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« Story Time with Gabriel | Main | The Jesus and Mary Strain, Part I »



February 06, 2005

Story Time

With your dear Uncle Andy and assorted other bloggers... the fruit of my half-assed labor can be found below, as can that of former blogger Gabriel.

Walter in Denver has posted his story here.

Copygodd has the copygoods right here.

Michele's got hers up (so to speak) at her site.

When Michele and Rae have something ready, look for the links here.

It all started here, with a creative writing exercise I dreamed up, hoping to push myself into doing some writing. It grew into all of us having to use the following randomly (more or less) selected ideas in our tales:

One Character

Octavio 'Avi' Montalvan, 2nd generation Cuban-American just discharged from the Army after a tour in Iraq (or another war, for timeline purposes). Single, unemployed.

Another Character

Jesus. Yes, that Jesus. He's back in the form of a 22 year
skateboarder. He likes punk rock, video games and long walks on the water. He's hanging around for a while to see just how bad humanity has fucked up his father's grand plan, but along the way he's going to get laid, fall in love and place third in the Summer X-Games.

Where Does the Action Unfold?

Missoula, Montana, deep winter. In a barn.

And what is going on?

Bird flu mutates and wipes out significant portion of humanity due to the ease of global transmission by modern transport. Due to number of dead, world governments forced to put bodies in mass graves, but now the corposes are coming back to life, digging their way out and seeking out live victims.

And what's the opening line?

They had never met before, but {character_1} was certainly happy, although a bit reluctant, to put a face on the nickname {character_2} used while commenting, with that nonchalance which had come to characterize {him/her}.

Given all of the above, each participant was asked to write at least a scene based on the above. They had about 72 hours to do so, probably not enough time considering that drama and colds and belly-laughing mocking-monkeys have a way of popping up at the worst of times.

Anyway, here's what I've got so far... it's incomplete, probably makes little sense, but it was fun to make Jesus have a potty-mouth.


They had never met before, but Octavio “Avi” Montalvan was certainly happy, although a bit reluctant, to put a face on the nickname the Messiah, the King of Kings, used while commenting with that nonchalance which had come to characterize him. Of greater concern was that ever since his childhood in one of Miami’s Cuban enclaves, Avi was taught that Jesus was a bearded Caucasian with long brown hair, flowing robes, and flip-flop sandals.

“But isn’t Jesus from the Middle East?” he had asked his grandmother at age twelve, “Shouldn’t he look more – ”

“No, no,” she interrupted with a wagging finger, “you no talk about Jesus like that.” She leaned in close, her eyes alternating between Avi’s face and the irritable heavens that lay beyond the ceiling. “He hears everything.”

At age fifteen, on a road trip through a rural area of the panhandle, Avi wondered if Jesus saw everything too. If he did, he probably was not pleased with the Aryan cartoon representation that the Eastbrook Open Door Baptist Church used on their billboard, the one with bold print declaring, “Coming soon! King Jesus!” No mention of whether Jesus would be driving Bigfoot or Grave Digger.

Most recently, as a 23-year old Humvee gunner in Iraq, he spent many an explosion-induced insomniac night pondering the mysteries of life, death, and what would happen to his soul should a lucky shot or mortar shell open the gates to his very own Valhalla. He reflected that the only Caucasians in this part of the world were soldiers, journalists, or aid workers, making him more certain than ever that Jesus didn’t look like a white bread, American Everyman.

He was right.

Sort of.

Now, Jesus, the Son of Man, stood at the back window of the barn, his tattooed forearms resting on the sill, one hand in his unkempt hair. Wearing a Misfits t-shirt, camouflage pants, and a pair of Vans, he didn’t much look the part of a savior. Tony Hawk might have resuscitated the gaming console industry, but Avi wasn’t sure that a skateboarding, punked-out style was the best image for comforting the flock in what looked to be the End Times.

Avi saw Jesus’ face reflected in the window, his eyes slowly panning the snow-glow Montana terrain outside, his mouth a straight line of subdued concern.

“This is all wrong.” Jesus sighed and turned. “The rapture, the bodily resurrection,” he continued, “was supposed to be all wings and harps and smiles.”

Avi nodded.

“Not like this.” Jesus rested his head in his hands, blew out a long breath. “What a goddamn clusterfuck.”

Lightning struck, blasting a hole in the barn roof.

“Sorry, sorry,” Jesus said, looking up through the wounded wood with his palms turned skyward. “I meant to say what a fucking clusterfuck.”

Nothing.

“Your father’s a touchy one,” Avi said.


Three weeks earlier, deep within the phlegm-coated lungs of Xo Trinh, a Vietnamese prostitute, the Asian bird flu had undergone an unfortunate series of genetic mutations. Despite its diminutive size, it was a biological event that, in its validation of the theory of evolution, would soon - in equal measure - enthuse scientists and dismay Creationists – at least the seven who weren’t asking for evidence of a fish turning into a monkey.

That same day, Warren B. Felder, an American businessman spending his last few hours in Saigon before returning home to his wife and three children, found himself a portly jockey between the race-worn thighs of Trinh, breathing heavily and making assorted noises that occur when one’s libido demands more than one’s impotent athleticism allows. After a period of time that would make a Nigerian marathoner envious, he collapsed upon his newfound friend, sucking at the air like a suffocating land fish.

Trinh sneezed.

Forty-two hours later, Warren was in the arms of his unsuspecting wife. Four hours more and he was eating dinner with his happy family. Two and a half hours later he tucked his children into bed and sweet dreams. Thirty minutes later he kissed his wife goodnight.

Seventy-two hours after that, all five of them were cold corpses in the city morgue, while the mutated virus had packed its bags and begun a cross-country tour of the United States.

Hello, America, how are you?

As bodies piled up from Sacramento to St. Petersburg, the evolutionary scientists called off their celebratory parties, decreasing the global “fun quotient” by one-half of one percent.

Meanwhile, millions of evangelicals weren’t the least bit concerned, safe in the knowledge that it was an isolated event, because, after all, no fish had ever turned into a monkey. Their concern increased once their lymph nodes swelled, exploding like pus-filled firecrackers, while some of their more treasured internal organs turned to orange goo, seeping from their back-ends like Doritos-dyed Olestra.

Of some consolation was the fact that plagues, while not great fun for the people involved, are somewhat predictable. They do their dirty work and then burn out – my, my, hey, hey – the living left wondering why they survived and the dead not doing much more than laying there like so much marbled meat.

Things get complicated when the dead don’t stay that way.


“So, what do we do?” Avi asked, standing and limping over to the window.

“What do you mean?” Jesus said.

“Can’t you do some bread and fish and water into wine again?”

“Oh, that all-powerful shit,” he said, “A typo.”

“A what?”

“A mistake. A screw-up,” Jesus said, shrugging his shoulders, “Do you know how much time it took those guys back then to copy all that down by hand?”

“A long time I guess.”

“And do you know what a pain in the ass it was to go back and make corrections?”

“A big one?” Avi asked.

“And do you know how much a pack of papyrus cost back then?"

Avi pursed his lips, looked at his feet.

“Didn’t think so,” Jesus said.

“How much?"

“What?”

“How much did it cost?” Avi asked.

“Fuck all if I know, dude.”

“So, the all-knowing thing was a typo too?”

“Now you’re getting it.” Jesus walked over to the cooler, took out a now somewhat warm Fat Tire Amber Ale, and popped off the cap.


Yeah, so that's as far as I've gotten on it. Whoops.

Maybe we should try again and see what happens?

Posted by Andy at 06:46 PM





MONKEY BUSINESS








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