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The "Priest" They Called Him
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"Fight tuberculosis, folks" Christmas Eve, an old junkie selling Christmas seals On North Park Street The "Priest" they called him "Fight tuberculosis, folks" People hurried by, gray shadows on a distant wall It was getting late and no money to score He turned into a side street and the lake wind hit him like a knife Cab stop just ahead under a streetlight Boy got out with a suitcase Thin kid in prep school clothes Familiar face, the Priest told himself Watching from the doorway. "Reminds me of something a long time ago" The boy, there, with his overcoat Unbuttoned, reaching into his pants pocket for the cab fare The cab drove away and turned the corner The boy went inside a building "Hmm, yes, maybe," the suitcase was there in the doorway The boy nowhere in sight Gone to get the keys, most likely, have to move fast He picked up the suitcase and started for the corner Made it, glanced down at the case It didn't look like the case the boy had or any boy would have The Priest couldn't put his finger on what was so old about the case Old and dirty, poor quality leather and heavy Better see what's inside He turned into Lincoln Park Found an empty place and opened the case Two severed human legs that belonged to a young man With dark skin, shiny black leg hairs Glittered in the dim streetlight The legs had been forced into the case And he had to use his knee on the back of the case to shove them out "Legs, yet," he said and walked quickly away with the case. Might bring a few dollars to score The buyer sniffed suspiciously "Kind of a funny smell about it" "It's just Mexican leather" "Well, some joker didn't cure it" The buyer looked at the case with cold disfavor "Not even right sure he killed it, whatever it is Three is the best I can do and it hurts But since this is Christmas and you're the Priest" He slipped three bills under the table into the Priest's dirty hand The Priest faded into the street shadows, seedy and furtive Three cents didn't buy a bag, nothing less than a nickel Say, remember that old Addie croaker told me not to come back Unless I paid him the three cents I owe him Yeah, isn't that a fruit for ya, blow your stack about three lousy cents The doctor was not pleased to see him "Now, what do you want? I told you!" The Priest laid three bills on the table The doctor put the money in his pocket and started to scream "I've had trouble! People have been around! I may lose my license!" The Priest just sat there Eyes, old and heavy with years of junk, on the doctor's face "I can't write you a prescription" The doctor jerked open a drawer And slid an ampule across the table "That's all I have in the office!" The doctor stood up

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