Janis came into my life after an early Confession. There I was on my knees in the third pew, Hailing and Fathering and A Little Piece of My Heart blasted my mind. I cannot to this day say where I’d ever heard it before, but there it was: raspy, full, evisceratingly Divine Intervention.

You may have noticed I am burying the lead. What was the Confession?–there must be an association, right?

“Forgive me Father for I have sinned.”

“What is your Confession My Son?”

“Thomas and I did unspeakable things Father.”

“Do tell My Son.”

“Really just unspeakable Father.”

“My Son it is better to get it out. It is God’s desire.”

“Unspeakable. With one another.”

“Details My Son.”

I told him about the tent sleepover in the backyard, about the bag of Funyuns and the Cherry Cokes and my suggestion that we zip our sleeping bags together to keep ourselves warmer and how his Funyuns breath made me giggle and how that caused my hand to brush closer to him than I otherwise might have.

“And once we started Father it was like we couldn’t stop. Was I possessed Father?”

“No My Son. Just naughty. You were very very naughty. Now go and say the Act of Contrition on your own. Two Rosaries. Go. Go.”

“The funny thing Father is that I never felt less lonely as in that sleeping bag with Thomas.”

“I said go! My Son.”


Mother kept her pearls in a black lacquered box. On each transgression I was surprised by how heavy they were and soothed by how they felt about my bare chest. I told myself it was as if I were merely wearing Rosary beads and that that was Godly and Jesus would surely approve. I imagined Jesus on the Cross wearing pearls against a sweaty chest and how that image gave the scene just the right touch of gruesome elegance.

I wore Mother’s pearls one night in the tent with Thomas and though he didn’t actually make fun he gave the impression he wanted to. At least it was clear he was uncomfortable. We didn’t do it that night even though the point of my wearing pearls was to make it extra special but instead it just made it extra sad. I lay awake staring at the gathering condensation on the tent’s orange ceiling, shaking the support pole to see if a droplet might fall on my forehead.


Thomas came on my chest and then promptly crawled off and began to dress.

“Gotta go.”

With that I knew that this was the last time. In Confession I told Father that what I felt most guilty about was how sad it made me because I knew I should be glad Thomas was gone and that that temptation had been exorcized. Father said that temptation was human and that our God was a forgiving God so long as I shared all the details. And that put my mind back to Janis and to another song I don’t remember ever hearing but there it was blasting: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”


I was rollerblading the mall parking lot wearing the helmet Mother insisted on. I would have doffed the dorkiness as soon as I was out of the driveway if not for the fact that tucked under my Def Leppard t-shirt were the pearls. I learned at an appropriate-enough age that one should not break two Commandments simultaneously. To covet Mother’s pearls and to disobey Mother at the same time: no no no.

And there was Thomas, walking hand-in-hand with that owl-eyed Laura Trinitata. Do you suppose he said hello, looked my way, noticed another human was in his Saintly presence? Anyway, I happened to know by no small accident the size of his cock and that gave me a certain and powerful pleasure. I sat down on the curb around one of the parking lot’s light posts. I pulled the pearls from beneath my shirt as a reflex really. I read that you can tell the quality of a pearl by its smooth evenness and its roundness. Mother’s felt smooth to me but then I had little in this world to compare anything by. But it felt good and right and even Holy to me.

“Hail Mary, full of Grace.”


About the Author

J. Edward Kruft has had stories published in such fine journals as MoonPark Review and Pithead Chapel. Originally from the western-most reaches of Washington state, he lives with his husband, Mike, and their adoptees—Siberian Husky Sasha Maria and Pom-Chow mix Nina Garcia—in NYC and in the Catskills, and now also Savannah, GA. His fiction can be found on his Web site: and he can be followed on twitter: @jedwardkruft


Photo by Shalone Cason on Unsplash