“What’s that smell?” We were in the scriptorium and something definitely seemed off. Q waved his hand dismissively.

“Viggo discovered fire.”

“He what, now?” I asked.

Without looking up from whatever he was doing with that glass pipette and a safety pin, he sighed.

“Fire. He discovered fire. Somehow it never occurred to him before yesterday that the way the candles magically come to be lit was by someone with one of those long, clicking lighters. Father Mo hasn’t been able to lock them up fast enough.”

He paused, sat back and cocked his head as he looked at his handiwork, then leaned back over it. “He’ll probably burn down the monastery,” he said flatly.

I stared at him for a moment. “You know, for a Buddhist, you’re not a very nice person.” He looked over at me and smirked.

“You asshole,” he said. “I’m a Buddhist BECAUSE I’m not a very nice person.”

“That only makes sense in a ‘sound of one hand clapping’ kind of way.”

I shook my head. “Fucking Buddhists.”

“At least I’m not pretending to be something I’m not,” he shot back.

I kicked the leg of his stool as I walked out.   Do I seem like I’ve been in a foul mood lately? That would be because I have been. I’m just a little conflicted over the fact that finding my life’s work somehow came to involve retiring from civilization and the rest of the human race. And even though it wasn’t as if things were going very well on The Outside, I mean, what with living with my sister after breaking up with my girlfriend is concerned, and getting fired from my job, and getting arrested for forgery, hiding out here is still, you know, kind of a bummer every now and then.

Oh, I didn’t tell you about my arrest? Don’t worry, it wasn’t for art forgery. I penned my girlfriend’s signature—perfectly, I might add—on a credit card application so I could buy her a new computer for Christmas. At the time I thought it was romantic in a Gift of the Magi kind of way. Did I mention that she broke up with me? Yeah.

Anyway, she didn’t press charges but it was still a criminal offense, so the judge fined me and gave me a suspended sentence with community service. I picked up shit from the side of the road for three months. Fucking Christ! The things people throw out their car windows.

So I’ve been in a funk lately, but monastery life does continue to be interesting. You see, there are these nuns. The Sisters of Perpetual Inconvenience, let’s call them, because they always seem to show up at the least opportune times. Occasionally Father Mo invites them over to work on a charity project (other than the one in which Q and I are engaged), and sometimes they just seem to show up out of the blue, like a great, dark thunderhead come to wreak agony and despair across the land.

The woman who runs the convent is called Mother Ingrid, and she usually has a couple of unpleasant accomplices along when she visits. Different women every time. Maybe she’s just making a point of getting them out for some fresh air every once in awhile, I dunno. Whatever the case, it tends to upset everyone at the monastery for a number of hours until after they’ve left.

Yesterday, not long after the incident with Q in the scriptorium, Mother Ingrid blustered in like a swirling and huffing tornado, demanding to see Father Mo at once. Behind her I saw she had another unremarkable nun in tow, but behind her was someone altogether different.

Well, hell-o, nurse.

It was like I’d been struck by lightning. Gobsmacked. Slain. In her shapeless robe and full veil and whimple, all I could see was her face, but holy shit, that was all I needed to see. As Mother F5 and the other one swept through the room in which I stood and flew off to the destroy the next town, the hot sister lingered momentarily. (Can I say that she was hot? I am so going to hell.)

“Hello,” she said, “I’m Sister Ambrosia, but everyone calls me Brosie. Are you new here?”

Her voice was delicate and angelic. God help me, I thought.

“Uhhhm, well, I, uh…”

“Articulate. I like that in a monk.” Then she winked—WINKED—and hurried to follow her party.

What the actual fuck?! That should be illegal, for nuns to flirt. Q walked in and brushed past me as he followed them through the other door.

“Never gonna happen,” he said.


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