Tiffany Reisz

It's Not Erotica Until Someone Gets Hurt


An exclusive excerpt from The Confession of Eleanor Schreiber, a new novella included in the collection The Confessions.

* * *

“Tell me your sins, Eleanor. Let me help you find peace.”

“I told you—I’m sleeping with a Jesuit priest.”

“You’re here to be absolved of your sin of fornication with a member of the clergy? That’s it?”

“I am. Is that not a good enough sin?”

“No, it’s a fine sin. One of the better sins there are. Still packs a punch. Nobody cares about adultery anymore. That’s old news. But getting your rocks off with one of us? That’s nice and punchy. But here’s the problem—something tells me you intend to keep sleeping with him. Yes?”


“Then I don’t think I can help you. Usually when you confess a sin, the sinner at least tries to pretend he or she doesn’t want to do it again.”

“I wouldn’t want to lie in Confession. My mother asked me to go to Reconciliation and confess my sins to a priest who is not Søren. She wanted me to be absolved of my sin of seducing a priest and/or being seduced by a priest—it changed depending on which one of us she was angrier at that day. Sometimes I was the harlot, and he was the innocent victim of my seductions. Other days he was a sexual predator and I her virginal daughter who’d had her innocence cruelly plucked from her by a wicked clergyman. Either way it sounds Gothic, doesn’t it? She never did believe the truth.”

“What is the truth?”

“We were nothing but two people who fell in love with each other and did what people in love do, namely have sex with each other. Often. It was inconvenient I was so young when we met. It was even more inconvenient he was a priest. But I’m not young anymore, and I still love him, and he still loves me. And we still have sex. Among other things.”

Stuart waved his hand dismissively.

“You don’t have to tell me what the ‘other things’ are. I’ve been hearing his Confessions since he was eighteen. I’m actually sixty years old. I only look eighty because of him.”

“Liar,” she said.

“I am.”

“I’m only doing what my mother asked. I came to a priest who is not Søren, Marcus, whoever he is, and I’m giving you my. Can you absolve me so I can put that promise to rest?”

“Surely you repent of something you don’t plan on doing again the minute you leave this room?”

“Not the very minute I leave the room. My flight home isn’t until tomorrow. I’m only in New York for the weekend to see a special client.”

“How about that? Do you repent of your work with your clients?”

“No, sorry,” she said with a sigh. “I love being a Dominatrix. And I don’t have sex with my clients. I’m basically a massage therapist except instead of using my hands, I use canes and whips and floggers. It’s deep tissue massage. Very deep tissue.”

“Well…have you killed anyone?”

“Not since my last Confession.”

“That’s a comfort, I suppose. Committed adultery?”

“No. I mean, I have, but not recently. I’ve confessed, been absolved. Old news, like you said.”

“You’re a busy lady.”

“The busiest.”

“Keeping the Sabbath?”

“I do go to Mass and take Communion at least once a week.”

“You’re honoring your mother right now by coming to me to confess as she asked you to. What about honoring your father?”

“He’s also dead.”

“Well, screw that Commandment then. Hmm…”

“You’re fun,” she said. “I like you.”

“No flirting, wicked girl. I know I’m your type.”

“I can’t help it,” she said. “I spread for Roman collars. What are the other Commandments? I’m sure I’ve broken one of them.”

“Have you coveted your neighbor’s ass?”

“My neighbor is a very nice older lady who always calls me Nellie for some reason and as much as I like Mrs. Mendez, I do not covet her ass.”

“Have you born false witness against anyone?”

“I’ve never been sure exactly what that means.”

“Complicated, I suppose. Most white lying is a venial sin. I think it’s only a mortal sin if you lie under oath against someone.”

“Haven’t done that either. Lies of omission? Søren doesn’t know I’m here.”

“Venial.” He wished he had his Catechism with him. If he remembered correctly he’d left it in the bathroom on the back of the toilet. “Have you made any graven images and worshiped them?”

“I’m too lazy to be an idolater. No golden calves in my house. I do have a porcelain cat with ruby eyes—real rubies, a gift from a client—but I don’t worship it. It’s a miracle if I remember to dust it.”

“Do you take the Lord’s name in vain?”

“I’m Catholic. Of course I do, God dammit.”

“You’ll have to do better than that for a mortal sin. Have you stolen anything?”

“Only hearts.”

“You’re a tough nut to crack, young lady.”

“Aww…you called me ‘young lady.’ That made my day.”

“I’m supposed to be shriving you, not stroking your ego. You have to give me a sin, a real one. Did we cover them all?” He raised his hands and started ticking numbers off on his fingers. “No other gods—check. No grave images—check. I don’t count having a dirty mouth as taking the Lord’s name in vain.”

“Thank God.”

“You remember the Sabbath Day—check. You can’t honor your mother and father because they’re dead. Haven’t killed anyone since your last Confession. Or committed adultery. Or stolen. Or bore false witness. Or coveted your neighbor’s house and ass and wife, right? No coveting your neighbor’s wife?”

“Who counts as my neighbor again?”

“Everyone on earth, my dear.”

“Well…we might have a problem then.”