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Violent Habits
by R. S. Pyne

Michael made a start on his second pint, choosing the words carefully. “You didn’t need to reverse over him four times,” he hissed, worried who might be listening. The common room of the Dog and Duck was hardly the place for such conversation.

“God moves in mysterious ways,” she said with her usual enigmatic smile.

“There were seven witnesses. It wasn’t God or one of his little angels.”

She smiled, giving him a look reserved for atheists and idiots. “He was in my way.”

Michael shook his head to clear the image of a tall woman in a nun’s habit hitched to her knees, a crash helmet and huge motorcycle boots. At twenty-two he had led a sheltered life, but nothing could have prepared him for Sister Evangelica. The way she sang a muffled hymn about tolerance as she accelerated would stay with him until the day he died, his nightmares recalling how she snarled across the tarmac. An Old Testament vengeance updated for the modern age. A Bat out of Hell.

“You’re mad,” he said, reverting back to state the obvious. He had already told her so a dozen times.

“I hear voices. That is a different thing. I consider myself a twenty-first century incarnation of Joan of Arc.”

“French and flammable?”

She waved his sarcasm away like a summer blue-bottle. In her eyes, the departed was a low-life with no more right to breathe the Good Lord’s air than a creeping slime mould.

“Just a harmless old drunk who walked on sticks and fell over a lot.”

A steely glitter in her eyes told him that she just didn’t care. “He stood in the middle of the road screaming at God to send him a sign,” she said with conviction. “All I did was give him one.”

“Tell me again, why did they kick you out? Not just once but from three different convents?”

“Their loss, not mine.” Her voice was like shards of broken light bulb in a chocolate mousse. “A difference of opinion, if you must know. Now that I’ve started my own order things will be different.” The fact she was the sole member of the only religious community to involve motorbikes and the open road did not seem to matter. He bought a packet of crisps from the bar, cheese and onion with an extra scowl thrown in for nothing. The Dog and Duck disliked strangers on general principle but Biker Nuns were a new and disturbing development, especially those who drank pints of Guinness and smoked roll ups.

“Old Eli has gone to a better place,” she said and raised her glass to toast the old street preacher.

“I know. You sent him there.”

She shrugged and told him to drink up, they still had a lot to do.