Father Chapman set two cups of tea down on the round table by the window of his study. The cups were the best china, and pinged gently as they touched the polished wood. He wheezed slightly as he sank into the armchair; the armchair opposite was already occupied by a slight, dark-haired man who was gazing steadily through the window. Father Chapman followed his gaze: it was directed at the fountain in the square outside the church.
"Grazie for the tea," said Monsignor Beltrami, lifting his cup and turning slightly in his seat to face Father Chapman.
"It's no trouble," said Father Chapman, wishing he didn't sound slightly out of breath. Between his ever increasing weight and his bad back he found a lot of daily tasks getting harder and harder to do. "Now, how can I help you? You've come all the way from the Vatican?"
"Just Rome," said the Monsignor, sipping his tea carefully. "And it is perhaps more that I can help you, I think."
"Is this about Selina then?"
"Is that her name? Ah, then yes, it is going to have been, certo."
Father Chapman looked puzzled, twisting his cup this way and that in it's saucer. "Pardon?"
"Ah, it is... difficult to explain properly," said the Monsignor, frowning. "There were... there are... hmm, well, there are going to have been--"
"I'm sorry, I really don't follow where you're going. There are or there were?"
"There are going to have been. It's complex. Perhaps I should just explain as best I can, and you can ask questions at the end."
"Just like the confessional."
Father Chapman waved his free hand, "Just tell me and I'll try not to interrupt."
"Well, there are going to have been a... a sect, for want of a better word, a small clandestine group who will have built themselves a temple, a place of worship, and they will specialise in keeping flowers in full bloom. All this is good, and will have been good, and there will have been going to have been no problems until one of their number leaves, taking with him the knowledge of this odd little practise of theirs. And then he will be going to have created an incident that will need to be having been attended to. We are not sure if Selina is the start or the second coming."
"I didn't understand any of that," said Father Chapman. "Usually I don't have to deal with anything more complicated than a little adultery and some embezzlement. What time period were you talking about there?"
"Things that will have been going to have been," said the Monsignor, making a little moue. "That's all rather part of the problem. I'm here because I will soon have already have dealt with them, and so I can use that knowledge to assess Selina. I hope."
"Do you have this knowledge yet then?" said Father Chapman. "Because, frankly, you're making no sense. If I'd offered you a whiskey I'd be thinking you were drunk."
"I know, I understand," said the Monsignor sadly. "But I need to have had tried to tell you about this, we know that you're somehow important to what will be going to have happened here. Eventually."
"What kind of help do you need from me? In English, if I might presume."
"You've already provided it, George, and I thank you for that."
The Monsignor placed his empty cup in its saucer and stood up. "I shall go and see Selina now, and let us hope that this is just the second coming."