11/12/12

Courtney Maum

Pac-Man goes to Confession

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been seventeen days since my last confession. I accuse myself of the following sins.

Yes, my son. What is it?

Well—I didn’t….I’ve been forgetting things lately.

What kinds of things?

Little things. Like, trash day. So the raccoons got into it. And for my son’s birthday, I forgot to get the cake. Tracy has a job now—I don’t know if you heard. She’s a merchandise supervisor at Marshall’s?

My wife loves that place.

Right, so…a lot of the things she used to take care of, I have to now.

Marriage is about sharing.

That’s right. It is.

Well, say a Hail Mary and try to be more vigilant. You’ve been out of work how long now? It’s normal to forget things when you’re under stress.

Right, no, of course. It’s just, there’s been other things, too.

Oh, really?

I’ve been having problems driving.

Problems? What kinds of problems?

I’ve just been having problems…getting in the car. It’s like, there’s this fear.

Do you know what you’re afraid of?

Yes, Father. The pellets.

The power pellets?

That’s the thing about the car. The other day, there was a detour because of bridge work, and I had to drive right by one. It was right there, under an awning. Glowing white.

That must have been very difficult for you.

It was. It was awful.

Are you able to talk to Tracy about the moments you feel challenged?

I don’t want to worry her, you know? We just refinanced. And she’s got her new job.

But you’re feeling tempted.

When I ate a pellet, it was like I had special powers. I knew who was against me. It was like I was divine.

You’re not divine, the Lord is. Find strength in the Lord.

I know, Father. I’m trying. It’s just that I’m always in the house alone now, in front of the computer. It’s something about the way the screen glows, the color of the light. It’s like I can almost taste Binky and Inky and Clyde again, and I don’t care that they’re frightened, because they weren’t good people. The temptation is awful. But I can’t apply for jobs without my laptop.

What about using the computer in a public place?

It’d probably be good to have other people around me.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise. Proverbs 13:20. What you need is an activity outside of the house. How’d you like to help us set up the main hall for the Turkey Roll benefit on the 17th? Make some food with Tracy?

I don’t know, Father. It sort of feels too soon.

Listen, the only way to bounce back after eating your enemies is by socializing with their ghosts. Do good to those that hate you. Luke 6:27. So how about it? Turkey streamers? My wife was thinking it would be neat to cut a bunch of drumstick silhouettes out of cardboard—are you any good with crafts?

Um, not really.

Hmm. It’s still a good idea, though. Rage war on idle hands.

(Pac-Man looks down at his frame.)

Metaphorically speaking.

Okay. Sure.

Wonderful! So let’s leave it at four Hail Mary’s and turkey deco detail. Be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Peter 5:8.

Um, yeah.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I absolve you of all of your sins. May God have Mercy upon us.

(The gates at the top of the ghost regenerator open.)

(Pac-Man begins to grow.)


Courtney Maum is a humor columnist for Electric Literature, a regular Tin House contributor, and a book reviewer for BOMB. She has received awards from Hobart, The Cupboard, and Folio, a 2011 Million Writers Award notable distinction, and is a Literary Death Match champion. She has published work widely, online and in print, and you can see some at courtneymaum.tumblr.com.

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