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Wicktori's Secret

WIKTORIA’S SECRET

One

“Er...um...oh, yeah. Bless me father for I have sinned—” I leaned forward in the darkened confessional, a place I’d feared since second grade when Sister Mary Margaret made me stay in one for hours for not bringing my rosary to school on the first Friday of the month—when all good Catholic children went to Mass and confession. How many sins could a seven year old have anyway?
“Are you there my dear?” the disembodied voice of Father Nawrocki said.
Gulp.
Father Nawrocki. Since high school all my friends and I had a crush on the tall, brown-eyed priest. Priest! I should add that to my list of sins right now. Ogling a priest.
“Um...yes, I am.” I managed a few fake coughs and despite knocking on the door of hell by lying to a priest in the confessional no less, I coughed again. I ran through the first part of the confession format, which I’d learned rote in Saint Stanislaus Catholic school from the nuns who told us we didn’t need to know the reason for learning things, we just had to memorize them.
Now the priest coughed.
I gave him the benefit of the doubt that it was real and continued, “my last confession was—” Good Lord. Did he really need to know that? And when was it? Second grade? Did it not count if I wasn’t accurate? “—well, it was...awhile so I’ll wing it.”
“Wing it, Wiktoria?”
Oh geez. The only thing worse than having to go to confession and spit out your sins was when the priest knew who you were through the supposedly camouflaged screen! And, no one, no one, called me by my Polish name since grammar school other than my mother when she scolded me. “You know, Father, I think I’ll just tell it like it is.”
“I would assume you would anyway. It is confession.”
Was it getting hot in here or was the trapdoor to hell and beyond opening up? I forced a laugh, knowing he couldn’t see my face and the pained look it must have on it. Or could he? Damn it. Oops. I had to get out of here if I ever wanted to scurry through the Pearly Gates to all eternity someday. Because right now I thought I caught a glimpse of fiery flames coming from beneath the hand-crocheted throw rug near the kneeler. “Yes, well. Look, Father N, I really didn’t come here to confess anything.”
“Excuse me?”
“I know. I know. I’m holding up the line.” And what a line it was on the first Friday of the month at Saint Stanislaus Church in the cozy town of New Bochenia, named for the hometown of the Polish immigrants founded it. Over the years it was Americanized to New Boch, pronounced New Boc by non-Poles and the rest of the world. Anyway, in a town like New Boch you could count on a long line of Polish Catholic women snaked around the pews and nearly out the door. Only males were the priest and a few from the over eighty crowd.
“Okay, Father N, I am going to level with you.” I leaned forward as if that would draw his attention to the confessional screen where I knelt, sweating and waiting for the devil to yank me out of here, which at the moment didn’t seem like such a bad idea.
“Level, Tori.”
Phew. He’d lightened up or at least wanted to get this over with as fast as I did. “Okay. My last confession seems like eons ago, but you know me. I am a good girl—” I could imagine him rolling his eyes. After all he’d been hearing my confessions throughout the teen years. Gulp again. There was that night with Ricky Rinaski...never mind. “I really am, a good girl that is, so consequently, I don’t have any sins to confess at the moment.”
I heard him sigh, rather loudly for a man of the cloth.
“Really. When I was fifteen I used to make some up to give you something to do. Er...never mind. The reason I am here is more to ask a question to see if I need to confess something. You know, clarify something I can’t Google.” I giggled.
He didn’t.
“Perhaps we can talk in my office after confession is over, Miss Gansecki?”
Lord no! Then we’d be face to face. It was one thing to be hidden behind the confessional haze, even though he knew who I was, but to be face to face with a priest sent shivers down my Catholic School induced conscience’s spine—as if I really was a bad girl.
Ricky and I only made it to second base.
“No. No, thank you, Father. I just want to know. I mean, I need some clarification of the 21st century list of sins. The lite sins. Not mortal ones. You know, not murder, stealing etcetera.”
Now I could see his pious shadow shaking his head. “Go on, Wiktoria.”
Yikes. He wanted me out of here badly. Maybe he figured he’d get sucked down into hell along with me as some kind of innocent bystander, so I hurried on. “Is it a sin? I mean, you know I mean no harm. So, in the scheme of things and remembering that these are modern times—”
“Is what a sin, child?”
“Making G-strings?”

Selected Works-Click on red title for excerpt

Humorous mystery
The Pauline Sokol Mystery Series Book #1
The first book in The Pauline Sokol Mysteries, A Dose of Murder, is a wonderful medical-world story enlivened by an exceptionally fun and sassy voice. In it, a burned out registered nurse becomes a medical insurance fraud investigator only to be yanked back into the nursing field by an experienced hunk of an investigator who she just can’t say no to--until she stumbles upon two dead bodies.
The Pauline Sokol Mystery Series Book #2
Pauline Sokol, ex-RN turned medical insurance fraud investigator finds herself embroiled in a scam of senior citizens...and Viagra fraud. If that isn’t bad enough, one of the old geezers has fallen for her...and two have mysteriously departed from this world.
The Pauline Sokol Mystery Series Book #3
Ex-RN Pauline Sokol finds herself confined against her will in a psychiatric hospital when she goes undercover to investigate fraudulent brokers who match patients with treatment facilities--for a bounty as high as $4000.00 a head. A master plan of escape ensues when “doctor” Jagger shows up...until the broker is found dead.
The Pauline Sokol Mystery Series Book #4
Blurb: Sailing over the bounty seas is not the ideal case for ex-RN Pauline Sokol who has never been out of New England. But when her sleazy boss, Fabio Scarpello, offers her the chance to work a case on The Golden Dolphin--sailing through the Bermuda Triangle is the least of her problems. Murder, mayhem and a missing nurse take center stage while Pauline is trapped on the ship, her roommate murdered, and Pauline’s name is next on the list.
The Pauline Sokol Mystery Series Book #5
For her latest case, Pauline Sokol is assigned to investigate plastic surgery fraud in swanky Newport, Rhode Island. To get inside the exclusive “spa”, she must go undercover as a private duty nurse. Now all she needs is a suitable well-heeled patient. Luckily, her best friend and colorful co-worker Goldie fits the bill (and the high heels), and he selflessly volunteers for a nose job. Once she’s infiltrated this surgical playground for the rich and spoiled, Pauline discovers that someone in the practice is scamming the insurance companies. More than a few of these jet setters have become addicted to plastic surgery and many of the women’s husbands have refused to pay for any more elective “changes.” So someone is making up diagnoses so the (inflated) costs are covered without anyone being the wiser. A “nose job” has now become a “repair of a deviated septum for better breathing.” But a simple case of semantics soon turns deadly when a male secretary’s body is found floating fifty feet below the jagged ocean cliff. As she struggles to keep herself out of danger, Pauline can’t believe her non-altered eyes when the enigmatic Jagger shows up to at the B&B where she’s staying. But even her hunky cohort can’t keep her safe when a simple case of going under the knife is anything but cut and dried.