Word Count 500
Speaking in Tongues
By Sam McManus
“Not at all,” said Father Baretta. “We haven’t had any need to use a hymnal, not after the great hymnal fire of oh-two. We use the app ‘Godsongz’ now, and we’re much better for it.”
Young John Hopkins shook his head, looked down at his notes once more, then tried again.
“No, no,” he said, waving off the interjections from the priest. “I didn’t ask if you knew about any stolen hymnals. I said we needed to talk about a liminal statement you made to the police.”
“Oh!” replied Father Baretta, embarrassed. “I’m sorry. I know I told them something about the subliminal messages in some of those new Casting Crowns songs. I knew when they first started that that group would be the death of contemporary Christian music. Some others thought it was Hillsong, but I was convinced…”
“Father,” broke in Young John. “You still don’t understand what I’m trying to ask you.”
He looked to his partner, D-Boy Willett, for assistance. D-Boy looked back, then hung his head because he too was clueless. For some reason the priest was hung up on Christian music. Not on the information about the drug dealers in East Southerton, Missouri.
“What I mean is,” Young John continued, after a pause. “What I’m trying to say is that you told police you had… witnessed what might have been a drug deal.”
“So what’s all this stuff about subliminal messages?” asked Father Baretta.
“We never said anything about subliminal messages, Father,” explained Young John. “We said liminal, meaning what you said was on the line, that we needed more information in order to prosecute.”
“Wait, you young fellas are lawyers?” Father Baretta asked.
“Yes, sir. We said we are from Jensen & Hedges,” said Young John, sighing. “We are following up on information you gave the police, but we need more to charge for dealing.”
“We don’t have any drugs here, gentlemen,” replied Father Baretta.
“No, no,” said D-Boy, who hadn’t spoken up to that point, but he could stay silent no longer. It was plainly obvious to him that Father Baretta was giving them the run-around. “We need a stronger statement about what you witnessed outside the church on Wednesday night following mass. We can’t keep toeing that liminal line.”
“Why do you keep using that word, sons?” asked Father Baretta. “Is this some kind of Candid Camera and you want my reaction to some made-up word? Am I on the TV?”
“No, Father,” said Young John. “There is no TV. You are on no show. We just need a statement so we can lock up these drug dealers.”
“Who?” Father Baretta asked. “These Jensen & Hedges fellas you mentioned before?”
Young John turned on his heel and began to walk swiftly down the aisle of the church, muttering obscenities along the way. D-Boy simply put his head in his hands, trying to figure out a way to start over again. Damn that word-of-the-day toilet paper he had shown Young John that morning.