Saint Jude By Carly Berg

March 27, 2014 Comments Off on Saint Jude By Carly Berg

Mama had thirteen kids, and a taste for shiftless men and corn whiskey. Us older kids brought home dimes from our paper routes and errands for the neighbor ladies. But Mama still had to go to St. Jude the Apostle’s for hand-me-down clothes, canned goods, and help with the rent money.

Mama said they gave an ounce of charity with a pound of moralizing, which made her so mad that one day she came home with the church’s most sacred holy relic in her brassiere. She pulled St. Jude’s pinky bone from between her bosoms for us kids to behold. Even the latest shiftless gasped.

That night came knocking from under the floorboards, same say someone would knock at the front door. Mama opened the inside door to the root cellar and there stood St. Jude himself. I knew him from Sunday school prayer cards and the ring of fire around his head.

He said, “As the patron saint of impossible situations, I see I’ve found the right place.”

Mama blubbered in her lit up state, but St. Jude lifted his hand to halt her. Well, his hand except for the pinky finger.

By and by, we settled back into our usual ways, figuring he needed impossible situations as much as we needed bailing out of them.

Sometimes Mama even called him Jude the Prude. She’d make him fetch her a bottle of hooch. Once or twice, she made him wash her feet. The latest shiftless man spluttered and gawked. But Mama said saints were martyrs, so they liked to be done wrong.

© 2013 Carly Berg

Carly Berg is a dark cloud hovering over sunny Houston. Her stories appear in several dozen journals and anthologies, including PANK, Word Riot, Bartleby Snopes, and JMWW, and she’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize as well.

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