A woman dressed in an opalescent one-piece enters the Catholic Church through a side-street door. Her steps are measured, registering echoes with a steady click-clack impact of modestly tapered heels. On reaching the center aisle, she pivots toward the altar and genuflects with graceórevealing that her skirt is really a culotte, pant legs straight along the inseam, flared at their ankle-length hem, zippered from the bodice through the crotch continuous round the back, the garment donned and shed by dividing it in two. Though tacitly provocative, this feature is unassumingóas is the penitent herself. Eyes cast down then redirected toward a crucifix, Joanna Meerschaum prays to her crowned and loin-clothed Savior... Aware of:

  • the lingering smell of incense carried on dust in suspension, particles faintly tinged by sunlight through colored glass

  • hymns confined to hymnals impatient for Sunday morning services when hands scrubbed clean of blame crack open covers and voices liberate hosannas

  • dents in upholstered kneelers remembering countless knees: young, old, fat, thin, arthritic, prosthetic, the gamut, impressions left like footprints in Edenís mud

  • one parishionerís rosary beads tapping against a pew, his pudgy fingers pinching through a well-worn set while reciting Hail Marys

  • hinges squeaking to announce the comings and goings of forgivers and forgiven

  • pigeon coos proclaiming their right to sanctuary somewhere under eaves

  • idle pipes of an organ staggered in clusters at calibrated wavelengths, mute but standing at attention, poised to intone almighty praises

  • Stations of the Cross depicting bittersweet vignettes of Christís climb to Calgary, faltering en route, the weight of Mankindís guilt an enervating burden

  • outside traffic noises filtered through the hush-ness that steepled structures breed, transept, belfry, sacristy, and vestibule embracing hallowed spaces,

none so intimate as the confessional booth awaiting her who approaches, enters resolutely, kneels, crosses herself, and addresses God in silhouetteóor him who will transmit her gross transgressions, whispered discreetly by proxy into The Omnipresentís ear.

"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been one week since my last confession, and hereís my latest list: mostly sins of thought and wordómy boyfriendís out of town so I havenít logged many bad deeds. Masturbation is all. Iíve done that a lot. Maybe because Iím pregnantóout of wedlock, yes, but Iíve confessed that already. And donít you worry, Father, abortion is out of the question. We are engaged. The child will be baptized Catholic. I know premarital sex is wrong; but whatís a girl to do? I mean, think about it; youíre twenty-two years old, living on your own, earning a decent salary, and "hormonitis" hits like a ton of horny bricksópicture bricks with clits and penises and maybe youíll get my drift. Sex is all I think about, morning, noon, and night; in every way imaginable; the more perverse the better. Last month things got so intense we managed to break his prick. I kid you not, Father, gave way like a tree limb; still connected to the trunk but suddenly set askew. When I felt that awful snap my heart just sank. Six weeks to mend. Which means heíll almost be healed by the time he gets back. Meanwhile Iíve been using aids, you know, like dildos? Lap drugs none. But what I absolutely crave is cunnilingus. All I want to do is wrap my thighs around his face and have him lick me into rapture after orgiastic rapture!"

The silence that ensues to fill Joannaís brief hiatus (she adores these raw disclosures and recounts them unabashedly) is breached by the telltale sound of heavy-breathingówheezy, hoarse; the aged Reverend is off to an early start on his afternoon nap.

Aware of some (or all) of her confession going unheard, Joanna adds:

"Oh, and Iíve used VibraCum, Plugged, and Simulationships on my VPCR."

She rat-a-tat-tats on the frosted-glass partition.

"During which, I believe, my language got pretty foul, and for which, dear Father, I am heartily sorry."

Roused from slumber, the priest prescribes an Act of Contrition,, assigns a modest penance, and bestows his Holly Blessingóabsolution pending.




Between Saturday afternoon, alas, and Sunday morning Mass (when the Sacrament of Communion is administered and received), temptations may arise that go un-resisted; those in store for Ms Meerschaum transpire as follows:

4:20 pm

I suppose Iíd nod off, too, if I heard litany after litany of peopleís misbehavior. Try to keep mine spicy, but the poor old dear just snored. Let me off pretty easy with five Our Fathers and the usual promise to avoid those "near occasions."

4:24 pm

Goddamn motherfucking sado-city whores! Another parking ticket? Christ! On a weekend? Donít they ever rest? Forgive my profanity, Lord. "Occasions," for us motorists, are gosh darn unavoidable.

4:35 pm

Whatís with all this traffic? Must have been a game. Baseball. All they do is guzzle beer and fellate hot dogs. Thankfully my fiancť is not into sportsóexcept for games we play behind closed doors. Speak of the devil!

4:36 pm

Lost him. Whatís he doing in that car? Must be a rental. Whatís he doing back? Itís a week too soon. And why did the creep not call me? Something isnít right.

4:42 pm

Think thatís him ahead. Oh, shit! He spotted me. Or did he? Maybe not. I thought he looked. Flamingo pink Mercedes are pretty hard to hide. There; I swear he saw me in his rear-view mirror.

4:43 pm

Okay, jig is up. I know he knows Iím following him. He turns; I turn. He slows down; I slow down. Bastard ran a red light; FUCK, Iím stuck! Drives me nuts to think he thinks Iím so predictable.

4:45 pm

Should have noted the license plate number but I didnít. Maybe I should call? Assuming he has his cell. Assuming he has it on and the battery isnít dead. Sneaky son-of-a-bitch, heís pulled in behind me!

4:46 pm

Look at that shit-eating grin; he thinks heís so clever. Easing up alongside, now; he's giving me the eye. Pretending like heís trying to pick me up. Okay, smart-ass.

4:47 pm

Whatís he up to now? Heís taken back the lead. Letting me keep up. No more sly maneuvers. Heading where, I wonder; his place? No; the freeway.

4:56 pm

Sand Hill Road; weíre exiting. This is rather fun; Iím starting to get excited. Fellís been more inventive since we put that kink in his peepee, "doing unto others," namely me, in lieu of gratifying himself. Men with disabled dicks can do fabulous things with their other appendages.

5:04 pm

Where the hell are we? 84 South, 5 miles to LaHonda? Then what? West, Iíll wager. To the coast? Or that Forest Inn Motel weíve never stayed at but passed often enough? That would do. Any place would do, in my current state of heat. Skip the chitchat, rent a room for the night, and get down to business.

5:24 pm

Iíll be damned, Iím right; heís pulling in. Should I wait outside, let him register? God Iíve missed you, Rockefeller Falk, for all your quirks and craziness; never has a lover ever satisfied my whims with such panache.

5:30 pm

Isnít he sweet, dangling that little key, opening the door, waiting for me at the threshold? Mm, I do so love the smell of his cologne. Funny, heís so courtly heís almost unfamiliar. Must have bought those clothes in New Zealand; I donít recognize...

"Before you shed those britches, Mister Mystery Man, I caution you to stop. Youíll leave them on throughout or Iíll depart this very minute."

5:32 pm

"Good. Iím glad to see obedience, for a change. Remember doctorís orders. Six full weeks of inactivity, if you want that horn to mend. Gore me thou shalt not. Cat got your tongue? Just as well; Iíd rather you not speak. Lie down there on the bed. You may take your shirt off only. Iím going to straddle your prickly puss and make you lick me till I come, and come, and come so many times youíll think my g-spotís spastic. After which weíll sleep and 'dream' your prick has healed."




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