A journal of narrative writing.

Raspercecious was a word invented by our ruddy-faced tenth-grade catechist, an ex-Marine turned priest who picked one student per section to comprise his ragtag team of beadles, named for medieval university lackeys, official ass-kissers, aides to pass out his pop quizzes, to shoot up the first hand during his oral inquisitions on Church law, lonely boys who collected papers and clapped erasers behind the gym after class, mouse-boys who sometimes joined this man on his camping trips, sliding their sleeping bags into the open tailgate of his green Ford F-150 pickup, the one with the camper in its bed, the only vehicle in the Jesuit lot with a sticker of a sportfish breaching the water after a fly reeled in by the man’s man in hip waders near the cutbank, the only vehicle, it’s come out, owned by a pedophile, one who laid at least one suicidal beadle in his creel, gasping for air in the wet wicker, who left a generation of alumni to open the announcing mea culpa email with little surprise, one of whom, me, untouched, recalled (there in the moonglow of my laptop screen) how that word raspercecious hissed across his lips, and wondered whether (to him) it meant fallen or just indelible, a cassocked snake staining the riverside grass, trying to remember what he’d taught me made a sin mortal, the sinner hell-bound, knowing, in the eraser-clap cloud of my mid-life soul, this must be it.