Bullseye envisioned the killer of myths, faiths and fables. He smiled at the twenty-something, curvy brunette, and stared, neither at her inviting smile nor her ample, and welcoming chest, but rather at the ashen cross on her forehead.
She made eye contact as the subway closed in on his last stop. Staring at the cross, he unbuttoned the top of his gray overcoat, and revealed a Roman collar.
Her eyes twinkled, and her left side of her mouth curved upward. She nudged closer, smiling. “Father?”
“My child,” the killer said warmly with a purposeful trace of a Mid-Eastern accent. I see you started your day with God,” he said eyeing her ashen cross again under the brim of his fedora.
Her head dipped demurely. Then she proudly declared, “Mother wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“God bless her,” he said while thinking, this dirty slut probably performed fellatio last night. “She must be a great woman, and I see the fruits of her labor have not fallen far from mother tree.” His eyes zeroed in on her forehead again.
The brunette smiled. I must say, I have never seen a Priest on a subway before.”
He laughed inside, but his lightly darkened, disguised with makeup face, never wavered. “My dear, God uses many types of chariots to do his good work.”
She laughed as the subway jerked and then decelerated.
A mechanical voice plagued by static announced, “Forty-second Street, Grand Central Station.”
He spoke over the hiss. “My stop. Remember our sinful nature, and recognize God’s forgiveness.” He folded his hands and bowed slightly.
“Thanks,” she said, then thought that he did not exactly seem the celibate type the way he had leered at her.
He stepped off the subway and looked across to where the local 6-train platformed. He was encumbered with an over-the-shoulder-bag, but he decided the weather was scripted for the day, and headed for the stairs.
With several steps to climb, he saw a swirling gray sky punctuated by swiftly falling snow. He smiled as the first hard, wet flakes struck his face.
When he emerged on Lexington Avenue, an umbrella flew at him with deadly aim, striking him forcefully in the right thigh. His grin twisted to a grimace. He looked up angrily.
A gaunt, elderly woman sheepishly approached. “I’m so sorry,” she pleaded.
The killer smiled and handed her the umbrella. In a halting Indian accent, he told her, “It’s okay. Anyway, I have someone else to kill today.”
Her eyes widened and she edged backward.
Tremulous, “You’re, uh, kidding?” Her face twitched like a timid mouse, but her eyes expressed hope, like maybe the cheese was not attached to a trap.
His face was dispassionate, but his tone serious. “I wish I was.” He flashed a smile as if to suggest otherwise, and then tipped his hat revealing a dark bushel of wavy hair. “Be careful in this nasty weather.” Despite the gusting winds, his wig held firm.
She thanked him, and gripped her umbrella tightly as she departed.
He pivoted and walked towards 5th Avenue. Making a right, he saw the double spires of St. Patrick’s Cathedral rise three hundred feet into the snowy heavens. Across the street was Rockefeller Center, where a sculptured Atlas held the weight of the world on his shoulders.
The killer laughed. The Greek Gods once ruled the world, only to be replaced by more elaborate fabrications. We’re mortals. No god, or gods intervened in our mundane lives.
After all, there were no miracles against a well-aimed bullet.
He walked up a short flight of stairs past a few policemen huddled together, and stood before two double bronze doors that weighed ten thousand pounds each.
Two weeks prior, a most helpful tour guide provided that factoid and gleefully answered all his questions. Ms. Giovanni appeared dazzled by his alluring smile, Armani suit and Italian accent.
Despite his contempt for religious places of worship, St. Patrick’s was a magnificent church. The stained glass windows, the chapels, and the marble altars, indeed there was much to marvel. Not all religions managed to have such a glorious spectacle as New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. So, today’s deed was an extra thrill.
As he finally strode through the bronze doors, he recalled the legend where St. Patrick banished all snakes from Ireland. The accounts varied, but one thing remained certain. It was as fictitious as the exploits of Hercules. Snakes were not indigenous to the Emerald Isles.
Myths, he raged.
Warm, stuffy air greeted his nostrils and he gagged in disgust before suppressing his revulsion. There they were. The faithful arriving to bear their cross. Next to Easter and Christmas, what other Christian holiday drew such attendance?
He especially despised Ash Wednesday.
He gazed at the arriving flock, and assigned sins they were here to ask God’s forgiveness for: Cheating on taxes, an adulterer, an alcoholic wife beater, the race-hating bigot and clearly gluttony by the size of her girth. Hypocrites. Your worthless devotion.
Faith, he seethed.
He was a lion. The Christian cattle were his prey.
Since the sheep were forming to the right, he headed straight. Just as he stepped forward, a preppie, pencil-pushing plebe brushed into him, and moved on without an apology. Asshole. He was blabbing with his female companion about getting a picture of the Altar of Saint John the Evangelist.
Speaking of assholes. If only this apocalyptic shit-spreader had been killed like his brother James.
Today, if someone uttered St. John’s lunatic rants of the Apocalypse, we’d squirrel that seed in the nuthouse. Instead however, his revelations have sprouted, and strangled mankind with an atmosphere of gloom. How many times had he scoffed as some windbag preacher forecasted a date for the arrival of this so-called Antichrist? The date always passed. The excuse is, always of course, the human element of miscalculation.
The only plus to the Evangelist’s ramblings was the wealth of fiction it created, both in cinema and literature. Sure, God usually prevailed, but evil always grabbed a few souls before being vanquished. Today, he’d move the abacus in the devil’s direction, although he considered his musings as, funny talk. Satan was no more real than Hades, Asmodeus, Baal, Iblis, or Loki. Superstitions used to intimidate mankind.
Fables, he stormed.
He was not intimidated. This was a time to spit back at generations of lies with an unholy vengeance. Let them grab their rosaries and other superficial talismans. Their monopoly on our minds is over. It was time to break free of religious institutions. It’s a new world order.
Walking forward through the nave, he reached the end of the pews and moved down the center aisle towards the sanctuary.
A few paces further, he stopped. Slouched and snoring was a disheveled man, who had not seen a shave by the sight of him, or a shower by the smell of him, in quite some time. A vagrant. Perfect. When life was hell for the homeless, how could such a man believe in God?
He took the shoulder strap off and placed the bag on the floor. Nonchalantly, he sat next to the man, quickly seized his wrist and with his other hand, injected a needle in his arm. The man stirred. “Peace my brother,” the killer said in a soothing voice. “I’m leaving you a few things. There’s some food. But, first rest.”
Smells of alcohol and vomit rose off the homeless man’s body. The killer winced as he placed two paper bags besides the man. He moved back to the aisle, thrilled to escape the man’s aroma. He removed his overcoat and swung it over his right arm. With the same hand, he grabbed the bag and walked with it by his side.
When he reached the sanctuary, he turned right towards the sout