In the previous installment, we meet the Monk and Louie, and Louie is withdrawing and desperate for his fix. The Monk caves in and gives Louie money to get heroin, not knowing what else to do.
Let’s jump into Part 2, where we learn about more about the Monk, a legendary figure in the city.
The Monk’s real name was Peter, but no one called him that. He preferred to be called “The Monk.” In the city, he was a legendary figure.
The newspaper had written stories about him, calling him a “savior for the weak and destitute.” But the Monk thought of himself as a sinner like everyone else. In fact, he thought what he did wasn’t extraordinary. It’s what he should be doing.
He lived in a small studio apartment in the southside of the city, a rougher part of town, and he spent his days and nights walking the streets and giving aid to the homeless and the junkies. No one knew much about him.
There were many rumors about the Monk, but not much could be verified, even by the newspaper. Sometimes, he wore priestly vestments when he walked the streets, which looked incredibly odd. He was a strange man.
But in a way, he was like a saint. And all saints are strange. Because he was formerly a Catholic priest, some people believed the Monk was a pedophile who left the church in disgrace. But we can assure you the Monk was no pedophile.
Many priests talk of celibacy but don’t practice it, but the Monk actually practiced it. He was asexual, so he didn’t struggle with lust, and he felt very sorry for the priests he’d known who’d gone through such struggle with bodily pleasures. So, for him, the thought was never even there.
On this cold January night, the Monk started his night like he usually did: at the Broad Street Diner with a piece of cherry pie and a black coffee. All the waitresses there knew him, and he tipped well. Marlena, his favorite waitress, refilled his coffee as a cigarette hung from her lip.
“How’s Louie, Monk?” Marlena asked. She knew that Louie and Tammy were the main people he was trying to help. He’d been trying to get them sober and back on track for about six months now, to no avail.
“Struggling, I’m afraid.” He frowned, then sipped the hot coffee. “He’s a kind soul, and I have faith he’ll get to the other side.”
Marlena nodded. “If you ask me, I think there should be legal assisted suicide. No one should go through that much pain. Just put him out of his misery. Him and Tammy. They’re in a living hell, in this god-forsaken city, all the filth, and decay. Put us all out of our misery.”
“No, no. Only God can do that. It’s not up to us.”
Marlena often made harsh comments like this, but it didn’t bother the Monk. She was a tough old lady, had seen much cruelty in her life. Sometimes, those things can add up, and we lose faith. The Monk knew this.
“You know, Marlena, you should find Jesus. He can be your best friend. He’s the best friend a person can have. To have Jesus in your heart.”
Marlena laughed, then coughed. “My best friend is Tommy, my vibrator. He never lets me down.” She winked, patted the Monk on the arm, and walked away. The Monk blushed and smiled.
He would go out tonight to the riverside, where he always went, to be among the junkies and the homeless. Louie may be there, where he usually stayed, among the tent encampments. He may even see Tammy.
The Monk whispered a prayer, hoping they were alright. Then he left a few bucks on the table and walked into the blustery cold, another desperate and lonely night in the city where, he knew, many addicts would die tonight.
To be continued
Check the following links to see previous installments of The Monk and the City that Loves Him: