Father Thomas sat at his kitchen table, drinking his coffee as he waited for the police to arrive. He let his head rest in his hands as the aroma of the coffee tried — but failed — to make him feel any better. “Think Scott, think, who would possibly attack your church?” The thought whirled around in his mind, much faster than the lazy ticking of the clock in the background.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Twelve fifteen. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. The sound lulled him for a moment, before a firm knock on the parsonage's front door brought him to and he lurched up and towards the door. He reached the door and it opened after a slight complaint. Two stern people stood at the door, a rather short man and a somewhat taller woman. The woman spoke first, “Hi, you must be Father Thomas. Agent Cassandra Myers and this” she motioned toward the man, “is Agent Mark Douglas.”
“Come in, come in.” Thomas motioned in and toward warm light that spilled down the hall from the kitchen. “Would you like a cup of coffee? I had just poured myself a cup before you knocked.”
Douglas nodded. “If it wouldn't be too much trouble, sure. We saw the door, or I should say, the remains of the door, on the way in. You say you heard a chain saw?”
“Yes, I had just crossed through the passageway — you see, we have a passageway that connects the chapel to the parsonage — and was preparing to make my evening coffee when I heard this noise. I'm not sure what I was going to do — I'm really not sure at all! — but I heard this saw like noise and took off for the chapel. It didn't take me long to figure out where it was coming from.”
Myers frowned. “Mmhmm. But, you didn't see the perpetrator?”
“No, by the time I reached the narthex —”
“The north what,” Douglas asked.
“The narthex. The lobby, if you will.”
“Ah, ok. So right by the door.”
“That's right. Anyway, by the time I reached the door, it wasn't really there to reach.” Thomas chuckled wearily. “I must say, for all the things I feared might be stolen out of the chapel, the front door was never really one of them.”
“What kind of door was it? Was it of any value?”
Thomas poured two more cups of coffee and set them down by the agents' places at the table. “Uh, well, really nothing special. It was wood. I guess it could have been worth something — it was, as far as I know original to the chapel, which would make it about seventy five years old. But, other than a little carving, it really wasn't anything special.”
The three puzzled over the situation, each staring at the warm coffee as if searching for some answer written in it. Thomas sighed. So much for peacefulness. He looked around the kitchen and as his eyes surveyed the contours of the molding around the cabinets he was further reminded of how dear this little, typically unexciting parish was to him. This little dose of excitement was already more than he was ever really hoping for.
The silence drifted around, all but palpable until the agents' walkie-talkies interrupted. “Agents Myers and Douglas, please respond. We have a third reported church vandalization.” Thomas glanced up at the two agents incredulously. “Third?”
“This is Agent Myers. What is it this time?”
The walkie-talkie phone emitted its signature beep. “Uh, according to the call we received, it's another door.”
Father Thomas let his head again rest in his hands. Someone is going around stealing church doors? This was going to be a long night.