EP170: Pervert


By Charles Coleman Finlay.
Read by Stephen Eley.
First appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 2004.

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When the bus reaches the corner, they climb onboard, taking seats on
their side and evening out the ride so it doesn’t feel so much like
we’ll tip over. We rattle along past road construction, the men
working behind screens that are consecrated by the priests each
morning as part of the men’s quarter, and resanctified to the women at
quitting time. The sun already pelts down mercilessly and they will
have to leave off working soon.

We enter the government quarter and arrive at the Children’s Center, a
long concrete brick of a building with windows shielded from the sun
by an open grid of deep squares made of the same material. The
morning light turns it into a chessboard of glaring white and dark
shadow. I don’t work with the children, who are on the lower floors
and the sheltered playground of the courtyard, but toil away with
records on the upper floors. Unlike Jamin or Zel, I am permitted by
the job to work alongside women, but only because I completed my
theological studies and am a candidate for the priesthood. My
superiors do not know of the taint on my soul. Do not know yet, I
should say, and when they discover it I will never be ordained or
promoted.

Rated R. Contains explicit sexual activity.