yelled over at me that I shouldn't be parked in a handicap zone because they were for "special needs people" only.
I looked over and saw that my car was only about 6 inches over the yellow line. I was not too overly concerned as my car was the only vehicle outside of the store at this early time of day.
As he continued babbling about my parking I finally told him to "Shut the Hell up" as I would only be a minute and if any gimp needed booze in that short time period they would just have to drag their ass an extra foot to get it.
With that statement he looked quite shocked but he stopped yapping and moved along.
I noted to myself that the old neighbourhood was going downhill with all these mouthy street people, scam artists and increased break-ins. Well I would take care of things while I was staying at my parents house. No worries there.
I went into the liquor store and picked up a couple dozen Guinness and some rum which would be just about enough to get through the weekend. I would start by washing my car.
Back home, as I was just about half way through washing my car, enjoying a nice Guinness and listening to tunes, I looked up and saw "Shabby Mouthy" guy that I had encountered in front of the liquor store earlier, coming up our front steps to the house.
"You again", I said in a very hostile tone, "What the Hell do you want now, or are you going to complain about me using the water hose this early in the day?"
Shabby looked a little startled as he obviously had not seen me prior to me yelling out.
He then looked at me and without shame said, "I am Reverend Green, here to pick up any donations you may have for the church"
I couldn't believe it, this SOB actually was pretending to be the Reverend in order to steal money from the church which was earmarked for crippled children.
He obviously thought I was new to the neighbourhood and wasn't aware that I knew Reverend Green personally. He was one of the scam artists that Mrs. Bellington had warned me about.
I rarely get upset over too many things, but stealing from the less fortunate was something I would not tolerate. I felt my blood boiling and was not sure if I should just yell at him, call the cops or hit him. A better idea then came to me.
"Yes I do have something for you Reverend Green", I said in a very calming voice as I turned the nozzle of the water hose at him and let him have it full blast.
Shabby looked horrified as he was getting soaked and began to quickly limp down the sidewalk screaming, "Are you crazy, stop it"!!
"Not crazy enough to give you any money you filthy bastard. I should beat the Hell out of you", I yelled laughing hysterically. I then called for the demonic dog of my parents, Charlie, to go after him and finish the job.
The dog barked wildly as he began biting at the old bums pant leg. This was too funny. Just to make sure this scam artist learned a lesson today, I hurled my half empty can of Guinness at him, narrowly missing his head by about a foot as he continued down the sidewalk with Charlie in tow.
The old neighbours would be thanking me once this story got out, I thought to myself. Here only one day and I have already deterred the crime element in the neighbourhood. I was very pleased with myself.
Charlie then returned with a piece of torn pant leg still in his mouth. Maybe Charlie and me could be friends after all these years. I offered him a dog biscuit for his efforts and rewarded myself with another Guinness.
The phone then rang once again and it was Mom for yet only the fourth time today.
"Hello again Son, I hope I am not bothering you but I forgot to mention that it will be Reverend Green's son who comes by for the envelope and I know you haven't met him yet so do not be alarmed.
"No problem", I said, "How will I recognize him"?
"Well he has thick dark glasses and has a distinctive limp. He is also a Reverend and took over the church last year when his father retired".
"What do you mean Mom, I just saw old Reverend Green when I was at the liquor store, er, I mean bakery. He is not dead".
"Of course he is not dead, dear. Just retired is all and his son now runs the church. A lovely young man with a heart of gold", she advised.
I began to twitch nervously as I finally began to comprehend what Mom was saying. I was hoping Mom was confused. I needed to stay calm and get further clarification.
"Are you sure Mom, because I thought they had to die before another Reverend took over?", I asked weakly.
"That is only for Pope's, Son. We are not even Catholic" Reverends retire all the time, I am sure I told you about old Reverend Green retiring as we had a big party over at the church for him last June".
Now I was panicking. "This new Reverend of yours, he wouldn't be running around the neighbourhood disguised as a real person would he? I mean does he dress like a proper Reverend, with the uniform and collar and all", I asked hoping beyond hope that my luck would change.
"What an odd question, Of course he does Son, however being that today is also a bottle drive I would imagine he would be in old clothes in order not to get dirty". Anyway, be prepared for his visit and show him some respect when he arrives since you don't even bother going to church regularly. It is the least you can do".
With that, Mom said goodbye and hung up.
I collapsed into the chair muttering "What have I just done" over and over.
The answer was ugly. I had sworn at a Reverend, threatened to beat him up, turned a water hose on him, had my parents dog bite him and tear his trousers and then to cap it off, I threw a tin of Guinness at his head.
I was in big trouble. I should expect an angry mob with torches and stones to be arriving at the front door any second. I was going to Hell if I couldn't find a way out of this, that was for sure. If my parents hear about all this, a lynching would definitely be preferable to their ungodly wrath.
Charlie was playing with the piece of fabric he had ripped from the Reverend. That damn dog had screwed me over once again and that old fool Mrs. Bellington did not help either with her numerous paranoid tales of mysterious vagrants and break-ins.
This mistake was going to cost me a lot of my money just to buy off the Reverend's silence.
I grabbed Mom's envelope and my wallet and headed out the front door.
I better stop off at a cash machine prior to going to the church and attempting to explain myself. And if that isn't enough, I hope the church takes Visa, I thought.
This was not good.