Hollow Be Thy Name

Our father, who art in heaven,

A hot shower with clean water. For as long as I wanted. And central heat with clean, fluffy towels when I get out. White cotton towels like angel’s wings. Clean sheets and a woman who wasn’t trading it for rations. There’s heaven for you. That’s all. Nothing more.

Hallowed be thy name;

Did I say hollow? Did I think it? Oh crap…

Thy kingdom come,

If this is thy kingdom, I wish I’d bet on the other team! We looked forward to this for two thousand years? You sold us a load!

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

So you want us to kill Zack. I get it. But really, is this going on up there too? I really could use something to look forward to besides frozen Zack.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And peanut butter. Crunchy.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us.

I killed six Zack today. One of them took down Boondoggle. Right in the calf. That guy was always making impossible things out of rope. He had a real talent for knots. Sorry, but this one is asking a bit more than I can take today. I don’t know how we’re going to replace that guy. He was cool, in his own weird way. Zack’s going to pay for that tomorrow. I don’t give a damn.

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

Too late for that. How many deadly sins did I commit today? Wrath, lust, sloth, greed, glutton, and envy. Six out of seven. All but pride. Just like yesterday and the day before.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.

Thine maybe, but not ours. We’re cold and hungry and under siege and losing for ever and ever.  We’re not going to make it through January. If the Z’s don’t get us, winter will. We could really use some intercession if you’re not too busy. Or maybe a cargo plane full of supplies if it’s not asking too much.




Father Joseph was always struck by the beauty of seeing grown men tear up in the sanctuary at the sound of the most fundamental of all prayers.


Joseph gathered up his followers and joined forces with a dozen or so pagans and the fortieth squad of Corpse Corps. They headed out for the hill by the water tower at Thornden Park. It had always been one of his favorite spots in Syracuse.

Never before had a mass been delivered so quietly or so well armed.

They stood at sunrise, facing east, and Joseph delivered an Easter prayer that he remembered from the Internet back when it existed.

In his basso profundo voice, he rumbled

God our Father,
by raising Christ your Son
you conquered the power of death
and opened for us the way to eternal life.
Let our celebration today raise us up
and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us….

And somebody, subconsciously sensing the pollen bursting forth on the spring breeze, trying in vain to resist as Persephone tickled her nose, sneezed as the sun burst over University Hill.

They heard the moan immediately. The crocuses were not the only thing springing forth from the matted grass.

They never returned to Hancock.

It’s not known whether or not Father Joseph survived long enough to perform last rites. If international mail service ever begins again, he will be nominated for beatification.

Love in the Time of Solanum

It was a world of want, of need, yet everything was for sale. Everything had a price.

And the price of love was too high. No one could afford it.

Who would invest in another mouth to feed? Who would want to have to back up the words “in sickness and in health” when sickness was far more likely than health? When poorer was far more likely than richer? When a little body heat wasn’t worth the cost of sharing food?

Love was for sale in the Zone, but only on a short-term basis. And everyone knew it.

Continue reading ‘Love in the Time of Solanum’


Meaker stood in the priest’s doorway as Joseph looked up from the chapter he’d been studying. Meaker shifted his weight once from left to right. He looked uncharacteristically nervous.

“Why hello, John. What brings you by here?” the priest asked with his disarming smile and singsong inflection.

“It’s Skulls, Father. He’s asking for you.”

“And he got you to be his messenger? What’s going on?”

“He’s been bitten, Father, and he says he won’t take the Walk until he’s talked to you first.”

“Oh.” The wide smile faded from Joseph’s face. “That certainly changes things.” He turned his back and started to gather his things.

Continue reading ‘Sanctified’



Father Joseph Tutombu was the only member of Corpse Corps who did not complain about doing disposal duty. The man never, ever stopped smiling.

As a result, Chuck usually avoided him like the plague. There was something suspicious about a smiling priest, especially a foreign-born one. But today was special. Today was the anniversary of the day when. Chuck saw to it that he was paired with the Kenyan expatriate. Someone had to suffer today, and a priest was as good a target as any.

They set the body next to the bonfire. Joseph knelt down next to it and said a few words under his breath before putting a drop of oil on the corpse’s forehead and using his finger to make a cross with it.

He looked at the gray clouds overhead, a certainty in the Central New York sky. “Hey Joe, beautiful day to be doing God’s work, isn’t it?”

Continue reading ‘Peace’