Thursday, April 16, 2015

Read the 1st Chapter of Best-Selling Western Author James J. Griffin's "Which is Which?" RIGHT NOW!

Faith and the Law, Volume 6
Which is Which?
James J. Griffin

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was six months ago,” the penitent said, from his side of the dark confessional booth inside St. Augustine’s Church.
“I understand,” Tad answered, from his side of the screen separating the two men. “All are sinners, each in their own way, myself included. And just exactly how have you sinned, my son?”
“These are my sins, Father. I’ve been angry, very angry, at a dear friend of mine. I have also been deceitful. I’ve lied to friends, acquaintances, and business partners. I’ve snuck around, looking for files, in order to obtain information I was searching for. In fact, I even stole, to get my hands on what I was searching for.”
“I see,” Tad said again. “And was there a particular reason you did all of this?”
“There was, Father.”
“And did you obtain the information you were searching for, information which might prove quite valuable?”
“I did indeed,” the penitent whispered.
“And where might this information be?” Tad asked.
“I have it right here, Father. I thought perhaps you could return these papers to their rightful owners.”
“Perhaps I could do that,” Tad answered. “However, I would need to examine them first.”
“Of course, Father.”
The penitent slid a folder through the small opening at the bottom of the screen. Tad took the folder, and placed it in his lap.
“Thank you, my son.”
“You’re welcome, Father. Will I be forgiven?”
“Of course you will be, Horatio,” Tad answered. He broke into a smile. “In fact, I have to ask your forgiveness, for having you arrested, along with Senator Wentworth and his cronies. I hope you understand I had to do that, to protect not only you, but also your family. I couldn’t have Wentworth, or any of the other members of his organization, become suspicious of you.”
“I’d already figured that out on my way to the jail,” Horatio Swenson answered. “There’s no need to ask for my forgiveness.”
“Thanks, Horatio,” Tad said. “And your sins in obtaining these papers were forgiven before you even brought them to me. In fact, considering what good this information will hopefully do, your actions would probably be justifiable in the eyes of the Lord, and not sins at all. If they contain the information which will convict Wentworth and his fellow conspirators, then the good you have done will far outweigh your minor transgressions in obtaining these files.”
“I’m glad, and relieved, to hear that,” Swenson said. “Can you tell me how Thomas Rafferty is doing?”
“As far as anyone knows, besides his physician and myself, Rafferty’s in a coma, dying, with no chance of survival,” Tad answered. “However, his wound, while bloody, was not that serious. The bullet mostly took off a chunk of Rafferty’s scalp, which is the reason he bled so profusely. And of course it knocked him unconscious for a while. He’s being kept in a safe place, until the time comes for him to testify.”
“You thought he was in a safe place once before, Tad,” Swenson pointed out.
“That’s true,” Tad conceded. “However, this time, he really is. Now, Horatio, your penance will be six Our Fathers, six Hail Marys, six Glory Bes, and buying me dinner and a drink at the Golden Palace. We’ll meet there tonight, at seven. Now, make your Act of Contrition, while I give you absolution.”
“All right, Tad, I mean, Father.”
Swenson recited the prayer, while Tad absolved him of his sins.
“May almighty God bless you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
“Thank you, Father,” Swenson said. He exited the confessional, and the next penitent entered.
Tad barely heard any of the sins the rest of the penitents confessed. He wanted nothing but to get back to his room in the St. Augustine rectory, to start examining the papers Swenson had brought. However, it was a busy day for the Sacrament of Penance. The lines at all three confessionals were long. It was well over an hour and a half before the last person made their confession, and Tad, along with his fellow priests, could return to the rectory. Tad excused himself from supper by explaining he was meeting a friend for dinner. He went upstairs to his room, shut the door, lit the bedside lamp, took off his shoes and stretched out on his bed. He opened the file, took out the first sheet of paper, and began to read.
“Let’s see what we have here. Hmmm. It seems to start with Judge Morris Harvey. Why am I not surprised? Is it because he released each of those men brought before his bench on low bail? Or perhaps it’s because he seemed very friendly with each and every one of them. Or, could it possibly be that the good jurist seemed extremely prejudiced against Prosecutor Talbott, and the evidence he presented during the hearings? Harvey overruled every last one of Talbott’s objections. No, it was probably all of those reasons.” Tad shook his head, and smiled ruefully. “You know, Tadeusz Jankowski, it’s not right for a priest to become so cynical. You’re supposed to look for the good in all men and women, not the evil. That’s supposed to be Chaz’s department.” He shook his head again. “Speaking of my prodigal brother Chaz, I wonder how he’s doing. I haven’t heard from him, or his doctor, for a few days now. Well, I’ll just have to keep praying for him, and hope for the best. If I don’t hear from either of them by Wednesday, I’ll send a telegram down to Kerrville, to Doctor Lundgren. Besides, if there was any bad news concerning my brother, I’m certain I would have heard.”
Tad went back to his reading. The more deeply he got into the documents Horatio Swenson had procured for him, the more tangled he realized the web of deception his Texas Ranger brother Chaz was trying to unravel, a web of deception and crimes which threatened the very existence of the Lone Star State, was. There were false corporations, ownership of which was spread throughout other companies and individuals. Many of those companies, Tad became convinced as he pored over the files, were sham corporations, which only existed on paper. There were connections to captains of industry, owners of mines and ships, executives of railroads. And, most importantly, politicians, politicians who held some of the highest state offices. Men who could profit handsomely if this criminal scheme succeeded, and who were in position to make certain it did. They would be sure to use their power to quash any possible action brought against the crooked enterprise. The evidence was all right there, in Tad’s hands. Coupled with Thomas Rafferty’s promised testimony, it was enough to bring the entire organization crashing down around its organizers’ ears… if Tad could figure out who would take the evidence and actually use it, instead of, like so many others had done, including Judge Morris Harvey, either take a bribe to ignore the evidence, or collapse under the threat of violent death, to any judge or prosecutor who would dare take on the case, or their families.
“Lord,” Tad prayed. “I’m sure going to need Your guidance on what to do here. Either that, or a miracle. And we’ve got to work fast, Lord, You and I. The bishop’s not going to let me remain on leave much longer. I’ve been neglecting my work, and my parish, for too long now. Well, I reckon I’d best keep on reading. Perhaps there’s something more in these papers which will give me the answer I need. All I have to figure out is which strand to pull to unravel this web. And if there is something in here which will lead me to that thread, Lord, I sure hope You help me find it.”

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