Nino Postulant heard the footsteps coming up the length of the Public Office and stopping before his desk, but didn’t look up. “Excuse me? Father?” said a young voice.
“I’m not a Father yet,” grumbled Nino, keeping his eyes on Pagg’s Book. And I won’t be if people keep interrupting me while I’m studying for the Exam, he added to himself. Nino sighed and rubbed his hands through the short brown shag of his hair, still awaiting its tonsure. Why do they insist we pull Office duty during Exam Week? He carefully marked his place with one finger--losing your place when studying was a constant hazard with a book that size and type that small, and he constantly lost his--and looked up.
Nino saw standing before him a very young man, or perhaps a boy, clutching the hand of a girl about the same suspiciously young age. He stared at them until they both squirmed. “Can I help you?” he finally said.
The girl nearly wilted under his glare, and the boy squeaked, “Are we in the right place to be married?”
“There aren’t any marriages going on right now. You’re either early or late,” said Nino. He returned to his book, and found his finger had unthinkingly moved; he ran it impatiently back down the page to pick up where he’d left off.
“Beg pardon, Father,” said the boy again.
“I’m not a Father yet!” shouted Nino. Heads turned at the other desks in the Public Office, and Nino closed his eyes. Pagg give me patience with clodhoppers. “What?” he said, opening his eyes again.
Causes MeiLin Miranda Supports
Electronic Freedom Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam, Habitat for Humanity, American Civil Liberties Union