Jesus and me, and that nice little Mexican place in town
Last night I had dinner with Jesus Christ.
He took me to that nice little Mexican place in town, the one with the red and white checkered tablecloths. Jesus ordered for the both of us – corn chips and salsa, quesadillas, fajitas and a jug of ice-cold sangria. After the meal, Jesus lit a cigarette and asked me how I’d been keeping.
“Why would you ask me a question like that?” I said. “Aren’t you supposed to be watching?”
“I’ve been depressed,” said Jesus. “Broken and depressed.”
“Depressed?” I said. “What the hell do you have to be depressed about?”
“If you must know, I had my heart broken, and I just can’t seem to move on.”
“Wow man, that’s heavy,” I said. “When did all of this happen?”
“Just over two thousand years ago.”
“Well shit,” I said. “Don’t you think it’s time you got over it?”
“That might be easy for you to say,” said Jesus, “ you’ve never had your heart broken.”
“Well yeah, I have. And I even got depressed about it, but it only lasted a couple of months.”
“Jesus man,” I said. “You have to pull it together. You’ve got big responsibilities dude, the whole world is turning to shit.”
“Yeah, Yeah,” said Jesus, stubbing out his cigarette. “Tell me something I don’t know.”
“Well who was she?” I asked. But Jesus didn’t answer. He just stood up and walked out back toward the toilet. As I sat there sipping my vino, I noticed a table of men sniggering in my direction.
“What the Fuck are you laughing at?” I said.
“What the fuck are we laughing at?” Mouthed one of them, pointing to the empty chair.
“We are laughing at your friend.”
“Yeah, well you fuckers wouldn’t be laughing if you knew who he was.” I said.
“We know who is,” whispered the taller guy. “We use to work for him.”
“Oh really?” I said.
“Yeah really,” he said.
Then one of them stopped laughing and I recognized him from his pictures.
“It’s Peter isn’t it?” I said.
“Yeah it’s Peter. And these are my friends, Judas, Luke and Thomas.” The men smiled.
“Listen kid,” said Peter. “Back then he might have been somebody, but that was a long time ago, Capice?”
I didn’t say anything. Somebody coughed. Peter kept talking.
“I can’t help thinking about all the years he’s spent up there, wasting his God given talent, and all because of that woman.”
“She was beautiful.” Said Luke.
“And great in the sack,” mimed Judas, pointing repeatedly toward his crotch.
“But a man must face up to his responsibilities,” continued Peter. “The world’s gone to hell kid, and all because this guy has got “issues.”
Just then, Jesus walked back into the room.
“Jesus,” I shouted spontaneously. “I think Peter has something he wants to say to you.”
“Oh Christ,” said Peter, making his way over to our table. “I had better pour myself a drink.”
“I don’t know what you need to say,” said Jesus. “I know you don’t think much of me anymore.”
“Don’t go pulling that passive aggressive shit with me old man,” said Peter. “You know exactly why I’m pissed at you. When was the last time you performed a miracle?”
Jesus didn’t answer. He just sat there, playing with his hair.
“Quit acting so aloof,” said Peter. “People everywhere are begging for your help. I know you got hurt and I am sorry that you had to go through it, but for Gods sake its time to pull this thing together.”
For some unknown reason, I leapt up then, and shouted the first thing that came into my head. Perhaps I had heard it in a film or read it on a toilet wall, though I really can’t be certain.
“You’re going to make it Jesus,” I said. “But you’ve got to have faith. Bad shit happens to people all the time man. People die. Other people get left behind. People suffer because they are different - because they are the same - because no one bothered to set a better example.”
“We’ve only got two cigarettes left,” said Jesus, staring at the pack.
I sat down.
“For the love of God,” said Peter. “Have you not listened to a word the kid has said?”
“Yeah I’ve listened,” said Jesus. “But in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m no bloody good at it. Not any more.”
“You’re worse than Thomas,” whispered Peter, sparking up one of the cigarettes.
“You have no bloody faith in anything. You sit around all day, wallowing in self pity, blaming everything on your father, some girl you met at a party 2000 years ago, and meanwhile, the world caves in around you.”
“Yeah, sometimes it feels like that,” said Jesus.
Things went on like that for a while, back and forth between Peter and Jesus. I was happy to stay out of it. Up until that night, I had not believed that either of them existed.
Then Peter said, “What exactly have you been doing up there since the last time we broke bread?”
“I’ve put in some cedar cabinets,” said Jesus. “And I made a really pretty aviary out of recycled cans and twine. For the birds.”
Just then, a fresh jug of ice-cold sangria and a new deck of cigarettes appeared on the table.
“At least I’m not completely useless,” said Jesus.
Judas noticed the wine and made his way over to our table.
“Evening Jesus. Mind if I sit down?”
Jesus smiled crookedly, and manifested another empty glass.
“I don’t expect you to welcome me back into your life,” said Judas, seating himself beside me. “I let you down that night; I’ll admit it. But I was confused. I’d like to try and make it up to you, if you’ll let me.”
“Go on,” said Jesus, filling our empty glasses.
“Well I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately; self-help books mainly, Doctor Drew, Doctor Phil, Doctor Oz, and although I’m no expert, I’m pretty confident that you are suffering from a case of low self- esteem.”
“That’s hardly a revelation Judas, what exactly is your point?”
Judas sipped his wine slowly at first; but I could tell things were going to get hairy.
“Its your image old man,” said Judas. “It sucks!” “Well somebody has to say it!”
“My image?” yelled Jesus, staring down at his Roman sandals.
“This victim thing for a start,” said Judas. “The crown of thorns, the heavy cross, the holes in your feet and hands…. The victim thing is totally weighing you down.”
Jesus shifted around in his seat for a while, before guzzling a full glass of Sangria.
“Its time to revamp things,” said Judas. “Really show the non-believers that you’re willing to move with the times. Maybe get yourself some cowboy boots like Dr, Phil Mcgraw. They reckon he is bigger than Jesus in Texas.”
Are you half-barking mad?” Yelled Jesus. “No one is bigger than me, and there are NO non-believers in Texas!”
“I have other ideas. Said Judas. “Rockabilly? Pop punk? Jesus and the Chipmunks?
“Over my dead body,” said Jesus. “It has to be mainstream or I’ll lose my existing demographic.
“O.M.G…O.M.G.” I shouted. “You should totally get a makeover?” “I’ve heard Georgiou Armani is an amazing designer. Or Marc by Marc Jacobs?” His winter men’s collection was to die for. And you should get a decent haircut. No one thinks much of Hippies anymore.” I stopped talking.
“If I agree to do this and I am not saying I will,” said Jesus, “how is it going to help with my depression?”
“Personal image is everything.” Said Judas. “Dr. Phil McGraw says that if you are being represented as a victim, you will feel like a victim.”
“That’s so true.” I said. Because it was.
“It makes sense I guess,” said Jesus. “Peter, do you think it makes sense?”
“You once told me Sir, that a man, especially one with magical powers, can do anything he puts his mind to.” –“Isn’t it high time that you started to believe that?”
“Alright then,” said Jesus. “A suit and a hair cut.”
“And a photo shoot,” shouted Judas.
“And an advertising campaign,” squealed Luke.
“O.M.G You should totally go on Oprah!” I said, getting swept up in the momentum.
“I don’t know about that,” said Jesus, “do you think she’d have me on her show?”
“Are you kidding,” said Peter, throwing his hands up to the heavens as though it was his idea, “You’re Jesus Fucking Christ!”
Everyone fell about laughing then, and I could tell that things were going to be ok.
“She might be able to help resolve your persecution complex,” said Judas.
“And your Oedipus complex,” said Peter
“And your fear of confined spaces,” said Luke.
“And your drinking problem,” laughed Thomas, from the other side of the room.
I wanted to add something then, since we were all going round the room like that, but It had been ages since I’d dropped the liquid acid. And so I didn’t.