THE QUESTION does not have to do with what we are unwilling to sustain but with what we are. Are we willing to have all be nice and pleasant and happy and whatnot? But of course. Are we in agreement with the idea of having our needs met and to being comfortable in the process, able to somehow rise above ourselves whilst being assured-constantly-assured that we are loved and adored and accepted as a matter of fact? Whyforever not? And as the fair and docile would deem most important, are we on board with the plan to have everyone around us, everyone we know and love and care for to live their lives in the very same bliss and joy and ease that we are predisposed to let them lavish upon us? How could we but not?
No, the dilemma comes down to what miles are we willing to go for these precious someone elses to give them the satisfactions and fulfillments that are so denied to them by mysterious others we perhaps do not know so very well, not to mention what laws and rules and proprieties are we even able to consider to violate for their sakes, and how deeply are we ready to let these very loved ones go out of their own ways to demonstrate their own hoggish values and vain desires and miserly needs to themselves upon us in ways that perhaps do not profit us ourselves.
It all is a matter of worth.
The woman at hand has found herself in a vile predicament, one in which she needs to make life and death decisions over her educations, her upbringings, her own moral codes and beliefs, and the deaths and lives that are at stake do not include her own. She grew up hearing the words of The Prophet John in regards to friends and greatnesses, and had been repeatedly assured that such a hefty price had indeed been paid for her own salvation by our Lord and Savior, and that she need not fear death, for the everlasting arms would be there for her to lean upon when her own burdens are put down in the end.
But The Prophet John had little to say about the travails of her own peculiar life, and whatever far-flung comforts he spoke of are of little use to her here, this day, before us all.
She kneels before the consortium now as she everforth shall: naked, trembling, modest and open before god and man, awaiting for the spirit to move and the call to come for her to demonstrate her love yet again, to endure the cost reckoned for without hesitation, to give all she has without the blessed generosity of sweet death to release her from her torments, her trials, her humiliations.
She has been here before, she shall be here again tomorrow and everafter, and yea, she is but here today, under the same pretexts and conditions and taunts as she always is: to have her faith laid bare.
The decision is made and the players are brought forth for her to deliver and spare from the ravages of the inquisition and the grave, so they may go on about their meager days knowing that she has sacrificed something of note for them that perhaps they themselves would not give up for their very own lives—let alone anyone else’s—and that she will pay for someone else tomorrow, and will grant a clemency for yet another the day after that, for as long as it is that she draws breath. The couple rushes to her and cries out for mercy, falling down before her to put their arms around her and ask her if she is alright, and tears are shared with rejoicings that all are still among the living, with shared affirmations that they will get out of this for sure, and that the woman will be well-taken care of and relieved of whatever prodigal burden she may have had before this reunion, for all is forgiven.
The woman thanks the couple with kisses, and, wrapping her arms around them, assures them that the mercy that is available is but hers to dispense, and that she does so willingly, without reservation, that she is filled with gladness to do what little is asked of her to release them from their bondages, their captivities, and send them forth from this place of mortification. It is her lot, her hardship, her ark to build and maintain.
She turns to the marshalls and asks what is required of her this day, to extend the lives of these poor wretches, proposing in all humility and meekness that she is but in need of commandment to bring about a happy resolution, so that all may be appeased.
A vessel is brought forth and opened, its content laid out before the petitioner. The design of the object placed in her grasp is obvious and singular in its uses, and the prisoner—with a well-practiced sigh of acknowledgement—asks how she should then be expected to use it, as there are some variations of placement and duration that she dare not hazard to guess, at risk of causing further offense.
“Thou shalt use it upon thyself, there whereupon a man is expected to know a maiden upon her wedding night, even unto thine own cries of joy and rapture.”
“Forgiveness, my lords.”
“Pray, for what, dear child?”
“For mine own confusion.”
“Surely thou knowest of what we speak.”
“Indeed, my sovereigns, I do. I am well acquainted with the actions required; I have performed them often for the amusements and follies of the courts.”
“Why dost thou then hesitate?”
“It seems so simple a task, compared to all I hath done before.”
“Foolish girl. Thou hast not asked the right question.”
The woman lifts her eyes up to the magistrates, and peers around the chambers at all in leering attendance, and does not yet comprehend. “Amnesty, dear counselors. It is not for stubbornness or delay of thy holy will, but I am but slow of heart and of mind, and am at a loss as to what to ask. It appeareth to be of import, yet I canst discern it not.”
“It is not a question of what thou shouldst ask, slave, but whom thou shouldst ask it of. Entreat thou the woman whose fate is in thy feeble hands to indoctrinate thee of the wickedness thou holdest and its hallowed magnitudes.”
She turns to the couple who are huddled, shaking, hardly able to speak.
“Dearest mother, I beg for thy absolution at the abhorrence I am about to perform with this…this obscenity, which I only do for thine own reparation and the delights of the powerful kings before you, but the authorities hint that thou holdest the key to its significance and meaning. Willst thou enlighten me?”
“D-dearest daughter, the blasphemous club in thy gentle fingers, that so approximates a man—a particular man—is mine.”
“I must confess to my shame that I have used it often as thou art about to.”
“Praise be, I understand now, with thy blessings. Fear not, dearest mother, I can endure this. It would be my glory to beguile the magnates with that which hast affordeth thee thine happinesses and reliefs from sorrow.”
“Perhaps not, dearest daughter. For I have used it not only for mine own selfishnesses.”
A silence hung in the room.
“Speak boldly, dearest mother. Judgment is not upon thee in this arena, but upon me. Whatever the doom, I am inclined to accept it for thine own sakes and thy husband’s redemptions.”
“I…have also defiled thy dearest father with it. Yea, even unto the very evening before this very day, before we were brought forth. I bound him, and I ravished him with it until he wept. It gratified us both. Profoundly. It is—to our disgrace—a common occurrence.”
The woman turned to the panel.
“Wardens, I do accept thy justice with glee. I shall plunge this corrupted leviathan within me to the verymost depths it can reach to contaminate me completely with all its histories, and I swear I shall seek its profane prosperities and transgressions for as long as my vigor holds.”
The conciliator spake. “As thou reacheth the heavens, whore, clean thou thy father’s own infidel with thy lips, as well. For he hath known thy mother as he would a man, performing an abomination with her this very day behind the baptistery, believing their deeds were hidden, as they waited upon the summoning call before this humble congregation, and is as yet unwashed. And be ye prepared to also comfort thou thy mother with thy mouth where he hath been within her when the saints call upon thee in thy continued duty to behold the face of thy God.”
“I do so with honor, assessor.”
And so the woman so lowers herself, doing all she has sworn, doing all she has been beseeched while singing unfathomable psalms to The Lord, offering, too, to allow her parents to water her with their own foul waters, and to make her in all ways unclean with whatever filth they can produce, in speech and in body and in shameful forbidden acts, and yea, even more, affording the ecstasies of the entire assemblage with all the wellsprings of her body and her well-wrought skills of reverence and worship, searing the host to the very depths of their very hardened hearts until they soften, placing rods and staffs in the hands of the parish to further correct her on beyond to where she could speak but in tongues, scourging her unto bleeding and breakages so they could but pour out all their sins upon her until redress is exhausted for all the disciples in attendance, and she is carried to her cell, left with her chains, where she laments long into the night, weeping and gnashing her teeth amongst the ashes of yet another pillar of her hauteur and rank, well-shattered under her persecutions, until the angels come to wipe away her tears and comfort her with her mother’s graven image and idol of her father’s infidelic member until her strength indeed gives out, and she slumbers well at last with the peace of knowing of her parents’ release and the rhapsodic communions of the multitudes at the mere tax of her derision and discomfort and dishonor, until the morrow, when she will be taken, humming with light at the prospects of what shall be demanded of her soul on this day, the lord’s day, back into the tribunal and put to the question again.
Perhaps this is the day she shall serve to spare her brother from annihilation, no doubt at the toll of her crucifying her virtue to him and his lechery and lust. Or a crippled old man, blind from birth, who has never known the affections of a submissive woman toward his most hideous suppressed yearnings that are against all governances, of God and man, of which no one may even mutter about in the dark. Or a prostitute, long bored with both men and women, with whom she must perform sacraments with beasts therewith. Or a fisher of men, not given to the rapine of women, whom she must force, against her own convictions of consent and acquiescence. Or even Iscariot himself, whom she had true affection for—that he stole and hoarded and in fact still possesses—that villain who committed adultery against her with a silly woman who hates her, who calls on her to sell herself, for so as to donate to them all the pittances and alms she thus earns, supporting them in their greeds and sloths and gluttonies, whom she must act as bedchambermaid for, witnessing and aiding them in their efforts to no longer be two but one, time after time, nigh unto forever, that tears her asunder with envy and mourning every damnable day.
She would save them all, with the grace of God.
As The Prophet John spaketh: “Whosoever hath ears, let them hear.”