A girl one day entered a nunnery, because she was mad (in both senses).

She stayed at the nunnery, because the novitiates were beautiful – flushed and embarrassed. Also, she liked the gardens, where the Mother Superior set cocks to fighting each other, in order to illustrate the libertarian tendencies of God. 

“He gives even the simplest creatures a sense of individuality, an ego to defend,” she said. “The strife that lives in the hearts of these cocks is but one twenty-third of the strife suffered by Man.”

(No one was sure how she had arrived at that figure, or why it seemed to give her such satisfaction.)

Sometimes the cocks would fight each other to the death, and this too the Mother Superior applauded.

“Would that we could resolve our conflicts as simply – for God prefers death to strife,” she thought. 

In fact, after a few days, the Mother Superior decided that there was really no good reason for the nuns and novitiates not to have such an outlet, and so she set up a small boxing gym in one of the lower refectories. 

She set the women under her charge to fighting immediately, and it gave her no little pleasure to lean back in a battered armchair and cheer on this one or that one.  

Sitting in the sun, her wimple askew, she would exhort the nuns to hit harder, to hit faster, to abandon themselves to violence. 

“Some say the id is the devil’s work, but I say that the devil is God’s work,” she said. “Yes indeed.”

The nuns fought clumsily at first, but, spurred on by the exhortations of the Mother Superior, soon became proficient, and then lethal. 

“Kill her, Sister Honore!” yelled the Mother Superior. “Send her home, send her home, send her home!” 

The Mother Superior openly encouraged the nuns to murder each other, as the more sinful they became, the greater would be their pleasure in the forgiveness of their God. 

“After all, it is no great feat for Our Lord to save a mere thief or gossip,” she said. “But a murderer – there God does his best and most skillful work. Do not deny him the honor of his sacrifice – make it worth it. For His Son to die for a few white lies is nothing – for him to die for a mass murderer is sublime!”

The angry young novitiate flourished in this atmosphere, and soon became undefeated. Her hands developed a permanent grime of blood, and her oft-broken nose gave her a rakish air. 

The Mother Superior loved her best of all, and many was the night they spent in each other’s arms – the noviate flushed and rough, the Mother Superior flabby and ardent. “Let’s make Him forgive us again,” the Mother Superior would whisper. The novitiate would writhe, filled with rage still, as well as with a suffocating, sexual guilt.

The nunnery soon became known as the most holy convent in the region.

“There they test God to his limits,” it was said. “They are so secure in His love that they will do anything to try and lose it – debasery, debauchery, mass murder, cannibalism, lesbianism, cussing.”

“I don’t believe it,” said an old woman. “That nunnery used to be known as a place of healing.”

“They have a saying there,” said her companion. “Why ask Jesus to save with a drop, when you can ask for a cup?”

One evening, her hand around one throat, her mouth at someone else’s, the young nun had an epiphany.

“I do not care that God loves sin,” she thought. “I don’t love sin; I’m tired of it. God will have to learn to love me as I am.” 

She extricated herself from the tangle of limbs, swatting off blows and questing hands alike, and took a cold shower. 

She washed the blood from her nails, threw on some khakis and a tee, and walked straight into the nearest temp agency. Her life became a bland whirl of work and TV, and she liked it that way.

Occasionally she longed for physical contact: the thrill of guilt at a hand on her back, or the feel of a life being crushed beneath her hands, but overall she was happy to be clean, modern, dull, free.