Impossibly DreamingbyNigel Debonnaire©
"Well, for an obnoxious prick, you set a nice Christmas table, Greggers."
Fr. Gregory Harper smiled and sipped his wine. His second cousin, Sr. Janice Harper sat across from him at the far end of an ornate, 19th century table that was dark with age and use. Red candles illuminated the late, waning afternoon in the room: a caricature of 1920's elegance with a garish chandelier hanging over the table at the midpoint of the room. The service was much better quality, being Fr. Greggers' heirloom set of porcelain china; the parish set was in the basement in a box marked TRIDENTINE FUNERAL VESTMENTS.
"You're welcome, Pookie. It's always special to have family for Christmas dinner." He took another sip and regarded his relative. She was in her community's habit, with wimple and she wore a huge black knit sweater against the cold Chicago winter. Fr. Greg was still in his blacks, having served the special repast after making several calls to homeless shelters and a soup kitchen after Christmas morning mass. "I heard from Sis when I got back, and Johnny sent a fax from Cozumel."
"Johnny was always too proud of his bundle. Is he married right now?"
"Nope, he's given up on the institution. Four times burned and four holes in his wallet taught him some circumspection. He's seeing a Swedish air hostess these days, but he got her to sign a disclaimer that limits her to whatever he feels like giving her."
"I'm sure he gives her a lot," Sr. Janet said with a smirk on her face.
"Now, Sister, let's not be jumping to conclusions. After all, your brother Johnny's hardly a saint."
"My brother Johnny at least professes some kind of virtue. True, setting up a spiritual commune in Wyoming with 21 women and two other men is hardly what the Acts of the Apostles had in mind, but they're self sufficient, mostly honest, and don't keep anybody there who wants to leave."
"One of my classmates was interested in Baptising the sexual practice of Tantra. He was disappointed when Tantra wasn't about endless orgies." "Your Johnny isn't about 24/7 sex, although he comes close." Fr. Greg snickered into his napkin. "Now Greggers, don't be crude. Have some respect; at least he's trying to integrate mature sexuality into his belief system, which is more than I can say about what happens on our side of the street."
The grandfather clock struck the hour of five, and the pair sipped their drinks. "I'm surprised you're not with Sr. Shelley in Rome this Christmas," Fr. Greg mused.
"Rome's an awful place to be Christmastime. I went one year: the Vatican choir is terrible, the incredibly lame decorations are only for tourists, the Italian nuns are absolute flesh eating weasels trying to get close to You Know Who, and Shelley's uncle is an incredible prick who's impossible to bear more than five minutes at a time."
"Gosh Pookie, don't be such a shrinking violet, say what you mean. But Shelley's uncle's a cardinal, isn't he?"
Sr. Janet sniffed and tossed her head. "He's a royal jackass who thinks he's God's gift to the Church and reminds everybody about it every five minutes. Lucky for him he's in Italy: if he were here, his ass would be grass."
"Does that mean the embezzlement rumors. . ."
"Shut up, Greggers. You're a creep. You don't need to know and neither does anybody else. His eminence is in Rome and not here, so he doesn't matter." She finished her wine in a gulp and put her glass down. "How's your brother Johnny's daughter doing? My namesake?"
Fr. Greg went to the ancient sideboard and retrieved a bottle of fine brandy and two snifters. Sr. Janet nodded her approval and he poured for them. "Going under and assumed name, Thank God. Her mother was a Hungarian model, and she looks like her. Set up a website a couple of years ago."
"Yes, you should know," Sr. Janet mocked acidly. "You've been there, you creep, looking at your niece's naked body."
"Well, she gave me a free password, so I don't see why I shouldn't," he protested with mock innocence.
"Well, of course you should, she's a public slut after all." She took a sip of nectar and changed her tone of voice. "How's she doing with it?"
"Making lots of money. She has a body that stops traffic, including internet traffic. I got an e-mail from her yesterday: she's taken her last set of pictures ever, and will just live off the memberships and proceeds for the rest of her life."
"She makes that much?"
"Damn straight. What's really incredible is she says she's still a virgin, and knowing her, I believe it."
"No, how could she? I mean, she lets the world be her gynecologist."
"Yes, but just because she's taken pics of the entire estate doesn't mean the NO TRESSPASSING sign isn't enforced. There's pictures of apartments in the Vatican the public isn't allowed. Janet's very particular who she lets get close to her, and if a boyfriend doesn't behave, she dismisses him and goes to the next one in line."
She shrugged her shoulders. "Well, who'd thunk it.?"
"I wouldn't. Don't know she'll ever get married; she's so calculating. Four years of a Catholic Girl's High School didn't soften her. Machiavelli would be proud of her, as would Mae West, Jayne Mansfield and Bette Page." Fr. Greg finished his brandy, and went on. "How are you and Shelley doing right now?"
"Not well, Greggers, not well. I mean we're both gainfully employed, the world will always need elementary school teachers and social workers, but we've had it with this damn apartment. A sauna in the summertime, a refrigerator in the winter, the landlord doesn't give a shit, even though he's a "good" Catholic, and we've gotten tired of his pious promises to fix things that next get filled."
"That's Emilio, isn't it?"
"Yes, your Emilio, your loyal, devoted, generous parishioner."
"Wouldn't know it from his weekly envelope tally. So what are you going to do?"
"I don't know. We have to relocate by the first of February."
He looked up at the ceiling, and speculated: "I've got plenty of room here. You could live with me."
Sr. Janet gave him a glare. "Oh, you'd love that. It's every immature horndog's dream, a priest with two nuns to make him happy. What would your parish council say?"
"They'd be tickled to have a couple of nuns in the house again. I've got a whole wing I'm not using: you could share the old associate's suite and have more room than you have now."
"What about rent?"
"I think the same you're paying now would be fine. Maybe a little less."
Fr. Greg poured another glass of brandy and gave her a glance before looking out the window into the night, seeing nothing. "What about your parish council?" Sr. Janet said.
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know any co-ed rectories in the Archdiocese. Your people may get some strange ideas."
"They get strange ideas anyway, but that's not relevant. You're a couple of nuns, full bird penguins for all anybody knows, who're five foot nothing, over 200 pounds, and in your mid 40's. Would anybody in their right mind think I'm moving in a harem?"
Sr. Janet looked at him intently for a moment, trying to look through his forehead to see the wheels within. Her resolve was wavering, and she pondered her next move. "It's pretty chilly in here," she blurted out eventually.
"That suite is on the South side of the building, the opposite side of the prevailing winds. Shaded, so it doesn't get the full brunt of the summer swelter. The buildings across the way are old storefronts with no windows, no place anyone could peek at you."
Sr. Janet snorted. "It does have some appeal, and you're on the bus routes. Could you get us use of a car?" Fr. Greg nodded his head solemnly. "Would save us a little cash from the community fund; we're really having money troubles at the motherhouse. Sr. Juanita is ready to pull her hair out through her wimple trying to keep us solvent."
He smiled and waved his hands expansively. "Check it out before you go. There'll never be another Associate Pastor here, I'd really love the company, just to have other people in the house. No strings attached, really."
Sr. Janet looked at Fr. Greg closely for several moments, then snickered at his earnestness. "All right, Greggers, I'll take a look at it. Shelley likes you, so it won't be a tough sale, but we like our freedom."
"You'll have a private entrance, a car with off street parking, meals included with a first class chef. . ."
"How modest you are, Father."
"How was the pheasant you had for dinner, Sister? The side dishes, taken from your mother's recipes? The wine selection?"
"All right, Greggers, I was being sarcastic. Point made there."
"It's tough to cook for one; I'd love the company at the table, if nothing else."
"Don't you have a lot of meetings to go to?"
"I only go to parish council meetings, and I limit them to an hour. With proper organization, everybody can have their say and things get decided if nobody pontificates."
"Including me. Everybody else meets on their own, and calls me when they want me." Sr Janet tapped her foot and looked at the ceiling. "Have you checked out alternatives?"
"Yes, and they all stink."
"Well, let me give you some more persuasion." He went back to the old sideboard and pulled out a state of the art humidor. "I know you love these," he said, pulling out two fine Cuban cigars.
"Where the fuck did you get those, Greggers?"
"Where do you think, Pookie?"
She pulled a dark brown cylinder and sniffed it appreciatively. "Didn't they check your luggage at the border?"
"Yes, they did. I wore my working clothes and put them in my inside pockets, where they wouldn't be searched."
She gave him a quizzical look. "For all I know, you went through the border with these cigars up your ass, but I'm not asking."
He pouted. "How can you say that Pookie? It would ruin the taste."
She stood up and stretched a little, still savoring the aroma of the Cuban cigar. "I need a walk, and you've never shown me your church with all its Christmas decor."
"That's right, you were at your motherhouse last night."
"Yeah. So show me the magic you had going last night, and we'll get to the brandy and cigars."
"All right. Walk this way." She gave him a look that could maim, and accompanied him into the hallway and down the long corridor that lead to the Church.
St. Munchin's church was an old fashioned building, with the typical cruciform design. The old high altar was still in place, because the parish never had the money for an extensive renovation. A bevy of saints looked from the high altar, the side altars and almost every nook and cranny of the space. The stained glass was Tiffany, a relic of more prosperous days and lovingly maintained since installation; an ancient organ glowered from the back balcony with its forest of dummy pipes bragging artistic excellence. Banners and bows of red, white and gold lightened the somber atmosphere and a Creche rested in front of the altar.
Off to the side was the lone accommodation to modernity: an immersion baptistry. Sr. Janet walked over to look at it closely and gasped: "It's a jacuzzi!"
"Yup. My predecessor thought it was the best investment: he claimed he saved money by going this way. For all I know he got one of his buddies to pay for it."
"What, since people were getting them for their homes, the price would be cheaper than having a baptistry made custom and installed?"
She looked over it with interest. "The controls work?"
"Because Fr. Ignatius Loyola Hayes was a wierdo. He used to come down here and soak when the church was locked."
"What, turn on the jets and soak in Holy Water?"
"Yes." Fr. Greg said with a smile.
Sr. Janet looked at him for several moments, at the baptistry and back at him. "You've used it, I know you, you shifty little peckerwood."
"What makes you say that?" he said with mock indignation.
"I know you. You'd dig anything like this, although you'd prefer it in your suite, and it wouldn't bother you to sit out here butt naked, your heartless little prick."
"Now Sister, just think of it, what is the problem with being in God's house as God made you?"
She gave him a withering look, and shook her head. "How long does this take to get fired up?"
"The doors are locked?"
"Oh yes, Pookie. In fact, Mass is canceled tomorrow since we've got a winter storm moving in. Don't want the old folks breaking bones to get to daily Mass."
She sniffed the cigar still in her grasp and looked off at the dark recesses of the North Transcept dreamily for a few moments. "Turn it on."
Fr. Greg did a double take. "What did you say?"
"Turn it on. My bones are frozen ever since the cold weather set in, and I need to thaw them out. Nobody will be here, and I can think of nothing better than sitting in here with my brandy and Cuban cigar enjoying the blessings of Christmas."
"May I join you?"
"Of course, Greggers. I wouldn't dream of bludgeoning you into this favor without letting you share. "
"There may be a price."
She gave hin a once over. "Doubtlessly. It's been a long time since last August. The gift of this little piece heaven would be worth the price."
His jaw dropped. "Does that mean?"
"It means you have another chance at your impossible dream, Greggers. You're not the only one with impossible dreams, but I'm not ready to reveal mine yet. Give me some fine brandy and a Cuban Cigar, I may be ready for more. I need to powder my nose and pray my office; I'll meet you back here in 20 minutes."
"Sure, Pookie." He started to say something else, then thought the better and switched on the apparatus that started the jacuzzi.
When Pookie returned from her devotions, she found her second cousin Greggers sitting in the font, cigar in one hand and snifter in the other, bottle and humidor at ready. He was flicking his ashes into an ancient thurible that had seen better days, blowing smoke rings that drifted randomly around the currents of the huge space.
Pookie removed her clothing meticulously, folding each piece primly and laying it on the pews. After her huge bra came off, her breasts sagged with her nipples hardening instantly in the cool air of the sanctuary. After her generous panties came off, she took off her headpiece, shaking her head to let her cropped hair fly into a frizzled bird's nest.
"Give me that brandy, Greggers," she commanded.
"Get in first Pookie, it'll be easier that way."
She carefully sat on the ledge of the jacuzzi/font, swinging her legs over and lowering herself into the bubbling water. Accepting the snifter, she waited as he snipped a cigar and held the match for her to light it. Once the flame was successfully initiated, she sat back and reveled in the frothing nirvana. "Greggers, you've got a sweet setup here," she said with a sigh as she blew a smoke ring and relished the sensations.
"Thanks, Pookie," he replied. "It's a blessing, that's for certain."
They sat, smoked and sipped, naked as they day they were born as the candles of the votive lights threw wavering shadows at the various shrines around the outside wall. Two old wooden confessionals sat at the back of the Church, with heavy curtains. "Have you ever fucked anybody in the Confessional, Father?"
"No, Sister. Wouldn't be a good idea these days. Strangely enough, I never got the urge: all my penitents are so screwed up, I'm never interested."
"Never sleep with anybody crazier than you are, Father?"
"Damn straight, Sister. Also safer." "What about fucking somebody on the altar?"
"Hell, Pookie, no. I'd never be able to celebrate mass there again. You can imagine: there I'd be, holding up the Host, and all I could think about would be the woman I'd been screwing there."
"Now, Pookie, you know my hard drive doesn't run that program?"
She laughed at him and held her glass out for more brandy. "Who gave the money for the stained glass windows?"
"It was a family from the early '30's. Forget the name right now, they were pretty numerous here."
"How did they make their fortune?"
"The father was one of Al Capone's main lieutenants. The mother was here every day, praying for her husband and her son; they needed lots of prayers."
"Any of them still around?"
"A grandson, whose business I never inquire about. His daughter was married last summer."
"How did that go?"
"I'd rather not remember. If God is good I'll never have another Mafia wedding again."
They spent a few more moments in silence. "Who gave the money for this?" she asked.
"Oh, it was one of the parish council presidents. A Democrat precinct boss, somebody who thought Pope Paul VI was a saint. Did most of the work himself, even installing the wiring."
"Is his family still around?"
"Yeah. They're all right. Their youngest is getting ordained next summer."
"Super." Pookie's foot slid under the froth to rest on his thigh, her toes wiggling against his balls.
"You know, Pookie, I wouldn't make you pay your rent in sex," Fr. Greg said out of the blue.. "I have to account for everything here, my local vicar keeps a close eye on expenditures, and there would need to be some cash coming in for your rest here."
The submerged toes continued their testicular tease. "But Greggers, we could do so much for you here. Shelley could move her practice here, and help so many of your parishioners. I could take over your religious ed."
"That's nice, Pookie, but I never dreamed you'd. . .you'd. . ."
"Well, you may get to my impossible dream shortly. We all need a little variety to spice up our lives. Some guys find the thought of two women making out exciting."
"Not if they're your age," he replied, then looked away ashamed. Her toes gripped his nutsack and he cried out. "Ow, ow, ow, I apologize. But be fair, Pookie. How many man fantasize about Ellen DeGeneres making out? How many women? Even though it's Portia?"
"Point made, Greggers, point made." She took a long, reflective drag from her cigar and blew a cloud heavenward. Last August's encounter in the belfry opened my eyes a bit. Not that I want to give up on Shelley, but you're a safe playmate from time to time." She gave him a big smile and a broad wink. "Well, relatively safe. Thank the nice brandy for the honesty."
"And the award winning white wine with dinner, I imagine." The bubbles continued and he fixed his eyes on Pookie's heavy breasts hanging down in the water. "Ever since that blow job you gave me, I've been able to think of nothing else when I've fantasized." He took another puff from his cigar and chased it with a sip of brandy. "I'm a realist after all these wild years, you could move in here without any requirements, but I'm interested in what you have in mind."
"Well, Shelley has an impossible dream that only you could help her with, but if you find mine, I'll tell you hers. If you find both, we'll move in after the first of the year."
"All right. Is it bigger than a breadbox?"
"No words, Greggers. Trial and error. Put down your drink and find out for yourself."
He put the snifter all the way down on the floor beside the jacuzzi and turned to face his distant cousin. His right hand started stroking her leg while her foot still teased his groin, her face broke out in a broad smile. "If you remember last summer, your starter may work, but it's nothing you've really done to me before."
His brow furrowed, and his hand worked up her thigh toward the promised land. "Are we talking pleasure or pain?" he asked.
"Oh, pleasure for certain, but a lot of women would think it's too much of a good thing."
His face broke into a huge, shit eating grin; his fingers quested upward, and she sighed. "You wouldn't be obvious, would you, Pookie?"
"Oh, I might, Greggers, I might. Sometimes it's fun to tell the truth at an unexpected time, you can get away with a lot. You have to figure out whether I'm being to obvious to you or not."