This was an idea I had for a few months now. I'm sure most of you have seen the movie Fight Club. If you can remeber there is a scene where a priest is confronted my own of the orginal Fight Club members ( He sprays him with the hose ) my submission here is just an expansion on how a priest comes to be a member of Fight Club. I hope I didn't over step any bounds copyright wise, and if I did I assue you I didn't mean to. Please enjoy my modest little essay and submit anything you'd like about it.
My entire life I’ve devoted, well since I was twelve I’ve devoted myself to worshiping God. Every day for the past 18 years it’s been pretty much the same thing. I’d wake up pray, say grace, eat breakfast, take a shower, get dressed and go to various churches around the city and listen in on masses and preach what I though was the good word.
But every so often I would have this feeling, this indescribable wanting in the pit of stomach, this almost minute feeling of emptiness which I just (every since I was twelve) found my sanity in my faith and I really believed that it was saving me because every year …that feeling, that horrible selfish stinking feeling would get pushed down further and further.
I was raised with a very conservative family, but that’s the bad part, in fact it’s probably the best part of this demented little story. My father, ex-military good hard working man, granted our relationship never really spanned beyond talking about The Mets or fishing trips where we would just awkwardly mumble about my friends, his job or the weather but nevertheless he never laid a hand on me and I never went hungry so it wasn’t so bad at all. My mother was the one who really raised me. My mother was classic, something right out of a 1950’s postcard or something. She never worked, she was always cooking and everything was the devil. If you so muched sneezed around my mother she was calling it the devil and her hand would immediately be around the rosary cross that hung from her apron pocket.
I can still remember her, exactly what she looked like in those late summer afternoons. She would be standing next to the sink with her long hazel colored hair spun up into little perfect circular poofs around the sides of her head. Her white apron that shielded her from all the different baking confectionaries she worked with all day, nails always the same color of deep passion red, the same as her lipstick and every day a sun dress starched to perfection. But without a doubt I remember that rosary the most. I was a family air loom that my grandmother gave her and that no doubt her grandmother gave her mother and probably goes back about 5 generations. Gold, the whole thing every decade of that rosary was a pure rich amber color gold, probably worth a few thousand now that I think about it. I hated that damn thing, because I every time I saw it I got that feeling, that horrible disgusting wanting in the pit of my stomach.
It wasn’t just the cross that made me feel that feeling, I would get it anytime I saw something I wanted, something I didn’t have something I was jealous of …envy if you want to label it, but it was deeper than that, almost a loathing. I remember this kid Ryan Jennings he was the first one on our block to get an Atri 2600, when he invited me over one Saturday to play with it I wanted one so bad it hurt, for days the feeling didn’t go away. I finally got courage to ask my mother for one for Christmas, she slapped me on the back of the head and said “ Those thinks are the devil, now to confession”. The next time Ryan invited me over to play, I wanted to take the fucking thing and beat his skull in with it, not steal it because ya know that’s a sin, and besides where would I put it in my house? This was when I was about seven
For the next few years this it how it went, Jenny got a new bike, I wanted to run over her throat with it, Tom got a new baseball bad, I’d imagine his head caving in when I’d slam him with it, Brian gets a yo-yo I wanted to strangle him with it. Everywhere I looked people had all these things that I wanted, all this stuff that made them happy you could see it on their faces. Those pudgy little cheeks of all the kids playing with their shiny new toys it made me want to throw up on them and what ever it was they had just out of spite. I new this wasn’t normal; I knew that I needed to do something. So many times I would cry myself to sleep thinking of all the happy kids with all their new toys and I would wonder why I cared so much, what was wrong with me?
After about four years of suffering in silence, wearing a mask that looked like a perfect little boy while behind it there was a kid ripping himself apart on the inside I decided to do something about it. Something drastic, a last ditch resort if you will. I told my mother. I remember that day vividly and I always will no matter what happens. She was in the kitchen as always, I came up to her and asked if I could talk to her. She said
“Sure honey one seconded, let me just finish this” she smiled at me and looked back at whatever flour based sweet treat that cluttered our house she was currently working on. I
sat at the kitchen counter waited patiently. It was all I could possibly do with myself not to look at the cross. She washed her hands, walked over and sat down, “ Now what did you want to say to me dear?”
By the time I was done telling her, about all my urges all of my horrible wants and how every day is a struggle no to…shall we say, “Act out” she, my mother, my deer sweet mother had a look of complete horror on her face. She had realized that I was stranger, somebody she knew nothing about a stranger living her own home, a stranger she gave birth to. She took me by the hand and we went immediately to church. We stayed there for hours, just praying and praying not stopping, that perfect gold rosary hanging from her hands as we both said the same prayers in unison, barely stopped to breath for hours this went on until my lips where chapped and my throat raw. At about one o’ clock in the morning we walked home, and I felt numb and then I knew from that day forward I knew that this was the only way for me to stay sane, and repressed that hideous, grotesque feeling.
For eighteen years this went on, day after day the constant praying and with every day the repression of the feeling…. that demonic feeling. I unsurprisingly became a priest and I thought I’d finally become context with my life. I’d preach at St. Ida of Italy on Sundays, and from Monday to Saturday it was just a constant search for the next prayer session, the next masses to sit in on anything. Sometimes times I’d feel it creep up on me, the feeling, urge, sensation all these labels fit, and when it did I would just duck into the nearest diner, church, mall any place there was to sit and pray just like I did with my mother that one day. When my throat was raw enough and my lips dry enough and my soul numb enough I would go home and from shear exhaustion I would pass out. Just another day I won against my true self, who I really am.
Tuesday, St. Anthony’s care center has a prayer service once a month in there chapel that I usually lead. One my way there I pass paper street, the slums and I notice that lately more people have been coming in and out of those decrepit old houses. Nothing new I think to myself, probably just another new crack house or meth lab that has sprouted up, God save their souls. Then the car dealership where that one day I saw a man with a hose spraying down the sidewalk, I walked passed him giving him that universal “hello” with a nod and he did so back. As I went passed him about seven feet away I felt a sensation that was completely unfamiliar to cold, wet. I turn around to find that this man, who I’ve done nothing wrong to, has sprayed me with his hoes.
I look at this man, this large muscular man who’ve I have not provoked at all and he keeps spraying the sidewalk. I’m completely bewildered; maybe he mistook me for somebody else, perhaps it was just an accident I’m not sure but I have to know what this seemly nice looking person sprayed me with a hose. I approach him, cautiously I say “ Um excuse me I believe you just sprayed me with your hose” before I can but a period at the end of that sentence, another blast of cold, wet stinging water this time right into my face, and I feel it creep up on me the feeling is back. I look at him again he his staring me straight in the eye I say “ Why are you spraying me with your…” before I could even finish that sentence his large alligator skin hand hit the bible I was carrying at the time right out of my hands on to the wet ground he looks straight at it and then starts to spray it with his hose.
I’m 11 years old again looking at John Hanson playing with he new lawn dart set and wanting to impale his stomach with it. I look at this man he’s looking right back at me completely emotionless a stone cold face as if I deserved this. The feeling, the horrible feeling I’ve spent the better part of two decades trying to repress it’s now far beyond anything prayer in any religion could ever do for me and for the first time I’m glad I have this monster brewing inside me. For eighteen years I’ve been a good person doing everything I was supposed to do, I’ve had a few inner demons but goddamn it I’ve lived a good life never hurt anybody and this motherfucker thinks he can just step in and destroy and degrade the one thing I’ve allowed myself to have in this life? No way, and I one glorious awkward swoop of my fist I let it dropped laterally between the man’s collar bone and ear with an much force as I could manage. In that single beautiful moment that first time I let me embrace myself for what I really am, for the first time in eighteen plus years there was no feeling, no urge, no sensation for what I really am. For the first time in eighteen years, I’m happy just a few seconds.
Right before I opened my eyes I pictured that man on the ground writhing in pain from that devastating blow I had just delivered to him. However when I did open my eyes I saw this man looking right at me completely unscathed from the pathetic “12 year old girl” punch I’d just delivered. He’s got a half-cocked Mona Lisa smile and he’s staring right at me. I turn and scurry away he’s right behind me. He grabs my shoulders and pulls my to the ground. Squatting to the right of me he’s got his fist ready to deliver the final blow of this confrontation. When he does the feeling is like of any other, it’s not good but it’s not inherently bad epically for somebody like me. When his knuckles hit my nose it broke instantly, the lower part of his fist split the inside of my upper lip. It was over in less than a second but I felt like an hour.
As I was lying there sprawled out on the sidewalk, nose broken, blood all over my face I realized that this was by far the best thing that could have ever happened it me. I knew that everything was going to be okay, the feeling is now under my control. I felt and hand grab mine and help me to my feet, the man who had just saved my life hands me a handkerchief and says “Lets go get a beer..” wiping the immediate blood away from my face I say “ Sure that sounds good” He takes me to a bar called Jack’s Tavern we sit down and for the first 2 pitchers we don’t say a word to each other.
“ So what’s your name?” I say finishing off my fifth beer. “Holt” he say’s quietly and doesn’t ask mine back. “ So I have to ask why did you start a fight with me?” I lean forward on the table and Holt leans back “ It was homework, I had to start a fight with somebody you where just right place right time my friend” Holt pours another beer. “Homework…for what?” I say getting very interested in what he says. I looks me right in the eyes and says “ Rules 1 and 2” Holt takes out a piece of paper scribbles on it, hands it to me, pays for the beer and says “ See you later”
I look at the piece of paper my new best friend lest me, it says “This place 10’o clock Saturday night, stay after last call” The last thing I remember about that day, is after I read that note, the feeling came back, and I was overjoyed.
I haven’t been to church in months, all my priest clothes untouched I just wear the same old ratty t-shirt day after day, to the gym, to the store..everywhere. Tonight was going to be my fourth fight. I was going to call out this guys name Jacob; he worked at a local restaurant he looks like a solid fight, and better yet I might actually win. By this time the feeling it always with me, I feel like an animal some rabid dog on a chain leash. I’m not scared though for the first time in over eighteen years, I’m content with myself. All these years, I’ve wanted, every time I saw anything I didn’t have I wanted it, so bad that I would think about killing that person who owned it just out of spite. I never stole anything thing because even if I did it still wouldn’t be mine, It would just be somebody else’s superficial tangible possession, and I though that I was a bad person for wanting so much and that faith was the only thing I could do to make it hurt less.
But all these years I had it wrong, it wasn’t a wanting feeling, it was a needy feeling. I felt I needed all those things to make myself happy, but what I wanted was something I couldn’t explain it wasn’t a tangible item I was craving, it was acceptance. I just assumed that people wouldn’t accept me for who I truly, my mother almost disowned me and from that point on, ever since that first time I prayed myself raw I hid from the entire world ashamed for what I am. But ever since that first fight, that first punch that Holt introduced me to I’ve come to realize that people me, like us are just looking for something more.
So when Jacob’s elbow cracks my rib in two, I no longer need an Atir 2600 to be happy, when my fist breaks his nose and blood streams into his mouth, I realize a yo-yo is pointless, and when a rock solid knee splits the skin right above my nose and I get a mild concussion the idea of a bike is the stupid fucking think I’ve ever heard of. And while I lay there the room red because blood has filled my eyes I feel completely at peace with myself. This blood is mine, the fight is mine this moment is mine. Nobody can take it from me and nobody can ever have this.
If you don’t understand, don’t worry I have a way of help you to. Go out during a sunny day and pick a fight with a complete stranger. It’s like what Mr.Durden says…How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?