Mike Cahill (alias Jack Gilmore)
- Endurance 33
- Athletics 22
- Aikido 44
- Dodge 33
- Firearms 33
- Drive 22
- Initiative 22
- Education 15
- Religious Dogma 35
- Notice 45
- Conceal 17
- Universal Tongue 25
- Survival 22
- Personal Insight 66
- Driving Oratory 48
- Lying 55
Obsession: Sin-eating (Personal Insight). Cahill has come to see himself as the sort of man who is willing to take on the hard and sometimes even harmful choices to alleviate others for whom poverty, need or circumstance might otherwise be driven to sin. Better that a man vigilant about seeking forgiveness do wrong than someone who had no other choice.
- Fear (Self): Losing control. Almost the only thing Cahill had to hang onto through his ordeals was the (sometimes illusory) notion that he had the ability to say no at any time. A lack of agency over his own behavior, whether it be imprisonment, loss of sanity or the threat of addiction, terrifies him.
- Rage: Impugning my integrity. Cahill believes that through all he’s done, his motives have been pure. Calling his core principles into question is a surefire way to earn his ire.
- Noble: Peacefully resolving differences. No matter how badly it has turned out for him in the past, Cahill truly wants to find a peaceable resolution between third parties. Sometimes, that peaceable resolution has to come under threat of death, but the threat is better than the real thing, right?
Fresh from the seminary, Father Mike was granted what seemed like a prestigious position at the head of St. Gaspar’s, an august parish just on the edge of the exurbs of Des Moines. Though steeped in history, the parish itself had lost a bit of its polish in recent decades. The mostly white, rural parishoners had been resisting the growth of St. Paschal’s/St. Pasquale’s, a parish that held Spanish mass and attracted the vast majority of the region’s growing Latin population. The previous parish priest serving at St. Gaspar actively and viciously opposed the establishment of St. Paschal’s, feeding off of and evnetually exacerbating the latent racial tensions in the community. By the time Father Mike was placed in the position, membership in the parish had declined, having failed to attract and retain younger parishoners while St. Paschal’s had not only flousihed, but had become a favorite of the Bishop as well. Father Mike had his work cut out for him; his first and foremost task being the healing of this intense racial divide. His initial efforts were rebuffed by the establishment of St. Paschal’s, who felt that they had fought long and hard for what they had; Cahill’s own parish was no more receptive to these overtures, being older and rather set in their ways.
Despairing and needing to prove his own bona fides to his peers at St. Paschal’s, Cahill went to the source. Noting that the majority of the area’s Latin community had its roots in Guatemala, he presented his plans to establish a mission there, in one of the country’s most poverty-stricken regions. Cahill extended an open hand to St. Paschal’s, wishing to see the mission be a joint effort. Again, he was rebuked but retained faith in the project. As years went on, Father Mike became more disenchanted with his own parish and devoted more of his efforts to the mission, investing his own money even as its finances flailed.
The eventual financial salvation of the mission came at a dear price. His personal investments in the mission drove him into debt with a local network of methamphetamine traffickers; when these loans came due, the meth ring offered him an opportunity to serve them as a money laundering front, even letting him take a cut off the top. This arrangement allowed Cahill to keep the mission funded, but gradually eroded both its own purpose and Cahill’s self-respect. Within ten years of its founding, the mission had all but ceased its charitable activities and had its grounds partially apporpriated for the manufacture and transportation of cocaine, thanks to a business connection between the Iowa meth ring and some local entrepreneurs.
Eventually, the parish priest at St. Paschal’s, Father Esteban, became suspicious, as a number of recent immigrants had arrived for whom the St. Gaspar mission was already infamous. Esteban made a private offer to Cahill: petition for reassignment, ask the Bishop to pass the mission’s management on to the parish of St. Paschal and Father Esteban would not make any calls to the DEA, the diocese and his connections within the Guatemalan government. In a fit of misguided self-righteous fury, Cahill refused, vowing to hold onto the mission and his parish, seeing the offer as an attempt to seize what he had built. He did promise that he would end his relationship with the drug ring – and foolishly actually believed at the time that this would be possible. His subsequent meeting with the leadership of the local meth ring did not even go that smoothly. Giving no explanation at all, Cahill informed his benefactors that he would be terminating their relationship, even threatening to talk to the authorities. Cahill was informed that they would magnanimously grant him 24 hours to change his mind about this.
Seeing no other alternative, Father Mike looked up and dialed an informant line to the DEA, imagining that if he cooperated with the authorities before Father Esteban called them, he could arrange to rid himself of his associates in the drug business and gain immunity for himself both from criminal proceedings and consequences from the church. When he picked up the phone, however, he didn’t even have a chance to dial a single digit. Instead, a monotone voice broke the silence, informing him that a call had been placed with the diocese immediately after the meeting with Father Esteban, who had laid out the entire scandal just before recommending one of his own priests for the position of parish priest over St. Gaspar’s. A messenger was already slated to pay him a visit to bear the news the next day. That messenger would sadly be unable to convey the bad news, as Cahill’s own rectory was already staked out by enforcers from the drug ring, who had no intention of waiting their promised 24 hours before rather brutally establishing who in fact wore the pants in this relationship.
What the enforcers did not know was that they were not the only ones surveilling the parish. The two men in the Cadillac out front each had their heads in the crosshairs of high-powered, silenced 50 caliber rifles. The Ram van that was presently conveying four members of the Aryan Brotherhood recently released from Statesville prison to his location was situated on the highway between two nondescript sedans. Passengers in the sedan in front were in possession of police-issue spiked chain, while the ones behind were prepared to put three rifle rounds into the van’s gas line as soon as it rolled onto its side. Were these events to take place, Father Cahill would then be taken into the protection of the man on the other line; it could be arranged so that Cahill’s associates in the drug trade believed that he was suddenly whisked into witness protection by the Federal government, that the DEA believed he had been kidnapped and disappeared by traffickers, and that Holy Mother Church would be sure one of these two events had occurred, though either one would seem equally plausible.
All he needed to say to make all of this happen was “yes.” Yes to ten years of unquestioning service to this nameless voice, yes to a new home, new name, new life, yes to abandoning everything he knew. Mike Cahill said yes and has spent the last six months trying not to look back.