Father Amargosa, the Bitter Priest
READ BY ANDREW GABRIEL ROSE
VIDEO BY MIRACLE JONES
He was given a choice before his walk to the gallows. He could either carry an exquisite illuminated manuscript or a drab pistol laden with a single charge. With the pistol, he could then shoot whoever he wanted along his route to the scaffold. This would keep the crowds away from the potential martyr and also pacify his radical friends who wanted blood.
In the end, the priest chose the pistol.
It was thought that Amargosa would shoot one of his guards or a public official. Others insisted that he would use the pistol on himself after seeing the inept knot and shallow drop that awaited him on the platform.
But he did neither.
He mounted the stairs slowly, two shallow steps at a time. He held his shaved head high. He squinted.
He was surrounded. The mob that he loved came anyway. 15 feet above a surging, soughing mass, he approached the edge of the platform and spoke. The pistol dangled from his hand.
"Since you can provide no reason that I should be killed, as a final gift I will give you one."
He took rapid aim and fired his blunt slug through the face of a baby girl who was sleeping in her mother's arms in the front row.
The crowd made a sharp sucking sound, and lurched like a pig curling into the shape of a kidney bean after being struck with a stick. As one, the people released an awful sigh and then began to scream and fight their way forward.
The bitter priest wept. The pistol dangled from his curled index finger like a dead bird. Two shaking, incredulous hands placed the ring of rope around his throat. The mother shrieked and vomited over the twitching mess of her ruined child.
The trapdoor snapped open and Amargosa fell toward his final angry bout with flesh and shame, twirling slowly, babbling with an infant\'s frustration, breaking his fingernails in the hemp around his neck, trying not to lose.
"FATHER AMARGOSA, THE BITTER PRIEST"