Miracles
The Ferguson Syndrome

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Tommy Darko

Poor Sister Agnes (1834-1861). Her grave is being dug up underneath a blue camera filter while a mastiff barks menacingly nearby, tendrils of saliva flying from its mouth. The attempted creepiness of the scene is undercut somewhat by the giant Zenith ad that pops up to tell us the show is being presented in high-definition TV. Not on my set it's not; it's older than I am. The old casket is lifted out of the grave via ropes and a crane, but boards pop off, and the coffin swings wildly before falling, knocking over one of the diggers, who, in trying to break his fall, gets a rusty nail clear through his hand. Cool! I like this show already! Nail-Palm Guy quickly forgets his pain as he notices that the good sister has fallen out of her coffin, and her decidedly non-desiccated corpse is lying there, blue eyes rolled up in her head. And the opening credits appear to consist solely of the word MIRACLES in red on a black background. Oooh! How stark!

Next, a dude's taking pictures at the morgue. And there's Skeet. He was available. He strolls up to have a look at the corpse as the sheriff explains that due to some zoning thing, all the corpses have to be out of there, and there's a priest who says that "many saints have defied the process of decay," and he sounds pretty self-assured; the sheriff says that Sister Agnes should be "dust," as she's been dead for more than a hundred years. Skeet bends over and takes a big ol' whiff of the corpse and says "sweet." The priest says it's "the odour of sanctity," whatever that means. He asks if Skeet's ever seen anything like this, and Skeet's all nonchalant, "Once or twice." He asks for a syringe, which the coroner fetches. And Skeet STICKS IT IN AGNES'S EYEBALL, and I have a hard time believing the priest didn't object to Skeet plunging a big needle into this supposed saint's eye. Skeet withdraws some eye fluid -- vitreous humour, if my biology classes aren't completely lost to me -- and drips a few drops of it onto a slide. The coroner says, "Alkaline?" and Skeet's all "yup" and the sheriff wants to know what's going on, but instead of telling him (or us), Skeet just wants to know where they found the body.

Out at the gravesite, a policeman is putting up yellow police tape, which Skeet ducks under. The cop tells him he can't go in there, and Skeet wants to know why not, and the cop explains there's supposed to be some guy coming down to "check the site for miracles, or something like that," and Skeet says, "I'm the guy," and even he rolls his eyes at how contrived that dialogue was. Skeet wanders over to the gravesite, and sifts his fingers through the dirt. The priest strolls up and wants to know if they can begin the process of canonization, but Skeet, all Encyclopedia Brown instant-deduction, says, "There's no miracle here," and says the nun's body has been kept intact by the natural preservatives in apricots, and Skeet gives this scientific explanation about the gas in rotting apricots saturating the ground, and I have no idea if any of this is fact-based, and the priest says, "That's impossible," which is pretty hilarious when you think of what the priest's theory is, and even funnier when you realize that come Sunday the priest is going to be turning wine into blood and bread into flesh. Anyway, Father Impossible says he really thinks Skeet's wrong, so Skeet stomps on over to another coffin lying around and pries it open with a crowbar. Inside is some non-decayed dude. "Congratulations, Father. You've got a town full of saints," says Skeet. D'oh!

I guess miracle investigation doesn't pay all that well, since Skeet drives off in a station wagon through a crowd of onlookers while some guy watches him.

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Miracles

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