Judas Wrote a Blank Check by Jake Disch

Be quiet. Watch. My hand doesn’t shake as I insert the pin.

I am not a believer. It’s not that I haven’t tried - I did. For years. I was baptized, for God’s sake. Confirmed, later. I went to Catholic school. I had to confess back when my biggest sins were stealing a cookie before dinner and saying, “Damn” one time under my breath, just to try it out. I got five Hail Marys for that one.

Carefully. I slide in the tension wrench with my other hand.

I got bored with belief after awhile. My family was upset. They’re all Catholic, so I was the black sheep. Like I ever gave a shit. Jesus and friends just weren’t doing it for me. I liked drugs. Drinking. Target practice. We’d shoot birds in the cornfields outside of town with our parents’ guns.

Click. The tumbler slides into place. No matter how good at this I get, it never ceases to satisfy. You’ll see.

After the first job I went back to the church. Thought I needed to be saved. Like anything could save me. I went to confession. When I told the priest what I’d done he went white as a sheet. But he can’t tell anyone. Did you know that? You could confess to the entire goddamn Holocaust, but a priest has to keep all that shit to himself. Like a Hippocratic oath made to God. That time it was significantly more than five Hail Marys. I gave all the money I’d made on that first one over to the Church and never went back.

I ease the door open. It doesn’t squeak at all. In the movies the doors always squeak. In real life you’ll find it’s more like one in five. We step into the kitchen.

That’s not to say that I don’t think about it at all. I do. I wore a cross around my neck for years. Not that I thought it protected me or anything. But it made me look normal. More like a regular human being. It became a luck charm. Sometimes I would kiss it right before walking in through the back door of a dark house, or down an alley. I don’t know where it disappeared to.

I know he’s not a dog person. Thank God. Dogs are tough. They can wake up the target. Hell, they can wake up the whole neighborhood.

A few years ago I was feeling guilty. It happens to the best of us. So I took a Gideon Bible from a Motel 6 room in Philly. The Old Testament is one of the most violent stories I’ve ever read. Biblical heroes were the original genocidists. If those guys can do what they did and make it into the Bible and be revered, killing a few assorted scumbags can’t be so bad, can it?

My knife is out. I avoid guns. Use them if you want, but they’re too impersonal for me. Knives are the way to go.

Then there’s Judas Iscariot. He’s not exactly a beloved figure, but he still made it into the Bible. He’s One of the Twelve, and he betrayed Jesus. Got him killed for a few pieces of silver. He got paid, and he’s been remembered and philosophized about for two thousand years. Why can’t I do what I do? I’d say it takes at least two hundred dead CEO’s, aspiring politicians, and rival drug dealers to equal even half a Jesus. I figure I’m in the clear.

Up the stairs, one at a time. They’re carpeted. Who carpets stairs these days? Jesus. But it makes the job easier. A carpeted stair is a quiet stair. Last door on the right, master bedroom. That’s what the floor plan says. In we go. And there he is, sleeping like a baby.

It’s your turn. Here. Take the knife. Make it quick, ear to ear, apply even pressure like I showed you. And remember Judas. Judas wrote us a blank check. Let’s cash it in.

Jake Disch lives in South Korea, where he teaches English, writes weird stories, and misses Mexican food.

15 comments:

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

That was really good. The Catholic undertones really added to it and the narration was tremendous.

Bill Baber said...

do i sense a bit, just a wee bit, of underlying Catholic guilt? Really well done!!

Anonymous said...

Sweet!

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to bet that many recovering Catholics could identify with this.

Which is kinda creepy, come to think of it...

Bruce Harris said...

Very dark. Very good.

Mitch said...

Cool story. Obviously a Catholic childhood makes you creative!

LINDA FAULKNER said...

I like the way you went back and forth between the mental meanderings and the impending murder. Great tension!

Jake said...

Thanks very much for reading and for the kind words, everyone!

Deanna said...

Now...aren't you glad you were raised Catholic? Loved the story!

Anonymous said...

Good writing! Good story! Glad I got a chance to read
it. Aunt Judy

Antonia Woodville said...

good one, really liked that. Strange, moody and very evocative.

Christopher Pimental said...

Thumbs up.

Beach Bum said...

Just surfing around and stumbled here. Great story!

Paul D. Brazill said...

Top stuff.

Chris Rhatigan said...

Smooth. Like how this played out on two wavelengths.