“That fuck!” I exclaimed examining the small note that had been stuffed at the bottom of the Vicodin bottle.
We were doing our mid-day reading and I was getting distracted by the gnawing pain in my ribs. It was sapping my will to live. There was no alcohol no balm save those little pills and now…
‘A M D G’ That’s what the note read. I’d been suspicious about the lack of efficacy. I was too clear-headed and too aware of the stabbing near my lungs.
This confirmed it.
“Huh?” Lucas looked up from his copy of Aurelius.
“Ad maiorem Dei gloriam,” I muttered ruefully.
Schmidt’s features contorted into a wry smile. “O Jesus! Christian trolling…that’s the worst…especiall Thornton’s brand of it.”
“These are fucking sugar pills!” I exclaimed downing the whole bottle.
“Hmmm…” Lucas said, “I dunno Baird, if your guess is wrong …what you did just there…”
“It’s not wrong! This is bullshit…this is his usual…Spartan bullshit….”
“I fucking hate stoics…”
Schmidt laughed a hearty assent, “Dry cunts aren’t they?” He remarked tapping the ancient emperors ‘Meditations.’
“Repackaged common sense and humble bragging fucking ugh…dude fuck…two weeks of Lent….that’s what we’re doing out here. Dry was the right word…he wants to dry us out….”
Lucas drew in breath sharply, he wasn’t exactly thrilled either.
“Yeah…but at this point, the best thing is probably to just go with it. It’s a trip in its own right.”
“Easy for you to say,” I remarked as I ran my fingers across my bruised ribs.
“Yea, that was a pretty nasty kick…”
Just then I remembered Sam’s clavicle.
I looked across the shadow of the mesa. Despite this slight darkness, I could tell his face was contorted in unmistakable misery.
I threw down my copy of Arrian and trooped over to Monroe.
“Find anything interesting in your medicine cabinet?”
“To the greater glory of God!” He exclaimed sarcastically miming the sign of the cross.
“Bastard…” I murmured.
It all made sense now. This was a monastic rite. Thornton often waxed poetic about the ‘exercises.’ He was a profound contradiction. Despite being mired in what most would consider to be occult.. even wicked – he remained a devout Catholic.
‘Inherit the wind.’ I recalled his cryptic parting words. I remembered where I’d heard that before. It was from the book of Proverbs.
I suppose we had ‘troubled our own houses,’ the project, our own bodies, had been terribly bothered. And this was a secularized reinvention of the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. The isolation, the privation, the focus on abstracted philosophical reading, and the vision quest of ‘learning what it means to inherit the wind.’
This was going to be awful.
1.1 (Intro) The Sketch of Sam Monroe
1.2 The Cajun Prayer
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