Times Change For Sister Joan – Episode 56

CLARE poured tea and Joan and Jan passed round the mugs.

“There, now,” Tony, the first man, said. “This is nice and civilised. We don’t have to be nasty to one another. We’re just doing our job.”

“Intelligent young men like you should apply yourselves to a more honest line of business,” Clare said.

The front doorbell rang.

“Who’s that?” Tony moved to the window.

Joan glanced at her watch.

“That will be our postman. He calls in every afternoon on his way home to see if we’ve got any mail to go.”

“Get rid of him.” Tony took hold of Joan’s arm and moved her roughly to the door. “Tell him there’s nothing and don’t stand gossiping.”

“But I do have something.” Joan’s heart was hammering. “A message for Father George.”

“Leave it for another day – just get rid of the postie.”

“But if Father George doesn’t get the message he’ll try to phone, and if he can’t get through on either phone he’ll come here.”

“What’s this message that’s so important?” Tony was suspicious.

“It’s something we’ve been embroidering for him – he needs it for Sunday.”

The bell rang again and Joan opened the door. Tony stood behind it, a menacing glower on his face.

“Hello, Reverend Mother, I hope I haven’t disturbed you,” the postman said. “Anything to go?”

“Are you going anywhere near Father George on the way home?” she asked.

“Yes, right past his house. Have you got something for him?”

Joan managed a smile.

“Oh, yes. If you would be so kind, can you tell him that his vestment is ready?”

“I certainly will, Sister. See you tomorrow!”

He went down the steps and climbed into his red van, giving Joan a cheery wave as he went.

“Well done, Reverend Mother. Didn’t know you were the boss – you all look alike to me.” Tony grinned as he ushered Joan back to the sitting-room.

Joan felt more confident knowing that Father George would get the message.

“You – you aren’t carrying guns, are you?” she asked anxiously, fearful for the surprise arrival of Father George.

“What, for a bunch of nuns? Not necessary. We can handle you lot, especially if we threaten to break Benedict’s fingers if any of you step out of line.”

“May God forgive you,” Joan said.

“I doubt it,” Tony replied. “Makes no difference to us. Now take those two with you and get that grub.” He pushed Joan toward Clare and Jan.

“It’s a sin to push nuns around!” Imelda said.

“See if I care.” Tony laughed.

“Will you be eating in the kitchen?” Clare asked.

“No, we’ll eat in here. If there’s enough you can join us,” Tony said. “Cosy-like.” “I fear Jan has only made enough for two,” Joan said smoothly.

Frankie went with them to the kitchen and watched as Jan placed the pasta into the boiling water.

“I’ve never had any of that stuff before,” he said.

“It is a popular dish in my country,” Jan replied.

“I was brought up on burgers and chocolate bars,” he said.

“Then it’s a wonder that you grew up at all,” Clare retorted.

The meal was served on a small table in the sitting-room, and the nuns and Ben watched the two men gobbling their food hungrily.

Tony sighed between mouthfuls.

“Nice flavour, sisters,” he said.

“The cook’s a chef,” Frankie explained.


Alison Cook