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Blue Vein

I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Quick — believe it or not — Estes Quick. The word has two meanings: “quick,” from the Middle English; prompt, acting with speed — and from the Old Norse word “Kvika,” or “sensitive, living flesh,” as in “she hurt me to the quick.”

I am a minister of comfort by trade, and I have for some years helped those afflicted with various defects of the soul.  In the past I’ve relied for my joie de vivre on the restorative properties of my peculiar ministry.

But since the inner death of my love, I’ve lost what constituted the animating force in my world, the electric spark. People in my world now seem mere objects.

I watch the crack addicts beside themselves with the jitters, darting their eyes as they make their empty, grandiose gestures, and I feel nothing, no compassion. I walk past the homeless perched like pigeons in the granite vestibules of banks and savings and loans, and I’m impatient with their sloth. I see the prostitutes exiting from the cars of sad, lonely men, bearing the knife wounds inflicted on them in the course of their dangerous trade, and I only want to go home and sleep — [pause] — with one of them, I’m sad to say.

You see, I can’t do anything for them any more. I would save them if I could, but I have no power.

[Suddenly, a voice appears]
Satan:  You are a self-righteous shit, aren’t you, reverend?

Quick:  Who’s there?

Satan:  Take one guess, pal.

Quick:  Obviously this is a joke.

Satan: This is not a joke, Quick.

Quick:  Well, you can’t be Him.

Satan: Why can’t I be “Him”?

Quick: Because God doesn’t introduce himself to those he created in his own image by calling them “shits” and “pal.” That would be Satan’s ploy – to be insulting, then gregarious and overfamiliar.

Satan:  OK, then call me Satan or God or Father or Beelzebub, or whatever you like.

Quick: (to audience)  It’s a recording or a public address system of some sort.

Satan:  Just what kind of a minister are you?

Quick:  You should know. You “see all.”

Satan:  You call yourself a minister of comfort. You have a tiny storefront church downtown and run a mail correspondence course in miracles, which provides your income. You work with the homeless, with drug addicts and with prostitutes, one of whom gave you the best blow job of your life on the night before last in a pitch black alleyway behind the Hotel Miramar on 5th and Main. She was a beauty with a hideous tattoo. You were fully clothed.

Quick:  You see all.

Satan:  Now listen to me, you little fuck:  For somebody whose stock-in-trade is saving the souls of others, you sure talk a lot about yourself. Put yourself in that hooker’s shoes. She’s gotta make a buck like anybody else. But you lecture her about quitting. Why don’t you quit your correspondence course?

Quick:  Satan?

Satan:  Bottom line is this — and I’m going to be brutally frank:
You couldn’t find somebody’s soul if they put Christmas lights around it. People are a mystery to you. Can’t you feel them? People do the things they do because it’s a necessity.

Quick:  Sin is not a necessity.

Posted at 1am on 10/11/2005 | comments are closed Filed Under: Fiction

"The sleep of reason
brings forth monsters."

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