(August 19, 2004)
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Ben couldn't bite back his exclamation quickly enough, though he certainly tried; he suspected it was probably the wrong thing to say, since religious types have a tendency to dislike such cries. The man who was just appeared before him looked torn between amusement and annoyance, managing to convey both in equal measure simultaneously. Ben was suitably impressed, although he took a step back just to be on the safe side.
"Do I look like something edible, then?" Jesus asked, tipping back his bucket hat and peering up over his sunglasses.
Ben felt his cheeks reddening, and found great interest in an ant crawling up over one of his feet. "Uh. No, Lord, it's just, erm, a saying..."
"I mean, if anything, I'm more sweet and sour. I know the Anglicans'd have you believe differently, but I was born of a woman, after all. Why do you think I need to skulk around when I come visit? Sometimes I just want to check out the specs on the new AMDs, you know?"He shrugged, dislodging his bomber jacket slightly and causing a beam of radiant light to erupt from somewhere beneath his clavicles. "Oh, for..." He readjusted himself, muttering something that was surely not a curse.
Of all possible responses, this was one Ben had not even considered. Angry Jesus, Sad Jesus, and - of course - Serene Jesus were all images he could make sense of, but Cheeky and Geeky Jesus was somehow much scarier. You can envision a more human divinity all you like, but when it's standing in front of you dressed in a ridiculous disguise and mentioning Athlons, you start hoping for burning bushes and other signs of more predictable godliness. Ben shivered, and managed to choke out a question:
"So, why are you-"
"Visiting you? Well, it's kind of a funny story. I lost the USB cable for my Blackberry somewhere near Mecca last week, and I was wondering if you'd find it for me. You know, a quest." The saviour of the world looked almost sheepish, digging into Ben's carpet with one toe.
There was silence for a moment, as the two stared at each other - Ben was almost the more Jesuslike of the two, dressed as he was in a bathrobe and slippers, but the look on his face was of purely human stupefaction. Is Jesus being lazy? Is that allowed?
"M'lord, uh, why can't-"
"I do it? It's good for your moral character. You've been slipping, Benjamin - and anyway, I'm a lot more addicted to City of Heroes than you are. Now remember: the only way to my Father is through me. So get questing."
"Can't I just buy you another USB cable? There's a Wal-Mart a mile and a half from here."
Jesus reached up to his face, slowly removing his shades and stroking his picturesque goatee. "By me, that's not a bad idea! I'll be waiting in your truck." With that, he vanished as suddenly as he had appeared, leaving the smell of ozone and baking cookies in the air.
Ben stared at the spot the only son of his God had occupied, jaws working but no sound emerging. Eventually, he began to laugh as the ridiculousness of the situation sank in - quietly at first, but growing quickly into guffaws that made his stomach ache. The day seemed rather brighter, as if something heavy but unnamable had been lifted from his shoulders, and he glanced up through his skylight to wink at the sky. Unable to stop giggling, he walked outside, heading for the Explorer parked on the side of the road. As he peered in, he found it empty, but for a small business card:
J. Christ. Humanizing religion for over two thousand years! All prayers answered; satisfaction not guaranteed.
Hmmm. I wonder if that's how he kept King Arthur from despairing, too? Ben wondered. He returned to the house and City of Heroes, keeping an eye out for a particularly fiesty man in a bomber jacket and smiling uncontrollably.
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