Donna D. Vitucci raises funds for nonprofits in Cincinnati. Her fiction has appeared in dozens of print and
online journals, including Hawaii Review, Meridian, Front Porch Journal, Beloit Fiction Journal, Storyglossia,
Juked, Night Train, Freight Stories and Another Chicago Magazine. Her stories have been selected for Best of the
Web 2009 and one was a notable by storySouth Million Writers Award 2008.
The women loved Petey. A girl in every port and him a fisherman. Everything with my bro had to be big, had to be best—biggest boat, biggest nets, biggest fish, biggest day’s catch. Biggest dick and not shy about letting the world know it. Let’s just remember whose name means “manhood,” all right? A megalomaniac, my brother, but you couldn’t fault the guy. If Christ was infectious, then Pete was the fever. So, sure, he had to be one of the select few channeling all that heaven. The rest of us demanded evidence; you would, too. The day following “This
is my Son in whom I take great delight,” you could have called out “Thomas!” and any of us not on that glorified
mountain, our ears would have rung. We were first degree doubters.
Always “and,” also, tag-along, second thought, the addition, the el, the afterbirth. Brother of Upon This Rock. Big brother Pete aways upstaging. “Is it I, Lord?” he asked, all self-effacing. Like what might he have done if Christ said, “Interesting you’d bring that up, Si.” And then the cock crowing him into a goddamned depression. Tears and fingernails rivering up his face—grooves, man. Salt and blood was what flowered from all that debasement, my brother acting like the whore, kissing His feet, licking the dirt off His sandals. Christ.
No one talks about the apostles’ wives, our women, mistresses, our sisters-in-law. Petey had his weakness. He liked them soft. After handling nets and knives and splinters and scales, he just wanted soft. Unisex wardrobe, easy on, easy off, easy up. No first stone. Petey stopped skipping them on the waves while we waited for the fish to sere over our beach fires. Later, I invented indulgences with his stumblings in mind.
Pete, sporting his long grey waves. We all wore hair down past our shoulders. The prelates called us hippies, called us rabble rousers, citizens in revolt, those goddamned Jews. We retreated to caves after they took Him down and entombed Him. Scared long-hairs, all of us. Afraid to light a candle. Afraid to lift the cup. We recited the prayer He taught us through our blind heads and each begging free from our trespasses.
My brother, the first Pope, and me, again, his sidekick. But those baseline years were no time to be selfish. We were trying to launch Church, break with the Jews, stock a new grid, and fan flames till the Second Coming. Someone had to man the office and author the business plan. Fell to me to chart rules and hoops for our faithful. They were stop gap measures so the lot of us didn’t implode. Supposed they were temporary commands. We didn’t think He was going to take so long in getting back to us.
This is taught in the histories: I was present at the Last Supper, beheld my risen Lord, witnessed His Ascension, shared in the graces and gifts of the first Pentecost—that babble-fest—and, amid threats and persecutions, helped establish the Faith in Palestine.
When his time came, Petey opted for reverse crucifixion. I demanded the x-factor passed down in lore as the decussate cross. Look it up: we all died on a tree. Monstrous trees, grown tall from the tiniest seed or nut. Don’t blame what the earth nurtures. My brother, he’d tell you life leaked from us minutely, invisibly, daily, from the instant the earth opened at His forsaken Friday scream, when abandonment iced us from the inside out.