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Forgive me, Father. This is my first confession with you. It will not be my last.

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“Vice is the spice of life, reverend,” said Sutherland, smiling around his cigar like a Cheshire cat. The black-clad minister sighed and slid a weathered pamphlet across the table, and Sutherland toyed with it for a few moments.

“Sometimes bland is better. I’m trying to save you, young man,” the minister explained wearily. His wrinkled hands shook from the effort of bringing a glass of water to his parched lips; Sutherland’s alcohol stayed in its crystal decanter, waiting to slip into the master’s good graces when the cigar lost his favor.

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