This short story can be found on pages 138-149 of our Spring 2009 issue.
“Fourth, and finally, there are the monks called gyrovagues, who spend their entire lives drifting from region to region, staying as guests for three or four days in different monasteries. Always on the move, they never settle down, and are slaves to their own wills and gross appetites. In every way they are worse than sarabaites. It is better to keep silent than to speak of all these and their disgraceful way of life. Let us pass them by, then, and with the help of the Lord, proceed to draw up a plan for the strong kind, the cenobites” (Fry, 32).
The monk who wanders too much, he is slight with blonde hair and a beard and a mustache and eyebrows to match. He is very smart, you see right away. Something about the face. The way he uses his hands when he talks, the words he chooses well. He is from a monastery in Maine. He joined two years ago. He wears a green wool sweater with a hole in the elbow. His eyes are blue, and he has this cunning smile that reels you in. You watch his dimples as he speaks. You watch his lips.
Some monks have Brooks Brothers shirts, he says.
Any gift I receive has to be approved by the monks, he says. They decide if I can use it or not.
And who approves the Brooks Brothers? you say.
He says, That’s a mystery.