The worst thing about Catholic school in a small town was that you never really got away. Even when the Summer rolled around you still found yourself stuck seeing the same god fearing faces you had to suffer through during the school year. I swear, we all thought Heaven had to be a place without any damn nuns.
Every Saturday, the summer I turned sixteen the boys and I, we were stuck helping out at the church. We weren’t altar boys, we were all just serving lengthy detention sentences for various crimes, ranging from the harmless (numerous cigarettes smoked behind the school while class was going on) to more serious offenses (J.P. had referred to Sister Meredith as a “fucking penguin-looking old cunt” for taking his firecrackers, which we’d used to start a small fire in study hall.) None of us were particularly quick learners, instead of readying communion wafers for morning mass we were out behind the storage room sucking down nicotine like our mortal souls depended on it. At least, that’s the way we looked at it. Jesus seemed like a pretty hip dude, we figured he probably smoked a pipe back in his desert-wandering days.
"Guys, let’s hurry this up. Rev said we could split once we finished and Holly’s parents are still out of town. I’d really like to get some time in with her this afternoon," I said in between puffs of smoke.
"Keep your dick in your pants Dean, just because she let you have a go at it once doesn’t mean she’s gonna give it up every time you’ve got ten minutes to spare," J.P. blurted out, "besides, I’ve got a joke to tell."
"Wait a second, Dean and Holly are fucking?" Jerry Lee was always the last one to the party.
"Yeah man, did you completely ignore me last week when we were reading comics? I told you guys that Holly and I made love on my birthday."
"Dude, don’t say ‘made love,’ It makes you sound like a pussy." J.P. was kind of right.
"Well. That’s what she called it anyway."
"How could you expect me to pay attention to you anyway, man, we were reading comics."
"Jerry Lee, you were reading Superman, you weren’t even reading a good book."
"Would you two asshats just let me tell my joke?" J.P. muttered impatiently. I flicked the rest of my cigarette to the ground and stomped the cherry out with the heel of my converse.
"Just make it quick man." He looks like he’s just won the lottery, grinning from ear to ear like he was the cheshire cat in that book we had to read in English.
"Alright, so three nuns are in a bus crash." He pauses to light another cigarette.
"I like where this is going already," I smile.
"Okay, so there they are, standing at the pearly gates and there’s St. Peter looking all regal and shit in his heavenly robes, right? He’s giving the nuns the whole speech, y’know? Faithful servants of the lord, blah blah blah. And then he says to the nuns, he says "I must ask one question to each of you before you enter into his domain." He may not have been much of a wordsmith, but J.P. was always good with jokes. He got this manic look in his eyes, but he was always cucumber cool and laid back with his delivery.
"So St. Peter says to nun number one, ‘Sister, hast thou ever seen a penis?’ The nun, she crosses herself and then gives St. Peter a guilty confession, ‘Yes St. Peter, I have seen a penis.’St. Peter looked her up and down for a minute and then pointed at a basin of holy water, ‘Wash thine eyes my child and then you may enter his domain." Jerry Lee drops his cigarette to the ground and buries it into the dirt with his shoe.
"So the nun, she washes her eyes, crosses the gate, and bam, she’s in heaven. So St. Peter turns to nun numero two-o and he says to her ‘Sister, hast thou ever seen a penis?’ Now, this nun, she looks at the ground a minute and starts to cross herself, but she gets shoved out of the way by the third nun, who makes a mad dash to the basin of holy water and starts gargling." J.P. studies our faces as he takes a final dramatic drag off his Camel Wide. Jerry Lee and I are both smiling pretty big.
"St. Peter’s completely fucking bewildered, he turns to the third nun and says, ‘Child, what in the name of the heavenly father are you doing?’ Nun number three, she spits the holy water out and starts walking toward the pearly gates again, ‘Pete, if you think I’m gargling that after she washes her ass in it, you’ve got another thing comin’!’"
All three of us burst out laughing right around the time Sister Meredith comes around the corner. She heard every word. We had another month added to our sentences, indentured fucking servants to St. Mary’s until Labor day weekend. I didn’t get laid that afternoon, but it wasn’t so bad. I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.
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