Getting closer to his destination at the Vatican, Henry fought the urge to retrieve the paper from the briefcase that he was holding with a slightly moist left hand, and scrutinize it once more before presenting it to the guards that he would soon encounter at the Porta Santa Anna.
He chose instead to take this time to prepare as an actor would, before making his entrance on stage opening night. Once the curtain went up, he would no longer be Henry Hawkins. Instead he would be Father John O’Neil from,...oh my God! Where’s he from? Henry stopped, and put his right hand inside the briefcase to quickly look at the paper when he suddenly remembered. Chicago! That was it! Henry breathed a sigh of relief, telling himself that he should go with his instinct, and wait until tomorrow, and take a day to plan this whole affair more carefully. But, if he waited, he would in all probability, forget about this harebrained scheme that was sure to get him either the entrée he needed in order to make his documentary, or banned from the Vatican, now and forever.
Within thirty feet of the entrance, Henry began to slow his pace as he approached in order to observe the situation at the nearby gate. He was relieved to see that fortunately there was a considerable flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, which he suspected would keep the two gendarmes on duty too busy to fully scrutinize Henry’s fraudulent credential.
Excerpt from A COUNTERFEIT PRIEST
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