badShe lets the door slam behind her, rattling the windows, and walks through the foyer. I know it’s her because I can hear her stride from a hundred feet away – swish, swish, swish, swish. She insists on wearing those stupid fucking rayon track pants everywhere she goes, even though I’m quite certain she hasn’t exercised anything other than her mouth since the less funny Bush was in office. Tilda Renuart is the bane of my goddamn existence.

“Hey there, anybody home?” she bellows sweetly, while I hold my breath and hope she doesn’t sniff me out.

I can hear her fat feet thumping on the marble, circling the rows of pews like a hawk on her way toward the confessionals in the back. I wish I would have locked the front door, but that type of thing is frowned upon around here. As she gets closer, I send up a prayer.

Dear God, if you see fit in your infinite wisdom to send that woman out of this church and into oncoming traffic, I swear on a stack of Bibles I’ll give it 110% from now until Easter. No more phoning it in with quotes from the internet, I swear. Good God, please send her right back out that door. Please…

“Father Jacobs? Are you in there, Father Jacobs?”

She’s found me. The door of the Confessional creaks up and she plops her generous ass down on the bench. I can hear the air hissing out of her pants as they decompress.

 I really don’t ask for much. You owe me.

“The Confessional is supposed to be an anonymous refuge,” I say, while reluctantly sliding open the small dividing plate between cubicles, “please respect that.”

“Oh, gosh! I’m sorry, Father Jacobs!”

Were you drunk when you made this woman?

“I’m just all worked up today,” says Tilda, out of breath, “I’ve got a lot to confess.”

“You know the drill, Tilda. Knock yourself out.”

“Okie dokie. Forgive me Father, for I have sinned, it has been 22 hours…Father, are you smoking?”

“Nope, you must smell the incense. Please continue.”

To be safe, I stub out the Parliament Light under my bench as she begins listing her typical daily nonsense. It usually never amounts to anything more than taking the Lord’s name in vain in the carpool lane, or forgetting to say her prayers before bed. To make matters worse, she isn’t alone; none of the other ten yokels who still bother to confess have anything good to say either. Frankly, it’s a bit embarrassing when I try to compare notes with other priests (we aren’t supposed to do that, but I haven’t had sex since I was 17…cut me some slack) and I have nothing more than missed prayers to report. One of the guys I went to seminary with got placed in Chicago and gets to listen to greasy-haired goons confess the gory details of murders and drug deals gone wrong. Some guys have all the luck.

“Well that’s about it, Father Jacobs.”

Thank you, Jesus, Mary and Joe Di’Maggio.

“Alright then, Tilda. Give me ten Hail Marys and a dozen Our Fathers and I think I can save your immortal soul.”

“Wait, Father, I said that was about it. There is one more thing, but it’s a bit…embarrassing.”

Oh, hell – this just got good.

“Go on, Tilda. What you say here is between you and God.”

That line never gets old. If any of these goobers had anything interesting to say, I’d be repeating it in every bowling alley, bar and barbeque joint in this town.

“Father,” she whispers, sounding timid for the first time in her life, “it’s sexual.”

Tilda Renuart, you dirty damn heifer! I should have known you were kinky. I wish I kept a tape recorder in here.

“Go on, please,” I say, trying not to sound too giddy.

“Well, last night I was having a hard time sleeping, so I got up to get some warm milk from the kitchen. That usually puts me right out.”

Not exactly Penthouse Forum yet, but context never hurt a story.

“So, I put my slippers on and started down the hallway. That’s when I heard some…noises, coming from Trudy’s room.”

Jackpot! Trudy is the exact opposite of her mother – a nineteen year old nursing student with cherry red lips and an ass that makes me believe the things I preach. I light up a fresh cigarette and scoot to the edge of my bench.

“What kind of noises?” I ask, just a bit too eagerly.

“Excuse me, Father?”

“Never mind, it’s not important.”

“Anyway, I thought maybe Trudy was having a fit, you know? So I panicked and burst into her room and right there in front of me…” Tilda cut herself off and seemed to be wrestling with continuing.

“Yes, then what? What was happening?”

“It’s too horrible, Father! I can’t say”

“Say it, Tilda!”

“The dog, Father Jacobs,” she burst out, “the dog was…getting to know the cat.”

Dammit, you still owe me.


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