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Begging For Lightning

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“…So, I told them that Father Beasley would be coming in to speak with the fundraising committee.”

“Who’s Father—?”

“You can do a priest, right?” Neal said.

“Wait…what? No. No.”

“Come on, Peter. I’m sure you could rock a biretta.”

Peter took a moment to recover his faculty of speech. “Okay, let me rephrase. Hell no.”

“Seriously? Because, you did an okay job as a world-renowned con artist. What’s wrong with being a priest for a few—”

“And I’m still having the nightmares, thank you very much. I’m not going to add to them by dressing up as a priest just to go to a meeting. That is, if I make it to bedtime before being struck by lightning. No, and no.”

“So now you’re caring about divine lightning? You haven’t been to church since your wedding.”

Peter’s glare darkened. “You call them, and you cancel Father Beasley,” he said, in a tone that suggested he had his own divine lightnings to hurl.

“Well, if you’re sure,” Neal said. “I guess I’ll have to be the priest.”

“And the nightmares just got worse.” Peter held the bridge of his nose.

“I can’t cancel,” Neal said, in the voice of reason. “I promised on behalf of Father Beasley.”

“Who doesn’t exist.”

“They don’t know that. Well, I’ll have to get kitted out. Does the FBI have a clerical collar in Evidence?”

“I can’t believe this,” Peter muttered. “By the way: no biretta for you.”

“What?” Neal said, indignant.

“I said no biretta. You’ll blow your cover.”

“See, this is why you should be the priest.”

“Are you admitting you might have trouble preparing for a role?” Peter said archly, hoping Neal's own pride would head him off.

“Half of good theatre is good casting,” Neal countered.

Peter looked to heaven, but he didn’t expect any help, and he didn’t get any.

“Just think of it as a benefit performance. It’s for a children’s charity, after all.”

“Did you not hear me say no?”

“I did, and you used the word ‘hell,’ so I think you might want to tread more carefully—”

“I’m a fed; I don’t need to tread carefully. And to this scheme I am saying: Absolutely, unequivocally, not.”

“Good, it’s all settled then,” Neal said. “I’ll go shopping down in Evidence.” He disappeared before Peter could say anything else.

“Oh God,” Peter said, “please, shoot me now.”