Conor Robin Madigan

Big Deck Gun

Often, due to long homily, boys suffer simple indiscretions. The fifth grade sits. They
listen. They stand and file into isles. One boy stays sat. He pinches through navy
polyester pants to his thigh. Hopes away a hard-on, please, he thinks. This hard-on
developed in description of necessities of Confession. Today, the fifth grade confesses.

He wished away hard-ons before. He shut his mind and ears, tight to thought. He tried to
recollect things and drown himself in them; beating, vomit, dusty day with mother in
heat. He resolved. Resolve came in question form. Would I, could hit Shelton for
calling my brother a retard? He pictures the victory. Hard-on conquered, boy stands and

The girl before him puts her hands behind her and grabs. "Stop," he says, and hates
himself. Katie's hand: a blessing. Look at shoes. She knew. Shoes slide velvet red. She
knew. Shoe after shoe after shoe right to head priest Jim who weighs each confession
with postures and eyebrows.

Boy's turn comes. "Father Jim," he says, "I've sinned." "How's your father, boy?"
"Da's fine. May I ask you something, Father Jim," the boy forces. "It's your job today,
boy." Well, Shelton called Bri a retard in front of the class and can I punch him?" An
eyebrow allows a look to Shelton and posture confirms Jim's voice, he says, "Sounds
like he deserves what he's got coming, but you tell him why."

On a blacktop back to the classroom boy speaks to Shelton from behind, "This is for
calling Brian a retard," he says and hits Shelton in the back of the head. Boy's hand
swells white and purple and he hides it between his legs and huddles to the ground as
Shelton and surrounding boys laugh. Katie laughs.