After I got rid of my father, my ego got a huge boost. His presence was suffocating. His disappearance gave me freedom and power.

I never understood why he wasn’t more supportive and less critical. On the surface, he seemed harmless, but his attacks were steady and relentless. I tried to ignore him and let him know he was wrong, but all was in vain.  
To me, life had always been contradictory. When I was a good person, I was miserable. But after I committed the first murder, things started to turn around. As the murders increased, so did my happiness.

God’s been doing it backward. When I was naive and vulnerable, he ignored me all the time, and when I became a mean, heartless killer, I began to get rewarded. Hell must be the punishment I deserve. Although, for a psychopath like me, hell could also be a reward.


Joy came out with great news one day.

“Hey boys, Pablo asked me to marry him, I told him to give me a few days for my answer, what do you think?”

“Why didn’t you say yes, right away?” Sadie asked.

“Yeah, Joy, what’s wrong with you? I like the guy. He seems to be madly in love with you.” I said.

“I don’t know, I love him too, but I have some doubts. He’s not legal in the country. If we marry, he’ll become an American citizen. I’m not sure what he’s after, me or a green card.”

“How can you say you love him and still doubt his motives?” Sadie said.

“Sadie’s right Joy, I don’t think Pablo is capable of doing such a rotten thing. You’re so smart and beautiful. He adores you.” I said.

“Yeah, I think you’re right. I’m smart and beautiful.” Joy replied with a smile.


 One day, I joined grandma at church. After mass was over, Father Fidel hurried down the steps from the altar to push grandma’s wheelchair. The following morning he was was our first customer. Father Fidel was in his early forties, short and a little on the chubby side, and with a receding hairline. He rarely smiled. When he approached the register, I told the girls not to accept his money. “It’s on the house,” I said.

After he left, Sadie began to tell us a little about Father Fidel.

“You know, he just came back from Rome, he went to the Vatican. He spent two weeks there. He even showed grandma and me a picture of him with the Pope. And you know who paid for the trip? That’s right, grandma.” 

I had no idea about that, but somehow, it didn’t come as a surprise. Later, I found out grandma made a church donation or personal contribution of six thousand dollars for that trip. That didn’t bother me too much. After all, all properties belong to both of us. Nevertheless, I decided to put a stop to all those absurd donations.

“Do you know what else I heard? That he is abusing some of the kids in the choir. So far, I’ve heard two different stories from two different kids. And now, Father Fidel is trying to convince grandma to give a larger donation to build a boy’s club behind the church.”

“Are you sure about this, Sadie? These are serious accusations.” Joy asked.

“Nobody’s accusing anybody; I said ‘I heard’, these might be just rumors, but what would these kids gain by spreading false accusations? I know they’re afraid to tell their parents. They think that no adults would believe in them. They know I’m not an adult that’s why they trust me.” Sadie responded.

“I’m glad you’re telling us about all this. I’ll talk to grandma before she makes us file for bankruptcy. It would be good to give some small donations to the church if they did something good with the money, but I’ve never seen the priests feeding the homeless.” 

“I agree with you, Angel. You should tell grandma about that pervert and his sinister plans to have dozens of kids at his disposition. Do you think we should alert the police?” Joy asked.

I was about to call Father Fidel a ‘pedophile’. Then, I remembered the relationship I had with Sadie. In the eyes of the law, I was also a pedophile, even if the sex was consensual.

“We should wait until we’re sure it’s true. There have been dozens of cases like that in California. Also, I think priests are just like the police. They protect each other to cover up their misdeeds. It’d be good if we see a pedophile priest put in jail for a change.” Damn, the word escaped my mouth. I was trying not to say pedophile, and I still said it.

My carelessness didn’t go unnoticed by Joy’s shrewd mind because she followed my comment with this: “Excuse me, Angel, since when are you allowed to judge pedophiles?”

I showed her my middle finger, and all three of us ended the conversation with a friendly laugh.

Even though I was thirty-four and Sadie seventeen, I’ve never considered myself a pedophile because she loved me, and sex was consensual. I didn’t cause her any mental or physical harm, but I was legally a pedophile. And she wasn’t my first victim. 

In the end, we agreed that Sadie was going to talk to those kids. She said she would try to bring them to tell us their stories.

That night, I told grandma to put on hold all future donations to the church. I was glad she accepted.

A few days later, Sadie convinced one of the kids to come and talk to us.

His family had been in Visalia for three years. They came from Mexico. He never told his parents about the abuse because he was afraid they would punish him. He told us Father Fidel abused another boy too. But his family had moved to another town to avoid further contact between their son and the priest. He also said Father Fidel had a room where he punished or rewarded kids from the choir. The punishment and the rewards were the same: sexual abuse. His name was Pedro. He was thirteen.

There was no doubt in my mind he was telling the truth. 

Before he went away, I spoke to him in Spanish and told him we would never say anything to his parents to anybody. I promised him all the abuse would end soon. And that Father Fidel was going to disappear forever, very soon.


Of course, grandma didn’t say anything when I gave her all that information. She just kept tightening her fists on the armrests of her wheelchair. I explained everything I had found out about Father Fidel, the same priest that, until that moment, she considered a saint.

Father Fidel was proudly beaming when I invited him to join us for dinner the following Friday. He probably thought we were accepting his petition, which was thirty thousand dollars to build a boy’s club. If he knew what was about to happen, he would accept an invitation from hell instead.

The next day, I went to the bank and withdrew thirty thousand dollars in cash. Just in case something went wrong and I needed an excuse or alibi.

On Friday, when Father Fidel arrived at our house, he extended his arm, maybe expecting me to kiss his hand or his ring, but all I felt for him was a total aversion. To his disappointment, I barely touched his hand. I had noticed how grandma greeted him with reverence. I thought it was very antiquated and ridiculous. That’s probably why some Catholic priests were so arrogant. My grandma kissed his hand anyway. Old habits die hard.

When he entered our house, I knew he wasn’t coming out alive.

I was a monster there’s no doubt about it. And my father was a monster too, but this priest was worse than both of us. He was abusing children, and he was depriving them of joy and happiness. 

Their mental health would be affected for the rest of their lives. This guy was worse than my dad. At least my dad never touched me. I couldn’t believe guys like this could represent God. What could be worse than that? I’ll be a hero and a villain at the same time. 

Grandma gave me a couple of Valium pills to sedate Father Fidel. I didn’t want him to be unconscious, but at the same time, I didn’t want to have a difficult time controlling him. I offered him something to drink. He preferred brandy over tequila. 

At the kitchen table, he kept exalting his humble idea of building a shelter for his boys.

He said: “I love my boys, I need to keep them away from drugs and gangs. They’ll be busy and won’t have time for impure thoughts,” 

The only part I believed was: “I love my boys.”

The unsuspecting priest had a few shots of brandy and sat at the table expecting a feast on his honor.

Before continuing with his hypocrite speech, I grabbed him by the neck and dragged him to the butcher shop. He didn’t even get a chance to react; he was a little drunk, sedated, and disoriented. He didn’t fight back. He was more confused than obedient. He couldn’t even defend himself verbally. 

I whispered in his ear: “We know you’re a pedophile. We know you’ve been abusing kids from the choir. Instead of reporting you to the police, I’ll take the law into my hands. If God didn’t intervene to save those kids, he won’t intervene to help you either.” then he looked at grandma, imploring for an intervention.

I used a roll of duct tape to tie him up. With his mouth gagged, he sat in shame on the floor. He looked a world apart from how he proudly appeared in the pulpit. 
Then I heard someone knocking on the door.

Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. Apr-7-2014

Author: Edmundo Barraza

I was born in Mexico. I moved to L.A. in 1978. I became a USA Citizen a few years later. At the citizenship ceremony, I had to swear that I would fight against all foreign enemies (including Mexico) in favor of my new country. I beg God that never happens. I love music, Rock, funk, punk, soul, pop. Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, The Clash, The Temptations, and all you can fit in between. Playing pool, listening to rock, and having a beer is great, but reading a book, writing a story, or watching a good film is even better. I hate guns, bad people, and evil leaders. I thank God I'm not a racist person. I hate all kinds of injustices. I love good people. I would give my life in a second to save any child. Children are the most precious thing in the world. My ultimate goal is to shoot a feature film based on one of my stories. Every day I work a little more to be able to reach that goal.

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