by Arnold Snyder
I’ve always had a bad memory. My whole life I’ve been forgetting things and losing things, but until now, I’ve never had actual amnesia.
I remember Jesus in the blender and the gucksucker that slurped up his pureed body then shit him out, which was then eaten by the female gucksucker with the smaller Adams apple who was then about to shit him out … and the last thing I remember was Uncle Luke saying get back there and grab him.
And now I’m here, sitting at a table in Uncle Luke’s kitchen. Brent is sitting on one side of me, Brandi on the other. Uncle Luke is seated across from us. There are potato chips and soft drinks on the table.
“You all performed admirably,” Uncle Luke said.
I looked at Brent. Did he remember what happened? I turned to Brandi. How did we get here from Hell? “What happened?” I said.
She stared at me for a bit too long, like she wasn’t even registering the question, and finally Brent said, “What happened to Jesus?” I knew then we were all in the dark.
We all looked at Uncle Luke.
He put a hand up to stop us from asking questions. “Okay, look, here’s the thing, you guys: We got Jesus out of Hell and you three did the dirty work, a heck of a job really. I erased your memories of it because I felt it would be better if you hadn’t experienced it.”
“You have the power to erase people’s memories?” Brent said. “Is that why I can’t remember my motorcycle? Or my two weeks in Hell?”
“And why I don’t remember being a London hooker?” Brandi added.
“No, no, I couldn’t erase memories like those. Only very recent memories, no more than an hour or two old.”
“So why don’t you want us to remember the birth of Jesus?” I said. “This is the Second Coming, a momentous event in the history of humankind. And we were there. Why won’t you let us remember it, Unc?”
Uncle Luke put his face in his hands as if in deep thought, then dropped his hands onto the table in front of him, fingers intertwined and said, “When Jesus came blasting out of the gucksucker’s anus—”
“Blasting out?” Brent said.
“Yes, it’s the only way to describe it. He was launched out of the asshole in a fetal position, head first like a torpedo, just covered in slime and mucous and blood and shit and … I was so impressed with how you caught him, Brandi.”
“I caught him?” she said.
“Yes, and he was so slippery he squirted out of your arms almost immediately and Sebastian got a good grip on him just as the blender was reaching for him. Sebastian, you almost got caught yourself, but Brent tackled you and got you and Jesus out of the blender’s reach. All three of you struggled to keep the blender from winning the battle. You were so covered in shit and blood and I don’t know what all—amniotic fluid I guess, mixed with intestinal mucous—”
“Can we not talk about this, Unc,” I said. “I’m glad I don’t remember it.”
“Where’s Jesus now?” Brandi asked.
“He’s in the den.”
“Isn’t he ruining your carpet?” she said.
“Oh no, I cleaned him up, just like I cleaned up all of you guys, which you no longer remember. I got rid of all the messy memories for you.”
“Thanks, Unc,” I said. “I appreciate that.”
“I had to hose down the three of you out in the yard.”
“I agree with Sebastian, Uncle Luke,” Brent said. “We don’t need to remember this stuff. I’m just going to tell people the Second Coming was a beautiful spiritual moment that can’t be described.”
“Can we see Jesus?” Brandi said.
“Yes, you can,” Uncle Luke said. “Now keep in mind he’s just spent two thousand years in Hell. He may not be real talkative right now. We’ve got to give him some time to adjust. A little space. The thing with Jesus is he remembers his time in Hell, every minute of it. And he remembers how you three saved him. I’m sure he’s very grateful.”
Brent stood up. “C’mon, let’s go see him. It’s Jesus. I never in my life thought I’d meet Jesus and he’s in the next room. Let’s go. Does he know English?”
Uncle Luke stood. “Of course, he knows English. He knows all languages. He’s omniscient.”
I stood, not sure I really wanted to see Jesus. The images I had of him in my head—first, as bloody ooze from the blender, and then, as smelly gucksucker shit—were just too disgusting. I didn’t want to shake hands with him and I was afraid he might be the sensitive touchy-feely type. If he smells like that gucksucker poop, I’ll gag.
We followed Uncle Luke into the den.
Jesus was sitting on the Italian leather couch, or more like sprawled on it. His eyes were closed. He looked dead. He was not alone on the couch. There was a dark-haired girl, sprawled similarly, but on her stomach, with her face buried in one of the couch cushions, her legs crisscrossing Jesus’ legs. She was wearing red panties and that’s all she was wearing, red thong panties. She had a tramp stamp on her lower back that said in fancy script lettering,
“What’s wrong with Jesus?” I said.
Before Uncle Luke could answer, Jesus body was wracked with a series of spasms, then he settled down and looked dead again. One of the girl’s legs slid off of Jesus’ legs onto the pile of what I presumed were her clothes on the floor in front of the sofa.
“What’s wrong with him?” Brent echoed.
Uncle Luke sighed, “He’s on the sauce,” he said softly.
“What sauce?” Brandi asked.
“He’s drunk, Brandi. He chugged two bottles of Paisano Red as soon as we got to Earth and he’s out of it. We’ll have to try talking to him tomorrow.”
“Who’s the girl?” I said.
“Just someone he picked up in a bar.”
“A bar?” Brandi said.
“He insisted we go to a bar right after I hosed him off and put some clothes on him. You guys were still passed out.”
“Are you sure that’s Jesus, Unc?” I said.
“Of course, I’m sure.”
“Why did he drink so much?” Brandi said.
“He’s probably trying to forget his time in Hell.”
“Where’d he get those clothes?” Brent said. “They don’t even fit him.”
“He’s wearing my clothes for now. I’ll take him to the Gap later. I couldn’t leave him naked. He had no clothes in Hell.”
I approached Jesus. “Jesus?” I said.
His eyes remained closed. He made no acknowledgment of having heard me.
“And you’re sure he has super powers?” I said to Uncle Luke.
“Yes, he’ll be just fine after he comes off this bender. His drinking problem goes way back. You can’t blame him for starting up again. Think how you’d feel if your father did to you what his father did to him.”
I thought about this for a moment, the whole business with the blender and the gucksuckers, over and over again for two thousand years.
“Is he sane?” Brandi asked.
“Sane?” Uncle Luke said. “He’s Jesus! How could anyone who’s gone through what he’s been through be sane?”
Once more, Jesus’ body went through a series of jerks and spasms. This time the girl on top of him rolled completely onto the floor, landing on her side. She quickly curled her legs up into cannonball position. Jesus lips started moving as if he were talking, though no sounds came out.
“How crazy is he?” Brandi said.
Uncle Luke looked down for a moment, a long moment, then scuffed the floor with his shoe and said, “Pretty damn crazy.”
I had a feeling Jesus wasn’t even conscious of our presence or the conversation we were having. He looked so out of it, so disconnected. He was twitching and starting to nod out, then twitching some more, his lips still moving as if he were talking. He looked so haggard.
“What is your ultimate plan with Jesus, Unc,” I said. “Just tell us what it is. You know we won’t tell anyone else. We’ll help you work on it.”
“Many humans worship Jesus already,” he said. “And they’re expecting his return. We’re going to bring him back to his former glory. He can do miracles. He can convince humans to forsake God the Father and live with us devils because otherwise everybody goes to Hell and stays there.”
“What makes you think people will believe him?” Brent said.
“He can do miracles, Brent. Massive things. In public. Spur of the moment. Way beyond Copperfield. Everyone will know these are miracles. What’s that worth?”
“It seems like people should like him,” I said. “Can he still cure the sick and heal the lame and the blind?”
“Yes, and he loves doing that kind of stuff. The crowds love it. He’s got charisma. People adore him. He can feed people.”
“How many people?”
“Any number. All of them.”
“He can immediately provide food and sustenance to billions of people on Earth who are hungry and dying of starvation? I mean right now he could actually do that?”
“Yes. That he could do. It would be a piece of cake for him.”
“Why didn’t he do that last time?” I said.
“His father interfered. When his father found out Jesus was planning to do that, he insisted that Jesus be tortured and crucified before being thrown into Hell. Jesus himself is really a nice guy. He cares about people.”
At that moment, Jesus stirred. He squinted one eye open to look at us, as if testing to see if we were worth opening the second eye for. Apparently deciding against it, he closed his squinting eye and went back to sleep.
I couldn’t stop looking at his face. This was Jesus, a legendary character of mythical proportions, a god-man who’s been worshipped by billions of people through centuries. I wanted to know who he really was. Was he worthy of adoration?
“Jesus,” I said.
“C’mon, Jesus, I know you can hear me. Even if you’re drunk, you’re Jesus.”
“What do you want?” he said in a dry raspy voice, irritated that he was being urged to respond.
“Look, we got you out of Hell. Can’t you see we’re on your side?”
He opened his eyes and sat forward, looking at us. “Oh, it’s you guys,” he said. “Hey, you’re okay in my book. Have a drink with me. Right now.” He sat up a bit more and hoisted a big glass jug of Paisano. He suddenly seemed to notice Brandi’s presence. “It’s you,” he said. “You caught me. Great catch. Didn’t we have a date lined up for later?”
He poured the purple-red wine into five large ceramic chalices that were on the table.
“These kids can’t drink,” Uncle Luke said. “They’re only thirteen.”
“Fourteen,” I said quickly.
“I’m fourteen too,” Brent said quickly. “That’s old enough for a little wine. In France, the restaurants serve nine-year-olds.”
Jesus passed a chalice to Uncle Luke, then one each to Brent and Brandi and me. They were brim full and the tannins in the wine wafted into my nostrils.
“And you call yourself a devil?” Jesus said to Uncle Luke. “Ha! Let it be written that Jesus is corrupting the children.” He took a gulp from his chalice then said rather loudly to the girl curled up on the floor, “Candy!”
She made no response.
I was hoping she would get up from the floor because I wanted to see her breasts, which looked awfully damn good from the glimpse of side-boob I was getting.
Uncle Luke stepped in front of Jesus and looked him in the eyes. “Look, Jesus,” he said, “you’ve got to get your act together.”
Jesus’ eyes looked bleary. “Drink up, Sebastian!” he said to me, ignoring Uncle Luke. “Chug that shit down, Brandi.”
I took a deep drink of the wine. It was warm and good. Brent and Brandi and I had a spur-of-the-moment chugging contest. I won. I was hoping Jesus would pour us another.
“We’ve got to plot this thing out,” Uncle Luke said to Jesus. “This is big. The Second Coming. We’ve got to bring you back with a lot of fanfare. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get press with your talents.”
“Can’t you see I’m drunk, buddy? I can’t talk business now. I need to sleep this off.”
“Buddy? I’m not your buddy. Don’t you know who I am?”
Jesus closed his eyes and ignored him.
“Look at me!” Uncle Luke said.
Jesus opened his eyes to a weak squint and sized him up. “You’re one of those angels that pissed off my father before I was born. Your existence inspired him to create Hell. Way to go, Lucifer.”
“I knew you recognized me, you phony!” Uncle Luke said. “And I know you’re not going to stop drinking. This is probably the soberest I’ll see you in the next month. We’ve got to get this thing rolling. Right now. I’m your strongest ally. I’m the reason you’re out of Hell. And if we plot this out carefully I think we can all keep ourselves out of Hell permanently. As you know these humans are dangerous. They’ll do anything to stop anyone who violates their belief systems. And they’ve got uncountable belief systems. They’ll lock you up, chain you to a wall, starve you, sleep deprive you, whack you around, apply electrodes to your balls—”
“You know, guys, that was the one thing I was thankful for when I was being scourged at the pillar. Electrodes hadn’t yet been invented.”
“But you catch my drift, don’t you, Jesus?”
“You don’t have to tell me what humans can do, Satan.”
“Don’t call me Satan. And don’t call me Lucifer. I go by Luke now. And we can’t have you going off and getting tortured again. You’ve got to do the right miracle at the right time. Everything has to be calculated for maximum publicity value. We want no negative press.”
Jesus leaned forward and picked up Candy who was like dead weight, pulling her up onto the sofa beside him. The nipples on her small perky breasts were pierced with large safety pins. “Hey! Baby!” he said to her, holding her face to look at him. Her eyes opened weakly and she smiled drunkenly. He looked at Uncle Luke and said, “Nothing helps a man forget his problems like a fine woman.”
“The main problem you have,” Uncle Luke said, “the problem you cannot allow yourself to forget, is figuring out how you’re going to present yourself to modern day people.”
“I’m going to tell humans the truth,” Jesus said, quite soberly.
“No, Jesus, that’s a bad idea. You can’t let on that you’re working with us. If they discover we’re devils, they’ll think you’re a devil. They’re going to be looking for ways to bring you down. Tell them anything but the truth. We can tell them what’s what later, after they trust us. Much later.”
“You still don’t understand, do you?”
Jesus let Candy fall back onto the sofa, asleep, then he took the jug of Paisano, now only half full, and put it to his lips. He tipped it slowly bottom up, until he’d guzzled the last drop. Then he slouched back on the couch himself, resting his head on one of Candy’s safety-pinned tits, and closed his eyes. The bottle dropped to the polished slate floor and broke into large jagged shards. Jesus seemed oblivious.
“I’m feeling less optimistic now, Unc,” I said.
“Don’t worry, Sebastian, he’ll come around. We got him out of Hell. He has to repay the kindness. He’ll listen to reason. He doesn’t want to get sent back to Hell.”
“But maybe Jesus is smarter than us and he knows what’s best. Maybe if he told people the truth—”
“Don’t say that, Sebastian. Don’t even think that. Humans aren’t ready for the truth. Now you guys can go home. Take the day off tomorrow. I’ll work with Jesus and get him in shape for the job we’ve got to do.”
Brent and I left Uncle Luke’s house together and as we walked homeward we tried to figure out what was happening. Brandi stayed with Uncle Luke as he offered to drive her home himself. Later. He never said why he needed her to stay longer.
“Do you think Uncle Luke made us forget about our prior human lives?” Brent said.
“He said he couldn’t do that,” I said.
“Yeah, but what if he did?”
“He said he couldn’t. Anyway, why would I care? I was a starving baby.”
“Yeah, but I had a motorcycle.”
“I don’t think Uncle Luke would lie to us,” I said.
“But he’s telling Jesus to lie.”
I thought about that for a minute, then said, “What do you think of Jesus?”
“I’m wondering if he fucked Candy or if he was too drunk. I’m betting too drunk. He’s not being very cooperative with Uncle Luke. I think Brandi’s kind of pissed at Jesus right now. I don’t think she was too happy about Candy.”
“Do you think he can really do miracles?”
“I sure hope so, but I’m worried God’s going to find out about this and we’ll be up shit creek. Uncle Luke said those gucksuckers were humans. I wonder if I was a gucksucker when I was in Hell, before Uncle Luke got me out?”
“I don’t want to think about that,” I said. “Let’s go back to Uncle Luke’s tomorrow. I want to see Jesus again.”
“I want to see Candy again. But Uncle Luke said to take the day off.”
“Let’s go anyway. We can just walk over there.”
“I’m taking the day off,” Brent said. “I keep thinking about the gucksuckers. They were so disgusting. Every time I think of Jesus, I picture him being eaten by those disgusting beasts. I need a day off.”
Go to Chapter Fifteen . . .