MARTYR • by David E. Oprava

Perplexed, yet oddly aroused by the seminal t-shirt in the grungy shop, I stood staring at “Smoking for Jesus.” I had to buy it. Once I got home, tried it on over the beer gut and the moderate moobs, I studied my bearded reflection in the mirror. Then I went outside. Lit up a fag and stood in the bijou garden feeling like a martyr. I was smoking for Jesus. Sitting down under the Jasmine bush and cracking a tin of strong lager I thought, I am now drinking for Jesus as well. After the sixth tin my mission took on a messianic quality. I would get headily twatted and proclaim to the small terraced street on which I live, that I was going to do everything Jesus could not do, due to his untimely death, and thus fulfil his true potential. After ten tins, it seemed like a calling.

At some point between the then 4 pm and 6 pm when my wife got home, I heard a voice, female, saying, “You are an idiot.” Unable to mouth the correct litany I had practiced, I nodded sagely and assured her through knowing looks and saintly smiles that I was onto something.

Still wearing the shirt the next day and feeling a tad Joan of Arc, I strode into the local caf to order the mongo brekky, five sausages, five eggs, chips, beans, etc. and revelled in the fact that JC had never had the joy of such fare. Another voice in my head, this time male, said, thank you, that was fucking brilliant.

Thus began a week-long sojourn into the holy. More beer, new extremes of inebriation, mild forms of sado-masochism performed with various varieties of fauna and flora, in depth reading of pornographic literature and art combined with heavy internet usage of the same vein gave me an ethereal glow that still only elicited, “You’re an idiot,” from my wife. The truly holy are never understood, only scorned. The male still echoed, that was fucking brilliant.

A month into my missionary position, for that is how I saw myself, the shirt had become truly holy in the rip-tear-dilapidated sense. I was sporting a certain Lazarus style and whilst not yet sure I had completed my destiny, I returned to the self-same shop to buy another shirt.

“Sorry dude, sold out.”

“Excuse me?”

“Dude, none left, like, all gone.”

I fretted. The thought of others on similar paths of saviour fulfilment made me feel cheap, slutty almost. I needed to up the stakes, take this to new extremes. I made a list. The most far-fetched and ridiculous things I could imagine, eating ice cream with a shovel, playing the harmonica into a toilet bowl, licking the Velcro on my children’s shoes, anything that HE could not have done. Yet, I was still not fulfilled.

Being a pious man and not wanting to break any vows to God, country, tax office, or wife, I was on the brink. I was skittery on going too far, but thus far every deed committed in the Lord’s name had been thus rewarded with a deep, internal, almost Terry Wogan-esque, thank you. The next steps started to become clear. I needed to transcend the boundaries of the mundane, absurd, and bizarrely perverse, to the downright sinful.

There was only one thing I could think of. I needed to find a cheap whore. It was the only way to truly fulfil my destiny. To be honest I had always wanted to screw a hooker, but now, with God on my side, it was fate. So, I looked in the Yellow Pages. None to be found. Online, not much luck. Getting into my Ford Fiesta, I went cruising. I came across various dogging points (in which I did take part, although no money changed hands) and enjoyed several hitch-hiking gropes on the back roads of the county, but a true prostitute was elusive. I ditched the car to pursue on foot by the underpass of the dual carriageway through the lower end of town, and there, amidst the scree and scrub, I found her. In the shadows lit only by her fag end, she said, “Business, darling?”


The price was very reasonable and I paid gladly.

Undoing my belt, kneeling on the fetid mattress shielded by the concrete struts of the road above, my raw end about to possibly make contact with veritable canyon walls, the man’s voice said, “Sorry mate, been there, done that.”

Collapse, shrink, flop.

I couldn’t complete, let alone make it home. Horror. T-shirt abandoned in the bin, wife waiting patiently in bed, stinking body washed, shaved, and a month’s worth of evangelical fervour shat out, I came to her covers.

“Feel better, love?”

No, but yes. It dawned on me that I didn’t need God in my life to be an asshole, drunk, whoremonger, pervert, wanker, jerk. I could do that on my own. Therefore, my atheism restored, I went back to work, family, friends, golf on the weekends, book club meetings, Sunday pub lunches, and normality assured that when I die, I will dissolve into the nothingness I was meant to be. The only blemish left after my run in with HIM was the small tattoo I had done on palm of my hand. A picture of an asshole, to remind me, everyday, that I was born this way, just another man with every fucking desire in the world and only in need of a huge set of paradigm-crushing balls to just do it without an excuse, religious or otherwise.

I tried to explain this to my wife a month later.

She sighed, “Now you are just a self-righteous, preachy idiot.”

And yes, yes I am.

David E. Oprava writes out of Cardiff, U. K.

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