The baby had gone to sleep and the boys and Eva, her daughter, had gone to watch Manton drill with the other men in the exercise/muster the village held each month. She cherished the silence. It reminded her of the quiet of the convent—not a pleasant memory, but she did experience some beautiful moments in the years she lived there. She hurried to the kitchen table, wiped it clean, dried it, and spread out the fine linen cloth she had spent too much money on, opened a bottle of ink, got out a stylus, and began to write.
In this year of unrest, Daniel Luis was sharing a small house with his mother, sister, his pregnant wife, and daughter. He needed work.
“You will be the new janitor at the Municipal Theater,” his uncle said, “It pays little, but the work is easy. Clean up after every performance. Do your work and be invisible, and maybe in time, I can find you something better. Here is the key to the door. They say the theater is haunted, so wear your crucifix.”
“Cardinal Mahoney, this is your official interview for acceptance into Heaven. I will ask you questions, give you time to respond and close this interview by giving you a chance to make any corrections or to add any information. Cardinal, do you understand this process?”
Jesus was ever the apple of his mother’s eye. Me – the lemon of her tongue. Was it my fault that I was a clumsy brute, poor with words, while my brother Jesus was skilled of tongue and handsome of face? My father Joseph had more patience for me than did my mother – but then he, like me, was taciturn of character.
Mary & the Player
Hey, girl, I got to ask you something. Why was you just with that no account, broke ass, nappy headed, scrawny, low life, little Nigger?
Look at me now. I got money in the bank. I got a brand-new Escalade. I’m pressed and dressed and a Nigger with whom nobody in their right mind will mess. So, why ain’t you over here by my side drinking my liquor and setting in my new ride?
No offense brother man, but you a Nigger with a grasping look of ownership in his eyes. You got that, “I possess you,” bad breath. You got that property-possession funk under your arms and between your legs. You got them, “I’m going to hold you till I break you because I own you,” hands. You look like you want to wear me on your sleeve and wipe your ass with me when you’re through. And you through when you find something new. You just the kind of Nigger I can do without.
Fuck you, ho. I don’t need or want your skank black ass.
You lie. You want me, and your mother and your brother do too. Now, just a word to the wise. One more spiteful word to me from your sassy fat lips and only one of us will walk out this place. Look at me, now. Look at me hard. I’m the Nigger that’s not in her right mind. Try me or deny me. It’s on you.
They call it the Fully Automatic Cathedral (FAC). It’s .45 caliber and can deliver the gospel at a rate of six-hundred rounds per minute. It takes wadded up pages of the Bible as ammunition and needs to be reloaded about once in a generation. The ex-Marines I sometimes go shooting with say it takes one kind of courage to shoot someone and a whole second kind of courage to get shot. The solemn promise of the FAC is that as long as you use it you’ll only ever need that first kind of courage. It’s so accurate it could send a bumble-bee to insect-Heaven from half a mile away. I currently have it set to Roman Catholic but there’s other settings. Lutheran, Pentecostal, Episcopalian, Mormon, even Mennonite. Hit someone with this they’ll probably die, but if they don’t you can bet that whatever’s left of them will be coming to church next Sunday. It looks like your average machine gun. That is, if your average machine gun were twice as big, made of solid marble, and had Aramaic verses inscribed across its barrel.
Kimberly Campbell invited me to her house for lunch. We had absolutely nothing in common, but we lived on the same street. Proximity is everything when you’re five years old.