A Parish in the Abbey.
Monsignor Contreras, the head clergyman in Sant Antonio’s Abbey, near the French Alps, was a stiff and proud man who just wouldn’t take no for an answer. Everything under his command had to work strictly by the book as far as it concerned other people than himself.
Contreras had this creepy figure that would remind you of a Rowling-style elf, if not for being tall and “humanish”. The year was 1999 and everyone in the abbey followed his orders and was too afraid to expose his tirany, including Peter and his dear uncle, Bob, who was also Contrara’s half brother. The abbot had strong connections inside the Church and words without proof wouldn’t simply do the trick.
Dug deep in the dungeons of the abbey, secret files kept numbers of his dealings. With the help of Willard Crook, the church’s bookkeeper, the powerful monsignor, for several years, had been depleting the Church’s volts and accounts under his control in order to build a huge personal wealth outside the country in a foreign tax haven.
The only ones that has some idea of what really went on there, were Peter and Uncle Bob.
Peter Stone had arrived at the Abbey as a baby 11 years before. Bob MacCallum , his loving uncle, and a US ex-marine had protected him from dying in the Republic of the Congo Civil War. Different from his parents, scientists who were caught in the middle of a conflict to which they did not belong, Peter was lucky enough to have Bob at right moment by his side. Unfortuntely, Bob had not been able to save his sister and brother in law. For that failure he blamed himself ever since.
Duval’summons Peter to accompany him to the market. The Abbey was a perfect setting for the high priest’s control over a defenseless boy and his powerless and drunk uncle Bob. The monsignor could ask any altar boy, but he seemed to enjoy using the boy as a servant.
That’s how it had been ever since Peter became old enough for simple tasks. The priest seemed to enjoy a nasty feeling of pleasure in using the boy as a servant.
The monsignor and uncle Bob had a mutual English mother. Bob, on his other side, had a half-sister, Mary, Pete’s. Like usual, Bob was too drunk to come along. Duval knew him exactly how to control him. Booze always kept the ex-military out of Duval’s plans, drinking his guilt away, in the dark corners of the Abbey.
Uncle Duval was a vain man. He loved to show off his power and prestige in public. The market, full poor war survivors was the perfect place for that
Peter was hated his nasty habit of trying, and most of the time succeeding, to take advantage of some ignorant merchants. “I tell you, Mr. Haas, 10% of 150 is 17.5.! You need to return 35 as change!”
“Actually, 10% is 15, father Duval. The change should be 30. Mr. Hass is correct.” intervened, Peter.
“That’s what I’m trying to say, thank you, Pete” – the merchant agreed.
Red-faced, Duval didn’t say a word and harshly pulled Peter away to a shady corner.
He had this stiff affected way of behaving when irritated.
“Are you out of your mind, boy? Arguing? With moi? What did I tell you about discrediting me in front of other people?”
“But, uncle, I just learned that in Mrs. Merkel’s class!”
“You presumptuous little piece of worn crap! What did I tell about attending higher grade classes? You think you are better than the rest of us, don’t you? The son of the famous genius scientists, !”
I’ll teach you a lesson!”
That night Duval punished the boy. Peter was sent to sleep in one of the Abbey’s dungeons.