“The Chaplain” by Alfred Döblin

An upstanding citizen and ideal pervert, Anselm the priest acts out a scene imitating Saint Sebastian, his favorite martyr. He comes on to a woman named Alice, but she doesn’t reciprocate, so he dresses in her clothes, draping his body in fetish objects, and visits Bertha, who sits him on her knee and calls him “mamselle” on the orders of Robert, her pimp. He then murders Alice so it looks like an accident, and prays to the Virgin Mary as if nothing had happened. The story lasts a few pages and moves fast. Anselm is a vessel, a body without organs, controlled from the outside, and nothing animates him, and he doesn’t understand what’s going on. It’s a good piece, even though I guess it’s not contemporary, and I thought it was worth publishing, but we turned it down.

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