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Raised in Captivity
by Nicky Silver

HILLARY: AS I WAS SAYING!!! I had no God, and although, intellectually, I have always found the idea of God, per se, rather far-fetched and revoltingly patriarchal, and organized religion seems, to me, to be little more than another systematic mechanism by which the plutocratic echelon controls the educational and economic underclass, it does also, obviously, provide that subclass a system with which those who feel burdened by sociologically imposed guilt can purge those feelings and continue their lives in a clean, new, virgin state.
I went to the church near my house and told the priest that I was bad and I wanted to make a confession. I said, "Father, I am bad. I am pocked with the mark of Cain." He asked me when I last made a confession, and I told him never. He said he was unclear as to what, exactly, my sins were. And I told him that I couldn't be any clearer right now, but that my spirit was spent from shouldering a tremendous, nameless guilt. Then he asked me if I wanted to buy a chance in the church raffle. The grand prize was a microwave. I told him no. I wouldn't feel comfortable buying a raffle and supporting an organization that refuses to recognize women as priests. I couldn't contribute because I believe a woman has the right to control her own body. I feel condoms should be distributed in the public schools because of the AIDS plague, and I don't think everyone who uses birth control pills goes to hell. He told me to get out and return only after I'd rethought my positions. Apparently the price of absolution is the sacrifice of one's own moral code. So I left without redemption and it is up to me to create my penance. I wear these rags as a crown of thorns. I hate them. I have plenty of money. My father invested wisely and left me a chain of motor lodges when he died, but I've been wearing the same dress for five months now. I smell miserable, but I still feel guilty. I tried to give up television--I thought that would be sufficiently torturous to leave me feeling clean and reborn. So I threw my set into the river. But I found myself browsing, decadently, for hours, in appliance stores. I am wretchedness itself. That is why I have decided to put my eyes out with this screwdriver. Excuse me. (She turns her back to the audience and raises the screwdriver high over her head) I WILL BE CLEAN!!!

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