Sixty-five Million Years
A Storyby Richard Bausch
FATHER HENNESSEY, sitting in the half dark of the confessional, found himself lured into a kind of salacious appetite for some of the things he was privy to; there were sins his parishioners confessed that seemed nearly attractive to him, not as temptations, but as something close to entertainment, amusement. In the beginning this was only a minor irritation, something he put aside in his usual manner, as one dismisses an importunate thought. But recently, with one penitent, the problem had grown markedly worse: this was a man named Graham, the most popular teacher in the local high school, who taught math along with science. Everybody loved Mr. Graham. He had a reputation for being kindly, softhearted, resourceful, passionate about his work, a dedicated and devoted educator.
In the dark of the confessional, he confessed, in a shaking murmur, to having indulged in impure thoughts about one of his young female students. He had, in fact, owned up to being in the grip of an obsession about her.