"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been...um...let's go with last Easter since my last confession."
Herm-HERRRRM. Perhaps the priest's emphysema seems to be acting up.
"You alright, Father?"
"Yes, my daughter. Go ahead, then."
"OK, these are my sins." I pause. Technically, I'm supposed to actually be sorry for all the things that I am about to tell the man sitting behind the porous screen. I'm supposed to bow my head in supplication and reverance, repenting for every slight infraction I have committed against God. As a human, I am called here to feel ashamed for my imperfections and apologize for my hedonistic pleasures and my tendency to make nasty comments under my breath at people who insist on bringing their massive strollers on the Metro.
"For the most part, I casually ignore the existence of God. I routinely swear aloud and in my thoughts in order to express my overwhelming anger and annoyance at those who choose to complicate my day-to-day routine. The only time I choose to go to church is when I happen to visit those members of my family who still have the event as part of their Sunday morning routine. Personally, I prefer mimosas, an omelette, and an afternoon romp after reading the Post, but to each their own, yes?" Silence. "Right, yes, I'll continue right on down the line of the Ten Commandments; I'm shocked I still remember them. My relationship with my parents is more or less OK, provided I continue lying to them about what I do in my spare time. Luckily, I haven't killed anyone, although I have a predisposition to be short-tempered and aggresive for no apparent reason. My sex life is more colored than a Crayola 96 crayon box, complete with crayon sharpener; trust me, we don't have time to go into the details. I don't steal material things, although if the mood strikes, I will go into Macy's and have the very nice Chanel ladies completely powder my face and not buy anything, so I guess that sort of counts. Much of the life I lead needs to be kept falsified from family and peers; occasionally, it does get overwhelming trying to keep them all together but I manage. No, I am not jealous of any married woman's husband because more often than not those husbands are under me, and then they give me some sort of gift or monetary compensation. And I think, Father, that about wraps the damage all up. What's your verdict?"
For a moment, the priest doesn't say anything. I have been kneeling on the wooden plank for so long that I am beginning to fear the possibility of knee replacement surgery about forty-six years prior to when I would expect it. My back begins to ache at the strain of maintaining perfect Southern posture. No hunchback for me in my old age, dammit. I inquire into the still space, "Father?"
"Well, my daughter," the scratchy male voice cuts through the awkward silence, "it seems that there is much conflict and temptation in your life. Abstinence from frivolity and loose morals would be best for you, I think. For your penance, go ahead and ask for the guidance of the Virgin Mother and say five Hail Marys, calling upon her to show you humility and feminine strength. Also, beseech God for forgiveness by saying three Our Fathers and meditating on the complex relationship that you have with the Holy Father, keeping in mind that He loves you unconditionally. Recite your Act of Contrition."
I do so from memory. Religious education classes that began at age four nearly brainwashed me: while other children in my area were memorizing "Hail to the Redskins," I was reciting these rather creepy chants and benedictions every single Sunday.
"Go in peace, my child, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen."
"Thank you, Father." Who says I don't have manners?
As I stand, the blood rushing to my now very creaky knees, I open the large oak door separting the miniscule broom closet of a confessional from the now dark and immensely austere church. How is anyone supposed to feel comfortable in this place? I slowly walk my way to one of the very back pews, as if I am the naughty child in any assorted elementary school classroom. In my peripheral vision, I notice the people in the confessional line. There are the typical matrons in their ghastly holiday sweaters stretching over their prominently ruined breasts (ruined by breastfeeding the hoards of children at each of their feet), the stoic men who are doing their best to not be annoyed at the length of the line nor at the antics of the children, and of course the extremely devout members of the parish clutching their antique rosaries and watching unseemly characters like me with hawkeyes.
I find the idea of seducing a religious fundamentalist, especially anyone from the Westboro Baptist Church, to the point where he drinks from my toilet, intoxicating.