Dave Peterson sat in his dark candlelit living room on his laptop as yet another Village Council Zoom meeting was taking place. Several items had already been mentioned, such as another failed attempt by Simon to get the statue of the Virgin Mary finally removed from the Botanic Gardens, and when the hustings for the local election should take place in the village hall, but soon it was time to talk about something coming up that very evening.
“As you all know, today is Candlemas and I am planning to hold an actual physical service in the church tonight to celebrate it,” Simon announced.
“But you never celebrate Candlemas,” John responded.
“Not usually, but this year I just thought ‘what the hell?'” Simon replied.
“Fair enough,” John conceded.
“There’s just one problem, I seem to have misplaced them,” Simon announced.
Dave gulped, his heart began to pound. He looked next to him at the line of scented candles that he found in the village hall, “Drat,” he thought.
“I don’t know where they are, I’m afraid,” Dave lied.
“I didn’t think you did, Dave,” Simon said, “I kept them in the village hall ready for tonight’s service, but when I went to collect them they had gone.”
Everything was beginning to make sense in Dave’s mind; the candles weren’t just lying in the village hall for whoever wanted to use them, Simon had kept them there for use in church.
“I can’t help in this matter I’m afraid,” Dave continued to lie.
“You’re acting rather suspiciously, Dave,” Simon said.
“I’m not,” Dave replied, “I don’t remember seeing any candles.”
As he was speaking, his face flickered in the candle light as if he was in a Dickens novel.
“You seem to be lit up by candles Dave, I’d recognise their flicker anywhere,” Simon said, beginning to sound like a member of the Spanish Inquisition.
“That’s because I am. I fancied lighting some up for today’s zoom meeting, but they’re one’s I already had. See?” Dave said as he moved his laptop to show the village council his candle collection.
“They look an awful lot like the candles I left in the village hall,” Simon said.
Dave began to chuckle awkwardly. “We must have bought our candles from the same shop.”
“Mine are specifically designed for Candlemas which I bought at a shop used only by members of the clergy. Only we know where it is.” Simon protested.
Dave’s heart began to beat faster as if he was talking to his childhood crush instead of the local vicar. He knew he was digging himself a bigger and bigger hole that was becoming increasingly hard to get out of, but he just could not let Simon know that he burned the Candlemas candles.
“It’s just a coincidence”, Dave continued.
“It seems too big of a coincidence, Dave,” John butted in. “It’s ok if you took them. I probably should have kept them in the vicarage anyway. It is me who is at fault,” Simon said.
“These are not the same candles, someone else must have taken them,” Dave answered.
“Dave, come on,” Simon persuaded.
“Ok, maybe they weren’t stolen. Perhaps they are lurking somewhere in the village hall.”
“Dave, we’re getting nowhere with this,” Simon said.
After a while, Dave sighed. “Fine, I saw the candles in the village hall and thought they looked nice and that they didn’t seem to have an owner, so I stole them, and I have lit them up.”
“Thank you for telling the truth, Dave,” Simon replied. “I will need to buy some more in time for the meeting tonight, and this time I will keep them in the vicarage.”
“Sorry,” Dave said.
“It’s ok, Dave, I should have been more careful with them.” Simon replied.
“Well, now that that’s sorted out, on with the rest of the meeting,” Simon said, and so the village council zoom meeting continued.