Valerie Romack


I must have some tumor in my brain to show up at a place like this when I'm a person like me. Skin-tight jeans and a loose top make me the target for a hundred churchgoing snipers. I kneel at the altar, pretending to pray, but my eyes travel up to the tall and handsome in front of me. I lick my teeth as I check out the way his slacks fit around his slender waist. If only I could get a taste. He offers me a drink and I pop the little plastic shotglass from its holder and down the 100% grape not-from-concentrate. I take another and another. The man looks down on me with turned up nose. There used to be love here… so I was told. It's not a religion, it's a relationship… so I was told. But the only relationship I know of is between the preacher and a girl like me for fifty bucks an hour.

Now, I only stare up at the glorious vision of that young, rustic face with saliva collecting lustfully on my tongue. I feel dumb partaking in these rituals that lost their potency. I wonder how I got here; how I didn't crumble to ashes when I stepped onto the sacred maroon carpet. My sins pour out every orifice and yet I am kneeling here in silence next to a dutiful mother and wife. Her prayers are probably for a good potroast or savings in the newspaper. Mine are for…. I forgot I'm not even praying.

I glance up at the interior decorating. The sunlight held off by colored glass paints His picture on a manufactured cross. This place where we create God in our own image and likeness. He does what we want. He fits in our boundaries. He hates who we hate. He's white if we're white. And while we go off into our worthless world, we lock Him away in this building. We visit Him once a week to feed Him with our bread and juice. Then we sing Him to sleep and leave again.

I hear the pipes pumping inspirational music and my eyes roll back. Yeah, I'm inspired. The delicious specimen before me clears his throat. I lunge forward over the altar and rip his belt apart so I can taste his chocolate skin. Two church soldiers grab my shoulders and drag me toward the lifesize crossbeams standing somberly in the corner of the sanctuary. Unholy air escapes my nostrils like factory fumes. I can smell my flesh burning before the spectators. A firing squad of condemnation and damnation pelt my back before I'm turned around and shoved against the cross. They bind my wrists to the wood and rope my ankles together. Spitting is the only reply to my guilty pleas. Shame, shame, you know your name.

I blink away the imagined scenario. I mean, who would want a mangy bitch entering the house of their glorified cult? Everyone knows what I am. They really would crucify me if it were legal. I am murdered inside, the rotting corpse of a pimpless whore. I bleed when the church empties and no one can see I'm still kneeling at the altar.

Euphemism Campus Box 5555 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790