There Is a Body in the River Where the Sad of Spirit Turn Away

By Steve Passey

It is not the head but the heart that is the seat of Atheism – Mary Astell

A Priest and a Rabbi walk into bar.

The priest called to the bartender.  “Bring us a round, barkeep. This one is on me.”

He turned to the Rabbi and said, “I no longer believe. There is no one reason, so don’t ask. I just don’t believe anymore.”

The Rabbi took a sip of his beer and said quietly that he too no longer believed, and that, in fact he hadn’t for a very long time. “But I need to eat,” he said. “I need to keep a roof over my head. So I repeat what I was taught to those who come to ask for it. I do not know if they believe, or if they too, do not. It doesn’t matter to me.”

The TV above the bar had come round to the news cycle. There had been a body found, a body in the water. An investigation was pending. There were no other details available other than that one established fact: A body had been found in the water.

“Put on the football game will you, barkeep,” the Priest said. “We’ll be sitting here awhile. There is nowhere else to go, nothing else we need to do.”


Steve Passey is originally from Southern Alberta. He is the author of the short-story collection “Forty-Five Minutes of Unstoppable Rock” (Tortoise Books, 2017) and chapbook “The Coachella Madrigals” (Luminous Press, 2017).  He is part of the Editorial Collective at The Black Dog Review.

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