Monday, August 8, 2011

Reverend Jim

Reverend Jim snaps, and drowns JoAnne Pfister in the baptismal font
on Easter Sunday
right in front of the entire congregation.

No cookies in the social hall for Jim this time.

In his years on the run,
the ruined Reverend learns some hard truths--
that women lie their heads off,
that RC Cola tastes like shit, especially the diet,
and that cats, though beautiful,
worship only tuna fish, and meet in terrible cabals on the sly.

You doubt these things?
Then, how wonderful
that you have not suffered.

For a time, he lives in a trailer park with a waitress
who has seven Persians and tells him she is the 
reincarnation of Saint Joan of Arc.

Her refrigerator has so many magnets on the door,
it looks like the uniform of a South American military officer,
a deranged puppet ordering crackdowns...
Inside, it is full to bursting with cans of RC diet cola.

"I love you, Jimmy," says the waitress,
leaving him a generous tip after acrobatic sex one night.
"I'll never leave you,"
but her bags are already packed and hidden behind the cinder blocks outside.

steeped in sin like the devil's tea bag,
Reverend Jim flees the trailer as he fled the church so long ago.

His hair grows long,
and he moves ever further into the surrounding wilderness.
In the weird intermittent flashes of a lightning storm,
he asks for God's pardon.

She washes him clean with the rain,
whispers in his ear to come home,
poor sinner,
come home...
But at the last minute,
a dove falls neck-bitten and dead at his feet.

He hears,
very faintly,
the sound of a tiny bell,
and when he bites his knuckles, the rain drops taste
metallic and awful.

Reverend Jim decides to stay where he is,
miserable and ridden with fever dreams of the woman he killed.
He has kept one large cross through all the heartbreak,
and uses it it as a hammer
to build his tree house,
because the damned must be resourceful
and make the best use of whatever is at hand.



Hannah Stephenson said...

WHEW! Terrifying...but fascinating.

Lynn said...

FB - how do you think of these things? I especially like that he hates diet RC Cola and the refrigerator with so many magnets it looks like a uniform. :)

ellen abbott said...

I love your stories. You should publish them as modern fairy tales.

hedgewitch said...

I just left a really long comment which blogger decided to eat for breakfast. I can't remember it, of course, so let me just say this is not the kind of fairy tale I'd like to read to children, despite the black humor that only makes the dark more distinct. A fine poem, Shay.

Marion said...

Awesome, scary write! I was just reading a post at the author, Gillian Flynn's site about women's dark side. You might enjoy it. Here's the link:

Daryl said...

Oh he is one to be wary of Reverend Jim is ..

Mama Zen said...

"But at the last minute,
a dove falls neck-bitten and dead at his feet."

Oh, honey! You kill me.

Brian Miller said...

it is no where near ask bad as TAB...remember that pink least his last sex was acrobatic...really creepy pieces to this, the metalic rain, using the cross as a hammer to build his house...i dunno i'd but him a cup of coffee...

Lolamouse said...

I agree with him about the RC-yuck! What a great story, and I love the last lines about the damned having to be resourceful. When I read the name "Reverend Jim," I couldn't help but picture the guy from the TV show "Taxi," though. Ever watch that? Rev. Jim was the best character!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Whoa, I so love these tales of the deranged. I took special note of "steeped in sin lik the devil's teabag" - how do you DO it? I keep asking! And love the use of the cross as a hammer, and why. The image is amazing - and has my old bedspread in it! I would LOVE to go to sleep high in the trees like that! Fantastic tale, told fantastically well, as always!!!!!You are a true wizard.

TALON said...

"Her refrigerator has so many magnets on the door,
it looks like the uniform of a South American military officer," -- did you hear the laughter coming from the east? :) Perfection!!

Loved it, Shay. I was so excited that blogger was behaving and I could actually post and comment without ripping out any more hair, that I totally forgot to put tags..which I will do right now! :)

Sara said...


I read this one and laughed as my Southern accent came out in full force. I agree with others about the uniform of a South American military officer -- what a great visual.

RC cola...that's memories. It was RC cola and moon pies when I was a kid. I never did like the RC cola, but I sure did like the moon pies.

Oh, you can write:~)

Anonymous said...

i especially love that he drowns JoAnne Pfister in the baptismal font. you should think of writing television scripts. kind of a really twisted 'Murder She Wrote' ~ it'd have to be on cable, of course.

i bow to you, oh Mistress of the hilariously macabre!
dani ♥

HermanTurnip said...

Fantastic story! Man, makes me want to punish myself in some wicked fashion for not having thought of it.

Seriously, that was amazing. These are the kind of stories that make the world go 'round.

Cassy said...

Nice story!

Cassy from Acoustic Guitar Software