"And start at the feet, licking all the way up to the crown of thorns, boy! I will be back in four hours! If it doesn't shine with your virgin spittle, then your bare rump will take a hand lashing till ye cry for mercy"

Young Davey stared at the nine-foot crucifix that Father O'Malley had nailed into the storage room floor. When he heard the door close, and Father O'Malley's footsteps disappear down the hallway, he placed his tongue on the toes of Christ and began to lick them.

He didn't get far before his mind began to wander. David began to think about what had happened to cause this penance. He'd been outside by the old baptismal pool, throwing pebbles and watching them skip across the water, when Father O'Malley called from his office window high atop the bell tower. "Davey! Davey! Stay right where you are, you little son of hell! And don't move your sweet young ass until I come down to meet ye!" David wondered what it could be this time. Father O'Malley came storming out of the side exit and met David on the lawn. "Open yer hand, ya pisser!" David opened his hand. He was holding three or four stones that he had picked up, intending to skip them across the baptismal. "What have ye got there, lad? Sacred stones, by the looks of them." Father O'Malley observed. David looked closely at the stones, puzzled. "But.. Father.." he began. "No 'buts' about it, you little son of a whore! You've lifted sacred stones off the grounds of God's holy church! And now ye'll suffer for what ye've done!" The priest took the stones from David's hands. He put them in his mouth and swallowed them. "The only way to purify the stones is to pass them through a body dedicated to the Lord's service and excrete them back onto sacred ground. It could take days! And you are going to cause this old man some pain!" Father O'Malley swallowed. "Father, I.. I.. Didn't know!" David stammered. Father O'Malley looked down at young David and raised his hand, high in the air to strike him, but brought it down and rested it on David's shoulder. "There are a lot of things you don't know, you simple little fool." He said, "In this church, you learn as you go along, and you learn well!" Father O'Malley turned and took David by the arm. "Now it's off with you to the blessed closet, to do your penance, Davey!"

So here he was, licking now, the knees of Christ, and his tongue was already getting sore, and splintered. He took a minute to get up on his knees and look down at the entire crucifix. He rubbed the tears out of his eyes, and looked at the face of Christ. He noticed something peculiar there, in the crown of thorns, something was moving. It scampered in the mass of thorns, and let out a small whinny, like a horse, then gurgled and hacked. David could make out two yellow eyes staring at him out of the crown of thorns, and something there spoke. "Help me boy!" "What the?" David rubbed his eyes again. The thing spoke, "the old man has put me here, and I can not for never to leave until he ought for ever to grieve." "What kind of riddle is that?" Young Davey asked. "It's an imps tale, laddy." The thing responded. "It is the sad tale of a devil's imp." "What are you?" asked David. "I am the demon's imp, young laddy. That blasted pisswagon pulled me from his side and placed me here, where I cannot get out." The imp responded. "You were attached to attached to a demon's side?" Davey asked. The imp blinked his eyes and made a squishing sound, and hacked up a green substance that landed on the legs of Christ and fell on some of David's hands. It burned. "Do you have a stone or two from the holy ground boy?" David reached into his pockets. He found a stone there. "Yes, I do." "Give it to me!" the creature snapped. "But..." David started. "GIVE IT TO ME!" The creature stood up, and it's fish eyes could clearly be seen, below it's slimy scalp. It looked like a little grinning, comical devil. David jumped back. "THROW IT HERE, PRIEST BOY!" The creature's face turned red, yellow puss dripping from it's ears and nose. David threw the stone to the creature. It snapped it up instantly in it's mouth and jumped out of the thorny crown and scampered across the floor, it's octopus legs leaving a trail of wet slime in it's wake. When it got to the wall, it seeped into the ventilation vent on the floor. David heard it laughing as it made it's way to God only knew where.

The boy jerked his head up when he heard Father O'Malley's voice behind him. "You finished with that crucifix yet? You little prick-tease?"

" Father.." David replied.

"Well what in the name of Saint Jude the sweet legged nymph of Wiltshire is takin' ye so long.. you stupid boy?" The Father came closer.

"I... I.." David looked up at the priest.

Father O'Malley stood there with a rag in his hand. "What's the matter, son?"

"I.." David paused.

"Here sweet boy, take this rag and finish the job, it looks like that one you've got there, is getting a bit dirty." The priest handed David the rag.

David looked in his other hand. A dirty rag was there. "I'm sorry.. Father" He remarked.

"Nothin' to be sorry about, boy!" The priest said as he turned to go. "There's a statue of the blessed mother that needs polishin' when ye're done with that one!"

"Yes father.." David said. He took a breath, and continued cleaning, the knees, the stomach, the face of Christ.

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