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by Santino Prinzi

God works in mysterious ways, she tells us, and we suppose she’s right. She also tells us that the devil has many guises, and he prefers exact change.

***

Her rosary beads in one hand, a vanilla ice-cream cone in the other, Mother Teresa smiles as she shuffles away from the ice-cream stall. Drip, drip, drop, drip. Cold chastity seeps over the wafer edge, stickying her fingers. She licks the trickle, conflicted — she wants to waste nothing, but is concerned about her actions being misconstrued by the Lord, by her sisters.

She looks around to see if anyone has seen her transgression. No, only Him. Forgive me, Father, for I have coveted and have succumbed to my sin. Again.

She’ll pray for forgiveness, sucking her teeth for residues of deliciousness while she does.

***

The other sisters have always known of the pleasure she indulges, and they do not reproach her. They titter quietly among themselves about her little secret. They have their virtue and vice to worry about, knowing that God’s world cannot count for much if it’s not to be enjoyed every now and then.


Santino Prinzi is the co-director of National Flash Fiction Day in the UK, the senior editor for New Flash Fiction Review, and a part of the team behind the annual Flash Fiction Festival. His flash fiction pamphlet, There’s Something Macrocosmic About All of This (2018), is available from V-Press and his short flash collection, Dots and other flashes of perception (2016), is available from the Nottingham Review Press. His writing has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Jellyfish Review, And Other Poems, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Airgonaut, Litro Online, and Stories for Homes Anthology Vol. 2. To find out more, follow him on Twitter (@tinoprinzi) or visit his website: https://tinoprinzi.wordpress.com.

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