Sunday, 3 May 2015

It’s Quittin’ Time by Naomi Elana Zener

PING. Jesus looked down at his cellphone resting on his desk. A new text awaited his reply.

“Are we still on for drinks? It’s your dad.”

“Luddite,” Jesus muttered to himself laughing. Parents of a certain age still didn’t understand how texting worked.

“I’m coming,” Jesus tapped into the phone.

He shut down his computer, taking note of the time. 6:00p.m. Quitting time. He was ready for his end of week after work drinks ritual with his Pops, something they both needed after an arduous week at their respective offices. This ritual had been going on for as long as Jesus could remember. Something that started long before his eighteenth birthday—spending every Friday night of kicking back, just two dudes shooting the shit before the weekend hit and their lives really became harried.

Jesus strolled down the avenue towards his and his father’s favorite haunt: Hell’s Angels. Upon entering, he scanned the room, taking note of the usual Friday crowd tossing back a few beers before going home for the night. In the far corner of the room sat his dad at their usual table.  Jesus nodded his head at the bartender on his way over to their table, flashing what some might perceive to be a peace sign. Rather, it was Jesus signaling for two drinks to be sent over to his booth.

“Two Bloody Marys coming right up,” the bartender shouted out. Jesus leaned over and gave his father a hug.

“Son, you look haggard. Doing lots of good work late into night?” his father asked.

“Nope. I was at a party.” Jesus rubbed his eyes. The bags under them were dark and puffy. If this continued any longer, he’d have to look into undergoing a blepharoplasty.

“It seems like you’re going to one every night,” his father added.

Jesus nodded and winked. “It’s tough work but somebody’s got to do it.”

“Oh, sweet Jesus.”

The bartender returned with their drinks.

“God, I made your Bloody Mary extra spicy this week,” the bartender advised, sliding a glass across the table in Jesus’ father’s direction.

“Thanks,” God replied, picking up the glass and taking a giant swig. “Ah, just what the doctor ordered.”

“Tough week?” the bartender asked. Jesus took his drink and shot it back in one fell swoop.

“Hit me, barkeep. This time make it a double,” Jesus instructed.

“Jesus Christ, what have I told you? You have to pace yourself,” God advised.

“Dad, don’t be so lame.” The bartender departed to fill Jesus’ drink order. God quietly sipped on his beverage, waiting for his son to apologize.

“Fine, I’m sorry. It’s been a long week and it ain’t easy being the Son of God.”

God nodded his head, signaling acceptance of his son’s apology. “What was the worst prayer you had to answer this week?”

“Got one from that ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Hell if I know why he was praying to me—asking me to eradicate the Ebola outbreak amongst his fighters in Mosul,” Jesus advised.

“I got that one, too,” God advised. “I’ve been told he’s reaching out to everyone: Krishna, Buddha, Rama, Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara, and Zeus. Even Breged, the Celtic’s Mother Goddess, sent me an email telling me he contacted her, too. He’s desperate.”

Jesus took a slow sip from his fresh drink the bartender had dropped off during their conversation. He wanted to show his father respect.

“It was an offside prayer. I don’t answer those of non-believers.”

“Maybe instead of just ignoring Abu’s pleas, spread Ebola across his caliphate. Give him a Passover style plague-like dose of medicine?” Jesus suggested. God smiled.

“That’s a lovely idea, and while I marvel at your ingenuity, we have to maintain peaceful relations between us omniscient ones. We don’t want what’s going on down on Earth to spread up here, now do we? Maybe I’ll send Satan a memo and see what he can do with your idea.” God always preached that where there was a will, there was a way. And, he was always one to uphold his gospel.

“Maybe add to your memo a note asking Satan to curse the Westboro Baptists with the scourge of syphilis.” God chuckled, jotting down the idea in his Samsung Galaxy. He quickly became distracted by several text messages in his inbox. More supplications from his worshippers—both the obedient and the fallen—were causing God’s phone to vibrate with such ferocity that it nearly flew out of his hand. Bored, and having turned his phone off, Jesus took a look at the menu. His tummy was grumbling. 

“Want some nachos?” Jesus asked. God ignored him. He was too busy sending celestial benediction text messages.

“Dad, I’m hungry,” Jesus whined. “DO. YOU. WANT. NACHOS?” Distracted by his son’s petulant request to order food, God forgot to delete a prayer from whiny, spoiled rich kid from some form of social media.

“Do you know what I want?” God sighed. Jesus looked at him blankly.

“I dunno. A cheeseburger?”

“I’m tired of watching the world I created, the people I fashioned out of my own image, playing the religious version of the ‘my dick is bigger than yours’ game. Each bloody leader down there inculcates the tenet that their religion is better than all others and none are a panacea. I imbued Adam with good sense, and his descendants have wasted it. People never learn from history, they just keep repeating it.”

Jesus chortled. “Well, if they didn’t, we’d be out of jobs.”

“Jesus Christ that’s not funny. Do you have any idea how nice it would be if I could retire already? Hit the back nine with Buddha once in a while? Don’t let that belly fool you, he’s got the lowest handicap in the universe.”

“Kvetch on daddio.”

“I made these people out of my own image. It doesn’t matter what color, creed, ethnicity, or race they are. They are all supposed to be like me, yet they hate each other.”

“I guess that means they hate both themselves and you. Daddy issues.”

“I know you think you’re so hip and funny, but would you cut it out with your comedic stylings. This is serious. These righteous men down there treat women like shit, but women are not just their own beings, they were fashioned out of a part of a man—Adam’s rib for Chrissakes…”

“Hey, don’t take my name in vain,” Jesus retorted. God nodded.

“The point is that I’m ready to bring the wrath of God on their heads. I’m going to figure out a way to endorse the feminist movement. Those men and their stupid meninist movement have no clue what kind of fury is going to rain down upon them.”

“Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t you lend a helping hand in uncovering the hordes of embezzlement and fraud perpetrated by many of the obscenely wealthy male C.E.O.s around the world, and then somehow ensure that only women get promoted to the c-suite in their stead?”

“Not a bad idea, son.” God made another note on his phone.

“Maybe also find a way to have women make more money than men?”

God nodded his head.

“And, if you’re really going to go after making some big changes, please add the antivaxxers to your shit list.”

“Oh, they are the bane of not only my existence, but every single religion’s omnipotent leader’s existence. Especially, the religious idiot ones who’ve perverted the Bible and other religious coda to brainwash their followers to believe that I wouldn’t want their kids vaccinated. I created man. Man created science. Science created vaccines, and science was a gift from God. Now, they throw my gift away. They keep saying ‘God saves!’ and ‘Jesus saves!’ but that’s bullshit. I’m not saving them from their own stupidity. I’m not everyone’s parent. I’m only yours. That reminds me, did you get your MMR booster yet?”

Jesus nodded his head. God reached across the table and patted his son’s head. “Good boy.”

“Like you always say dad, you can lead a horse to holy water, but you can’t make them bathe in it to give them good sense.”

“Thanks Dr. Phil. I feel like I’ve wasted thousands of years on these people. Where did I go wrong?”

Suddenly, both Jesus and God’s phones pinged incessantly. God’s rhetorical question to his son had gone viral. Both of the holy rollers snapped them up to be besieged by a flurry of texts, all carrying the same reply message.

“YOU GAVE US RELIGION! THAT’S WHERE YOU WENT WRONG.”

Father and son looked at each other in exasperation. 

“Dad, just the Holy Spirit deal with this crap. And, if he can’t, then let everyone convert to the religions they think will do a better job for them. Let’s get the bill and get out of here. There are going to be some great parties tonight—lets go and have some fun” Jesus advised.

With a knowing glance exchanged between them, both God and Jesus knew what they had to do. They each typed a two-word message into their phones and each sent a mass text message to the world that read: “I QUIT!”

Within a millisecond of hitting send, both Jesus and God received a reply validating their decision.

“Thanks for answering our prayers. Never yours, Christopher Hitchens & Richard Dawkins.”


© 2015. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

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