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The Chapel - part 1
by Theodore K. Nasos
2015-10-20 12:13:03
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It’s very rare for Sir John to visit my apartment. Compared to his house, my small place - one bedroom and a packed with books and mismatched furniture sitting room-study - must feel like a rabbit whole. Not that I have ever seen a rabbit whole from inside, but I suppose it will feel the same claustrophobic as my house looks to a gentleman used to wide and high ceiling rooms.

“You look ready to go, lad,” he said without making a move to take off his dark green coat or leave his umbrella on the stand next to the door. I was not, but obviously Sir John had plans for me and I as usually I was not ready to oppose them. “Well, let’s not delay it. Put your coat on, we have a bit of walk to do.” And saying that he opened the door again and off he went outside again. Of course I had to rush and of course I was still trying to put on my coat when I stepped outside the street breathless trying to catch on with him.

“There is something magic and the same time spooky about this city this time of the year.” And he was talking about autumn, of course. I have never thought of autumn as spooky. For me it is the season of melancholy and the same time the season of expectation. Christmas is not far and winter has something cathartic. It is the season that cleans all the dirt, turns it into white snow, ready for the new beginning that comes with the spring.

He turn in the first corner fast without warning making me miss a couple of steps and making me speed up to get near him. “The Chapel is not far,” I heard him saying. The only Chapel I knew was the Methodist church near my house and I have to admit that my connection to other flocks apart from my protestant, was a nonexistent universe. I had little knowledge on what Methodists believe or not believe and what separates them from my church. The only thing I knew about them was that they are Christians and that their services have nice music. That’s all.

Sir John on the other side, seemed to know much more than me since he said “Soup kitchen starts any minute, we have to hurry. I need to make sure that everybody is there.” Soup kitchen, everybody? Who’s everybody? Didn’t have time to ask because soon enough we were in front the Chapel’s gates. Sir John stormed through the small garden and then the side open door in the left side of the building. I tried to follow in vein and before stepping inside the room Sir John had just entered the smells of thick meat soup overwhelmed me.

A young man was standing behind a series of tables laying forks and spoons here and there. He was dressed in black trousers and a gray long sleeves shirt with a dark gray cardigan on top. He was tall man well over six feet, with blond hair and some gray appearing in his sideburns. I think that out of everything that was there, what impressed me more and doesn’t matter how many years will go by I will always remember, were his thick sideburns.

“Can I help you, gentlemen?” his voice was kind without any tense. Sir John ignored him looking around the room and checking the door behind the man. “Are you looking for something? Somebody?” The tall man with the thick sideburns asked again. “If you don’t tell me, I won’t be able to help you.”

chapel01_400“My young friend here is looking for somebody he heard that comes here sometimes for a meal.” I looked at Sir John shocked. “Do you have a name for this gentleman you are looking for?” The man had left the rest of the forks and spoons on the table and folding his arms in front of him he had turned our way, actually looking straight at me. “Err!” I tried to say something, “Franklin, but he is better-known as Frank.” Sir John said.

“Is he homeless?” The man asked after a bit of thinking. “Yes, indeed he is,” Sir John answered checking for one more time the door behind the man with the thick sideburns.

“This is a place of serving the people, my dear gentleman. We don’t usually ask names, we just help. And homeless people need all the help we can give.” He said quietly to Sir John this time. It was obvious even to him now that my presence in the room was just to serve Sir John’s needs and there was no reason to continue this masquerade by answering to me.

“He is big,” Sir John said showing for the first time lack of confidence. “Well, some people are big, some are small. They are all children of the same God.” The man said. The same time a huge – literally huge, a giant - man came out of the door behind the man with the thick sideburns, carrying a huge metal boiler, obviously by the smell invading the room, with the soup.

The man was definitely seven feet tall with long ginger hair that hadn’t seen a comb for long time. A wild, equally ginger beard, was covering most of his face leaving just a little room for two shining green eyes. He placed the boiler on the middle table in front of the door with a splash that left marks on his shirt, the table and the floor around him.

“Problem minister?” He asked looking at Sir John and me. “No, no problems at all Rob. Please bring the bread if you can and when I finish with these gentlemen I will come and help you with the rest.” He said to the giant nodding with his head to him to go to the other room.

For a brief second I felt that Rob was ready to attack us and having seen him carrying the boiler with such ease I suddenly felt cold sweat in my back. But he turned his back to us and disappeared through the door that obviously led to some kind of kitchen.

“And what’s your name, Sir?” The man with the thick sideburns asked. “Oh, his name is of no interest,” Sir John said and hurriedly pushed me out of the room and then out in the street.

“You owe me an explanation.” I said when we stopped outside the gates of the Chapel. “Yes I do owe you something,” Sir John said searching the street. “I do, but this is not the right time. We have to find Frank, he is in a great danger.”


Part 1 - Part 2 -


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