Here Thar Be Monsters!

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21.12.10

The Confession

Your heart is heavy as you reach to tug open the door of the Holy Depository. You try to move inconspicuously around the edge of the main chamber and take a number with as few people seeing you as possible. You spot your neighbor. You feel a little better because you know he used his lawnmower over the weekend, so you are not the only one.

At the far end, under an enormous clock and an LED with the number 48 showing on the display, is a line of cubicles. The display changes to show number 49 as a weeping young woman exits one of the cubicles, and a rather rotund middle-aged man walks in. You stare at the woman, just knowing that she used a hairdrier or traded sex for A/C. It makes you feel somewhat better about your own transgressions.

You glance down at your number. 57. You have a few minutes, so you sit quietly in the waiting area to say a prayer to the All-Seeing Eye.

After a short wait, your number comes up. You stand, but keep your eyes firmly fixed on the floor. You want to appear properly sorrowful, and also you don't want to see if anyone is watching you go in.

As you enter the cubicle, a cheerful round face greets you on a monitor.

"Welcome sinner. Please insert your credit or debit card in the slot below before beginning. All charges will be automatically processed for your convenience. In the event that you have insufficient funds, a hold will be placed on future deposits until the amount is paid in full.

"Eye bless you and happy penitence, my slave."

You slide your card into the slot and press your right thumb onto the pad until the little light comes on. Then you take your seat just as a small window slides open and a shadowy figure sits back on the other side of the wall and adjusts his tie.

"Bless me, Banker, for I have sinned. It has been two weeks since my last confession."

"Yes, my slave, go on."

"Well, last Sunday, I packed up the family and a picnic lunch and we took a totally frivolous drive in the country. The other day, I set the thermostat at 65 just because I was tired of sweating and changing my shirt four times a day. We had this tree that was rubbing on the house every time the wind blew, and the roots were starting to break up the foundation of the house, so I cut it down, and I had the intention of using the wood for fires next winter. Last week, I couldn't make up my mid what I wanted to eat, so I stood with the refrigerator door open for ten minutes. I've been nervous because of reports of robberies in my neighborhood lately, so I've been leaving the porch light on at night. Also, I've been watering my lawn because I am tired of the big brown spots in front of the house.

"I am heartily sorry for having offended my Lord and I beg forgiveness for my sins. Amen."

"My slave, we all wish for those little comforts that we used to enjoy. That's why we have gone to so much trouble to keep the banks cold inside and have nice little gardens in the front, so you can find respite in this time of trouble.

"We are all human, and prone to fail every now and then. Just remember that it is your fault, through the Original Sin of Selfishness that has led us to this point. Whenever you have a moment of weakness and feel like you might sin again, just take your Holy Flog and beat yourself until the feeling passes. It's not easy being holy, you know.

"Do you feel true remorse for your sins?"

"Yes, Banker, I do."

"Good, my slave. I want you to say 10 Green Mantras, buy three carbon credits and plant two new trees to replace the one you cut down.

You are absolved from your sins, in the name of the Franklin, the Grant and the Holy Jackson. Amen.

"Go in peace and sin no more, my slave. Please remember to take your credit card on the way out. Eye bless you!"

The small window slides shut and you sit for a moment, feeling light and almost giddy. You sins has weighed on you for the past couple of weeks, but now you had cleared your conscience and had just paide to plant coastal bermuda grass on seven hectare of sensitive wetlands. How could you feel more joy? And it only cost $70. What a bargain!

You stand and take your card from the slot and pause while you wait for your receipt. As you pull it off, you turn with almost the grace and poise of a ballet dancer, as you float out into the waiting area once again, only this time your head is held high and there's a small grin on your face. You quickly scan the room and see all those still waiting, looking somber and embarassed. How sad, you think. So many sinners.

As you burst into the cool afternoon sun, you almost want to burst into song. Even as you crush yourself into the mass transit train with thousands of other sinners, you feel at peace for having saved a small part of this great planet. You've seen picutres of it from satellite and it looks so beautiful and serene, just haning in space. You almost commit another sin by wishing you could leave your residential camp and see just a little of it. Your dad used to tell you stories about travelling around on airplanes and going to different parts of the world.

You catch yourself just as your are about to sin. Thankfully, you are in a state of grace, having just come from confession. You make a mental note to donate $10 to Greenpeace in thanksgiving for not sinning this time.

The mass transit disgorges you on to a dreary grey platform in a dreary grey residence block, where you walk up 15 flights of stairs to your two room flat. Your wife and only child greet you.

You child looks up at you and examines your eyes.

"Dad, you look different."

"Yes, my child. I went to confession today."

"Oh boy! Now I can tell my playgroup that we don't have to report you to the Conservation Board! I'm so happy, Dad! What was your penence?"

"I had to buy three carbon credits. Oh, and I have to say 10 Green Mantras."

"Great, Dad! We can do that after dinner. As a family!"

You look at your wife. She is beaming with pride and you shoot her a quick smile.

"We saved the bathwater allotment for you dear," she winks. "It's still pretty clean. Why don't you freshen up before dinner?"

"What's on the menu tonight, dear?"

You wife can hardly contain herself, "Are you ready for this? I got use some protein paste and algae cakes!"

"What?! How in the world...?"

"I was on my way home from my third job," she gushes, "When I saw that the weekly quota was being delivered. I got in there and beat the crowds!"

You can hardly control yourself. You grab her and plant a big, sloppy kiss on her forehead. "I am so lucky to have been assigned to breed with you!"

"Dad..."

You look over to see your child standing with the dreaded Sin Log and pen ready.

"Do I have to write you up for Public Display of Affection?"

You cut a quick glance at your wife and then everyone begins to chuckle.

"Oh, you know it's Affection Night. What a kidder!"

The whole family embraces in a fastive mood.

"Eye bless us, every one," your genetically perfect child says.

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