Oct 11, 2006

A great gulf fixed
part one

The bishop shot himself in the morning.

It was after morning mass, the sparsely attended mid-week morning mass in the middle of the long green season of ordinary time. He was wearing a green stole embroidered in gold over his shoulders and when they found him the right side had turned a weird purple color with the bishop's blood.

He didn't die right away. At first, Bp. Paul Thomas stood in the garden. The weeds were growing up around St. Francis. The branch on the tree next to the garden wall was too heavy and the bark was pulling off the wood.

He slipped out after the service, not waiting for the few old ladies and young women with children to file out into the daylight and kiss his ring. He slipped out while the last mass bell was still humming some and the people said, "thanks be to God."

He put his left hand on top of his bald head. A fat bird standing on the garden wall turned around and looked at him.

He pulled the gun from his robes and put it between his eyes, between where the left lens and the right lens of his glasses met at his nose. He put his thumb to the trigger and he shot himself.

He didn't die right away. He couldn't hear anything after the noise of the gun and he looked at the sky.

The bird flew away. The sky was quiet.