by Wade Christian

''IT must be some Judo-Christian thing.''
--Publishing intern

''Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,''
James, the altar boy, said from his side of the confessional.
''The wages of sin is death,''
Father McLachlan replied sagely,
as his hand chopped through
the wooden mesh separating them.

James rolled under the attack and out of the booth
like a stone rolling from a tomb.
He came out of the summersault, spun, saw the Father.
''Father McLachlan, my old master, I thought you had gone forever.''

''Only because I wanted you to think that,
young altar boy,'' he replied, assuming a sparring stance.
''Then prepare to reap the whirlwind,''
James said, as he launched a roundhouse kick
toward the Father's head.

The Father grabbed the tray of communion wafers
and blocked the blow, retreating a couple of steps,
and spilling the wafers in the process.
Even as the gong-like sound of the wafer tray
echoed through the cathedral
James grabbed the communion wafers
and hurled them, shuriken-style at his nemesis.

The priest staggered backwards, communion wafers lodged
in his body. ''You have grown strong, young altar boy,
but you have much left to learn before you can defeat me.
'Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,''' he said, as he threw a smoke bomb
at his own feet, and disappeared.

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