Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Priest and a Rabbi Walk Into a Bar by Brian S. Roe

A Priest and a Rabbi Walk Into a Bar

by Brian S. Roe

“Hi there, Michael.”

“Oh hi, Uncle Danny. I mean, Father Daniel.”

“Either’s good, nephew. How’s my sister?”

“Mom’s fine. Still working third shift at the hospital, but she says she wants to see more of you. Says she’s tired of taking mass at the hospital chapel.”

“We’ll have to do something about that then. Many things that we need to do something about lately.”

“A drink, Uncle Danny?”

“Yeah, bourbon and branch. You know my brand.”

“Is this barstool occupied?”

“Hi there, Jacob. I’ve been holding it for you.”

“Not much of a crowd tonight, I see.”

“Hi, Rabbi Lowen. Care for a drink?”

“Well Danny, do you have any tea?”

“Sure. Lemon and honey, right?”

“You’ve got a very good memory, son.”

“How’ve you been, Jacob.”

“I’ve been feeling very cold lately, Daniel. Very cold in my soul. And how have you been?”

“Burning up. Rage and anger. Hard to preach peaceful words when I’ve such anger.”

“Strange how we both feel such polar temperaments for the same base emotion.”

“Yeah, it’s hard to control sometimes. When did things get this bad?”

“When Rosen took over the 12th Street Boys, I think. Such a grubber yung. He led them down ever more dark paths.”

“And Flynn had already had them headed down some pretty dark paths from the start.”

“Strange how these kinder that grew up blocks from each other used to fight each other so violently just because of their last names.”

“Flynn, O’Malley, and Cavan versus Rosen, Goldman, and Zimmerman.”

“Cohen, Abramson, and Horowitz versus O’Neill, Doyle, and Buckley.”

“I remember seeing them on the playground of the school going after each other with tire irons and chains. One sadistic bastard had a bullwhip. Who knows where he got it. He was none too pleased when I took it from him. He should be glad that I got to him before one of the nuns did.”

“I can imagine. But apparently the desire to do evil was strong enough to bring them together. What I still can’t understand is how they’ve grown in such power recently. It’s as if no policeman will come anywhere near the neighborhood. Our young nishtgutnicks seem to be running riot with no one to monitor them.”

“Before Flynn got cut out he made a deal with some friendly cousins within the Blue Brotherhood. Apparently those deals are still valid. You know how insular we Micks can be. ”

“Can you hear them in the back room? Like a pack of mongrel dogs.”

“Another drink please, nephew. How long have they been here?”

“Since this afternoon. They’ve been playing cards and talking about um, business.”

“They haven’t been out here harassing you?”

“Not so much. My boss has some connections that they might not want to test quite yet. Bigger dogs still scare the little dogs. They took Theresa with them as a waitress and a couple of cases of booze. Sent out for food about an hour ago. I heard some of them snoring earlier. But mostly they’ve just been loud. Drove out all of the other customers.”

“Not a bad thing at this point, Daniel.”

“It might be a good idea for you to close early tonight, nephew.”

“I see. It’ll take a few minutes to get my closing stuff done.”

“You might want to be about it then. Have you been to the hospital to see Miriam lately, Jacob?”


“Sorry to mention it.”

“I... it’s still so hard to see her like that. She was so lovely and alive, and now she just lays there, broken.”

“The doctors are good there.”

“Yes, but for her, it would take a miracle. And it seems miracles ceased to happen a few thousand years ago. And what of the little girl that was run over?”

“She died.”


“Her parents buried her two days ago. I’ve never seen such pure sadness in all my years. Only the good Lord gave me strength to finish the service. A couple of Rosen’s boys were at the funeral. They were laughing and chewing bubble gum. The girl’s father went after them and now he’s breathing through a tube and shitting into a bag. Sorry for the language.”

“Such things often require that kind of language.”

“At the girl’s funeral, I realized what had to happen. What I had to do.”

“Then it seems that we are both thinking similar thoughts. When I realized that no one was willing to identify the beasts who hurt Miriam, then I felt truly alone. But now I just feel very cold. Like the edge of a sharpened sword.”

“What? Oh my God. Theresa! Are you all right?”

“Poor shikse. She ran out without her coat and most of her blouse.”

“God damn it. As if we needed a more clear signal.”

“Michael, the bar should be closed now. And please pull the shades and lock the door behind you.”

“Good night, Uncle Danny, Rabbi Lowen. God bless you both.”

“Good night nephew. Kiss your mom for me.”

“It’s time, Daniel. Do you have what you need?”

“Here. My father’s old Thompson from right after the war. He kept it in the same box as his badge and uniform. Tested it out last night and it still sings.”

“A friend in Israel sent me this. Sinister looking, isn’t it? He calls it an “Uzi”.”

“It sounds like they’re getting into some kind of scuffle in there.”

“Then now is a good time.”

“This is all happening so damned quickly isn’t it?”

“Mentsch tracht, G-tt lacht”

“In all my years as a priest, I never thought I’d be damning myself to Hell like this.”

“Only G-d can forgive us. Perhaps he will be merciful.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll hear your confession.”

1 comment:

  1. "I'm cold, like the edge of a sharpened sword..."

    Fantastic, Brian!