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The Crimson Confessional

The Crimson Confessional

by Kynan Patram

Matthew Rivers, wearing a studded leather jacket and ripped jeans, swaggered through the dimly lit aisle of the cathedral with the prowess of a lion, replaying last night’s sexual escapade over in his head. A pang of guilt rippled through him as he passed rows of pews. He knew she had been married, and he had recently vowed never to touch another wife again. But he had failed. He had broken his promise.

Once he reached the pulpit, grimacing, he turned and stepped into the dark oak confessional erected against a far wall. When the screen slid open behind the lattice as he seated himself, he said, “Forgive me father, for I have sinned.”

“No sin is too great that it cannot be forgiven, my son. The Lord Jesus Christ is a forgiving father.”

Matthew ran a hand over his mouth, remembering the wife’s lush lips pressed against his own in their naked embrace. “Last night – I – I slept with another man’s wife.”

“Adultery?”

Matthew nodded, giving the priest’s silhouette a sideways glance. “I also said some pretty horrible things about the woman’s husband.”

“Slander? Gossip?” The priest paused. “All these things can be forgiven you through the grace of our Savior, Christ Jesus.”

“But what about the husband?”

“If he’s a Godly man, he will follow Christ’s example and forgive you too.” The priest cleared his throat. “Go on, my son.”

“Well, you see, father, while I was shagging his wife – and let me tell you –” Matthew clapped his hands together and rubbed them like a fly “– what a great f-ck she was too!” He bit his lip suddenly, then coughed into a crumpled hand. “Excuse me, father.” He glanced through the grid separating them for a brief moment before letting his gaze fall to the floor. “I just meant I had a good time, is all.” He shrugged. “Anyway, while we where ... well, you know – busy – her husband came home.”

There was a pause.

“And did he confront you?” asked the priest.

Matthew laughed uncontrollably. “No, the moron was completely oblivious! He must’ve been the dumbest guy in the world. I’ve had a few go’s with his wife already in the past, and he’s never suspected a thing. Not a thing.” He smiled, picturing the woman’s nude figure. He licked his lips. “But the breasts on this chick ... you should see them, Jesus Christ!”

“That’s blasphemy, my son!” the priest exploded.

Matthew bowed his head sheepishly. “Right. Sorry, father.” He combed a hand through his wavy hair. “Anyway, when the idiot came into the bedroom, I was hiding in the closet. He didn’t even notice my wallet on the bedside table, or my shoes by the bed – I mean, can you get any more daft than that?”

“My son, do you not know James 4:1? ‘Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law.’”

Matthew shifted in his seat and fidgeted with a ring on his finger. “Right. Sorry, father. But that’s why I’m here. I feel terrible, absolutely terrible –” he looked up at the ceiling, wondering how the husband could miss the obvious “– even if the guy is a totally blind and pathetic loser.”

The priest cleared his throat. “James 4:1, my son.”

“Right. Sorry, father.” Matthew drew in a deep breath and exhaled heavily. “So anyway, the husband came in and started arguing with the wife. I was in the closet, watching the whole thing through the crack –”

“What did they argue about?” The priest’s tone was slightly disturbed.

Matthew rolled his eyes. “Get this ... walking the dog. Can you believe that? What a joke.”

“Walking the dog?” the priest said in a shaky voice.

“Yeah, the dumbass was worried that his dog doesn’t get enough exercise, and he started lecturing his wife that –”

“You f-cking bastard!” roared the priest.

Matthew pulled his head back sharply and looked through the lattice at the shadowed face of the priest. “Excuse me?”

“You’re f-cking my wife, you f-cking bastard!” The vibrations of the priest’s voice shook the confessional walls. His face moved forward into a splinter of light, and Matthew now recognized the man’s face as the woman’s husband.

“Oh, shit,” he gasped, gripping the seat.

There was a scuffle, the sound of a door being ripped open and banging shut, then the door to Matthew’s chamber flung open. The priest looked like a rabid dog, practically frothing at the mouth, his eyes wild and his hands curled into fists pulled toward the floor.

Matthew shifted his gaze, wide eyed, and stammered, unsure how to respond.

“Get out here … now, and take it like a man, you f-cking prick!” the priest bellowed, raising his fists into a boxer’s stance. “C’mon, you little pansy!”

Matthew swallowed hard, but then narrowed his eyes. “But what about all that forgiveness, be like Jesus stuff?” He smiled meekly. “I said I’m sorry.”

The priest snorted, taking a step forward with a menacing glare.

“You hypocrite!” Matthew cried, throwing his hands in front of his face.

The priest growled as he threw himself at Matthew, pounding fist after fist into Matthew’s face. Blood splashed on the confessional walls like pattering rain.

“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” the priest yelled, his fists flying haywire.

Matthew felt like a jackhammer was smashing his face into millions of pieces as his hands scrambled to protect it.

Finally the priest stopped and stepped back, smiling broadly. “Let’s see you seduce another wife with a face like that, lover boy.”

 

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