Luca Domenico Lazarus, ordained into the Dominican Order, was a priest with a secret. A secret, should it be discovered, that most certainly would lead to his disgrace, excommunication from the Church and in the mercurial halls of justice, possible legal charges. Father Lazarus has not been sleeping well…and so, reached out to his trusted friend, Tomasso.
Sequestered like first time jurors in a high profile murder trial, the two middle aged men sat across from each other in a bright, red leathered booth at the Juke Box Diner, a 1950’s themed establishment on Columbia Pike in Annandale; its interior neon lighting coalescing with sharp beams of afternoon sunlight that insisted on slipping through the smooth wooden slats of the blinds hanging on each of the restaurant’s large picture windows; creating a kaleidoscopic effect, intensified what already felt a surreal meeting.
Wiping his chin after taking a large bite of his sirloin bacon cheeseburger, Tomasso Bianchi studied the man sitting across from him, a man he hadn’t heard from since their first year of seminary and blurted “Come on Luca, it can’t be that bad man, I mean you’re a friggin’ priest for God’s sake, what could you have done that would make the holy heat come down on you – hell, just go to confession.”
“”Bless me father for I have sinned, it’s been, well, too long and I thought I’d better confess to possibly bringing about the end of the world as we…’. Elbows on the table, Luca Lazarus aka Father Lazarus, leaned in, eyes fixed intently on his old friend and continued softly, ‘yeah, right, I’m going to sit in a confessional box, pour out a story first off, no one in their right mind would believe and second, will most likely earn me a severe reprimand, if not ex-communication, from the Church; at the end of which I’ll simply say, “my bad“. You know me Tommy – I’ve always played by the rules, but the Bishop forced my hand, he wouldn’t believe me despite the evidence I’d collected, he left me no choice – I followed the prescribed litany and method to the letter.”
Succumbing to panic rising like flood waters ready to breech a levee, Father Luka Lazarus pleaded with his friend, “what do I do Tommy, tell the Bishop I disobeyed him, performed a non-sanctioned exorcism and oh, by the way, I may have opened the gates to hell?”