Feel the pain, the Pope said. Not just today, on Easter, but every day. Feel all people’s pain all the time, lest you forget how to be in touch with humanity. Lest you forget all of your own fortunes. Like having limbs, money, an iPhone. Feel the pain of immigrants, of the poor, of wanting to be more than you are. This day of all days, Easter, you must feel it. Feel everything. The Pope said to.
Valentin recited this to himself as he pulled the cloth of his exorasson down after masturbating with the quietest of reserve in the confessional. He admitted he had a problem that was only getting worse. And it seemed to do so right when the most important of Catholic holidays rolled around. Somehow, it just relieved the stress of everything. It provided the only form of release he could get, dealing day in day out with the constant questioning and neuroses of his parishioners. They all had their concerns: would Jesus ever really be resurrected again? Would Valentin like another traditional ham to add to his table that afternoon? Was there room to add one more song of Easter significance to the usual choir track list?
The barrage of questions went on and on. And with it came Valentin’s headaches, which could only be assuaged by the furious emission of his semen. It was thus that he would often pleasure himself in displeasure up to seven (a holy number) times a day in the confessional just to be able to get through, to perform the essential functions of his expected duties, plus what was expected of him in delivering the Easter sermon–more of a challenge with each passing year to breathe new life into. Oh, the infinite and unyielding pressure.
“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It’s been one year since my last confession,” a sultry female voice asserted from the other side of the screen.
Valentin had heard this voice before, knew somewhere within him that the sense of foreboding it instilled meant that he might actually need to masturbate while listening to this woman’s confession. And as she proceeded to tell him all she had done–or rather, who she had done and what he in turn had done to her–Valentin gave in to his baser desires, all the while reciting to himself what the Pope said in his Easter message: that we must always, no matter what, feel the pain. Feel the fucking pain, he recited internally as her verged on exploding.
It was no longer about what the presumable prostitute was describing to him anymore, it was about the mere sound of her voice, his ability to imagine anything he wanted on the other side–all the while reminding himself to feel the pain… with the blissful diversion. Unfortunately, his timing in succumbing to that three-second digression happened to occur just as the woman was concluding her sordid tale of letting a group of four men take turns with her various orifices. Thus, just as Valentin’s subtle wince of delight manifested into a moan, the woman behind the screen could hear it, prompting her to gasp in shock, burst forth from the confessional and unmask the proverbial wizard of Oz behind it.
Valentin couldn’t cover himself in time, his fluid soaked hand an instant giveaway even if his now flaccid appendage wasn’t showing. The woman, a plump 38-year-old with stringy brown hair and an overall disheveled appearance in her secondhand red dress with a fitless shape, looked at him as though she hadn’t just spent the past ten minutes telling him the most scandalizing of sins.
After she reported him to the proper “authorities,” Valentin was forced to leave his church in disgrace. But through it all, he reminded himself to feel the pain, as he often did on a regular basis as a result of abstaining from self-love altogether now that the pressures of his profession had been lifted. Without them, he saw no need for the formerly compulsory penile tithe.