by Arnold Snyder
Jesus was naked, his arms outstretched crucifixion-style, though seemingly suspended in midair. He appeared to be alive, breathing, but only semiconscious if conscious at all. His eyes were closed.
I was standing between Brent and Brandi, wondering how Uncle Luke had transported us here so quickly. It’s like we blinked and we were here and though I couldn’t see him, I knew Uncle Luke was here with us.
“He’s in human form,” I said. “Can we save him now, Unc?”
I waited. Brent and Brandi and I looked at one another back and forth. If Uncle Luke couldn’t talk to us, we wouldn’t know what to do.
“We’re too late,” Uncle Luke said at last. His voice was like a breeze. “He’s already in the blender. We can’t interfere. He has to go through the process and we have to wait.”
Suddenly, Jesus surprised us by speaking up. “No,” he said in a weary, gruff vice. “Don’t wait.” He didn’t lift his head or open his eyes.
Brent and Brandi and I turned to look at one another again, now really not knowing what to do.
Then came Uncle Luke’s voice again. “No, you must wait. I’m sorry, Jesus. You’re in the blender.”
Most of Hell looked like a gray haze. Jesus looked weak and worn out, not good. His hair and beard were matted. A glistening sweat covered his arms and legs, his torso, his whole skinny body.
“C’mon, you chickenshits,” Jesus said. “Just grab my fuckin’ arms and pull me out of this contraption.”
I had no intention of going against Uncle Luke’s instructions, no matter what Jesus said.
“What’s a blender?” Brandi said.
“That’s what I call it,” Uncle Luke said. “The principle is the same.”
Hearing Brandi’s voice, Jesus opened his eyes and looked at us for the first time, zeroing in on Brandi. “Hey,” he said. “Who’s the fine-ass bitch you brought for me?”
Brandi’s face lit up. “Oh, Jesus!” she squealed. “I’m Brandi. I have been your biggest fan for like forever!”
Suddenly, the lower half of Jesus’ body was wrenched clockwise while the upper half was wrenched counterclock-wise. I heard his spine snap. His face contorted in pain and a horrible cry came from his mouth.
“Please, guys,” Jesus said, his breaking voice betraying a combination of pain and fear. “Before this gets any worse, help me outta here.”
“Just be patient, Jesus,” Uncle Luke said.
“I’ll wait for you!” Brandi yelled as the twisting of Jesus’ body continued, accompanied by the sounds of bones cracking and breaking.
He let out a scream but the screaming quickly died in gurgles and finally in a wailing moan, as his neck was twisted like a licorice stick. Jagged splinters of bones were jutting out from every area of his body.
The wrenching caused Jesus’ blood to wring out of him like water from a wet towel. But the blood just hung in the air like his body, swirling around his head as if caught in a tornado, until all I could see was a whirl of red, moving so fast it would have looked solid if it hadn’t been spinning like a funnel cloud.
Then, abruptly, the twisting stopped and all that was left of Jesus—his head and a mass of red ooze—plopped into a small crater beneath him. The bloody mess was still moving, undulating, jerking spastically at irregular intervals. Jesus’ head lay atop the red goo, his eyes still open and looking at us.
“See,” Uncle Luke said. “It’s as if he’d been put into a blender.”
“Yeah, set on puree,” Brent said.
“Thanks for nothing, fellas,” came Jesus’ voice. There was more than a little anger in his tone.
“How can he be talking?” Brent said. “He has no lungs.”
“He’s the son of God,” Uncle Luke said, and we accepted that explanation.
“Why is he moving like that?” Brandi said.
“He’s still alive,” Uncle Luke said, “fully conscious. And he feels the pain in every cell.”
“Get me the fuck outta here!” Jesus yelled.
“Should we be trying to save him?” Brandi said.
“No,” Uncle Luke said quickly. “We have to wait until he’s back in human form. It’s a never-ending cycle he’s going through. But we’re going to end it.”
“Stop acting like you can’t hear me!” Jesus said even louder.
“We’re going to get you out of here, Jesus,” Brandi said. “You just have to wait.”
He turned to look at her directly. “Maybe you and me could go get a bite to eat later, sweetheart? What’d you say your name was?”
“Brandi. Brandi Baker.”
“You’re my type, Brandi. Are you into older men?”
“She’s too young for you, Jesus,” Uncle Luke piped in.
“I love older men!” Brandi said with real excitement in her voice.
“Hey, sweetie, I’m going to put you on hold for a bit,” Jesus said, “just until I get a few things settled in my life. But I’ve got a feeling about us being a real couple, so don’t give up on me.”
It pissed me off that Jesus was hitting on Brandi. How could I ever compete with Jesus? Even though he’s just a head floating on a puddle of blood and guts right now, being the son of God is such an unfair advantage. And he’s not going to be just a puddle of blood much longer.
Some kind of an animal entered the chamber. A large animal, but not an animal I’d ever seen before. It was the size of a hippo—must have weighed at least a ton. But it had soft pink flesh, human flesh. It walked on all fours—lumbered more than walked—on extremely large cloven hooves.
The head was small for the body, but also more human than beast. Two very human eyes, bloodshot and tired, glanced briefly at us but primarily focused on the bloody slop that was undulating in the crater. The creature’s nose was small, but with large nostrils, giving a pig-snout look to it. The thing was hairless except for a ring of frizzy black hair that surrounded the thick puckered lips on the tiny mouth. Large boils, many of them oozing blood and pus, covered most of the back and neck. The beast looked horribly unhealthy.
“What’s that?” Brent asked.
“A gucksucker,” Uncle Luke said. “It’s here to eat Jesus. Just one of God’s little jokes.”
“It’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen,” I said. “Is it male or female?”
“That’s a male,” Uncle Luke said. “The females have a less prominent Adam’s apple. Gucksuckers are actually humans, condemned to their fate by God, just another one of Hell’s torments. I’m hoping to eventually save them from this punishment.”
The animal leaned its head into the crater and started licking lightly at the bloody mess that was Jesus.
“I’m pleading with you, Brandi!” Jesus said. “Get me away from this disgusting creature!”
“This is actually painful for Jesus,” Uncle Luke said. “The gucksucker’s saliva is caustic and every cell of Jesus’ that touches that spit will feel like it’s on fire. And it just gets worse for him as his pureed body goes down the throat and into the belly of the beast, where the stomach acids take over.”
“Stop talking about me like I’m not here!” Jesus said. “Are you just going to stand there and watch me be tortured?”
Uncle Luke looked at us, shaking his head to indicate without saying so out loud that there wasn’t really anything we could do.
Then the gucksucker gave a mighty slurp and as the ooze that was Jesus was being vacuumed into the gucksucker’s mouth, Jesus started screaming as loud as he could, horrific screams that I could feel in my bones. Slowly, every drop of blood and guts that was Jesus had been drawn into the gucksucker’s mouth, except for Jesus’ head, which continued to lie on its side in the crater, his mouth contorted in pain as he moaned in agony. Then he raised his head slightly and looked up at us.
“I’m really going to fuck you guys up when I get outta here,” Jesus said, but I knew he didn’t mean it.
The gucksucker lay down on the ground on its belly and wrapped its lips around Jesus’ nose, then slowly started widening its rubbery lips, stretching them to cover Jesus’ eyes and mouth, and soon his entire head.
“Now what?’ I said. “How does Jesus get out of this predicament?”
“It won’t be long,” Uncle Luke said, as Jesus’ head completely disappeared into the gucksucker’s mouth. The huge lump in the gucksucker’s throat that was Jesus’ head slowly worked its way down the creature’s neck and into belly of the beast.
“He’s now in the process of being digested,” Uncle Luke said. “And those gucksucker stomach acids work fast.”
The gucksucker suddenly got to its feet and groaned as it emptied its bowels into the crater. The waste matter looked and smelled like a combination of shit and puke.
“There’s Jesus,” Uncle Luke said.
“But that’s just a steaming pile of …”
“Technically, Sebastian, it’s fertilizer,” Uncle Luke explained. “That’s how gucksuckers mate.”
“What does that have to do with mating?” Brent said.
“Goddamn you fuckers!” came Jesus’ voice from the pile of shit. I could tell it was his voice, but it was nasal and high-pitched, like a Munchkin’s voice. Then his head bobbed up from the liquid feces, shrunken to about one-third its normal size. He was staring wide-eyed right at me.
“What happened to his head?” I said to Uncle Luke.
“The gucksucker’s stomach acids cause shrinkage.”
The gucksucker slowly lumbered out of the chamber, leaving Brent and Brandi and me alone with what was left of Jesus. Like the bloody pulp that resulted from the blender, this new pile of shit was also moving, undulating, alive, with that mini-head of Jesus bumping along on top of it.
“Guys,” Jesus said in his Munchkin voice, “I’ll make you a deal. If you get me out of here right now, so I don’t have to finish this loop. I’ll grant you each three wishes. And I’m God’s son, so don’t think I can’t do it.”
“Any three wishes in the whole world?” Brent said.
“Do I get three wishes too?” Brandi said.
“No!” Uncle Luke’s voice reverberated. “No wishes! Forget it! We can’t take you back to Earth in this condition, Jesus. You’re a pile of shit with a head. And a tiny head. No one will ever take you seriously. When you talk, you’ll frighten people. Now there’s only one more transmogrifica-tion, so man up and quit your bitchin’.”
A female gucksucker—I could tell by her less prominent Adam’s apple—entered the chamber and, like the male before her, focused on the disgusting contents of the crater with a hungry look in her bloodshot eyes.
“Don’t tell me,” I said.
“Yes, the female gucksucker eats the fertilizer.”
Which immediately began happening. She was just sucking that shit up like it was a chocolate milkshake. The screams could wake the dead. I was relieved when Jesus’ shrunken head finally disappeared into the gucksucker’s mouth, putting an end to the horrific munchkinesque wails that I knew would haunt me until my dying day.
“I don’t get it,” I said. “How is this mating?”
“Gucksuckers have no genitals on the outside of their bodies,” Uncle Luke said, “So they can’t have intercourse. The male turns Jesus’ body into a fertilizer infused with Jesus’ seeds which the female then consumes in order to fertilize her egg. She has no uterus, but produces an egg in her stomach. Her body temperature is perfect for incubating the fertilized egg and very soon she’ll give birth … to Jesus, essentially. He’ll come through her intestines and squirt out of her anus back in his human form.”
“Baby Jesus?” I said.
“Oh no, he comes out in his full adult body. And this is what we’re waiting for. Because when he comes out of her, we’ve got to pick him up before the blender grabs him and starts all over again.”
The gucksucker was now rolling on the floor in pain.
“It won’t be long now,” Uncle Luke said. “As soon as Jesus squirts out, you guys have to grab him and pull him out of the crater. You can’t waste a moment because if the blender grabs him before you do, we’ll have to wait through the whole cycle again.”
There was no way I had any intention of watching the gucksuckers again. We were not going to fail. “What about the gucksucker?” I said. “Will she attack us?”
“Oh, no. She’ll be too exhausted to care about you. It’s the blender you have to look out for. Be fast or you might get caught in it with Jesus. That would not be entirely pleasant.”
“You are the master of understatement, Unc,” I said.
“I can hardly believe we’re going to witness the rebirth of Jesus,” Brandi said. “And he asked me out to dinner!”
The gucksucker’s body wrenched into a tight ball, as if experiencing a tremendous abdominal cramp and at the same time it made a horrible gurgling sound. I thought at first it was coming from the creature’s throat, but became aware slowly that the sound was coming from the other end.
“You guys better get back there and be ready to grab him,” Uncle Luke said.
Go to Chapter Fourteen . . .