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Altar Boy on Third Attempt to Extinguish Candle Really Feeling God's Mockery

The Impotent Satyr

Jose Alvarez lifted the bell snuffer up from the altar-side candle and figured he would see an extinguished wick before him. Alas the thing was still lit, and the flame shuddered and danced before Jose's slightly annoyed face. He lowered the brass bell once more and quickly looked around for any eyes wandering away from the post-service coffee and pizza bagels. His gaze met Gladys'. She played piano during mass and was currently giving him a reassuring thumbs-up on his task.

The pressure was on Jose now—he had an audience. Sure, it was just an audience of one...or was it? Was there still a flame quivering under the brass douter? There was no way it could still be alive after a second snuff. Jose slowly lifted his holy tool, and his jaw dropped down to the conical candlestick base—the wick was alight and stronger than ever.

Jose shook his head in disbelief and turn toward Gladys whose smile had faded, leaving a worried frown in its wake. She stuffed a lemon bar into her mouth, turned her head toward the altar's ever-watching Jesus-on-the-cross, and began to pray for the poor altar boy.

Other parishioners were beginning to look up from their holey cheese-covered bread discs and notice the candle that remained aflame despite mass ending three minutes prior.

Sweat slid down Jose's temples and dripped onto the fruit punch-stained collar of his alb. He knew that no altar server in history ever had to lower the douter on a candle more than thrice. He would not go down in history as the first to do so. Jose felt all eyes in the room on him, including those eyes of the almighty Himself. The bell slowly fell onto its prey and began to smother it. Jose licked his lips as he felt the flickering life slip away before his presence. He'd never taken a life before (and hoped he never would), but he eagerly and voraciously awaited the smothering to take effect and the promised stillness that would follow.

He waited...

...and waited...

...until it felt extremely awkward to keep up the act. His lips moist, he licked them anyway and hoisted the bell snuffer up. A shrill cry of despair escaped lungs and tongue from somewhere inside the modest cathedral. Though unbeknownst to him, the disparaging wail came from Jose himself, for the flame wriggled on like it hadn't just felt the weight of the entire church closing in on it. Jose looked up to the cross-bound Jesus whose hands were raised in the air as if to say, 'I only have so many answers, bro—none of which can explain this.'

Completely ashamed and guilt-ridden (even more so at this moment), Jose lowered the brass instrument, summoned a wind storm from deep within, and blew out the flame that had given him so much ridicule. Hot wax spewed across the previously clean altar cloth, triggering a scowl from the parishioner who voluntarily did the laundry.

"Got it in three," Jose quietly said aloud with a weak smile and unstable conscience. Literally no one but Gladys had watched him, but Jose would forever remember this day and relive the torment nightly (as he did with every mistake throughout his life).

"Today, God smiled on me, yes," Jose told reporters after-the-fact. "But it was a very different smile with very different intentions. The dude straight up fucked with me, and I'll never live it down."

While searching for pictures to alter (pun intended), I came across an article written by The Onion that has a similar motif. Read it here.

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