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We Have Discerned a Potential Deal

by J.P. Sullivan

On his way back from Aldebaran, a particular salesman stopped by the Vatican. “I’d like to buy it,” he said.

“Well, it’s not for sale,” said Father Delgado.

“Not exactly for sale,” said the salesman. “But we don’t need a price tag to make a deal.”

“We’re not an auction house,” said the priest. “The statue’s a masterpiece. Part of Church heritage. World heritage, actually.”

The two are nearly the same thing, Father Delgado might have added, but he was short of breath. He leaned his arms against the balustrade and wished he had lost more weight. So much for a New Year’s resolution. All those stairs, the locked door that always stuck, a half-dozen galleries, plus the private laboratory showing, and then finally the balcony, with more stairs in between. Stairs! He cursed stairs. Guided tours were never something he’d imagined doing in seminary.

“If you ask me,” said the salesman, “You’re being a mite disingenuous.”

Delgado’s knees hurt. But the statue was on the move, and …

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