A surge of people crowded around the statue of the Virgin Mary. This was the first time in the past century that such attention was put upon the small church of St. Augustine. But this was a special occasion unlike any the small Mexican town had ever experienced. For on the day it all started—which happened to be Good Friday—the statue began to cry.
It started with a spear of sunlight glinting off a tiny smudge of moisture underneath the statue’s right eye. The priest who had noticed it simply wiped the moisture away with a cloth, thinking it nothing more than condensation brought on by the humid weather. But the next day there were two obvious streaks going down the Virgin Mother’s face.
“I inspected it but found nothing out of the ordinary,” the priest said to a nun after showing her the streaks.
By the time Easter Sunday arrived word had gotten out about the “miracle.” The crowd lined up in front of the statue and took turns praying. One man even tasted the liquid now pooling around the statue’s feet.
“God. He speaks to me!” the man shouted into the crowd a few minutes after ingesting the strange liquid.
The man’s pupils became two black saucers and darted around at random. His odd behavior whipped the crowd into a frenzy. More and more people began tasting the statue’s tears. Each reaching their own state of enlightened euphoria not long after.
“Praise heaven, it’s beautiful!” a woman bellowed.
“The Virgin Mother has blessed us,” another woman added.
Soon the entire church had devolved into manic action. Some were sitting on the floor, hugging their knees and rocking back and forth while muttering inaudible jibberish. Others were throwing their hands into the air with reckless abandon, smacking into others as they did so. One man even managed to climb halfway up the great church organ, shouting, “I am Jesus Christ” before crashing onto the organ keys—which resulted in a deafening blast from the pipes.
“Calm down. Please, calm down,” the priest begged the rabid crowd. “This is a house of God.”
Some took second and third licks of the Virgin’s tears. This led to mania. Chaos had erupted and the church was nearly destroyed in the process.
Fortunately, some off duty police officers were on hand and had called for backup. It took a small swat team to clear everyone out. When things finally calmed down and the church was empty, an investigator was tasked with finding out what had caused the crisis. The priest told him about the tears and the investigator thought this to be highly irregular. So he searched high and low for answers, examining every part of the statue and its surroundings; not an easy task as the statue was wedged into a tight alcove and had barely enough room on its sides to fit a hand behind it.
“Is there a room above here?” the investigator asked the priest, sliding his hand behind the head of the statue.
The priest thought for a moment then said, “There’s a small room, but it’s not directly above here.”
“May I see it?”
“I don’t see why not. Follow me, sir.”
The priest led the investigator to a hidden door in the back which took them up a winding set of stairs.
“We use this room as a safe place for weary travelers and those in trouble.”
“You mean you let them sleep up here?”
“Only for a night or so,” the priest answered.
They entered a tiny room furnished with a single-person cot, square writing desk, and an old lamp. The investigator looked around but kept his thoughts to himself.
“And over here,” the priest opened a door next to the desk, “is a small washroom.” He pulled a string overhead and a dim yellow light flickered on.
“May I?” the investigator asked, motioning to the washroom.
The priest stepped aside as the investigator began to inspect the washroom. Though, there wasn’t much to inspect. There was only a little metal sink and a toilet that wasn’t much bigger. Even so, the inspector took his time, mainly focusing on the back of the toilet. After some time the priest became curious.
“Have you found anything, sir?”
Ignoring the priest’s question, the inspector answered by asking one of his own. “Has someone been staying up here?”
The priest’s eyes grew wide. “Why yes. Recently a young traveler had stayed up here for two nights. An American, actually. He left,” the priest paused to think, “Thursday night.” He finished with a nod of confirmation.
“Did he happen to leave in a hurry?”
“Yes, in a hurry,” the investigator said once more, with a hint of irritation in his voice.
The priest remained quiet for a few more moments as he reflected on the question. “Well,” he finally spoke up, “I suppose he did leave rather abruptly.” He scratched at the stubble on his chin. “It was a bit unusual as most leave in the morning, but this fellow left sometime during the night.”
“Does this church happen to have any police officers as members?”
“Oh yes. Many officers attend weekly mass,” the priest said with pride.
“And did you or someone else happen to mention this to the traveler the day before he left?”
The priest furrowed his brow and tilted his head like a confused puppy. “Pardon?”
The investigator dipped his hand into the toilet and pulled out a long strip of what looked like wax paper.
“Do you know what this is, padre?”
“I,” the priest leaned in closer but just shook his head. “I can’t say that I do.”
“It’s a strip of acid.”
The blood drained from the priest’s face.
“You mean the drug?”
The investigator nodded. “The wooden floor behind the toilet is completely saturated. If I had to bet, I’d say your traveler friend got spooked when he found out the cops would be here in the morning for Good Friday. He probably tried to flush his stash so he wouldn’t have to leave, but the toilet clogged and began to overflow. He ran off because he didn’t want to get caught. I’m sure you’re aware of the strict drug laws in this area?”
“Oh, Heavenly Father.” The priest kept shaking his head side to side. Then he stopped in an instant. “Wait, that means the Virgin Mary’s tears are—”
“LSD laced toilet water,” he finished the priest’s sentence for him.
The investigator did his best to suppress his laughter. The priest, on the other hand, had to sit down on the cot. All at once, the earlier ordeal made much more sense to him. God certainly has a wicked sense of humor. Either that or miracles are a lot different now compared to when the priest was a kid.
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