Contest #76 shortlist ⭐️

Ray of Light

Submitted for Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt

64 comments

Jan 10, 2021

Christian Funny Happy

“Father Daley, Father Daley, it is me, Ray Meehan.”

“Hello Ray.”

“You're not Father Daley.”

“Ray this is the confessional. You do not have to introduce yourself.”

“Sorry, Father Michael. I am tryin' to find Father Daley.”

“The confessional is for the Sacrament of Penance, a cornerstone of our faith. Not for locating individual members of the clergy.”

“So you don’t know where he is?”

“I did not say that.”

“Oh.”

“Are you here for the Sacrament of Penance?”

“Not really. I have looked everywhere for Father Daley and this was the only place I had not checked.”

“Father Daley flew to Ireland last night. His sister is sick.”

“Oh, poor Father Daley. Well you will have to help me, Father Michael.”

“I would be happy to help you Ray.”

“Well the thing is…”

“…in the Sacrament of Penance.”

“Oh.”

“You know how to start.”

“It has been a while Father.”

“How long?”

“I don’t know; it must be ages…”

“…say the words, if you cannot remember them, they are on a piece of paper by the window.”

“Forgive me father for I have sinned it has been ages since my last confession.”

“Go on my son.”

“Well, the thing is me and Father Daley have this thing…”

“Ray do the penance, then I will see if I can help you in the Father Daley matter.”

“Hmmm. I stole some sweets.”

“Ray Meehan you are thirty-six, when did you steal some sweets?”

“When I was fifteen.”

“It has been that long since your last confession?”

“Even longer, I have only done this once before. When we all had to do it, as kids at St. Stephens before our first Holy Communion.”

“Why did you not come before?”

“I did not want the priests to think badly of me.”

“Are you telling me I am going to have to listen to twenty-five years of sins?”

“I suppose so.”

"Continue."

“Well that’s about it, I stole some sweets.”

“In twenty-five years your only sin is you stole some sweets?”

“Well I did do it more than once, so it is probably quite a lot of sweets.”

“I don’t believe it.”

“Oh, you should, it would be a small mountain of sweets, if you added it all up.”

“No, no not that. You must have done different sins.”

“Nope, don’t think so.”

“Do you know all the different sins?”

“Yep.”

“You know the ten Commandments?”

“Most of them.”

“Go on tell me.”

“Don’t steal anythin', don’t kill anythin', don’t hurt little children.”

“Don’t hurt little children is not one of the ten commandments.”

“It should be, that’s a terrible thing to do.”

“Try again.”

“Umm... Don’t hurt any animals... unless it is in self-defence.”

“That’s not there either.”

“I am shocked; everyone knows you can’t do that.”

“The Commandments are a guide. Not an exhaustive list.”

“Well, maybe my rules I live by are better.”

“Right, there you go. That’s blasphemy; blasphemy, in the confessional box of all places. Commandment Number Two. By thinking your rules are better you have broken ‘Thou shall not take the lord’s name in vain.’”

“Have I?”

“Yes, you have most definitely.”

“Is it a sin if I do not realise it is a sin?”

“Well you do now, so we will let you off that one and mark it down as a lesson learned.”

“Maybe Father you should just list them and we will see how we go.”

“Okay, I am going to paraphrase.”

“What does that mean?”

“I am going to say it in a way you will understand.”

“That’s a good idea, Father.”

“Number 1. I am the LORD your God. Thou shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve. Which means 'Do you worship anything other than god?'”

“Does Mo Salah count, the centre forward for Liverpool Football Club?”

“No that’s fine.”

“He is a Muslim.”

“I applaud the diversity of choice you have in your heroes. As long as god is above Liverpool Football Club and the mighty Mo Salah in your heart we can move on.”

“It is Father.”

“Number 2. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”

“I don’t understand.”

“If you bang your head, what do you say.”

“Ahh Feck.”

“Not perfect, but we will pass over it, next one.”

“Number 3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. How often do you go to church?”

“I take Mum every week”

“Excellent that sorts half of the next one out as well. Number 4. Honour your father and your mother. How do you get on with your Dad?”

“Never met him. He run off before I was born.”

“Number 5. Thou shall not kill. Have you killed anyone?”

“Nope.”

“Number 6. Thou shall not commit adultery. Do you know what adultery is?”

“Never been married, so it does not apply to me.”

“It is a bit more complicated than that.”

“Is it?”

“Moving on, number 7. Thou shall not steal. Other than sweets have you stolen anything else. Misled anyone, cheated on an exam?”

“Nope.”

“Number 8. Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. Do you lie, tell tall tales, fib or tell porkie pies?”

“Never anything bad. I do tell small lies.”

“Ha, at last we have something. What lies have you told.”

“Well last Thursday, Mum had a terrible cold and was in bed. She wanted to get up and make me dinner, so I told her I had eaten at work so she could stay in bed and get better.”

“Well that’s not so bad. You should have looked after her.”

“I did I made her chicken soup.”

“Good man. Number 9. Thou shalt not covet your neighbour’s wife.”

“I think I get the gist of this one, no problem there, Mrs. Jackson is my only neighbour and she is in her nineties. Anyway her old man is dead. So we would probably still be okay on a technicality.”

“There are no technicalities and we are back to eight now as well; as you are clearly lying to me."

“I am not. I have never touched Mrs. Jackson.”

“The whole parish knows you are sneaking around with Shirley Milican, and she is married.”

“She might be but her old man is banged up in jail, on a ten-year stretch and she does not even live in my neighbourhood. She is all the way over the other side of town.”

“It is the same thing.”

“I disagree. I did not see anyone else getting her kids new school uniforms for the start of school last week. I am not apologising for that as I do not think I am doing anything wrong.”

“Would her husband, Harry, think the same, when he finds out?”

“The way I see it that is a very long way away and I will cross that bridge when I come to it.”

“It also is not the Sacrament of Saying Sorry.”

“Well it sort of is.”

“I am about to give up. I am going to keep the last one really simple. Number 10. Thou shall not covet your neighbour’s goods. Does Mrs. Jackson have anything that you wish you had.”

"Apart from all her teeth."

"Are you mocking me?"

“No Father, sorry Father, it was a joke about the sweets, sorry Father.”

"Well has she?"

"Nope."

“Well that is all of it.”

“That last one about Mrs. Jackson sounds silly. You should take it out and put my one in about not hurtin' little children.”

“I AM NOT REWRITING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.”

“There is no need to shout. Father Daley told me anger was a sin.”

“Father Daley is right. I am not angry, nevertheless I am sorry. We can do the seven sins another day. Okay, it is just the sweets. Now tell me this Father Daley thing.”

“Well I like to bet on the horses…”

“Gambling on the horses is a sin.”

“No it is not.”

“I assure you, it is a sin.”

“Not the way I do it.”

“How do you gamble in a way that is not a sin?”

“When I get a tip, I come see Father Daley. He blesses my tip. Then it wins.”

“Every time?”

“Yes, every time. Now if that was a sin why would god be helpin' me and Father Daley pick the winners.”

“I have never heard anything so blasphemous. Which I might add is another sin.”

“I disagree. What Commandment tells you not to bet on horses?”

“You are a test, Ray Meehen. A test for me today. I am telling you now it is a sin as one of the leaders of your church. You must ask for forgiveness.”

“I will not. The way I see it. God acts in mysterious ways and this is just another one of them ways.”

“I am speechless and also feeling so very tired. Let’s wrap this up.”

“Anythin' you say Father.”

“Right, say the sixth part on the sheet.”

“I am sorry for these and all my sins in my past life.

“Ray, I absolve you of all your sins remembered and forgotten whether committed deliberately or accidently, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. For the sweets, say one Hail Mary and try to resist doing it again.”

“Okay Father but truth be told I have not done it in ages.”

“Do you know how to say a Hail Mary?”

“Sure do, my Mum taught me. Is that everythin', can I go?”

“Ray.”

“Yes.”

“What time is that race?”

“The 4.15 at Haydock tomorrow.”

“Do you know the name of the horse?”

“Dettori is ridin' it, I have the name right here in my pocket.”

"And.."

"It is it is called... 'Divine Intervention'."

“Give me strength, you could try the patience of a… I will bless your bet against my better judgement.”

“Thank you, Father.”

“If it wins I want half the winnings on the collection plate on Sunday.”

“Will do.”

“Ray Meehan, I am also going to pray for you.”

“Thank you, Father Michael.”

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64 comments

Tom .
17:20 Jan 22, 2021

Woo hoo... My first short list... Doing a little dance...

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Heather Mcquaid
17:28 Jan 22, 2021

Hurrah! I'll join you in your well-deserved celebratory dance.

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Zilla Babbitt
19:50 Jan 11, 2021

Okay, okay, you made me laugh. I suggest reading Deidra Lovegren's story -- I forget the title, but it's in Latin, and it's an old one. And hilarious I love the patience of the old father which sometimes wears thin. Like a parent. Luke (Litlover) said below that the dialogue was a bit stiff, and I agree. I think it's because there are several places missing commas and also the fact that there's few apostrophes. For example, the father says "I am going to pray for you." Realistically he'd say "I'm going to pray for you." Another ex: “Forgiv...

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Tom .
12:26 Jan 14, 2021

Thank you

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Zilla Babbitt
17:12 Jan 22, 2021

Yay shortlist!

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Heather Mcquaid
12:28 Jan 18, 2021

Hi Tom, what Zilla suggested is what I was agreeing with, when I suggested using contractions to make Ray's speech more informal and realistic. The Father speaks a bit more formally, so maybe he doesn't use contractions all the time, but he would still use them on occasion.

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Tom .
15:54 Jan 10, 2021

I am still editing this so pitch in with your critiques. The beginning needs a bit of polish.

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David G.
17:21 Jan 22, 2021

Perfect. I missed this one. Well done. Congrats on the short list!

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Tom .
17:22 Jan 22, 2021

Thank you

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Arwen Dove
22:01 Jan 27, 2021

Wow! Such a fun story to read.

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Tom .
22:20 Jan 27, 2021

thank you

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Rayhan Hidayat
09:01 Jan 24, 2021

Congrats! This was such a joy to read, from Ray’s adorable naivete to Father Michael giving in to the temptation at the end. Fun, fun, fun. I hope you’ll take this as a sign that Reedsy wants you to stay 😉

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Tom .
09:46 Jan 24, 2021

Thanks

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William Flautt
19:37 Jan 22, 2021

Mo Salah would be proud.

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Tom .
19:39 Jan 22, 2021

Not after last night's result... Lol

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A.g. Scott
19:55 Jan 10, 2021

Hey Tom! Like you said, the beginning needs a little polish. Just feels a bit stiff. But, once you get into the commandments, there's good stuff here. Ray's character is a joy, and this piece has some legitimate things to say about the church.

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Tom .
20:27 Jan 10, 2021

Thank you. I am normally good at the beginnings. But not here. I will get there though.

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13:56 Jan 10, 2021

Hey Tom. This dialogue is very stiff and unappetizing, so I would make each person's voice and the way they talk fitting to their character. I would make Ray a little more private and maybe hesitant to reveal his sins, but this was a good story as it reveals the nature of the Confessional. I would make the dialogue even longer and maybe even include descriptive details in your dialogue.

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Tom .
15:44 Jan 10, 2021

Thank you for your review. The piece is unfinished and was done in one session. I intend to go back and rework it. What do you mean about descriptive descriptions?

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16:22 Jan 10, 2021

I mean that you could weave in references to the setting in the dialogue like "In these ivory walls no one leaves without doing the Confessional" or something along those lines.

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Tom .
16:26 Jan 10, 2021

Thank you, I thought you were going to suggest dialogue tags. It is still a bit raw. I see you like writing in other authors styles. I was going for a Paddy Doyle feel here. I have had a reread and you are right some of the dialogue is very stiff. I am going to be reworking parts especially the beginning.

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16:27 Jan 10, 2021

I feel like complicated dialogue tags are redundant and counterproductive and you can't use them for the prompt anyway. Ah, interesting. I think that what's important for dialogue is making each person's way of speaking fit their personality.

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Tom .
16:52 Jan 10, 2021

I am going to take what you said and evolve Ray's character more. I think Father Michael is fine. I will make it more 'free spirit' V 'traditionalist'. I also think I have to include the full commandments as the Catholic ones are slightly different and it should give more context.

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Bren Stephan
08:24 Feb 17, 2021

This made me grin. A good fun story.

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Tom .
09:33 Feb 17, 2021

Thank you for giving it a read.

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11:01 Feb 12, 2021

This has been a good read. I'm wondering if this is what actually goes on in those Catholic confessions.

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Caroline Travis
09:46 Feb 03, 2021

Very amusing and very well written.

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Tom .
17:01 Feb 03, 2021

Thank you

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Frances ☾
15:55 Jan 31, 2021

Whoa... I finally had time to read this and I should've done it sooner. This was a terrifying prompt because of the dialogue challenge. This blew me away. Sorry for the very late congratulations. Well deserved.

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Tom .
18:52 Jan 31, 2021

Thank you very much,

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Frances ☾
19:16 Jan 31, 2021

Of course.

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18:58 Jan 25, 2021

Very entertaining story and great use of that prompt. I love the character of Ray Meehan, I wish I could read more about him :P I also love how the priest's mood evolves while Ray remains perfectly calm. Congratulations!

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Tom .
20:57 Jan 25, 2021

Thank you I was surprised at the short list as I feel it still needs a bit of polishing.

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Marissa Yates
22:13 Jan 23, 2021

Congrats on the shortlist, Tom! This was really enjoyable story to read. Great job!!!

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Tom .
22:19 Jan 23, 2021

Thanks. You are too kind

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David Murphy
10:47 Jan 23, 2021

Love it! The Irish humour running through this is like a Dave Allen sketch. Well done! I'm going to "follow" you in the hope that you will come up with more nuggets.

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Tom .
10:49 Jan 23, 2021

Thank you David. I don't write a lot of comedy. But maybe I should.

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Ivy Hatherall
22:54 Jan 22, 2021

CONGRATULATIONS!

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Tom .
23:03 Jan 22, 2021

Thanks

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A.g. Scott
18:14 Jan 22, 2021

You got shortlisted before I did my man! Glad you decided to stick around, eh?

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Tom .
18:22 Jan 22, 2021

I think I needed a little holiday and a bit of perspective. I am surprised you haven't been shortlisted or even won before. The judging at times is a little curious so I wouldn't read that much into it. But to answer your question yes I am. I did write for this for a competition and only posted it for a beta read. I will now have to check the rules to see if I can still enter it.

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R. K.
17:16 Jan 22, 2021

This was hilarious and engaging. Congrats on the shortlist Tom, well-deserved! (And long overdue if you ask me ;)

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Tom .
17:21 Jan 22, 2021

Thank you

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Tom .
17:21 Jan 22, 2021

Thank you

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20:28 Jan 21, 2021

Absolutely brilliant! I never thought that the story fully written as dialogue could be so engaging and entertaining. Hats off to your skills

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Tom .
20:49 Jan 21, 2021

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

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