it’s a wonderful life, Jesus is the Schwan’s man

You think about crazy things. Bad things. Lovely things. Because it is a wonderful life. There are dew drops in the morning. Honey on her nipples. Tattoos all over your forearms. Messages and meanings so tightly woven together that nobody will ever see what you see. But that’s a good thing. When you’re crazy like this you don’t want to be found out. You don’t want people to know that you’ve killed your heroes. You don’t want them to know you’ve wished Donna Reed was your wife. Before or after Jimmy jumped off the bridge. Doesn’t really matter. When you’ve got someone devoted like that anything can happen. You believe that Donna Reed has never aged and that she’s there, waiting, always to support you. Even through tantrums. Like that fucking explosion Jimmy had in that big old house with everyone—his bride, his kids, God, and even Clarence, the old flaming-rum-punch angel—watching. You know it isn’t real—TV, movies, books and dreams, the voices you hear, the souls you see—but you also know that this lack of reality is rooted in all you’ve been taught to believe. There are no such things as levitation, government conspiracies, secret chicken recipes, or UFOs. There isn’t a Superman, you will never encounter Sasquatch, and there isn’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  As far as you can tell, it’s all scripted and proper, and everything eventually gets put where it’s supposed to be. Billionaires like good fairy godmothers are coming out of the woodwork to guide the way, rolling back time so that men can be men and women can be women and everyone can be white and an asshole and get so caught up in themselves that words—simple words—become strong enough to bend their perceptions, circumvent their rights, and destroy personal codes of conduct, so that finally, we are on equal ground and the end is near and we can take a deep breath and answer the door.

Jesus is knocking. Freezing in the polar vortex. And instead of damning you or saving you or asking you to wash his feet, he’s wearing a Schwan’s man uniform letting you know about discounts on holiday treats.

“Fuck the holidays,” you say, sipping a mix of Tang and Vodka from a big plastic yellow cup. “It’s Christmas!”

Jesus steps back. Shudders in the cold. The moon is white and full in the dark sky. His truck is running and warm and non-judgmental just thirty feet away by the sidewalk.

“Shit, don’t be scared,” you say. “I’ll take the boneless buffalo wings, the chicken pot pie, and the mozzarella sticks.”

“God bless you,” he says. “Your total is $42.97.”

He swipes your card. You take a long drink. Let the snowy wind blow up around you and watch and wait and watch and wait for him to return.

~K.J.


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