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The Con - Mass Has Ended , AMEN

Started by otter, April 12, 2013, 04:04:31 PM

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Father Brennan was the first to arrive for the meeting. Choosing his position carefully he sat directly opposite where the chairman always sat. He was not taking any chance that Jimmy would get a sudden burst of bravery. A wounded animal is a dangerous beast and only a fool would turn their back on one. He lit a cigarette, in the full knowledge that it was breaking the law to smoke inside any hotel. He left the packet on the table in plain view and beside it a small envelope. Would any challenge his illegal smoking? If any did he would deal with them and when the vote came they would not dare cross him a second time. 'The devil is in the detail James, in the detail' he laughed out loud as he lit a second cigarette, ensuring any entering could not avoid inhaling the stale smoky air.

A few spluttered, a few waved their hands around but only Mick commented; 'Priests and politicians, the same the world over, they think they are above the law. Just as well I smoke myself Father;' Father Brennan ignored the comment and concentrated on Jimmy who had just sat down and was opening his folder. He looked nervous and that was a good sign.
Liam sat beside Father Brennan and whispered; 'I reckon he is with us. If you farted loud enough he would probably jump.'

Right said Mick; 'Since the chairman seems occupied with papers, I'll start the meeting. Only one item on the agenda and the quicker we vote on it, the sooner I can acquaint myself with a pint of Guinness. Anyone got anything new to say on the stocking? Not that it's likely that there is anything new to say;' Everyone looked around the table and when no one spoke all eyes turned to Father Brennan; 'Father, you haven't had to listen to the nonsense for the past few years. Here's your chance, have your speak and we can get to the voting;' Mick as usual liked to get straight to the point.

Father Brennan quietly opened the envelope that he had placed on the table. Removing the photographs he handed two to each committee member; 'Just a small reminder of what a real brown trout looks like, my recent capture and one I caught many years ago. Look at those fish and compare them to those tame rainbows that you call trout. Look at them and make your decision.'

Jimmy stepped up to the plate and honoured his deal, more than honoured it. 'Lad's, I have decided that I can no longer look after the stocking. My wife is fed up looking at the tanks at the back of it house. Will you look after it Mick? you have plenty of time on your hands;' Father Brennan nodded at Jimmy and in that instant the weight of the world lifted from Jimmy's shoulders, the relief etched across his face.

Mick had been put on the spot and he knew it; 'Lads if you asked me an hour ago I would have said yes, but looking at those photos got me thinking. Father, half of us could not catch a wild trout if you paid us, we can barely catch the rainbows. If I vote no, will you teach me? This was more than Father Brennan had bargained for; 'Off course I will Mick and anyone else for that matter. We will call it Father JP's Wild Trout School; 'Good;' declared Mick; 'let's vote and **** the secrecy, raise your bloody hands. All in favour of wild trout say aye;' Not a single member opposed the motion. It was carried on a rising tide of optimism.

Father Brennan was not finished yet and taking advantage of the advent of common sense, he struck; 'As we really are unsure of how healthy the stocks are, we need to show restraint. I would suggest that next season we exercise a strict catch and release policy. Shall we vote on it;' Mick's reply was immediate; 'No need to vote, if I see anyone killing a trout they will have to answer to me; 'Agreed?' ' All agreed.

'One final matter', Father Brennan knew this could cause problems; 'We cannot have any further competitions. I know we have a long and rich history of monthly competitions and I am as competitive as any man here. But they cannot continue in the current form. I suggest that instead of a monthly competition we hold a monthly social at which we will fish, will teach each other. The trophy, each month will go to the person that has done the most work that month in ensuring that this river becomes the finest wild trout river in the country;' There was a stunned silence as each digested this request. Mick again came to the fore, quashing any possible dissent; 'By God Father you should be in Rome, Pope JP Brennan. I have a few good ideas on how to improve our river. Put my name on the first trophy next season; is everyone in agreement?' Jimmy stood and reclaimed his control as chairman; 'Gentlemen, this is the finest committee that ever sat at this table. I for one, will not be found wanting in making Father Brennan's ambitious dream come true.

Each member left, each a little perplexed at this sudden and unexpected turn of events but all knew that next season would be greeted as though it were their very first and they could look forward to it.

Father Brennan caught up with Jimmy in the car park; 'Jimmy, thanks for going beyond the call of duty, you have honoured your debt, it will never be mentioned again. Your Father was a mean spirited man Jimmy and I understand how that would have affected your judgement. He started the stocking. You have balanced the scales by putting an end to it. The circle is now closed, Amen; Jimmy smiled, 'He was a mean man Father, I hope in time you will realise that all my life I have tried to make amends for his meanness;' Father Brennan shook Jimmy's offered hand; 'I have always known that Jimmy; Next season we will spend a lot of time together, you can count on that. By the way the proceeds from the Popes rods will be going to the poor box.'
Father Brennan's plan had come together and life would never be the same for the Blackwater Angler's. After donning his frock he walked over to the mantelpiece and faced the three trophies the right way round. They were testament to the greatest prize of his angling life. He called Maggie and asked her to dust the mantelpiece and with a renewed zest he strode to-wards the chapel. The thought of a quick Gin and Tonic never crossed his mind.

'The mass has ended, go in peace, Amen;' He walked over to the confessional and sat inside. As he waited for a customer, he pulled out one of the photos that was still in his pocket from the previous evening and smiled as any angler would. It was a year since Liam had walked into the confessional and sought forgiveness, what a year it has been. Hearing the door open and close on the other side, he waited a moment and then coughed.

'Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been many months since my last confession;' Father Brennan leaned a little closer to the grille, the voice had a certain familiarity but he could not put a name to it. 'Have you my son, what is you sin;' There was some shuffling the far side; 'I have lied and cheated Father.'

Father Brennan was about to suggest Three Hail Marys when he heard a second voice; 'Me as well Father, I'm guilty of the same sins;' This was most unusual, two people at confessions at the same time; For once in his life Father Brennan stuttered, it was unusual to get two people in the one day, two at the same time, never; 'Any other sins, err , my Sons;' There was silence for a moment, then; 'The devil is in the detail Father, we conned someone.;' 'Who did you con my Sons?'

A loud laugh came from the other side; ' We conned you Father. Remember the oath of the confessional, what you heard here cannot be revealed. Are you coming to Lavelle's Father, we owe you a pint.

Father Brennan flung open the door of the confessional and found Liam and Jimmy Egan falling out the other door, both with tears of laughter flowing down their cheeks. They looked sheepishly at Father Brennan and finally Jimmy spoke; 'Sorry Father, we had to be sure that the stocking came to an end. Sean Lavelle suggested that you were the only man capable of getting a result so we conned you into conning me. What do you think Father?

Father Brennan was completely flabbergasted; he had been conned and not for a moment had he suspected anything; 'What do I bloody think, I think the pair of you should have been priests and I think we need three and three very large ones at Lavelle's; you pair of con-artists are paying for them.'

** THE END **

He stood at the door of the minibus, handed each, a tee shirt and a can of beer as they boarded. 'What do you think of the tee shirts;' he asked Liam; .Liam took a step back; 'Black suits you Father;' Father Brennan grunted; 'never mind the colour, the logo Liam;' Liam read it out loud "Blackwater Angler's – The Wild Bunch Tour 2013."; 'I think we might be mistaken for a Hen Party, particularly Sean'

Father Brennan turned his back to Liam; 'The back Liam;' Liam read the bold red writing on Father Brennan's back; "Cigarette Free Zone"; 'Nothing worse than a reformed addict. God help us Father if you ever gave up the drink;' Father Brennan threw the half smoked cigar on the ground and squashed it with his foot; 'Right lads, let's be going,
there is Salmon and Trout to be caught.

that is another story, a story for another day, Amen.

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