A mysterious hitman—a former Buddhist monk— always gives his mark a chance at redemption. Those who pass his tests get to live, and those who do not must die.
“The Boss” entered the church.
He had already ended the life of someone that day,—a rapist—who, in his quick evaluation, was not ripe for redemption.
He had given him the “pre-test”—to see at least if he had any shame or regret at about his karmic actions. It was a psychological evaluation he was very good at. He had been trained to tell if someone was lying. Not only by agents in Mossad and C.I.A. but buy a particular teaching-monk from a Korean monastery—a long time ago now it seemed…
The church was not his place of confession. He was not a Christian, but respected the space more than they did generally. It was simply a special place for him, he frequented often—no matter who was in his trunk, needing the later farmed-out-to-others professional dismemberment.
All of that bloody business would get done, it did not concern him in the slightest. He was here to be himself. And he did not consider himself a murderer, but a lover.
The church was mostly empty, a big beautiful expanse of stained glass, pew, and wood. Usually busy—except in the afternoons, like today.
He walked into the vaulted space, seeing the many little lighted candles, smelling the prayer incense. He breathed in the whole main room of worship, the vaulted expanse of ceiling expansively covering his deeds, but forgiving him—not that he required any (unlike maybe the piece of shit silent passenger in his car outside who, he knew was his hellish way to re-incarnate somewhere, hopefully not here).
He had done his job.
Taking a nice long quiet walk across the back of the church once before turning back, and then half way later, following down the center isle, he observed the few old women seated here and there; the few scattered not-too-drunk homeless refugees; a child with his mother, and one or two nearly nondescript head down disciples perhaps making a daily or more pilgrimage. It was quiet the way he liked it—mostly unattended.
A quiet little nun was his focus now, sitting in the second pew.
He took a seat, temporarily, in the same section but several rows behind her—and observed.
From behind she looked quite slight, nondescript, nun-ish. He couldn’t see her face, just the tilt of her head from behind. He also noticed—and felt—her contemplation. He respected that. It was a rare thing to see in any religious temples anywhere, he’d found.
He observed her more for several quite minutes. The young child in the other section to his left was fidgeting with the prayer books and being shusshed by his mother. He got up and exited to go further down the isle on his section and slowly, reverently placed himself ease fully a couple of human spaces beside the nun. He stared forward like her and joined her in contemplation.
After another few long minutes, starring forward, not even praying or seeing the giant crucified jesus statue before him, but merely contemplating—he slowly turned his head to look at her. She was looked very handsome, he thought. Not exactly feminine, a slavic stoic angular seriousness, but attractive—definitely attractive.
She looked to be about forty, but could pass for younger, and would likely look like this for at least a decade. Tight, toned skin. Darkish hair, no grey at the temples of her habit. He saw that her hands too were quite youthful, but it was their repose and soft openness that he noticed now. He liked that.
He had been staring for a while, but no one—maybe not even she—noticed. He carefully slid over closer to her in the pew, once, and then twice, until he was right next to her.
Her eyes were closed. In her left hand she held her rosary over her heart. Her right hand was open on pew next to her right thigh. He admired at how surrendered the pose of her hand was, relaxed and palm up, like a saint in death, so perfect. She looked like a perfect statue of iconography, given up to God.
He was only barely a respectable distance away from her. He was focused on her right hand—a simple reach away. He lost himself in the contours of intersecting lines, the perfect manicure of her nails, and the healthy color of the skin under them, and the absence of callouses, although he could imagine she had done labor of a different kind.
Ever so slowly—as slow as he had been trained to walk in meditations in gardens far away from this place—he slid his own left hand towards her open palm. His knuckles were freckled and knotted a bit, his fingers long but not graceful. He even thoughtlessly noticed a spot of blood from his job that further revealed his own sinfulness as he ever so slowly touched her. Just the slightest contact with the underside of her open, resting, right hand
She never moved her face, or straightened her head to sit up. She was completely undisturbed from her contemplation. And he liked that. Very much.
He was still too, joining her statue. He reveled in the static intimacy. He did not wait for anything to happen.
After a time—slower than he’d ever moved in this or his past lifetimes anywhere, perhaps—she turned her hand over to join his in an eventual firm grasp.
This is why “The Boss” goes to church.