I glanced at the man with renewed interest, curious about his reasons for joining the church under somewhat false pretenses. He'd also signaled the barmaid for a lager, not what you'd expect a padre to be having for breakfast. There was more to this than meets the eye, and I joined him in downing a drink, figuring I could best catch him unawares in his own territory.
"If holiness were a prerequisite for churchmen," I replied, "the church would be in a helluva better state. By the way, I'm Thomas. And being as I'm a gardener, I'll have a look in my van for those gloves you're wanting."
"Ah, you're a sport," he replied. "For the record, I'm Father Riley".
"For the record?" I responded. "Would that be the character role or the fact?"
"You don't need to see identification for loaning a pair of gloves," Riley replied. He grasped my hand in a mixture of good will and urgency, propelling me towards the door in the direction of my van. "I can't afford to be late for the service. I imagine it'd be best if you came along so as to be able to retrieve your gloves. Last thing I need is to be called a thief"
I shrugged, tossing change for the drinks on the counter, wondering what I had gotten myself into. He'd certainlyy downed the drink expertly, not the sort of behavior you'd expect to find in the local parsonage. As I followed him outside, I wondered what would be preached at the harvest service, and whether Riley could pull it off with the all too obvious smell of lager on his breath..