At the very end of the final hour the man gave in and went to pray to the statue of the saint. This was Saint Felix of Giotto, of course, one of the lesser known figures in the hall of beatitude. Felix was known as the patron of lost causes, and of half-formed ideas, and of uncured meats, and his statue had long been a place of pilgrimage in the town. This was despite the well documented fact that nothing was known of the life or acts of the saint; whether he died a martyr or a virgin, whether he performed any miracles or cures, or indeed whether he had lived at all. He was rumour of a man, not even a ghost – yet people still walked down the short, overgrown lane to see the statue, and to pray for his aid.
In truth, the statue itself was the subject of some small controversy in that place. There were two churches in the town, and both claimed a different name from the same rocky figure. Who he represented depended on where you found yourself on Sunday morning. For the man going to pray, this was not an issue. As he was an atheist, he was free to choose Felix, as this was far more useful a figure to petition. Of course, being an atheist, he had no illusion that praying was going to be any help whatsoever.
At the statue, the crowds had already gone for the day. The dull stone eyes of Saint Felix gazed down at the inscrutable writing carved into his scroll. The man started to lower his head too, but something about the statue suddenly struck him. Two hundred years and he hadn’t got past that one word. This was no way to get rid of writer’s block.