Wednesday 16 May 2012

'Shoot!' by John Ritchie


Joey was surprised to find himself in the confessional. How had he got
here? Last thing he remembered he was in his room with a .38 up the
side of his head. Had he pulled the trigger? Were his brains all over
the peeling paint? Was his body sprawled across the bed?

‘O.K. Let's go, I haven’t got all day.’

The voice through the grill sounded like Jack Nicholson, and Joey
wondered if he was having some kind of weird dream. Maybe a bad trip
or something.

‘Lookit. You got something to tell me or what? I got cremations. I’m a
busy guy.’

Joey didn’t have much experience of priests, he’d seen a couple in old
movies, Spencer Tracy and all, but he didn’t recall ever having spoken
to one, not even when he went to his sister’s wedding in Vegas, and
this guy didn’t sound like any regular man of God.

‘Er, I think I’ve killed myself.’

‘You think? You don’t know? What kind of an idiot are you? Don’t
answer that. If you are too dumb to know if you are dead or not, you
ain’t gonna be able to handle difficult questions. Come on, ain’t you
got any regular Venial sins, I only do Cardinal, Easter and

‘What’s a Cardinal sin?’

‘You a Catholic?’


‘Kinda? What the hell sort of an answer is that? I oughter kick your
sorry butt outta here. Send you to the Methodists or something. Give
me sins, for Chrissake. You been jerking off? Coveting your
neighbour’s ass? She’s got a cute ass, ain’t she? Goddamit! What do
you do for a woody? Read the Wall Street Journal? J, M and J. I heard
of miserable sinners, but I ain’t never met one before. You surely are
one sad son of a bitch.’

‘Sorry. I guess I thought being miserable enough to kill yourself was
good enough reason to seek spiritual solace.’

‘Not in my book it ain’t. Besides, suicides ain’t miserable, they’re
angry, and anger is a Cardinal sin, but I only do Cardinal…’

‘Easter and Thanksgiving, you said.’

‘So, who are you so mad at you want to kill yourself to get back at them?’

Joey thought for a moment.

‘Er, God.’
‘Oh, Him. Listen kid, get in line, it ends somewhere in Wisconsin.
O.K. here’s the deal. Why don’t you just whack some citizen. Get your
eye in. You don’t want to screw up the big one do you?’

‘You’ve got a point.’ said Joey. He pointed the .38 at the wooden
partition and pulled the trigger five times.

‘With that kind of attitude you’ll fit right in, kid.’

‘Fit in? Where?’

‘Hell, of course.’ said the Devil.


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