The Word from on High

21 Aug

Here is another 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, a group of positively charged writers who each week use a photo prompt such as the one shown below to spark their creativity and galvanize them into action. The rest of the stories can be read here. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for providing the forum for this weekly venture and to Claire Fuller for providing this week’s photo.

The Word from on High

Deacon Crowley stood before the transept door and read the sign he’d just posted there.

Wanted: Lightning rod installer.

Pastor Lichtenberg had adamantly refused to acknowledge the effectiveness of Mr. Franklin’s new invention, saying, “God’s wrath cannot be tempered by infernal science.” He had also insisted on ringing the church bells during electrical storms to warn the townsfolk, as if they could not hear the thunder for themselves.

Ah, well, things always had a way of sorting themselves out, thought the Deacon, as he posted an additional notice below the first and headed inside for the funeral.

Wanted: Parish Priest.


88 Responses to “The Word from on High”

  1. David Stewart August 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    I like a story with a bit of dark humor. God doesn’t stand for people who flaunt the laws of nature, it seems. Maybe the next priest will have a bit more sense.

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

      Dear David,

      A priest with sense sounds semi-oxymoronish, but I’m not going there. I think I hear thunder. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.



  2. Helena Hann-Basquiat August 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    I wonder, darling, if your choice of name for the Deacon was intentional. It set the tone, for me, anyway. I enjoyed this very much.

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Dear Helena,

      The name Crowley seemed to fit the time and place. I’m glad you like it and the story. Thanks for visiting and commenting.



  3. Sandra August 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    I think the previous incumbent ‘saw the light’ and I loved the very phlegmatic way the Deacon noted that the problem had sorted itself out. Very droll, and I wonder how many humorous takes there are going to be this week. 😉

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

      Dearest Sandra,

      Saw the light? Love it and you. I also like the word droll. I’ll bet the Deacon has seen more than his share of over-enthusiastic priests. Pastor Lichtenberg was one more for his files.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I love the spiders in the crepes.



  4. misskzebra August 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    I enjoyed this, as I know quite a few people who still think along the same lines as Pastor Lichtenberg.

    (One thing, should “parrish” be “parish”?)

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

      Dear Misskzebra,

      Sharp eyes, warm heart. Thank you. Fixing it as we speak.



  5. tedstrutz August 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Maybe they will get an Itallian priest next… you know how stubborn those Germans can be.

    Nice to read some writings from ‘on high’. I’ve got to go see what I’ve missed.

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

      Dear Ted,

      You’ve been a very busy Grandfather and photographer. I’m positive the altitudinous among us understand completely. Looking forward to your contribution to the melee this week.



  6. elmowrites August 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    I liked your Deacon – he seems to have a nice pragmatic approach – and the dark humour in this story, Doug. If I could concrit, I’d say that the “ah well” paragraph feels a bit heavy in comparison with your usual slick style. I’m wondering if it’s because “ah well” is a direct quote but “had a way” is reported. Possibly.

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      Dear Jennifer,

      I did try to have the Deacon’s voice be old school and a tad staid, hence the different sound. Not possibly, but actually re your last question.

      Thanks for liking the Deacon and the story of the enlightened priest.



      • elmowrites August 21, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

        I say possibly, because sometimes it’s easy to identify the least-good bit, but not the reasoning behind the hiccough. This was one of those cases.
        And in defence of your priest, I have been known to sleep through thunder storms (and, indeed, Hawai’ian tsunami alarms) but then be woken by hubby closing the window, so who knows where church bells would fit on that list! 😉

  7. howanxious August 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Whoop! That is sweet. I liked it. 🙂

  8. kz August 21, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    “things always had a way of sorting themselves out” lol i enjoyed the dark humor in this one 🙂 even shook my head as i read the part about “ringing the church bells during electrical storms to warn the townsfolk” ^^ great story

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

      Dear Kz,

      The habit of ringing church bells during electrical storms was widespread for the longest time. Perhaps the higher ups understood more than they let on and were looking for the leavening effect of new blood in the ranks. hard telling, not knowing.

      Thank you for visiting and commenting.



  9. JKBradley August 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    I have a certain affinity for the name Mr. Crowley ever since my musical youth collided with Ozzie.

    Funny story. I enjoyed.

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

      Dear JK,

      The name Crowley seems to be resonating with readers. i’m going to have to research to see why. Is there a song by Ozzie with Mr. Crowley as a foil? Don’t make me Google it.

      Thank you for dropping by.



      • JKBradley August 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm #


        Indeed, Ozzie Osbourne has a song entitled Mr. Crowley.

        The video link from youtube

        The lyrics
        Mr. Crowley, what went on in your head?
        Oh, Mr. Crowley, did you talk to the dead?
        Your life style to me seemed so tragic
        With the thrill of it all
        You fooled all the people with magic
        Yeah, you waited on Satan’s door

        Mr. Charming, did you think you were pure?
        Mr. Alarming, in nocturnal rapport
        Uncovering things that were sacred
        Manifest on this Earth
        Conceived in the eye of a secret
        And they scattered the afterbirth

        Mr. Crowley, won’t you ride my white horse?
        Mr. Crowley, it’s symbolic, of course
        Approaching a time that is classic
        I hear that maiden’s call
        Approaching a time that is drastic
        Standing with their backs to the wall

        Was it polemically sent
        l want to know what you meant
        I want to know, I want to know what you meant, yeah

        This was the height of music back in the day, for those of us who played in garages and basements.

    • mtdecker August 22, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      See, I read Crowley and I think “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

  10. rgayer55 August 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    Evidently, Pastor Lichtenberg is now well acquainted with God’s wrath. And I thought I was the only one too deaf to hear thunder. Nice comic touch to this one, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      Dear Russell,

      A ‘nice comedic touch’ comment from you is high praise indeed. It was all I could do not to include a clip of the Bishop getting electrocuted from the movie Caddyshack at the bottom of this piece.

      Thanks for visiting.



  11. Linda Vernon August 21, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    Hah! What a beautiful comedic gem this story is! Bravo!

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      Dear Linda,

      And yours is a beautiful compliment. Mahalo.



  12. paulmclem August 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    This gave me a chuckle. Interestingly we both went for a lightening strike theme to our pieces.

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      Dear Paul,

      We have Omnipotency issues? Good for us!

      Thanks for visiting.



  13. neenslewy August 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    I had a feeling something was going to happen to him! I like the focus of science and religion – never been good bedfellows.
    Just one point – hope you don’t mind, advertising a parish priest to replace a pastor…
    Pastor tends to belong to Baptist Churches, whereas priests tend to be Catholic.

    • neenslewy August 21, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      I have since researched and found out a pastor is the proper title for a Parish Priest – accept my apologies – it is not the case in our local village!

      • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

        Dear Neens,

        Remember this; You don’t ever have to apologize for trying to help me elevate a story to a higher plane. I love the back and forth of a good conversation and I appreciate that you would dig deep like that to assist me in getting the details right.

        I am not conversant in the intricacies of labels for religious leaders, advisors/figures. They’re all shamans to me, some well meaning, others venal and greedy. Cross section of the human race, I suppose.

        Good thing lightning doesn’t care.

        Thank you for visiting and commenting.



      • neenslewy August 21, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

        Watch out for that thunderbolt 😉

        I had a job connected to religious education – which has helped me with facts. The leaders are human, like you and I and I agree that there is a mix of good and not so even in these spiritual positions.

  14. Adam Ickes August 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Some people just have no sense. Sounds like the pastor was one of those individuals. Poor guy was doomed from the start. It was just a matter of time before his lack of common sense came to collect the toll.

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

      Dear Adam,

      Collect the toll! Love it. From my research I came to learn that a lot of churches, pastors and bell ringers paid this toll over the years. Mr. Franklin gave the gift that keeps on giving.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.



  15. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) August 21, 2013 at 7:51 pm #


    This is really made me chuckle, only thing worse than being in a bell tower during a lightning storm is probably flying a kite, apparently the same happened a lot with scientests keen on repeating the experiments by dear Mr Franklin.

    Tack så mycket


    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

      Dear Bjorn,

      In Copenhagen there’s a church steeple made from the intertwined tails of three serpents. Are you familiar with it? (Not exactly your neighborhood, but close.) Can you imagine what would happen to it again and again had not Mr. Franklin conducted his experiments?

      Mahalo nui loa for letting me know you got a laugh out of the story.



  16. Joe Owens August 21, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    I never contemplated the foreshadowing. I found this to be quite humorous!

    • dmmacilroy August 21, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

      Dear Joe,

      Thanks for getting a kick out of this. Keeps my batteries topped off.



  17. Perry Block (@PerryBlock) August 21, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    Pastor Lichtenberg is now Past-tense Lichtenberg. Well done, Doug!

    • Douglas Macilroy August 22, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      Dear Perry,

      Thanks for dropping by and enLichtenberging me. I appreciate it.



  18. rckjones August 21, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    With any luck, the next priest will also know how to install his own lightning rods! 😀

    • Douglas Macilroy August 22, 2013 at 11:03 am #

      Dear RCKJ,

      That would be an enlightened priest instead of an electrified priest. Thank you for reading and commenting.



  19. bridgesareforburning August 21, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    Hi Doug,
    God works in mysterious ways, sometimes. And sometimes he makes a big obvious statement. Story fits perfectly with the photo. I wonder if God knows what a sinner Franklin is? Oh, that’s right, he knows everything. Ron

    • Douglas Macilroy August 22, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      Dear Ron,

      You remind me of me. (And, of course, that’s a good thing.) Thank you for visiting and commenting.



  20. Jan Brown August 22, 2013 at 3:15 am #

    Great story. I like the way the “Wanted” signs mark the beginning and the end. Gives the story a sharp rhythm — and even sharper humor.

    • Douglas Macilroy August 22, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Dear Jan,

      Your comment made me want to place the first wanted sign at the very first. it would work fine and is a great idea. Wish I’d thought of it. Thanks for visiting and giving me that idea.



  21. pattisj August 22, 2013 at 4:03 am #

    Had to laugh at the final “Wanted” poster. That brings new meaning to a search for a pastor. Engaging story!

    • Douglas Macilroy August 22, 2013 at 9:08 am #

      Dear Patti,

      Your blog refused to let me publish my eloquent comment re your stellar story. Thanks for liking mine. I feel the same way about yours.



  22. Shainbird August 22, 2013 at 5:09 am #

    The history in this is great, and the end gave me a good laugh! Well told!

  23. summerstommy2 August 22, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    Hi Doug, An excellent piece, I enjoyed it very much. In Neil Gaimen Terry Pratchett’s “Good Omens” there is a character called Crowley whom the texts describes as – An Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards. – One of my favourite novels.

    • Douglas Macilroy August 22, 2013 at 11:09 am #

      Dear Summerstommy,

      Thanks for the info re Crowley. That name has turned out to be an interesting one. I’ll be sure to check out the novel.



      • mtdecker August 22, 2013 at 11:29 am #

        Doug… I’ll give you the advice I was given: do not read it in public. (You’ll be laughing too hard and people will look at you funny)

    • mtdecker August 22, 2013 at 11:24 am #

      *laughs* I should have read through all the comments first! Indeed a good book!

  24. mtdecker August 22, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    I find it interesting that someone who believes in the unseen… doesn’t believe in science… when usually it’s the other way around. Well done.

  25. freyathewriter August 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Haha! dar humour – lovely 🙂

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 25, 2013 at 9:47 am #

      Dear Freya,

      Dark world. (Until the lightning strikes. Thanks for visiting.



  26. Wanderer August 22, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    The combination of dark and comedy was expertly done. I liked this piece very much.

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 25, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      Dear Wanderer,

      Thanks for saying so. i appreciate you feedback and kind words.



  27. Mike August 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    I enjoyed the sark humour in this Doug. Well written.

    • Mike August 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

      Sorry Doug, I meant ‘dark humour’ – goodness knows what ‘sark humour’ is!

      • dmmacilroy August 22, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

        Dear Mike,

        It’s ‘shark’ humor minus the ‘h’. You want me to fix it and make you look sarp?



  28. Carrie August 22, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Mwah ha haaa. I was thinking that priest was an idiot when I saw the mention of the bells 🙂

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 25, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      Dear Carrie,

      they’re all cut from the same cloth, eh? thanks for reading and commenting.



  29. draliman August 23, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    I loved the dark humour!
    I was just thinking “surely it’s dangerous to be ringing church bells during a thunder storm” and then I read to the end. Brilliant!

  30. Lindaura Glamoura August 23, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Well, I really needed a laugh and your story provided it. Thanks. Truly well crafted with a punchline to boot.

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 25, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      Dear Lindaura,

      Happy to be of service. Thaks for visiting and commenting.



  31. jwdwrites August 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    Very funny Doug, I really enjoyed this piece and the comments that followed. You always ‘conduct’ yourself so well. 🙂

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 25, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      Dear JWD,

      Conduct! Love it. Thaks for visiting and commenting.



  32. unspywriter August 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Irony and karma in the same story! Great job as always. A great morning chuckle.

    Here’s mine:

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 25, 2013 at 9:57 am #

      Dear Maggie,

      The Pastor invented the electric irony. Oh, God, that’s bad. i’d better get myself a lightning rod. Thanks for visiting.



  33. patrickprinsloo August 23, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    I laughed! You win. Geat story.

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 25, 2013 at 9:59 am #

      Dear Patrick,

      Thanks for enjoying it and saying so.



  34. erinleary August 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    Some people just don’t learn. You don’t want to mess with Mother Nature.

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 25, 2013 at 10:00 am #

      Dear Erin,

      She’ll light you up if you do. Thanks for dropping by.



  35. Honie Briggs August 23, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    That’ll teach ’em! Most excellent, infernal science, I love that.

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 25, 2013 at 10:01 am #

      Dear Honie,

      Thank you for gracing my place with a comment so nicely phrased.



  36. DCTdesigns August 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm #


    I truly enjoyed this one as well. I love a dark sense of humor. The little unexpected twist. Fabulous!


  37. JackieP August 23, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    It had me laughing and ducking. 🙂

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 25, 2013 at 10:02 am #

      Dear Jackie,

      Thanks for laughing and saying you did.



  38. The Bumble Files August 24, 2013 at 5:41 am #

    Oh, the mysteries of the church. Your tales are always a treasure, Doug. This one is divine! – Amy

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 25, 2013 at 10:04 am #

      Dear Amy,

      What a sweet thing to say. Thank you.



  39. lingeringvisions by Dawn August 24, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    A tad embarrassingly I laughed out loud over this. Thankfully your addition of “as if they could not hear the thunder for themselves” let me know not to feel too guilty.

    • Douglas MacIlroy August 25, 2013 at 10:08 am #

      Dear Dawn,

      Thank you for laughing. This piece didn’t start out to be a ‘humor’ piece. I got lucky with the responses.



  40. Sarah Ann August 25, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    I really enjoyed this. I think divine intervention may have played a part. Surely God doesn’t want to be represented on earth by those who ignore his gift of science.

  41. Nada Sobhi August 26, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    Loved this ironic and humourous tale.
    Many thumbs up.

  42. calipatti August 28, 2013 at 5:02 am #

    Good story, thank you.

  43. sandraconner September 4, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    Well, I have to say first of all that I’m so glad I know this God very personally, and I know that storms are NOT the result of His wrath. But that being said, I must now add that this is a SUPERB piece of work, Doug. That’s no surprise, considering your track record. Sorry I’m so late in commenting, but I’ve been too swamped to read much lately. I don’t really have time to write for FF currently, and almost no time to read others’ submissions, but I do make it a point not to miss yours if at all possible — even if I’m late.

    • dmmacilroy September 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

      Dear Sandra,

      You have always been a polite commenter and have given much of yourself in this realm, a boon that I want you to know I’ve always appreciated. When I notice that writers of your caliber are missing from the FF fold I smile because I know they are up to good things. I hope your writing endeavors are all on the boil and keeping you charged up and excited. I look for you, too, but will be equally pleased to read your longer works when they are ready.



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