by Arnold Snyder
We sat down right where we were and started passing the joint with Jesus.
“So, JC—can I call you JC?” Tiffany said, then without waiting for him to answer, went on, “What’s the difference between omnipotence and omniscience?”
“Goddamn, girl, you really have got some fine tits,” Jesus said, taking a big hit on the doobie.
“One hundred percent natural,” she said with a big smile.
“Are you up for fooling around a bit later?” Jesus said.
Tiffany was wearing a lowcut V-neck t-shirt with no bra, and she squeezed her arms together to show off her cleavage. Then she took out her cell phone and said, “Give me your number and I’ll give you mine.”
“Ha!” he laughed. “I’ve got your number, baby. I’ll find you. Omnipotence means I can do anything. Omniscience means I know everything.”
Tiffany leaned back on her extended arms in such a way that it thrust her chest out, the thin cotton fabric of her t-shirt molding to the shape of her nipples. “So, which one do you still need to work on?” she said.
“I’d like to work on both of them,” Jesus said. “I’ll start with the right one, then move to the left.”
“I mean omnipotence or omniscience,” she explained herself. “You said you wanted us to test you.”
“Oh. I’m not fully capable with either at this point, but both are coming back fast. I can do almost any miracle now, but it’s too dangerous to test everything. For example, with full omnipotence I can create new planets, new species, new galaxies, new universes, or destroy any of them that currently exist. But it’s dangerous to test it all because if I suddenly create a new universe, my father might see it and the jig is up. I’ll be right back in Hell.”
“Like what kind of miracles can you do now?” I asked.
“I can do this,” he said, as there was an ear-shattering thunder crack that made both Tiffany and me jump.”
“You did that?” Tiffany said.
“Sure I did.”
“Could you make Fluffy appear?” she asked.
“Your pet chicken?”
“How’d you know I had a chicken named Fluffy?”
“That’s omniscience,” he said. “But if I make her appear here on the table, that would be a demonstration of omnipotence.”
“Can you do it?” I said.
In the blink of an eye there was a chicken strutting and clucking on the coffee table.
“Fluffy!” Tiffany cried.
The chicken turned on the table and it became obvious that something was wrong with Fluffy.
“What happened to her wing?” Tiffany said.
“Oh, wasn’t she like that before?” Jesus said. “Wait, I can heal her.”
He put his hand on Fluffy’s shriveled wing and we watched it growing and acquiring new fluffy feathers.
“That’s pretty cool,” I said.
“She’s lopsided,” Tiffany said. “And why is the new wing gray? Her other wing is white.”
“I’m not perfect yet,” Jesus said. “But I’m getting closer.”
“Can you at least make her wing white?” Tiffany said.
“It looks white to me,” Jesus said. “Her wings look identical.”
“No,” I said. “The new one is definitely gray.”
“Can you just make it the same size as the other one?” Tiffany said.
“They look different to you?” Jesus said.
“Yes,” Tiffany and I said simultaneously.
“Damn,” said Jesus.
“Look at how she’s walking,” I said. “She’s off-kilter.”
“I’ll work on it,” Jesus said. “Still, I was able to get Fluffy here instantly from your yard, but I haven’t quite got her … I guess you’d say accurately reconstituted.”
At that moment, Fluffy keeled over sideways, falling onto her side. She lay there motionless.
Tiffany stood up, her brow furrowed in concern, and leaned over the bird, looking at her intently. “Is she dead?” Tiffany said hesitantly. “Jesus, did you kill my Fluffy?”
Jesus put his hand on Fluffy’s side and the chicken jumped up as if startled and began strutting and clucking once more. Though her strut was decidedly lopsided, Fluffy looked very much alive and agitated.
“There,” he said. “she’s going to have a long life.”
“So, you’re still working on your omnipotence,” I said, “and I’m impressed. Nobody can do stuff like that, even if it’s not perfect. But how is the omniscience coming?”
“I know a lot of stuff,” Jesus said. “I’ll tell you that.”
“What’s my mom making for dinner tonight,” I said.
“Mac ’n’ cheese and hot dogs,” he said.
Tiffany picked up Fluffy from the table and held her close to her chest, stroking the feathers on the back of her neck to calm her. “When will Fluffy be okay?” she asked softly.
“She’s okay, Tiffany,” Jesus said. “Really she is.”
“But you can’t fix her.”
Jesus slammed his fist down on the coffee table, then closed his eyes and took a deep breath, before saying, “I just don’t want to mess with her right now, okay? I’m not sure why she got … slightly damaged, so I’ll fix her good as new as soon as I figure that out. I promise you.”
“I’ll let you know if you’re right about the hot dogs,” I said.
“I’m absolutely right about your dinner tonight,” he insisted.
“So, you can tell the future?” Tiffany said.
“It’s not how I think of it,” Jesus said. “But yes, I can tell the future when I have full omniscience. But that’s what I’m working on right now.”
“Can you see everything that’s happening in the world right now?” I said.
“If I look for anything in the present time, I’ll see it.”
“What’s Uncle Luke doing right now?”
“He’s trying to calm down Emilio, who’s just watched the three girls get eaten by gucksuckers, two of whom have already been shit out and one of whom, Lola, has been re-eaten by the female gucksucker and shit out as a gucksucker herself. Emilio’s begging Luke to not make him do it.”
“Wow,” I said. “My sister’s a gucksucker. That’s weird.”
Jesus became strangely silent. Then a look came over his face that was either fear or something awfully damn close to abject terror.
“What’s wrong?” I said.
His lips parted as if to answer me, but no words came out.
“What is it?” I said.
He closed his eyes in some kind of resignation, then said, barely above a whisper, “My father.”
“What’s he doing?” I said.
“I’m not sure. I can’t really look at him, or he’ll see me.”
“Maybe you’re wrong,” Tiffany said. “You know you don’t have your full omniscience back yet.”
“I’m not wrong about this,” he said, then in a weaker voice, “I’m so sorry. So sorry. So, so sorry.”
“I don’t get it,” I said. “What exactly is happening?”
“I think that by considering looking at him, he’s become aware of me,” Jesus said. “This is dangerous. I have to get off this track of mind. I’ve got to get a whore. Where’s Brandi?”
“Jesus,” I said. “She’s not a real whore. She’s just acting like one.”
He looked at me curiously for a long moment, then said, “Jesus Christ, I keep forgetting I’m omniscient. I know where Brandi is. Wow. I’m out of here, guys. I’ll contact you when it’s safe.” He hurried out of the room like he was being chased.
Tiffany said, “Let’s fuck. We may not be able to fuck soon. Ever again.”
“We have to contact Uncle Luke first and tell him what’s happening,”
“You’re saying no to a fuck? Do you realize I’m a virgin? A virgin with huge natural tits? A virgin that even Jesus wants to fuck?”
“Me too, I’m a virgin, and I think he wants to fuck me too. And I’m not saying no. I’m saying right after we contact Uncle Luke. He’s down in Hell with a bunch of gucksuckers and he’s the only one who might be able to help Jesus.”
Tiffany dug her phone out of her purse.
“What are you doing?” I said. “Uncle Luke’s in Hell. There’s no mobile service in Hell.”
“How do you know?”
I watched incredulously as she thumbed his number then put the phone to her ear.
“Hey, Uncle Luke,” she said momentarily. “I’m sorry to bother you, but there’s a situation here.”
I couldn’t believe it. Cellular service in Hell.
“Jesus just left,” she went on talking into the phone. “He was very upset because he thinks his father may have thought about him recently. How dangerous is that?”
She listened for a moment before putting the phone back into her purse, without even saying goodbye.
She looked up at me like she was seeing something other than where she was looking.
I said, “What did Uncle Luke say?”
She took a step closer to me and put her hand on my chest, before saying very softly, “He said we should fuck.”
“Where can we do it?” I said.
“My place. My parents are gone and I have to bring Fluffy home. We can walk there. It’s only a couple blocks.”
We left Uncle Luke’s house through the attached garage door, with Fluffy on a leash made from a piece of rope Tiffany found on Uncle Luke’s garage workbench.
“I always take her for walks like this,” Tiffany said. “Fluffy loves taking walks. At home, if I just get her leash out and jingle it, she comes running.”
“I can tell she’s really special to you,” I said.
“Do you think Jesus really saw his father?” Tiffany said.
“He didn’t exactly say he saw him,” I said, as we walked down the quiet residential street. “He just got a weird feeling or something. I know he’s pretty crazy and his power leaves something to be desired. But did you see the look on his face right before he went running out?”
“He was definitely scared of something.”
That’s when Brandi turned the corner from a side street a block away and started heading toward us. She was wearing a micro-miniskirt, platform heels, and a midriff-baring crop top. Her makeup was garish. Even from a distance she looked like a slut.
Even weirder, she had Deco and Amber on leashes—or I assume it was Deco and Amber, because they were wearing the clothes Deco and Amber had been wearing when I’d last seen them, but both of their heads were now really cute snake heads.
“Oh my god,” Tiffany said. “We have to tell them the deal’s over. We can all go hide out at my house. I’ll make us some Jell-O or popcorn or something.”
So much for losing my virginity … then again, Brandi looked awfully damn sexy and she might be up for it.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of Deco and Amber. Their necks were about two feet long and their snakeheads just kept turning this way and that. Deco had that goofy crooked smile on his face.
“You guys!” Tiffany said, as we converged into a group on the sidewalk. “I thought Uncle Luke never showed you how to do snakeheads!”
Deco and Amber hissed at her simultaneously, and damn if it wasn’t the cutest hiss I’d ever heard.
“Jesus just now showed them how to do it,” Brandi answered for them. “Then he left to go and get Uncle Luke out of Hell. He said it’s time to go for it right now. The plan is in motion.”
“I like your outfit,” I said to Brandi.
“You look so hot,” Tiffany said to her.
“It makes me feel like such a whore. Do you want a blowjob, Sebastian? It’s only two bucks.”
Before I could respond, there was a roar and a rumble coming from somewhere in the neighborhood maybe a quarter-mile distant. Within seconds, a group of motorcycles turned onto the street where we were.
It was Brent, or rather four Brents in sleeveless frayed denim jackets, all on Harleys, gunning their engines into a racket. This was not the kind of neighborhood that saw outlaw biker gangs very often. People were pulling their curtains closed as the scooters rolled by.
Jesus had to be using a form of hologram technology not yet known to man. From every angle, it looked like four Brents on four different bikes. Then, one of the Brents pulled to a stop in front of us, while the other three kept rolling passed, one of them popping a wheelie.
“Hey, Dude,” Brent yelled at me over the din of his motorcycle. “Look at this cool bike Jesus fixed me up with. He said the gig with his pop is on, full steam ahead. Damn, Brandi, you are lookin’ good!”
I pulled out my wallet and peaked inside. Shit. “I only have one buck,” I said to Brandi.
She shrugged and turned her attentions to Brent. “It’s two bucks for a BJ,” she said to him. “Three and I swallow.”
The hologram bikers had now returned and were riding in circles around us. Their tires were tearing up the manicured lawns they were skidding on, but none of the neighbors came out to complain.
Suddenly an overpowering stench filled the air. At first I thought it might be the bikers, but when I looked down the street I saw Uncle Luke coming toward us with Gabriel and four gucksuckers. Gabriel was naked but so covered in slime and blood and shit that his nakedness was the least obscene thing about him.
I recognized the gucksuckers’ faces immediately. It was Angel, Emilio, Crystal, and Lola. Their noses had become a bit more snouty and they all had that ragged fringe of hair around their lips, but without a doubt it was them.
“What are you doing here?” I said to Uncle Luke. “Aren’t you guys supposed to be down in Hell so you can trick God into the blender?”
“Jesus sent us up here,” Uncle Luke said. “He said he’d take care of the problem down there by himself.”
“But he doesn’t have his full powers back yet, Unc. What are we supposed to do?”
“All we can do is wait,” Uncle Luke said.
“What are we waiting for?”
“We’re waiting to see Jesus, in all his glory, come floating over to us surrounded by birds and butterflies, ready at last to free all men from the horrific destiny God had planned for them, ready to create a heaven on Earth, ready, at last, to start putting up high rises.”
Then, a stench many magnitudes more stomach-turning than the smell of the gucksuckers came wafting over us. I looked down the street to see God.
“I don’t think Jesus won the battle,” I said, then immediately went into a coughing fit, gasping for oxygen. I heard others coughing and hacking. Tiffany was down on all fours trying to breathe. Even the holograms were choking on the foul odor.
God was just as Uncle Luke had described him, surely the most disgusting blob of fat and eyeballs in creation. And all those tentacled eyeballs were turned to look at himself.
Except for one. It was looking right at me.
I felt a sudden wave of nausea come over me and I closed my eyes and dropped to my hands and knees, hoping it would pass. Instead, I felt myself falling, faster than I’d ever fallen before.
I heard the music of the screams and I knew where I was.
Uncle Luke had made a big mistake. We shouldn’t have tried to save Jesus. Jesus was a waste case. We should have left him with the gucksuckers.
An excruciating pain in my upper back told me I was on the hooks, dangling, swaying, those steel claws dug into my shoulder blades, through the muscle and lodged in the bone, the stabbing agony so excruciating I couldn’t help but flail my arms and legs, even though the flailing increased the pain.
We had a good life. We were out of Hell and living in comfort and style. Why did Unc have to push for this impossible dream—saving all the humans? How fucking stupid could Uncle Luke be? High rises? Was he totally nuts? He saw what had happened when the Cherubim rebelled in Heaven.
I realized I was on the conveyor belt, heading toward the first chamber in Hell, the beginner’s area, the romper room of Hell, the shattered glass feeding station.
He got the Cherubim out of Hell, but he wasn’t satisfied. He had to try and beat God. How could he be such an idiot? You can’t beat God. No one can beat the Supreme Evil that created all of us.
Right in front of me on the conveyor I could see Tiffany through my tears. She was about to enter the torture chamber and I would be right behind her. I could hear her screams, and behind me Lola’s, and Emilio’s, and Brent’s, and Brandi’s, and Crystal’s, and Angel’s and Gabriel’s. I could hear every one of them distinctly, wrapped in the music of uncountable thousands of screams. Then I heard Deco’s and Amber’s screams, and even their screams sounded cute.
But I didn’t hear Uncle Luke. Maybe his screams were being drowned out by so many others. Maybe, somehow, he got away … I wanted to believe that. I had to believe that. I hated him more at this moment than I would have thought myself capable of hating. But he was now my only hope.
Amidst the jarring symphony of the horrific wails, I said a silent prayer: Uncle Luke, please, I beg of you, find us a way out of Hell once more. Please, Uncle Luke, please …
Not that prayer had ever done me any good in the past.
* * *