For I Have Sinned
Off the bus into the downtown heat, it didn’t take long for Elaine to find her target.
Inside the cool darkness she moved sideways between pews down the short side aisle of red carpet. She ducked inside and closed the curtain behind her.
Sitting down she put her purse between her legs, unzipped its top. A small window covered a honeycomb screen. It slid opened in front of her.
“Forgive me Father for I have sinned,” she blessed herself slowly, her palms covered in sweat. “My last confession was six years ago.”
“Very well,” said the calming voice.
The priest was in his mid-fifties, salt and pepper hair, pale skin and hairy forearms folded across his chest. A chubby hand tucked under his small chin—waiting to hear a sinner’s sins.
The church was cold. It felt good on Elaine’s tan skin and shoulders and sandaled feet. August in Washington meant unforgiving heat and humidity. Weeks earlier, three homeless men camped outside at the bus terminal watched a new A/C system loaded off a truck into the back of the old church.
Her watch read 5:00 minutes. She pressed START.
“Father, I’m having trouble in my marriage.”
“How long have you been married my dear?”
“Seventeen years last month.”
“Well, that’s wonderful. You should be proud,” he assured her. “Children I assume?”
“Two boys, one girl.”
“And they’ve received the sacraments of the Church?”
He nodded, clearing his throat.
“How long’s this been going on?”
“Well … longer than I realized.”
She looked down at her watch glowing in the dark.
Elaine said no, it wasn’t.
She practiced what she’d say next a hundred times in the kitchen late at night.
She learned something new from her husband, a retired Marine. Something she never tried before. She’d been practicing for a month with him deep in the woods near a deserted alpaca farm south of Annapolis.
“My daughter. She’s in therapy for---“
Elaine balled her fists. She couldn’t go any further. Her heart skipped a beat. Her time had finally come.
She reached into her purse, pulled out a pistol with a silencer. She brought it up from under the screen, flipped off the safety, pulling the trigger twice.
The priest fell sideways, arms dropping to his sides. His head covered with red and pink smeared against the screen, spots finding Elaine’s face and blouse.
Elaine put the pistol back inside her purse and wiped her face and blouse with a tissue. She moved up the aisle, looking for any sign of life.
Outside, Elaine moved down the stairs with her sunglasses on; head down past three homeless men. Aboard the waiting bus heading for the suburbs, she sat in the back checking her reflection in the window for any sign of blood. The bus pulls from the curb, heading for Maryland.
“That’s for touching my daughter you sick fuck!” she hissed.
Rob T. Lord has worked as a dish washer, factory laborer, and aide to politicians in the United States. He now is a middle school teacher in Washington, DC.