Piety Square

So, I haven’t posted in a few days. There’s a reason for that. I’ve decided to reduce website updates in order to focus more on the first draft of the novel that I’m writing. Going forward, I’ll be posting flash fiction on Tuesdays and Fridays. Reviews of the new media I consume won’t fall under the regular updates but will come as I consume them.

The reasons for this are two fold. Releasing a lot of free flash fiction is great and all, but it is time consuming. The other part is that I started the website to get me back into the habit of writing daily. It’s succeeded on that account and admirably. I meant to post this all on Friday, in order to keep up with the new schedule, but things got a little hectic and here we are on Saturday evening.

Without further delay, the following is what came of my time spent on Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge from this week. It linked to a random word generator and the words I got were “enterprising worshipper.”  Here it is.

To the enterprising worshiper, Piety Square is a gold mine. Self flagellates, donners of goat hair vests, and other practitioners of self-deprecation thrive like fleas on a cur. Then you have your typical smells and bells crowd. Censers flapping about like the most jowly priest’s quivering skin. Finally, you have the people like me. I get drunk. I bleed my bladder onto whatever pavement or statuary that lends itself handy. All in the name of the god of wine. Certainly you may wonder how I manage that. How, you may ask, am I not regularly thrown into the a drunkard’s cage? The answer is, I make sure to only perform these most sacred rites in Piety Square. For, you see, I am a very enterprising worshiper, and enterprising worshipers can get away with anything.

Back in the day, Piety Square used to just be The Square. Anyone who wanted to get from one part of the town to another needed to travel through it. It was the central hub, whether you wanted to get from the north east to the north or the south to the east, you walked or rolled your cart through The Square. In those times, it was home to purveyors of various and sundry goods from greasy beef patties to mushrooms for vision quests. A person could find almost anything they were looking for just wandering around The Square.

One day a forward thinking proselytizer purchased one of the buildings in The Square. Within a very short time, he converted it into a church. Everyone in the city was fine with this. They reasoned that his religion was just another good that he could sell to the people of the city. They were also happy with the pricing. Tithe what you can tends to be a very affordable way of saving the soul. Pretty soon this religion was one of the biggest in the city. The priest was rich. It happens when everyone tends to see you every day. Other denominations of theology were not happy with this development.

Within a month of the first church’s success, pretty much every religion in the region had payed out generous sums of money to anyone who wasn’t a church already to obtain one of the coveted buildings that lined The Square. The first priest was none too happy about this. He took the matter to the city council. The city council ruled that if one church could operate out of the square, then all churches should be able to operate out of the square. When the first priest asked how he was supposed to retain his followers if everyone was peddling their own brand of salvation, the aldermen of the city suggested that he make his church the most appealing option.

Within a week of that decision, several of the more lenient ecclesiastics began to have the most deviant displays of worship the city had ever seen. When the city council tried to put a stop it, the priests threatened the wrath of each of their gods. However, the real deciding factor was when the citizens, who had become fond of the debauchery, threatened to riot. From that day forth, it was determined that as long as it was considered an act of worship, it would be allowed in The Square.

Eventually, everyone started calling The Square by its current name, Piety Square. Anything that’s a form of worship is permissible. That’s about the point that I come in. In my hometown, I was just the town drunk. No respect for being a drunkard. When you pee in public, they lock you up. I ended up in the city one day. I heard of some revelry or another going on in Piety Square. I forget which festival it was at this point. The important bit is that I went to Piety Square and ended up getting plastered. Eventually someone called the city guard because I had stripped to my skin and was frolicking in someone’s sacred fountain. That’s something important to note- sacred fountain frolicking is frowned upon. When they tried to apprehend me I complained that they were violating the sacred rites of the god of wine. I didn’t have a particular god of wine in mind at the time I said it. I was out of my gourd. The city guard, however, seemed to take me at my word. I was in Piety Square. I claimed to be ordained in the matters of the god of wine. That’s all they needed.

They politely explained to the owners of that particular sacred fountain that they were unable to interfere with matters of a religious nature and that it needed to be worked out between our respective deities. With that they left, and I converted wine into water in the fountain.

The next morning I woke up very hungover and asleep in a pile of hay. I was honestly perplexed by the lack of bars separating me from freedom. When I performed inquiries into that very matter later in the day, people told me that as a Priest of the god of wine, I had spiritual immunity while I practiced in Piety Square. It was at this point that I decided to set up shop. I procured a small bowl to beg for alms for the god of wine. I used the alms to provide food and drink to the needy- namely, me.

Over the course of the next few months I acquired a fine wine colored robe. The wine coloring came mostly because of my inability to hold a cup up right at the end of the night. I also refined the way I went about acquiring money. Sometimes I promised more potent alcohol benedictions in exchange for coin. Other times I threatened to curse peoples wine to vinegar unless they tithed. So you see, an enterprising worshiper can do very well for himself her in Piety Square.  I certainly do.

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