Joe held his son’s hand outside Saint Mary’s Catholic Church and told him, “Wait here.” He felt his .44 Colt revolver sticking into his ribs. Conflicted about what he should do after what his son said had happened, Joe wanted to go to confession before he acted. He turned and walked into the church, empty other than a lone priest sitting in a confessional booth filled with aromas of sinners who came before.
He pulled the curtain aside and entered the dark booth, closed the curtain, knelt down, made the sign of the cross, closed his eyes and said, “Bless me Father for I have sinned.”
“Tell me, what sins you have committed?”
“I haven’t sinned since my last confession Father.”
“Then why are you here?”
“I’m having evil thoughts.”
“Tell me about them.”
Joe would like to ask him what sins he, the priest, had committed and why, but he knew the priest would say, “I go to my own confessor, and tell him and God how I have sinned.”
Joe used to believe, but not now, not after what his son told him. He wanted to articulate why he was here, but couldn’t get the words to form in his mouth. Instead he said, “I have an eight year old son Father, who has been molested.”
“God will forgive you,” the Priest said.
This idiot thinks I’m confessing to molesting my own son. His anger rose, and he asked the priest, “Is that how it works Father? You molest a little boy, tell God you’re sorry and it’s okay, you’re free to sin again?”
“God forgives all sins.”
That’s what Joe wanted to hear before he did what he came to do. “Then I confess Father for killing the molester of my son,” Joe said.
“You killed him?” The Priest asked
“Not yet, but I will.”
“I can’t absolve you of a sin you haven’t yet committed.”
“After I do, you can forgive me then. Right?”
“God forgives all sins.”
Joe searched the pockets of his janitorial uniform for a cigarette, found one, lit it with his Bic lighter, sucked in, and exhaled a circle of smoke that blew toward the screen the priest leaned his head against. The screen, put in the booth for anonymity between priest and confessor, wasn’t very effective. If one peered hard enough, he could see who sat on the other side.
“An angry voice chastised him, “No smoking, for Christ’s sake you’re in church.”
“God will forgive me for such a small transgression I’m sure.”
“Maybe he will but I sure as hell won’t,” the priest said.
“I’m glad you said that Father, because I feel the same.” Joe pulled his pistol placed it against the screen where the priest leaned his head. “God may have forgiven you Father but I sure as fuck don’t.”
Joe pulled the trigger. Thunder echoed through the church. The wounded priest managed to open the door of the confessional booth with blood streaming from a crease in his cheek.
Joe pushed the booth’s curtain aside, reached through and grabbed the priest by the arm. He said, “God is treating you well. He’s giving you another chance to come clean before I send you to your judgment day.”
“You’re crazy let me go,” the Priest said. He yanked his arm free and fell out the door onto the church floor.
“Confess.” Joe said. He stepped outside the booth and stuck the barrel of the .44 into the priest’s crotch, pulled the trigger and enjoyed the explosive noise thundering around the church. The priest screamed in pain while clutching his groin.
Moaning he asked Why?”
Joe pulled the hammer back, aimed at the Priest’s head, applied pressure on the trigger
and said, “Last chance padre. Confess.”
“Confess to what?”
“To what you did to my son.”
“I never did anything.”
“God doesn’t like liars Father. Joe’s trigger finger tightened, and he aimed the gun-sight at the Preacher’s eye. Just as he pulled his trigger finger tight, his son ran into the church screaming “Not him dad. It was the other priest.”
Too late. The .44 went off and the bullet tore into the priest’s eye.
“Dad, Dad, why did you kill him?”
Joe’s face showed shock, but only for a second until he said, “I’m sorry god.” Then a smile spread over his face, and he said, “God forgives all sins son, so I’ll go get the other Priest too.” He dropped his burning cigarette onto the floor turned and headed to the rectory where the other priest lived.