Why Dante Became A Priest: Now Available at Amazon Shorts
edited: Thursday, December 13, 2007
By TK Kenyon
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2007
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Why would a gorgeous Roman give up his sex life to become a priest? When he needs something more.
"Communion Is A Kiss"
Dante pressed his arm over his eyes and feigned sleep to ignore the ringing phone. Hangover slime coated his throat. If the bed did not stop spinning, he was going to puke.
He found the edge of the bed with his other hand. Lace crumpled under his palm. Women always swathed their beds in white lace, reminiscent of a wedding dress, a baptismal gown, or a pall.
Clattering as someone found the phone, and a woman’s soft voice beside him asked, “Allo?”
Silence. Dreaded silence.
She said, “All right. Goodbye.” A soft click. “Dante?”
“Che? Wha?” He ventured lifting his sandpaper eyelids, and sharp Roman sunlight shocked his eyes.
A slim hand shook his arm over his eyes. “Father Dante!”
He groaned. “I’m not a priest. I told you last night that I was not a priest.” He glimpsed her beyond his arm. She was pretty in a blonde, mascara-streaked way. “I didn’t tell you that I was a priest, did I?”
She glanced at the bedroom door. “You have to go. My husband will be home in a few minutes.”
“Good Lord.” Adrenaline quelled his hangover nausea. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and sat up. A slimy, flaccid condom lay beside his shoe, and he stuffed it deep into crackling paper in a trash can.
“He just called from a taxi,” she said.
His watch read seven-fifteen. “Merda, I’m late for Mass.”
“I thought you weren’t a priest,” she said.
“Not a priest. I’m a psychiatrist.” On a lace-covered table beside the bed, a picture showed her on good morning standing next to a man wearing camouflage and holding a rifle, and Lord in Heaven, it was Dr. Vidal Delestraint, Dante’s boss. Panic pinched his cheeks. “Your husband is Vidal?”
“How do you know Vidal?” she asked.
“Never mind.” How had frumpy, bullet-bald, French Vidal met such a beautiful woman and married her? Dante stuffed his socks into his shoes and found his underwear.
“Are you from the university?” she asked.
“Yes.” He finger-combed his hair away from his eyes so he could see but his shirt was not on this side of the ruffled bed.
“Neuroscience?” she asked.
“Um, yes.” Where was his shirt?
“Oh, merda.” She asked sarcastically, “Are you a Baptist or a Tauist?”
His shirt, or something black, was under the sheet near her pale arm. “It doesn’t matter. Hand me my shirt?”
“Oh, it matters.” Sarcasm flattened her voice. She tossed a black shirt to him and Dante snagged it out of the air. She pulled a green robe over her naked body.
He whipped his shirt around. The soft silk settled on his arms, but it stank of cigarette smoke and whisky, and a stiff spot on the front suggested something spilled. He buttoned it. His pants were a wrinkled black mess on the floor, and he pulled them over his sticky body. The stiff, white collar insert he had removed before going to the Testaccio district was in his pocket. He clipped it into the Roman ecclesiastical collar of the shirt.
In the oval mirror, Dante looked like a priest who had been dealt a glancing blow by a whisky truck.
He picked up his shoes and started out the bedroom door. “It was nice to meet you.” He turned.
She grabbed his arm and whispered, “Not that way. My mother-in-law’s room is down there.” She hustled him down a narrow hallway to stairs. “Out through the kitchen.”
He pattered down the stairs with the blonde woman behind him and into a tiny kitchen. An elderly lady sat at the table, facing away. Her hunched spine creased her thin, black dress. The mother-in-law had escaped her room early.
Dante hopped across the kitchen, rapped on the wooden door, and opened it. By the time the old woman wrenched herself around, he was poking his head into the house. He turned so that the old woman could see his priest’s collar with its white insert. “Buon giorno, is this the house of la signora Bracciolini?”
“No,” the pretty blonde said and started to get upset.
The mother-in-law turned back to her coffee.
“My mistake. Mi scusi.” He grinned at la signora Delestraint as he withdrew.
Dante could not remember the blonde’s first name. He was a cad when he was drunk. Un donniolo.
Yes, and what of it? Dante was happy this way, happy to wake up in a different woman’s bed every morning, happy to fight his morning hangover, happy to drink himself stupid every night.
It was one of the universe’s angry ironies that he could remember each morning’s hungover hustle out the door but none of the nighttime drunken sex with the beautiful women.