I just need to drop by the basilica first, she said. The hoard of stray cats who followed her around sighed: a chorus. Once inside the church, they followed the lit pathway to the confessional, slinking sinuously through the pews, batting at the tapestry and getting into the body and blood. It felt like walking along the length of a classy train car, circa 1950, and many swaggered or curtsied. One pulled out a saxophone, and others tried on the priestly robes they found in the back room. They waited for her outside the box. Inside, she slipped a couple twenties through a hole in the grate.
What is your sin going to be? An elderly voice. I fear I may ingest an ungodly chemical. Somber. Oh, ain’t that a shame. Well. A sputtering. He slid a stamp of a paper through the grate, returned to humming a Cabaret song.
She picked it up daintily, staring at the little illustration of an angel and the bright, cheerful letters spelling out Indulgence, let it melt into her tongue, felt better. One of the cats offered her a paw to steady her gait as she stepped out of the confessional.
All of the cats were wearing sunglasses now. The jazz band played as she walked to the pulpit. She bobbed her head as she passed the tabernacle, in the way men often do to signify acknowledgement. The chorus signaled agreement.
Tyler Friend is an apricot/human hybrid from Tennessee. Their chapbook Ampersonate is available from Choose the Sword Press, and their work has appeared in Tin House, Hobart, and the window of a bar called Charlie O’s.