[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]
"I need 10,000 words on this new Jesus. Can you do it?"
I stared at him. He was overweight, unqualified and a total cunt.
"You want 10?" I asked. "I'll give you a million, you fat fuck."
"Perfect." He handed me an address and a time. "Go here, talk to the master, and write it up. They say he's the second coming of Christ. I say he's full of shit."
The address I was given was straight-up downtown, a shit-hole apartment building housing derelicts and Section 8s. The Lord Our God was three flights up. I climbed the stairs and knocked on the door.
"Hey, Jesus! Open up."
I was let in by a prostitute. I knew her--Reckless Mary worked the bars on Oliver Street. I brushed her ass as I walked in. She pushed back against my hand. "Is that what you're looking for baby?" she asked. "You come up here for ass?" She was hot, I'll give her that, but I was short on condoms and pressed for time. "No, baby, I'm . . ."
"Looking for me?"
It was the new Jesus. He was maybe 5-foot-2, if he lost the sandals, and he was a flabby 300 pounds, with red hair, freckles and a pair of ears on him that made him look like a clown. "You gotta be fucking kidding me," I said.
"Why, because I look like this?" He rubbed his belly. "I made a mistake last time--I was too comely. The message was lost under that dashing romantic figure--slim and handsome, blond. You painted me, nailed to the cross." He farted. A foul odor filled the room. "Oh, no, there won't be any of that loving martyr business going down here. This is the new and improved Jesus."
I took in the vibe of the apartment: The couch I was sitting on was more dog bed than settee, the few chairs were made of chipped Walmart wood, the carpet torn, stained and worn, and Mary standing in the kitchen, rubbing her itchy crotch while she sucked religiously on a glass pipe. It was trash. "Yes, you look new and improved--a short, fat bozo living in squalor with a prostitute and a plan. Lose the belly," I said, "and it reads just like the old God."
"Yes," he said, "I could see how you'd think that, but I was waiting for you--it's no good to do a miracle if it can't be seen. You humans need proof, and even then you argue about what you thought you saw. I'm going to use you. We're going to start with this"--he made a grand sweep of his hand--"and then, I'll give you this."
Mary fell to her knees. The pipe dropped from her hand. She was choking, unable to breathe; her jaundiced skin faded to an almost green. She reached out for Jesus.
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"Fuck you," he said. "You're a drug addict and a whore; you deserve to die."
She stopped breathing.