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Prose by evilredcaboose

Lit by onyxdemoness


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January 11, 2008
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What if I told you I was Jesus?

Look Him up on Google Images. Right now. I'll wait.
       
Let me just tell you — you'll find pictures of Him, fisted beard and soft eyes, holding lambs, small children, His hands strung up on crosses like a marionette doll, dipping His feet into broken waters, along with the odd picture of an African-American Jesus or a manipulated photo to show Him smoking, drinking, having gay intercourse. And you'll smile, and bite your lip a little, maybe play with some knick-knack, some tinsel and bouncy toy on your desk.
       
Now look at me. Don't be shy. I'm not offended.
       
Get in so close to my face that you can only catch snips of me, fragments of hair and weaves of skin, until you have to step back and wait for your eyes to focus back on me. Stare at me until you can feel your eyes dull with the sensitivity of watching, stare at me until you forget where you are, stare at me until your ankles tingle.
       
Hello.

I'm Jesus.
       
                                                                       -
       
A man comes to your door. He has plaster jeans, a skinny shirt, baby fat, and tired eyes. He opens his mouth — slack-jawed — and raises his cupped hands, something desperate in his stance. He leans on your doorframe, edging just barely onto your neutral-colored floor, wishing terribly to be under your covers, inside your protected walls, wants to hide out in your closet and smell your clothes until he can lose himself in your life, wants to skim your bookshelf like he could discover who you were through the words from other mouths. He looks like you, you with less, you with darker shadows and you with a more prominent nose.
       
You close the door on him. You hold the doorknob and listen for the sounds of his scuttled tennis shoes going down the walk, you lean against the door when you're sure he's gone, trying to breathe, this stranger who wanted in, this stranger who looked less-than-average.
       
A new man comes to your door. He has brown hair like straightened tumbleweeds, has hands like he's about to throw dice, smiles big and full. He's wearing white clothing that looks unsanitary and clean, something you can't describe. His teeth show and your entire house lights up. He opens his eyes and waterfalls pause to listen to the sound of his soot-eyelashes. The world holds onto space for a moment, before letting go and giving into gravity all over again. He looks like no one you've ever seen, like the kindly uncle or the fishbone cousin you wished you had, beautiful and pretensed.
       
You let him in. You let him browse your closet, you lend him your books, you let him stare at the walls of your pale house as long as he likes, because he's like nothing you've ever seen before.
       
I know. Don't worry, I know. I forgive you for closing the door on me, for slamming the entry on your Savior.
       
                                                                       -
       
I live in an apartment. It's colored like bricks and toilet paper. I own two cats, one of them has a pricked ear, and I live on the fourth floor. My kitchen has seven knives in it. My refrigerator has broken down fifteen times in the past three years. My upstairs bed barely holds me, Scruffy and Mittens, grouped up like serving dishes on a sheeted table. I drink lusterless water. There are a few pictures on my walls, of dilapidated family members, of people I wish were closer. I have Post-It notes everywhere, reminders and lists, written by a pen with a smiley-face on it.
       
I walk down streets that would rather I had no shoes, that require a barefooted sort of aesthetic, something I possess in my fingertips. I work at the Circuit City half-an-hour away — you can find me in my Christmas-red vest, browsing the camera and cell-phone aisles half-heartedly. I eat lunch at the same nameless fast-food restaurant every day. I order the nachos supreme, with extra guacamole and no salsa. I know the waitress by name (Tina), but she doesn't know who I am.
       
That I'm Jesus.
       
I've had four girlfriends over the past twenty-three years. I dropped out of community college. My father won't speak to me and my mother sends me birthday cards with smiling kitties on them, asking for updates on my life, and sometimes I'm nice and tell her that I'm learning to be an astronaut, that she should visit me sometime in my Tudor, take a ride in my Rolls-Royce. Anything to keep mother happy. I graduated with strength in chemistry and English. I could tell you where to find symbolism and all the details of Einsteinium's electrons, but I couldn't tell you the square root of sixty-four without a calculator (is there one?). I've had two best friends over the course of my life; one doesn't know where I live, and the other never learned my last name. The biggest crush I've ever had was on my Physics teacher, who wore scientific glasses, laughed loudly and had California hair.
       
I like Guinness beer. My middle name is James. My favorite color is turquoise. I never want children.
       
Congratulations. You know Jesus.
       
Because, if nothing else, these are what make me Him the most.
       
                                                                       -
       
Now, maybe you've heard stories about me. You know, turning water into wine, coming back to life after my death, saving children from precarious situations and managing disciples, and no hint of a sin is wedged in there.
       
I want you to forget all of those. I want you to treat them like you would treat the tales of Aesop, or the Grimm, or Dr. Seuss, or your Uncle Flouder's war tales — fabricated, fake, and magical, with some truth glittering like a faint star between the pages.
       
Do that for me.
       
I don't do any of that. The closet I've ever come to saving someone's life was that time when I was five, performing elementary CPR on a snail, my lips trying to form around the cracker shell and cracking it open. I killed that snail, a shard propped out of its head, near the antennae; I said "the closest time," not "the time," okay?
       
You have to lower your standards. The next man who comes through with puce alcohol spilling out of his hands, who can spread new and innovative teaching with a flicker of his eyelids, who turns things to gold with his gaze, carries lambs slung over his elbow like pulsing throw-pillows, who is Caucasian and doe-eyed and tan-eared, who hears messages from an obnoxious and lovely God, who never thinks about sex and never takes one guilty peek at a porno, who says he loves you before he knows your name —
       
If that man comes around, you're allowed to kneel in the street until your knees are bloody, praise the sky like maybe someone up there can hear you. That's reasonable.
       
But until that happens, you need to calm down. I make great macaroni. I have bright eyes, like photosensitive seizures. I have a savings account. I'm a nice guy — I'm a nice guy, I swear, I'm a nice guy. I don't change the chemical set of water, not even the color, I've never raised myself from out of the dirt like a large erect elephant trunk, I've never seen the world or beheld a new life being born, I've never had disciples.
       
But I cry for that snail. Every day. I think about it in the shower, when the water runs down my back, over the ridge of my thighs, collapses on my feet. I think about it when I'm driving home, breezing through green lights, an open package of blurred gummy bears, my brain running through images of a stencil-snail with a sword of his own shell stuck out of his back.
       
I love that snail. And that should be enough.
       
                                                                       -
       
The thing I regret the most, as the saint that I am, is the day that the cereal ran out.
       
I was thirteen. There was a block party going on outside, one of those suburban treats, where the eleven-year-old girls get on their bikinis that haven't grown into them yet, where all the teenager boys try to duck out to smoke, where all the little kids run around yelling "tag!" and apologizing as quickly as they can force the words out when they bump into some adult's thigh, beer-belly dads sitting around drinking beer like it sustains their lives and soccer moms exchanging schedules and giggles.
       
A cliché, rumbling outside, and I'm pouring my cereal, trying to keep a straight face, near tears for an unidentifiable reason, wanting to run outside and yell until I can't feel my lungs, yell at every mother who wears their child like jewelry, at every father who watches football on Sundays, at every kid who never wants to grow up. I want to scream as I put the milk down, as I handle the box of Cheerios, and I squeak when all of the little circular wheat-colored os fall to the floor.
       
I watch the crumbs tumble out, wilt and die, step on them, until they become shattered and discolored rose petals, and then I rattle the box and discover that there are no Cheerios left, that I've smashed every last one. The world is an empty cardboard box where things spill and you destroy them, you don't gather them into their homes.
       
And I looked over and discovered a gathering of Cheerios that had fallen and my furious feet had missed, had avoided, as if on purpose. I collected them in my dove hands and threw them down into the plastic package, threw every last one down there, and stuck them in the back of my closet, where no one would touch them. The box is under my bed, currently, moldy and shriveled os stuck inside, beautiful and breathing.

But I still regret that there are only a few messy ones left, that I could've had a whole box full.
       
That was the moment I knew I was Jesus, by the way.

                                                                       -
       
Would you change your religion for me? Would you rewrite bits of the Bible to foretell my coming? Would you discuss my empty house, would you detail my lazy afternoons? Would you remark about the Jesus who hardly ever went to Church, about the Jesus who could care less about homosexuals, about the Jesus who donates to charities monthly, about the Jesus who keeps dead Cheerios underneath His bed?
       
Would you pray to me? Would you bend down, onto a rug or over dinner, clasp hands with your children and your spouses, your siblings and your grandparents, and speak my name aloud? Would you put me in the same sentence with God, my name next to His, like I was His son and His student and His lover and His cherished one? Would you praise this man, this Jesus, this me, who was born to a mother who certainly isn't a virgin?

Would you feel proud to know me? Would you smile upon the rest of my family, guilty by association? Would you grin at my dimples, at my indent feet, at my panda hands? Would you post those pictures of me onto Google? Would you teach children about me, would you take my word as law, as moral?
       
Would you live for Jesus? Would you live like yourselves, for me?
       
                                                                       -
       
No. No.
       
Close your Web browser with the Jesus images open. Go downstairs and spoon yourself some cereal. Don't pray to me tonight. Don't pray to me ever. Don't string my name after God's.
       
I lied. I'm just a guy with baby fat and plaster jeans who wants to be protected under your walls. I was good at English, you know, and chemistry. And I hide cereal under my bed, like a dirty secret.
       
I'm not Jesus. Sorry.
edit;; new superfabulous preview image by Emily:heart: (that would be ~onyxdemoness or :icononyxdemoness:) sadly, devart is an apparent MURDERER OF QUALITY, so it can be found here, too: [link] /edit

reminding myself why i write in the first place. :)
exams are OVER. :w00t: hells YES.

sing me something soft, sad and delicate,
or loud and out of key; sing me anything.
we're glad for what we've got, done with what we've lost,
our whole lives laid out right in front of us.

sing like you think no one's listening,
you would kill for this,
just a little bit, just a little bit,
you would, you would.


this is not meant to insult anyone at all -- to lower your religion, whatever it may be, or support atheism. i am atheist, but (though i don't believe he was the son of god) i think jesus was a pretty cool guy. not trying to offend anyone on any basis. okay?

word count: 1,996
listening to: existentialism on prom night - straylight run
(c) LeeAnn - 2008
Add a Comment:
 
:iconviolent-passion:
Violent-Passion Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2009
this is just...the part where he says 'that was the moment I knew I was Jesus by the way' literally made my breath catch and read it over a couple of times. I love how you made out Jesus as a normal everyday guy and I love the imagery - like I can see it playing out in my head - this is just amazing. :wow:
Reply
:iconameko-shadowsong:
Ameko-Shadowsong Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh.
My.
Gosh.
...
I am speechless.
:heart:
Reply
:iconnuzai:
Nuzai Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2008
Oh I found an oldie! xD

You're athiest? (Me too!) Wow, you write so much about god in your pieces though.
This one is pretty c: making my way through your gallery~
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:iconposhlost:
poshlost Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Good God you're a genius.
Reply
:icondamaskangel:
damaskangel Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Complicated :faint:
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:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2008
but enjoyable? ;)
Reply
:icondamaskangel:
damaskangel Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Well I would have enjoyed it on a normal day.Been in too much of a rush lately and everything takes a while to sink in. :faint:
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:iconbark:
Bark Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2008  Professional Writer
amazing bit of writing! if christians treated everyone they met like that person was jesus, they would be fullfilling their promise. not to hate people who are different, to tell them that they can only come over to the "right" side if they change... you're a great writer and a great thinker. :clap:
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2008
thank you so much! :)
Reply
:icononyxdemoness:
onyxdemoness Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2008
Oh, thought I'd tell you - I read this to my mom, and she said 'Wow, that was gorgeous.'
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2008
does she know that i wrote it?

your mom is nice. /random
Reply
:icononyxdemoness:
onyxdemoness Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2008
Yup. I've been pushing her to read it for a couple of weeks to a month now, so finally I came downstairs and insinuated myself in her space and read it.

And thanks!
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2008
aww thank you:heart:
Reply
:iconp1pp1n:
P1pp1N Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
i found this really interesting. your writing was liquid as always, really easy to follow and it flowed well. kept my eyes riveted to the screen :)

the subject is interesting too and i was fascinated by your take on Jesus as we know him...

whilst it may not have been intended, it reminded me of the bible verse about what you do to your neighbour you're doing for him... just what came to mind.

great writing as always! :)
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2008
unintended, but appreciated :) thank you!
Reply
:iconrchelsea2005:
rchelsea2005 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Wow.

I also think Jesus was a cool guy. But I'm not aethiest.

Ya know, I'm glad you put something up you feared might be a little controversial. People are so afraid of offending people these days, that it's gotten to the point where the truth has become this elusive thing that we hope for but doesn't actually exist...

This was very good. Makes me think of "Jesus Was An Only Son" by Bruce Springsteen. I was watching his stint on Storytellers last night and although he's Catholic he said he was just trying to picture Jesus as a guy, ya know? He makes a quip about how ya know...what if Jesus just ran the bar down the road and settled down with Mary Magdalen. It was a really interesting look at things. And he said he was trying to picture how Mary would feel simply in the human/mother sense that she was losing her boy. It was a really cool look at things...
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2008
i very much like that image -- that jesus is could've just been a guy, a nice, awesome guy, who got blown out of proportion, you know?

i think that's why i like the section where i talk about lowering your standards of the next jesus or messiah or whatever the best.
Reply
:iconrchelsea2005:
rchelsea2005 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah

Hmm...well this was certainly worth reading. I enjoyed it very muchly.
Reply
:iconmesmeric-revelation:
mesmeric-revelation Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2008
Just...wow. I really enjoyed the part with the Cheerios...I couldn't relate more.
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2008
yes yes yes yes. thank you so much.
Reply
:iconmesmeric-revelation:
mesmeric-revelation Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2008
You are most welcome.
Reply
:iconswhite0126:
swhite0126 Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2008   Photographer
i'm astounded by your age and grasp on english and the world. bravo for this. off to read some more
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2008
thank you so much :)
Reply
:iconswhite0126:
swhite0126 Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2008   Photographer
anytime
Reply
:icongarnet-43:
Garnet-43 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2008
Lots of comments on our society, in a very fresh way.

Because you're so new to this world, Leeann, you bring a very original perspective.

And frame it so well with your brilliant writing.

Niced work.
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2008
thank you so much:heart:
Reply
:iconbblk:
bblk Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2008
Eight is the square root of 64. xD (I know you know that, I just wanted to say that).

I feel like cheerios now. xD

This is beautiful and indepth, and great. :hug:

I just don't know what to say. I love the whole concept, I love the whole idea.

:glomp:

The love the concept.
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2008
haha i know xD honestly, it took me a second -- i think i said seven at first? :confused: -- but i wanted to demonstrate that he's really bad at math.

thank you :)
Reply
:icononyxdemoness:
onyxdemoness Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2008
I - I - this -

There are no words.

Okay, no I lied. There are words, but they aren't particularly coherent ones. I love the imagery in this, the way you never name anyone, the way you play on the cliches, the descriptions. I love the descriptions especially.

Is it bad that I felt like the bit about the photosensitive seizure eyes was just for me? Cause there was definitely a little thrill in there.

I love that the day he knew he was Jesus was the day he regretted destruction, and that he kept those Cheerios. It's like trying to save the world that's left after you know that you've killed it already.
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2008
you have bright eyes. it just fit.

yay! yay! yay! emily got the symbolism! yay!:heart:
Reply
:icononyxdemoness:
onyxdemoness Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2008
*boggles*

I got the symbolism? I NEVER get the symbolism! My interpretations are always way off... *does a happy dance.

Seriously, I just did this big happy gasp when I read that. *is a little embarrassed now*

Really? Thank you! No one's told me this.
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2008
emily got the symbolism just fine! 8D

maybe it's a bit of an awkward thing to say?
Reply
:iconrhobsonphotography:
rhobsonphotography Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2008   Photographer
btw-great image of water running down your back and over the ridge of your thigh!!!!
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2008
don't forget collapsing on the feet!
Reply
:iconrhobsonphotography:
rhobsonphotography Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2008   Photographer
this,this is brilliance! personally i would have left out the ending about it being a lie, just left it hanging (i think) i also dont believe the son of God bit either, a prophet maybe, a guy with good timing (if getting nailed to a plank is good timing!) i do however believe in One God, call it what you wish there is only One. this is a truly beautiful piece that suggests to me that if there was a "Jesus" he would be a regular guy spreading love and peace (man).
Reply
:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2008
thank you! that was one of my main points, which i'm definitely glad got across -- that we're so busy waiting for a miracle from some great and beautiful guy, that we might be missing him.
Reply
:iconyourpleasantdarkness:
This was fantastic! D: I loved it, it played out like a narrative film in my head, complete with focus and non-focus points, flashbacks, and cigarette smoke. It's a beautiful piece, and I'd comment more in-depth, but right now, I'm fried. x 3 x congrats on creating something incredible after your exams. <3
still can't believe someone of your talent is only fourteen! :'D

-A.C.
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:iconlivingcomforteagle:
livingcomforteagle Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2008
ahhh thank you.:heart: i feel a little better about this piece now -- i mean, i was afraid exams had sucked out all my creativity, and i didn't know how this piece would be taken anyway.

lol, "talent."
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