During confession a Beacon Scout tells a priest a story about helping out a friend.
| The eleven year old Beacon Scout entered the solid-looking, wooden confessional. The somewhat brawny boy took off his bucket hat and knelt down.
Not even waiting for the priest to greet him, he made the sign of the cross and began "Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has been..." he quickly took out his phone and glanced at the calendar. "Two days since my last confession."
"You know, my son," replied the priest, "I am supposed to greet you." His voice was old and tired, but tinged with understanding.
"Oh yeah. Sorry father."
"It's alright. You seem to have a lot on your mind. As usual."
"Well it's kind of complicated. It all began yesterday..."
The day before had been fluctuating between being overcast and partly sunny. The downtown of Rhodes was relatively deserted since the renting season had pretty much ended. The downtown of Rhodes always looked a little sad regardless. It wanted to look like a cute vacation town, but never quite managed to pull of the look. For instance, instead of more modern street lamps, the street was lined with old fashioned looking street lamps. But the the paint was chipped away from them and they never glowed quite brightly enough. Things like this resulted in the town missing the mark by a much further margin than if had not tried at all, and made the place seem far more run down than it was.
The Beacon Scout was contemplating this as he walked down the street when he heard someone call out from behind him.
He turned around to face an eleven year old girl in a Beacon Scout uniform. She had sewn a peace sign and several flower designs into her skirt. Under her glasses her eyes had a relaxed, almost sleepy look.
"Oh hey Lola," said Dominic, "What's up?"
"Oh, well that's a complicated question," mused Lola, looking up towards the overcast sky, "I mean, technically it's a direction-"
I mean do you want to talk or something," Dominic said, quickly cutting her off. There was a time and a place for Lola's strange musing, but this was not the time, nor the place.
"Oh yeah," said Lola, as if she was coming out of some sort of haze, "Noah kinda stole my supplies for the next meeting. It was super uncool of him."
Questions began to stream out of Dominic. "What?! Where?! Why?!"
"He took my backpack, it was back on Second Street, and because he enjoys messing with people who don't fight back," Lola replied calmly. "I'm sure he'll give me back my bag though."
As she was talking Dominic was already making his way towards Second street.
"Hey," Lola called out as she ran after him, "Please don't go do a weird thing, like 'protecting my honor'. That's uncool. I don't need my honor protected."
"I'm not doing it 'cause of that," replied Dominic, "I'm doing it because I want to punch him in the face."
"And did you want to punch him in the face?" asked the priest.
"Well...yeah...kinda," answered Dominic, shifting uncomfortably. "Is that a sin?"
"Even Christ harbored angry thoughts my son. Recall, if you will, the money changers at the temple. What is important is that you do not take pleasure in them and do not act on them."
"Oh. Well about that..."
Dominic arrived on second street with Lola in tow. Second Street was where businesses started to fade and houses took their place. As such it tended to look more normal than the rest of the downtown.
He quickly located Noah. He was sitting on the steps of a yellow two-story house. His long black hair contrasted sharply with his extremely pale skin. A red, and somewhat worn, bike lay nearby in front yard. Noah had denim backpack with a peace symbol like the one Lola had on her skirt sitting beside him.
Dominic walked up to him. "Hey Noah."
"Hey Dominic," Noah replied as he flashed a slight, but smug smile, "What do you want?"
Dominic decided to cut right to the chase. "Give Lola her backpack back."
"What? Oh right, this." Noah picked up the backpack and threw it Lola. She awkwardly caught and then looked inside.
"Well I did say he would give me my bag back," noted Lola, "But he still has my stuff."
"No I don't," protested Noah, "I didn't take anything out!"
Dominic glared at him. "Bull. Give back her stuff."
Noah slowly got up from the stairs. "I told you I didn't take her stupid book."
"Aha! J'accuse!" Dominic yelled out, dramatically pointing his finger at Noah.
"Gesundheit," Noah and Lola said in unison.
"Neither of us said anything about a book," Dominic pointed out. "So why did you mention it?"
"So what happened then?" asked the priest.
"Well, we started calling each other a lot of names," explained Dominic.
"What sort of names?"
"Uh...would it be a sin to say some of them again?"
"I think I get the picture. Name calling is better than punching at least."
"Oh. Well about that..."
Noah and Dominic where in each other's faces, shouting at one another. Lola in the meanwhile had become fascinated by a balloon flying over head. She had no time for their macho showmanship.
"I'm going to give you until the count of three," warned Dominic, his right hand curling into a fist.
"You're such an idiot," replied Noah. He did take a step back though.
"Violence is never the answer Dominic," Lola reminded him, snapping back to reality. She began to look around for someone to help defuse the situation.
"I didn't take her stupid stuff you r-"
"You won't punch me."
"Three." There was a second of silence. The wind died down and the cloud formed overhead to block out what little sun was left. It was like the world had stopped. Noah began to grin, thinking he had called Dominic's bluff. He blinked, and in the next moment was met with Dominic's fist in his face.
"And that's when I hit him. In fairness I did give him a warning."
"Warning or no, it was not self defense," said the priest.
"I know father," replied Dominic, the guilt obvious in his voice, "That's why I'm here in confession."
"At least you only hit him once," the priest mused.
"Oh. Well about that..."
Dominic was pretty sure he heard the priest sigh.
Dominic had straddled the prone Noah, and was raining down blows on the thief when he heard an adult shout his name.
"DOMINIC!" He stopped his beatdown and turned his head to see Scout Assistant Jana. The somewhat chubby eighteen year old was standing next to Lola. Her wide brimmed hat was tipped back so that her disappointed face was clear.
"Oh hey Jana," Dominic managed weakly. "Funny seeing you here."
"Lola found me down the street," she explained, "I'm glad she did. You shouldn't be doing this!"
"Well, he did steal Lola's stuff," said Dominic.
"I did," admitted Noah, rather matter of factly. His nose was bloody and his face red, and he was in no mood to try and keep up his ruse.
"Violence is not how you respond to these things Dominic," lectured Jana, "You have to talk these things out. It's by working with one another rather than fighting each other that you can move forward. If you talk you gain a true understanding of each other and through that understanding become better people. If you only..."
Dominic stopped paying attention to her speech halfway through and glanced down at Noah. His eyes were rolling so far back at Jana's speech that they looked like they were about to pop out of his head.
"Alright, alright!" yelled Noah. He propped himself up on his elbows. "I'll get her stupid stuff if you stop talking!"
"Oh," said Jana, taken aback. "Well okay then. But then you two have to make nice!"
Dominic stood up and let Noah get up. Noah made his way inside to retrieve what he stole. Dominic shook his hand while grimacing. "Ow."
"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction," noted Lola. "Newton's Third Law."
"Yeah, thanks Lola," said Dominic.
"Serves you right for attacking him," said Jana.
Noah came back out with the stuff in hand. He handed the book and a kit containing some gear to Lola. "Sorry about your stuff," he mumbled.
"Thanks for giving it back," replied Lola as she stuffed the kit and book into her backpack.
"Now you two shake hands and apologize," Jana instructed Dominic and Noah.
The two shook hands, with Noah's bloody from wiping his nose and Dominic's red and raw from the punches. Each gripped very hard and made sure to look each other in the eyes. There was a mumbled apology from each. Afterwards Noah went inside, and the Beacon Scouts headed for the meeting.
"See," said Jana, "Violence didn't solve the problem."
"So talking until you annoyed him did?" asked Lola. Despite the question her eyes and voice were full of innocence. Jana just grumbled.
"And so those are all the sins I guess," said Desmond. "I'm sorry for these sins and any other sins I committed."
"Alright, then for your penance I want you to say three Hail Marys, and a prayer for that boy you hurt. Pray that he might not steal in the future. Now the act of contrition."
Dominic recited the prayer from memory. "So, I'll see you again in..." he checked his phone again, "Probably two to three days."
"It's very often my son," noted the priest. "One of the points of confession is to realize what you did wrong so that you can avoid it in the future."
"Well then father," said Desmond as he stood up and got ready to leave, "I guess I'll just have to commit new sins then." With that he walked out of the confessional. At the doors of the church and quickly knelt down and made the sign of the cross. He quickly said the three Hail Mary's and the personal prayer before leaving.
He stepped outside into Rhodes. It was still grey and still looked like it was trying too hard to look nice. He took a depth breath of the morning air. Dominic had only moved here in the past year, but he was beginning to really like it. It was better to get in the fight to help a friend, a real friend, rather than to help some bully. He glanced upwards at the overcast sky.
"What is up anyway?" he wondered aloud as he began the walk home.