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More Blessed To Give
by Bonner Litchfield

The nuns filed into chapel for afternoon prayers. Sister Abigail hurried in the opposite direction. She emptied her pockets at the foot of a giant oak tree, not lingering to watch the Saint Bernard devour his snack.

The clandestine feedings continued into winter. The oak tree turned black from rain. Brown grass carpeted the frozen ground. In front of the convent, the Saint Bernard lay dead.

Mother Superior tasked Abigail with the dog's burial.

Armed with pick and shovel, the spirited sister stationed herself behind the convent. She drove the pick into the hard ground with all her might. It barely made a dent. She planted the shovel in the unforgiving earth and hopped on it with both feet. No use.

Abigail dropped the shovel and hurried indoors. Ten minutes later, she returned, lugging a huge valise. How did she manage to wrestle that large, stiffening corpse into the valise? Divine intervention, perhaps. But get him in, she did.

Her plan was simple: take a bus across town to the city dump, and there, dispose of the valise and its occupant. Providentially, there was a bus stop in front of the convent.

Transporting her cargo proved to be a Herculean task. But the good sister persevered. Like an ant moving a disproportionate object, she pushed and pulled, resting between efforts, until she neared the sidewalk.

"Can I help you with that sister?" someone asked. A strapping youth stood over her. A big lad, well over six feet tall. He wore a black leather jacket and matching pants with interwoven chains. His hair was dyed red.

Habit soiled, spectacles askew, Abigail attempted to stand, but the aching muscles in her lower back refused to cooperate. The youth helped the exhausted nun to her feet and hefted the valise onto his broad shoulder. "Where are you going with that?" he grunted with a smile.

"Only as far as the bus stop," Abigail said. "I'm grateful you came along, or I'd never have made it."

"Glad to help," the youth assured her.

Abigail took a liking to the boy and considered asking him if the ring in his eyelid hurt, but feared the question might offend him. When the bus arrived, he guided her to the open doors, gently, as if she were a priceless antique.

"You pay the driver and get situated, sister," he said. "I'll be right behind you with this heavy bag."

Warmed by the boy's kindness, Abigail got on the bus and fumbled through her handbag for correct change.

"Hey sister, your bag!" the bus driver shouted.

The youth was sprinting away with Abigail's valise on his shoulder.

The bus driver sprang from his seat, ready to give chase.

But the nun blocked his path and said: "If that young man needs whatever is in my valise, he may have it with my blessing."