Contest #76 shortlist ⭐️

Ray of Light

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

75 comments

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.”

January 10, 2021 06:47

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75 comments

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 Reine
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 Reine
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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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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Victoria Keneoue
15:55 Jan 21, 2021

This story is certainly a breath of fresh air, though the beginning is off putting, the author has made such a big effort to keep readers hooked, it has worked. I loved how Father Michael's demeneour slowly and reluctantly changed at the end. This was great read indeed,looking foward to reading more of the author's stories.

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Tom .
15:59 Jan 21, 2021

Thank you. The beginning will be getting a rewrite. It is ultimately for something else so thank you for the critique.

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Victoria Keneoue
22:40 Jan 21, 2021

You are welcome, I wish I could be much more helpful instead of being critical, this is honestly a good story.

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Victoria Keneoue
22:40 Jan 21, 2021

You are welcome, I wish I could be much more helpful instead of being critical, this is honestly a good story.

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Tom .
22:49 Jan 21, 2021

That's alright. Some feedback is better than no feedback. I would rather be told what is wrong than just get empty praise.

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Matthew Hummel
18:42 Jan 20, 2021

I thought this was really funny. I live in Boston and Ray Meehan reminds me of my neighbor so I had no problem visualizing the exchange. Others have mentioned that it's a slow start and I agree; I think the beginning needs to be trimmed a bit. When Ray starts talking about stealing sweets I thought the story started to find it's flow. I liked the rigidness of the priests dialogue, it reminded me of the stiffness and formality of the reverends in my church. Thought this was a good approach to the prompt!

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Tom .
19:43 Jan 20, 2021

Thank you. The start was stiffer. But I am going to keep playing with it for something else next month.

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H L Mc Quaid
11:22 Jan 18, 2021

Hi Tom. I enjoyed this very much. Light touches of humour throughout and clever use of the confessional to set up the context, and the commandments to drive the story. I have two (small) critiques. Firstly, I agree with other commentators--you could make Ray's voice even more distinct by having him use contractions, compared to Father Michael. You've already made Ray's speech informal by dropping the 'g's at the end of some verbs, so having him use contractions would be consistent with that. Secondly, I'm not sure that Father Michael wou...

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Tom .
11:41 Jan 18, 2021

Thank you, remind me what contractions are again, it is a long time since I was at school. His knowledge of the parishioner's age would depend on the parish and his interactions. Through knowing of Ray's transgressions with another parishioner he is clear he is aware of Ray and it is clear that Ray is a regular at the church through his mother. I do understand what you mean though, I could add a line like 'I attended your last birthday party'. I certainly do not think priests have an encyclopedic knowledge of all their attendees. This does s...

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Tom .
11:45 Jan 18, 2021

I have your entry opened up and will read it and give you feedback later.

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H L Mc Quaid
12:20 Jan 18, 2021

Thanks, Tom, I look forward to it.

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H L Mc Quaid
12:08 Jan 18, 2021

I almost gave an example of a contraction, but then I thought that might be an overstep. ;) Anyway, a contraction is when some letters are omitted and replaced with an apostrophe. So, "I am happy that you are dancing" would become "I'm happy that you're dancing". Most people use contractions when speaking. Apparently androids have problem with them, but that's another story. ;) As for the age reveal, I could see something like this: “Ray Meehan, when did you steal some sweets?” “When I was fifteen." “But you must be well into your thirtie...

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Tom .
13:12 Jan 18, 2021

Thank you... The main problem with the suggestion is they need to know each other as the catholic confessional is blind as the priest faces the door and not the grill. So your suggestion does work but not visually.

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H L Mc Quaid
13:36 Jan 18, 2021

Okay, I get that priest can't see the man in the confessional, and therefore can't guess his age. But the priest knows who is in the confessional as Ray announces himself as soon as he enters and based on his knowledge the priest says “Ray Meehan you are thirty-six, when did you steal some sweets?” As written, the priest knows Ray's exact age based on knowing who Ray is, not based on seeing him. My suggestion to remove the 'exactness' of the age, as it seemed a little odd that the priest would remember that, is probably just a quirk of min...

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Tom .
13:40 Jan 18, 2021

No i agree thank you. Your piece for this prompt is excellent. I have sent you a link for a dialogue only competition next month.

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T.C Morgan
17:22 Jan 16, 2021

Hilarious. This story definitely made me laugh. You managed to create a clear, humorous story without dialogue tags. It flows well, it's always clear when each character is speaking (which is probably the hardest part of this prompt), and the title is amazing. Great job!! :)

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Tom .
04:39 Jan 17, 2021

Thank you.

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