Downwind Thinking himself quite tall and claiming the high ground, he loomed over them all from atop a dung mound. “You’re beneath me,” he said, “and you always will be.” Bible in hand, he read from Deuteronomy. “So circumcise your heart,” he said, “and be not...stiff...” then choked on the next part, getting too big a whiff of the shit neath his shoes, as did his would-be flock who left, as so behooves those sickened by shit talk. “Wait!” he cried, but then coughed at the odor blowing with the wind, now aloft, and the heat now glowing amidst the Summer sky beaming with its full fire, bringing tears to each eye and worse than any mire. “By God!,” the man exclaimed, “and by Moses and Christ, and all who yet be named, this is a true shite-geist!” He wavered a moment, feeling faint at the smell, but rallied as he went though the smell did but swell. “Yet, I shall reprimand this age of foulest souls and purge this goodly land until the church bell tolls to declare all so pure as a Godly town might...” He gagged as the manure stank in the hot sunlight. Rallying once again from atop his dais, he preached against all sin, saying, “Lord God, stay us from temptation, from lust, from envy and from wrath, show us works we will trust and show us the right path.” Then pointing at a boy passing by with a book, he vowed then to destroy all sinners with a look should they read any tome that was not the Bible, but the boy went on home and cared not of “high bull”. A girl then passed in grace with ribbons fine and fair and the preacher’s green face burned bright red with a glare. “Vanity is thy name! Forsake earthly treasures or it will be thy shame in Heaven, these pleasures!” The girl pinched her nose and gave him a wide berth, fearing to ruin clothes more than her soul on earth. The preacher loathed the cloth of her pink dress as well, saying “Beware the moth that nibbles souls in Hell!” The girl did not glance back, but hastened to the downs, keen to practice her knack for sewing pretty gowns. And many a more soul did the preacher condemn, the world together, whole— leaf and bloom, root and stem. “Foul! Foul! So foul indeed! This world stretched beneath me! An iniquitous seed felled from the Fruitful Tree!” He stomped deep in the mound as if ‘twas what he scorned, kicking filth all around like a bullshitter, horned. “As a Joshua tree will my belief so grow from this filth beneath me and the faith that I show!” All day he preached thereon till sun slept and moon fell, and though he bathed till dawn he could not shake the smell. “The iniquities last, ever without reprieve as shadows from the past cast by Adam and Eve.” He thought it a trial from which others might learn, yet his wife thought it vile— a circumstance to spurn. “If you are so holy,” she said, “be a saint no more roly-poly. Wash away your foul taint!” “Tis the taint of the world!” he said, “and follows thus!” She screamed at him, then hurled a pan, raising a fuss. “Out! Out!” she cried, “Out, swine! I cannot endure you! Were I not wedded thine I would marry anew!” The preacher fled thither, backside aching from blows, and felt his heart wither, as did his crinkling nose. “The stench persists,” he said, walking the country lane, knowing not where to head while stench brimmed in his brain. “Now I am an exile from out my own good home, prey to some devil’s wile and forever to roam!” Angrier than before, the preacher returned now to the high mound once more with a complacent brow. “Still do your sins smell!” he proclaimed, hands aloft. “And will thus unto Hell when sulphur and fire waft! Raise your heads up to me, and know the higher ground, for I stand above thee, a sermon on the mound!” For the rest of his days the mad preacher lectured, decrying the world’s ways while retching on each word.