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Online Exclusive Fiction: Come to Jesus

Illustration by Alejandra Paton

I FOUND God at a garden party in West Hollywood, in July of 1987.

He was snorting coke off a coffee table in the living room, talking animatedly to a stripper who seemed more interested in the pile of white powder disappearing into Him than the words coming out.  

Her name was Cherry, Raspberry, or maybe Watermelon.

He was telling her about the Fall.

“…and you know how the leaves change color and then drop to the ground?” He was saying, “Yeah, my idea. That’s why they call it “Fall.” Get it?”

Whether she got it or not, I couldn’t tell.

God didn’t seem to care.

He never did.

I walked over to Him and said hello.

I don’t think He recognized me, but He always made a big show of pretending that He did.

He smiled, shook my hand, and offered me a bump.

I took it.

The rest of that night was a blur to me, being as I was already on the fourth day of what would become a week long binge of alcohol and painkillers. At some point I left the party to find an all-night diner on Sunset Boulevard. They had a backroom there where an all-Jewish girl band played pop covers to a crowd of drunken old Jewish men for tips. The matzo ball soup there, I’d been told, was Divine.

I said good-bye, though I’m not sure if He heard me.

I never saw God again.

As far as I know, he’s still at that party.

 

Shortly after that, I took Jesus into my heart.

We were cruising down the 405 in a rented 1963 Cadillac Coupe deVille. It was a good car except the hydraulics didn’t work and we had to ride with the top down but it hardly rained in LA that year, so we didn’t mind. The Caddy was white when we got it, but the dusty, polluted air of Los Angeles had yellowed it somehow, like bleached old bones or Regency-era lace.

Halfway to the Venice boardwalk, we got stuck in traffic. Jesus was antsy, kicking his bare feet against the funhouse ball pit of crumpled up beer cans piled calf-deep in the footwell. He wanted to hit Muscle Beach. I knew a dealer there and we were out of everything and I’d assured Him we could score if we got there before dark.

I had been driving up to that point, though nursing a five-alarm hangover. I was tired.  

I let Him take the wheel.

“…so I told her, I said, ‘listen.’” He was telling me a story about a girl he used to know. “‘You can take the mule, and you can stay with one of your other boyfriends, okay?’ See, that whore didn’t think I knew. I always know. I see everything, man. I see into people’s hearts, ya know?”

I nodded absently. He’d been telling the same story, over and over, all day.

He was always at my side back then.

 

Jesus and I made love in the back of that rented Cadillac, under the dim tungsten street lamps that lined Pacific Avenue.

The waves lapped the shoreline.

Seagulls cried out overhead, mingling their voices with ours.

If anyone saw, they didn’t seem to care much.

Times were different back then.

After it was over, and I was pulling up my pants, He put two cigarettes into his mouth, fired them both up with one match, and handed one to me.

“I love you,” He told me.

“I know you do,” I said, inhaling deeply from the cigarette.

I began to cry.

I told him I was sorry.

He forgave me.

He always did.

Jesus held me tightly. We watched the Sun rise over the City.

Contented.

At peace.

 

Three days later, Jesus stepped out of our apartment on Sunset and Vendome. It was clear and dry and blazing hot. The dying days of that long summer.

He slammed the door, and I called after him.

He was just going out for a pack of smokes, Hesaid.

He promised He’d be back soon.

That was the last time I ever saw Him.

I guess I’m still waiting.  ∞ 

_____________________________________________________________________________

Alexandre Pulido is a Luso-American writer and independent filmmaker living and working in Brooklyn, NY. He has a passion for brevity and idiomatic wit. His writing focuses primarily on science fiction, detective mysteries, and anything that makes him uncomfortable. He graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA in 2013, with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Directing Narrative Fiction. His production company, Toreador Films, makes video for corporate and commercial clients along with his own award-winning narrative projects. In his spare time he cooks, watches soccer (supporting New York City FC and the Portuguese National Team), and repairs old cameras.

 

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