|Jan/Feb 2008 Fiction|
At eighty, Lucy Kilroy's saintliness was legendary. The Holy Ghost Tabernacle had lots of saints, but only one bona fide contender to Mother Teresa: Saint Lucy Kilroy. Romans, as the saints at the Tabernacle called Roman Catholics, demanded saints to have performed two miracles. Lucy beat that standard by hundreds. She was rumored to have cured annoyances such as impetigo and menaces such as tuberculosis with a simple touch. She could speak in tongues for hours. One of the few women in Posh's church to be allowed to speak at all, Lucy even gave an occasional sermon. Such an act required a dispensation from the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost had given Lucy carte blanche permission to speak in the Lord's house. She could not, of course, speak over or against Reverend Posh, but everything else was permitted.
But Lucy Kilroy herself was the real miracle. When she was eighteen, she was a notorious demoniac whose countenance shifted from seething and hissing to whimpering and hair-pulling for reasons hell left concealed. Once, she matched Brother Elmer, who was dancing atop the pews in a state of blessin, hop for hop, except that she was dancing atop the pews on her hands and growling like a dog. Another time, she stripped naked and ran the aisles of the church, stopping only to press her breasts against men and women alike, licking her lips and purring. After horrifying displays, Lucy usually collapsed and awakened to restored sanity, hair mussed, sweaty, hoarse—especially if there had been a lot of barking, growling, or devilish voices.
The demon named itself Firebottom, but only after it was discovered, or rather revealed, by the Holy Ghost when Sister Marybelle was permitted to speak in tongues, that it—or she—had seduced no fewer than a dozen men, Sister Marybelle's Jedediah among them. On hearing that, Reverend Posh shouted, "Demon a hell. By what foul name do you go?"
"I am Firebottom," Lucy growled. "I search the earth, looking for weak wills and strong bodies. I consume them."
Lucy continued barking and growling. Posh resumed the inquisition. "Firebottom, I command thee. The Lord Jesus commands thee. Go forth, and leave this child a the lamb alone." Lucy responded by stripping off her blouse and bra, pressing her breasts together, and purring that she would "possess this man a the cloth and teach him the meanin' a sin."
Then Lucy fainted. Kneeling near her, Posh leaned down to listen to her breathing. Baptized in a sheen of sweat, her body glistened under the dim light of the Tabernacle. Though he tried to look only at her face, her breasts commanded Posh's attention. Cool air blowing along the floor left Lucy's nipples diabolically erect. Posh noticed bite-shaped bruises around them. He thought, Damn, this demon got some fine material to work with. But that devil voice some scary shit.
Then he said, "Sister Smith, The Lord say, 'Get thee down here to help me dress this fi—, this young lady, besmirched though she is by some hellish devil a hell, some dark, sinister, electrify—, some hot—, some... some ill, nasty—. What the hell you waitin' for Sister? Get thee down here and help me.'"
The nearly blind Sister Smith found her way to Posh's side. Posh shouted, "I in the Holy Ghost, and the Lord commands his people to turn in modesty, so that this young saint, who without doubt is under a hellish siege, will be spared your prying, curious, sin-touched stares. Do it now, people, and give me an amen."
The people amened and dutifully turned away. "Lift your hands to the Lord, people, and remain in prayer for this girl's soul," Posh admonished.
Posh gathered Lucy's plain tan shirt and provocatively cut bra from the pew. He kneeled between her legs, so that he could dress her while she lay unconscious. Sister Smith moved to Lucy's side and smoothed her hair. Posh said, "Sister Smith, 'In the Lord, close your eyes and pray with me.'" He shouted to the congregation, "People, ask the Lord to bring down holy fire." As he prayed aloud, Posh readied Lucy's bra, snaking each of her arms through its straps and using the cups to conceal Eden's forbidden fruits. As he reached back for her shirt, out of the corner of his eye he noted that Lucy was smirking and that her body shaking with concealed laughter. In her reverie, she didn't realize Posh had noted that. As he turned back to her, she once again lay motionless, as if she were unconscious.
Posh pulled her toward himself, spread the shirt around her back, and laid her back down. As he was preparing to guide her arms through the shirt sleeves, she smiled. Through her scrunched eyes, she saw that Posh was on to her ploy. She growled and writhed, then pressed her thighs against Posh's hips. She moaned in devilish ecstasy. Elder Jones peeked over to see what Lucy was doing. Posh shouted, "Saints, this evil, sinister, coy, fallen, dark, nasty demon is prowlin' for you, too, so remain steadfast. Men a God, hold your ears, because the devil is a seducer. Above all else, keep your hands raised in prayer, and do not look at or listen to this satanic outrage." Lucy looked deeply into Posh's eyes. Then smiled, winked, and licked her lips.
Posh's anger flared. He drew his hand back, bunching his fingers into a fist. Sister Smith broke into prayer, "O Lord, save this young saint, this beautiful young saint." Around the Tabernacle, people joined in. Some prayed. Others spoke in tongues.
Lucy put her index finger to her mouth and wet it, then touched Posh's neck and purred. What sounded diabolical to the people gave Posh an immediate erection. Posh whispered, "The Lord say, 'Not here.'"
Lucy moaned and rocked her hips.
With Lucy's help, Posh finished dressing her, ending the episode in a shaken prayer. "Lord, you a good God, a powerful God. You our God. Today, we ask in the name of our Lord and savior, to send a message to us. What should we do, Lord? Here, one of our young saints, your own Lucy, is afflicted by the devil, by a demon a hell. What, Lord, should we do?"
"People a God, turn and face Lucy." Lucy sat upright, next to Sister Smith, and Posh helped her stand. "People a God, Lucy been restored for the moment, but the Lord say we have some exorcisin' to do. People a God, who among you will agree to pray this evenin', and I mean all night? The Lord say, it got to be ladies. You men, the devil a lust will be prowlin' for you, so stay in your prayer closets and guard yourselves."
Sisters James, Perkins, and Filmore immediately agreed. "Then so be it," Posh said. "Now people, the Lord sends you on your way. Today's service has been given over to healin'. Lucy, you gonna be healed today. Let me hear you say amen."
Lucy looked at Posh and amened. She appeared sincere. Even Posh thought so. Then she purred, almost inaudibly. She took Posh's hand and squeezed it rhythmically.
"People a God. The Lord strong on me. He say that Lucy's apartment is the stronghold of the devil. I gotta get me down there with some oil and anoint that place. Lucy, the Lord don't force his healin' on anyone. Do you want me to come to your place, and touch you with the Lord's healin' touch?"
Sister Marybelle gave Sister James a queer look. Posh deepened his voice in articulated holiness, "People a God. People a God. Who among you has been called to prophesy?" He answered, "None. Not one."
"Let that be that. I a man a God, and the Lord give me explicit instructions. How I gotta get me down to Sister Lucy's. How I gotta anoint that place with holy oil. How I gotta exorcise this foul devil in its stronghold. People a God, give me an amen."
The people amened with an unexpected intensity. Brothers Walters, Filmore, and Black, all of whom had been seduced by Lucy, began the response by shouting hosannas and amens. Their deep conviction was contagious, and soon the people were shouting and speaking in tongues. "Now I say amen," Posh shouted, concluding "Now, saints, get thee out into the highways and byways, and get thee back here next Sunday, to be blessed by the Lord. I'll be bringing Lucy, and the Lord say, she'll be in her right mind. Amen."
The people departed quickly. Rare it was that they got to leave Church before two or three in the afternoon.
Posh asked Sister Perkins to take the sick-with-cancer Mrs. Reverend Lucille Posh to her house. "Just give her a slight medical dose of some Black Label, and she'll be fine," he intoned, adding, "I'll stop by in three or four hours to pick her up."
"Three or four hours? What gonna take so long?"
"These devils gonna take some time to work out. That for sure," Posh replied.
Posh helped Lucy into his Buick and sped out of the parking lot. "Why you drivin' so fast?" Lucy asked.
"Cause we got some dedevilin' to do. You need some healin' touch."
"Reverend, you gonna touch me in the Lord? Gonna heal me?"
"In a manner a speakin'. Let say this. Posh's touch is divine, and them devil moanins you so good at, well, they gonna get better."
"Mmm. I ready for that, Reverend. I is."
"Lucy, just call me Jeremiah."
"Jeremiah sound kinda old, like you a prophet."
"I am a prophet bit... I am a prophet. Sides, Jeremiah my name."
"Okay, but I be feelin' a little strange if you eatin' my pussy and I callin' out Jeremiah. Brother Filmore asked me to call him Brother. That just about ruin it for me."
"Lucy, you a fine thing, and we got some devils to work out. Legion a them, if my guess is right. Let a name be a name. Sides, just wait till you see what Jeremiah look like naked. That some reverential man you be seein'. That I be tellin' you." Posh swerved the car to avoid running over a squirrel.
"Reverend, I mean this in all due respect. I know you a man a God. Why wasn't your wife Lucille healed? Why she lookin' so bad?"
"That's two questions."
"Then I have a third."
"Hold on now. Listen to this. It simple as can be. Lord say to Lucille—hey, your name—'Lucille, Lucille, Lucille, give up that booze. Love your minister man. And you will prosper. Don't give it up, and Satan will steal your soul. God as my witness, I saw Satan in the room when she finished a fifth after I laid that prophecy on her."
"Satan? You foolin'."
"Foolin', nothin'. He a big-horned mother fucker. His eyes deep green, and he stand seven feet tall, and his breath smell like Brother Jones'."
"Like Brother Jones'?"
"Bad shit like that. He had a mane a hair that ran down his back, and his penis had two shafts. God as my witness."
"Enough. You scarin' me."
"You also seein' why I don't want you actin' demon possess anymo'. Let that be that. We got some lovin' to do. Discrete, you understand. But next Sunday, after that all been done, you be at Church. Leave them devil sounds behind. Else, I run down and spank you in public."
"Don't go there. Just leave them devils behind. That that."
"Two questions more, then—"
"Bitch, you really pressin' me. But get 'em out, we almost at your place. And I don't want questions there."
"Why does a holy man like you use the word fuck? That a filthy word."
"Fuck a word like any other word, so the Lord say to me. True, it offend some people, and I try not to say it to them, unless the Lord say to me, 'Jeremiah, say fuck to that tight ass mother fuckin' bitch, cause she acting too righteous.' He say that, I say fuck."
"The Lord don't like explainin' shit, so that that."
"Why you gonna make love to me, if your wife so sick? Don't it break your heart?"
Posh's eyes teared. Why am I doin' this? he thought. He paused, then said, "Lucille the love of my life, but she and I are pure souls. Bodies never seem to come into it. Jeremiah occasionally need a body to love. And you a fine lookin' blessin'."
"You think so?"
"Halleluiah, I do. If there ever a better lookin' wonder in God's creation, she must be wreakin' homes down at the Methodist Church. She surely never been saved at the Tabernacle. That for sure."
"Turn in up there," Lucy said, pointing to the parking lot outside her apartment building.
Posh pinched Lucy's buttock as she walked up the stairs. She squealed.
Lucy fidgeted with her keys, acting unsure which key actually opened her aprtment. She dropped them. Then started the process again. "Let me see them keys," Posh said.
He opened the door on the first attempt. He entered quickly and started undressing immediately. He stood naked before Lucy had removed her shoes. "C'mon now," he said. She looked to the floor.
Posh took a step toward her but noticed that spittle was dribbling out of her mouth. The carpet at her feet was wet.
"Lucy, what are you doin'," he asked?
Lucy looked up, but her eyes were closed. She growled deeply and gnashed her teeth. She reached up and pulled out handfuls of hair. She spoke, and her voice was deep as a man's. "Posh, I have waited for this day. Now that is a fine cock you got there, Mr. Man a the Cloth."
Posh chuckled uneasily, "That some funny shit, but let's—"
With that, Lucy ran toward him and started scratching his face. Posh put his hands out to protect himself, and Lucy grabbed his penis and pulled as hard as she could.
Posh screamed. "What the fuck you doin', bitch?" He tried to back away, but she had also seized his scrotum, and he didn't want to provoke her further. "Lucy, please. This ain't lovin' or fuckin'. What wrong with you?"
Suddenly Lucy spoke with a child's voice. "It scares me to touch your peeney. Momma gonna be real mad."
"Lucy, what you sayin'?"
Lucy passed out, and Posh hurriedly dressed before kneeling down to see if she were okay. "Lucy, what did you say?"
Lucy eyes fluttered, and she looked up at Posh. "Jeremiah, are you ready to make love to me? I been lookin' forward to that all day."
"Lucy, silence. There ain't gonna be no fuckin' today. The Lord himself say that. The Lord also say, 'Jeremiah, Ask Lucy when she first been fucked. And ask who did it. So I askin'. The Lord is askin', Lucy, and he worth trustin'. Now, out with it."
"Well, there was Jimmy," Lucy said, adding, "that was a few years ago."
"Was he first?"
"Yeah," she said, before starting to cry.
"Why you cryin' then?"
"I cryin' cause all those elders you so happy about, all of them fucked me. All of them. I fucked the twelve disciples. That make me feel bad."
"Why'd you do that?"
"I hope you ask them why they wanted to fuck me."
"There be time for askin' that. Right now, I'm asking you. Why'd you do that? Did they force you?"
"No, I seduced them. Each time I did it, I got a little crazier. Elder Jones, who fucked me two weeks ago, said I was demon possess after I bit his peeney." Again she sounded like a child.
"Whose term is that? Peeney? I never heard that term."
"That my daddy term, and his brothers. They all easy to embarrass."
"Lucy, did one a them touch you?"
Lucy hissed and growled. She gnashed her teeth against her tongue, which started to bleed. Posh wiped the sweat from her forehead and started to pray. "Lord, this a fucked up situation. I not so sure I should be here. But I am here, Lord. And callin' to you. Lord, touch this child. Reach into her heart, and bring your healin', Lord. She a broken girl, not yet nineteen. Lord, there a heaviness in her memory. Free her from guilt, Lord."
Lucy whimpered, "Reverend Posh, you truly a man a God."
"Lucy, did one of them touch you? If they did, you need to tell me now."
Lucy grabbed Posh's hand and bit his index finger. Posh screamed in pain. "Lucy, break free from this," he said. "Lord, this is Posh again. This is a 911, Lord. Lord, this young child is demon possess. Lord, in your name, and with your power, command that this foul spirit speak. Demon a hell, what your name?"
Lucy's voice deepened, and she growled again. Then she sounded childlike: "My name is Firebottom. That what Daddy call me. He say, 'Firebottom, get you underpants down, I gots a fire hose to put your fire out.'"
"Demon a hell, what else you got to say?"
"My uncles also had fire hoses. Sometimes they say, 'Firebottom, you gots a three-fire alarm blaze goin' there.' And then they sprayed me with their hoses."
Posh brushed Lucy's hair from her face.
"Demon a hell, how many times did this fire burn?"
"It burned for four years, at least once each week, sometimes two or three."
"Anythin' else to say?"
"My name is Firebottom, and I own the soul of this girl. I gonna suck that big cock of yours."
"In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of the saints, of the Lamb that was slain, I command you, you foul spirit of iniquity, you beguiler, you foe, you dark, evil, malicious villain, I command you to leave this girl at once. In the name of Jesus, that that. Lucy, this demon is gone, if you so will. I want you to repeat after me. In the name of Jesus...—"
"In the name of Jesus..." On went the prayer through Posh's familiar litany of claims and requests, before coming to the close, "And, Lord, I ask..."
"And, Lord, I ask..."
"...that the memory of what my father and uncles did to me be washed white as snow. It was they, Lord, who sinned, not me. I was just a girl, and they were evil men."
Lucy repeated the prayer, and Posh concluded, "In the name of Jesus Christ, Firebottom, I command thee, leave this girl at once."
"The demon left me, just like that," Lucy testified, as the saints jumped from pew to pew, and shouted hosannas and amens.
"The Lord is a wonder working power. A holy power," Posh shouted, exultant. "Now give our Lord an amen," and the people shouted amen. "Now give our Lord a hand," and the people clapped.
Posh held out his hands, the index finger on his left hand still bandaged. "People a God, now listen to this. The Lord heavy on me. He has a word."
Give us that word, Lord, the people shouted in unison.
"People a God, the Lord say, 'Jeremiah, Get ye back to Lucy's house tonight. Tonight should be a night of prayer. All people, Jeremiah, should be in prayer, but you, my servant, should be by Lucy's side.' Amen?"
The people shouted amen.
Lucy shouted amen. Then blew Reverend Posh a kiss.