Times Change For Sister Joan – Episode 55

DO as they say, Sister – please,” Ben whispered.

Joan felt a cold sweat break out on the back of her neck.

“Yes, and don’t think that any of you can creep away and contact the police. We’ve cut the phone wires. Now then – do you have a mobile phone?” The man who had opened the door addressed Joan.

Can I be quick enough to press 999 before I hand it over, Joan thought. Her hand was shaking as she reached for the phone.

She wasn’t quick enough. In a trice the man snatched it from her crushed it underfoot. Gone was the chance to text Father George.

“Now, then, Sisters.” The other man turned to Clare and Jan. “You were going to put the kettle on, I believe?”

“I will not make tea for a pair of villains!” Clare exclaimed angrily.

“I shall not also!” Jan declared.

Joan raised her chin.

“Sisters, remember who we are. We are the Stella Maris nuns – we vowed to offer hospitality to all those who come under our roof.”

“That’s it, Sister.” The first man laughed. “You tell ’em what’s what. We could do with a good meal. We’re here till midnight. The boat from France will be here to fetch Benedict on the high tide so we’ve got lots of time to get friendly.”

“The yacht?” Joan asked. “The Stella Maris yacht?”

“Don’t know the name of it but she’s the fastest craft on the water. We’ll be across the Channel in no time at all. And that’s the last you’ll see of Benedict Pearson, informer.”

To Joan’s surprise, Jan spoke up.

“You say you are hungry?I am the expert of pasta bolognese. Shall I cook for you? Sisters Clare and Joan will help me, I am sure.”

“We will not!” Sister Clare exclaimed. “I’m not cooking for this pair of villains.”

“Sister Clare.” Joan spoke quietly. “Remember your vows. We shall go to the kitchen.”

“Frankie! Go with them. We don’t want any monkey business.”

In the kitchen Jan rubbed her hands together.

“I shall only use the best ingredients for our guests, as my vows decree. Fresh tomatoes from the garden, lean steak mince and basil.”

“What’s basil?” Frankie asked, shifting the chair until he could rest his elbows on the table.

“It is a most wonderful herb. I shall use many tasty ingredients for this dish. It will be the most singular meal of your life. Trust me – I am expert.”

Joan and Clare chopped and sliced while Jan put the meal together, measuring out enough pasta for two and putting it aside until she was ready to boil the water.

“Are you some sort of chef?” Frankie was curious.

“Yes.” Jan replied. “In the past I had my own restaurant. Also I have written a best-selling cookery book.”

“Then we’re in good safe hands.” Frankie laughed. “As long as you remember that your own safety depends on it.”

“Oh, yes, indeed,” Jan replied innocently.

Clare, who was washing utensils helped by Joan, leaned towards her superior and spoke quietly.

“She’s put the whole bottle of Sister Flora’s constipation medicine in the sauce!”

“Now,” Jan said, putting down her wooden spoon, “we shall make a pot of tea, for this must simmer for a while to bring out the flavours. Is that not correct, Sister Clare?”

“Oh, undoubtedly,” Clare replied.

“We shall have our tea in the sitting-room while we wait,” Joan said.

Alison Cook