Christ on my brain like a bullet


Iím not supposed to feel this way, wandering into my old church after so many years.

Maybe itís the bullet I put into Mannyís head, watching his brain splatter on the strip club wall.

I shoot men all the time and none ever hit me so hard.

Maybe my passing through the old neighborhood afterwards set something off in me, and made me wander into the church.

I never took church seriously when I was a kid.

This might explain how I ended up the way I am, a blood-soaked killer who canít stop.

Church was always one more weekly chore I liked to my mother about whenever I could avoid it.

I certainly never noticed all the blood here, dripping from the statues like a police file on all of my crimes.

The Way of the Cross is worst, each step I take following a path of bloodshed that makes even Mannyís murder seem tame.

Iím merciful; I kill quick.

With Christ, those mugs took their time as if they had something personal to work him over for: whip, crown of thorns, even a stabbing in the side before the cross did Him in.

Iím not a convert, mind you.

I just never realized just how much me and Christ had in common, and how mean I feel now over some of the things Iíve done to people who might not have deserved it any more than He did.

My shoes squeak over the scuffed tiles as I make my way towards the front of the church where the big cross behind the alter shows a close up of the suffering Christ.

Someone coughs.

I whirl around, my hand reaching for the pistol stuck in my best, halting short of drawing it when I see itís only a priest.

Bless you, too, father, I mumble when he speaks to me.

I tell him I sort of got lost when I came in here.

He says weíre all lost which is why we come.

This talk recalls the stuff nuns handed me as a kid, making no more sense now than it did when I was a kid. Yet for some reason, the stuff rattled around in my skull, doing more damage than my bullet ever did to Mannyís brain Ė partly because I know I will survive the impact and live to feel the reverberations long after I stumble out of that church.

I make my excuses to the priest and rush out, each face of each statute watching me leave, their blood clinging to my heals the way the blood of my murders did.

I canít explain it. I donít want to explain it.

I just want the feeling to go away.


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