“Frick friggity frig, get me some ointment, will ya?”She winced as she gingerly probed the boil. It blistered in her neck like a witches cauldron of vicious brew. Hot and threatening violence, I’m dyin’ here.
“No ma’am,” the boy said, backing off a step as he did, “the doc and the padre both made supa damn sure you didn’t apply nothing to the holy cist.”
“Holy cist,” she said, “my royal brown starred one eyed fart full anus. I told you I’m dying.”-
Again she tried to touch the foul growth. Again it recoiled her.
Was it the pain?
No. Worse. The fact that hid in that burning sting was some kind of too much pleasure.
Like bad serious bad drugs. Or worse. Which it was—
“And how is our most miraculous blemish doing today?” Came the eupeptic voice through the curtain.
She sighed. Looked once more at the torturous pustule. Winced. Scowled. Breathed. And enacting a perfect smile turned to face the door.
“The zit beckons,” she said with pomposity.
The curtains parted and a tall, pale, fifty-cent rope of a man entered. His gilded robe did little to suggest anymore to his physique than his Parmesan wedge of a face.
“Ah,” he said gaily, “the lady is in high spirits.”
“She is,” she answered, “and this whitehead is fit to burst.”
“Ha,” his laugh like a someone stepped on a frog’s nut, “seriously Madame Shondar you are too rich.”
“Cut the Madame crap, and don’t say rich again, I ain’t been near enough during this whole charade to be called anything but flimmed and/or flammed—”
She stepped to the buffet table a stuck a piece of Bologna in her mouth. And another. And a third.
“—T’h’say nuthin’ thwof all thwem poor thuckers thout thwere.”
“If her holiness could refrain from talking with the full mouth. It’s—how I say—”
“Dithguthting,” she said, “that’s th’idea.” And belched. She grabbed a 40 oz bottle of malt liquor from the ice filled tub and slammed half of it home. And belched again.
The stick in the robe cringed.
“Please Shondar, if you could at least—”
“What? I ain’t no Dresden cup and this boil ain’t no China tea, so what’re lookin’ for? You pay for miracles, the fester provides. I’m just a irritated vessel is all. So go hang.”
She chugged on the forty and stared at the acolyte around the bottle.
He sighed. And turned t the curtained door. At the threshold he paused, and spoke over his shoulder, “the work it does. That you do. It’s good work, Madame. Whether you realize that or not. Hope. No matter how gross the form it comes, is still hope.”
He straightened his robe and stopped through the curtain.
Shondar polished off the big bottle of brewski and flopped down in a lounger.
The motions pinched her neck and sent a fiery wave from the whelk down her back and up the side of her face.
Faint there, in the tide of pain, something. A word.
Like a hot lance surfing on the swell of sensation.
Kee-rhist, she thought, not you too. She laid a finger tenderly on the boil.
The massive crowd sat silent in the dark. Waiting. No one stirred. All eyes were glued on the stage lit low by purple lights from in high in the stadium.
Aww for god sakes, Shondar thought, these dweebs are worse than lobotomized sheep.
She peered out through the curtains and cursed herself for not chugging at least one more bottle of malt liquor before this ornate stupidity.
Then the organ swelled. The crowd began to hum.
“Awfrgawdsakes,” she said.
“Lady Shondar, please,” hushed an acolyte in some kind of gold tracksuit.
She stifled a fart, nodded curtly, and as the organist thundered his way up to a crescendo Vesusius itself would’ve envied, before one of the gilded geeks had a chance to usher her out, she stepped through the curtain and out onto the stage.
A single tight circle of light surrounded her. No one stirred. No applause. All was bated breath.
She had to admit, it always gave her a bit of a thrill, even through the fog of four 40’s.
She loosened her scarf. And let it fall to her feet. The massive crowd took one massive collective breath. Huge screens at all corners of the stadium showed close-up video of the Holy Boil.
“Bring forth the first,” she intoned. Her voice booming through the cavernous structure via a concealed microphone in her cape.
A small, scared and sickly gentleman was led up onto the stage by two gold track suited youths. With much coaxing the awestruck man made his way to Shondar. She beckoned him close, and leaned down her neck to his gaping, bad-breathing mouth.
“Ask the zit,” she said solemnly.
The man whispered to the cist.
“Are you serious?” She said beneath her breath, “of all the things you could wanna know.”
The man had turned an ear to it. He stood there. Nodding. Listening. His attention so much more than rapt. Like way more. Like too much more. And then a broad smile cracked his poor, downtrodden face.
He stepped back and fell to his knees.
He looked up into Shondar’s face. His eyes wide. A true believer.
“Thankyouthankyouthankyou,” he managed.
He kissed her feet.
She smiled down at him.
And then looked up at the throng.
“The boil knows. The boil speaks. The boil saves!” She said, “ALL HAIL THE BOIL!!!”
The crowd went berserk.
Inside, she sighed the sigh of a million sighs. She looked out at the throng. The line of the wanting stretched for what probably was miles. Another peonic seeker was brought up onto the stage. As she bent down to present the blemish she could only think one thing—
Why hadn’t she gone to the bathroom before she came on?