In desperate times desperate people head here – an online journal of Apocalyptic-themed fiction and commentary.

Epiphany in Hell

Copyright © 2006 by Juventino Manzano. All rights reserved.

Epiphany in Hell

     and in the halls o’ hell Jesus said unto me ‘fear not fear except when filled, for then the fear is truly fruitful and ye shall be free as the bloody sheep I sacrificed as a boy.’

     (wow, what fuckin’ great wise guru shit is that?)

I nod at the Charlie Manson-looking dude wearing the white/splotchy red robe. (Holey Hands!)

‘let me tell you a bit about my Pops… he’s a jealous dude, a righteous dude in the sense that he has no physical form thereby insuring himself free of mortal choices.’

he paused.

‘can I have a cig?’ Jesus said, and out came my Marlboros. ‘thanks.’

Jesus pulled a strike-anywhere match from a pocket on his robe, lighting the dangling Marlboro.

‘hmmmm…’ he sucked in deep. ‘this is all shit… heaven / hell / reality / existence / souls / afterlives…. it’s your choice, but all the little mental occurrences where you came from sure can cause a lot of confusion… and the saddest thing to me is how in this world how the wrong are right and the truth is lies and you have to be aware to know the difference and if you figure out even an inkling of the difference, you will judged crazy and wrong and suitable for martyrdom.’

‘yeah, Jesus, I know.’

Jesus took a drag.

‘let us sit.’ exhales clouded his beautiful brown eyes. he sat cross-legged in the hall in hell and I followed him like a sheep to a shepherd.

‘the roots of a million civilizations begin and end with the eternal fuck.’

he inhaled.

Jesus made my breasts tingle; he was the kind of guy I would have carved a swastika in my forehead for… exhaled smoke of bummed cig around him in pagan rings. he resumed.

‘Birth Death Birth Death forever and ever amen up yours — you being of anvil iron created by us all… and remember my Pops how he, seeing the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, had realized that man was Jehovah, and when man found out that Jehovah’s identity was vanishing as the faith in him vanished, he grabbed his last bit of the Cosmic Bang Juice, tossing it on to S & G thereby delaying Man’s enlightenment another couple thousand years.’

he inhaled, his eyes big blank bison nickels.

‘that is why’ exhaled ‘I now curse my Pa; a man birthed him and now…’ his voice was rising ‘I curse all his apprentices; those who bombed the cities of Germany during the time of the great one, bishops who blessed the roman laurels of the UN flag, TV evangelists standing before marble and gold asking for donations, Southern Baptists shouting “Peace, Brotherhood” while hanging a man for his skin color under a crooked moon and all of them fuck…ahh the irony — what they call a sin.’

he was calming back down. his voice had risen like a heartbeat.

‘hiding, fucking hiding… my sweet lamb child you were once an innocent. your eyes carry some still, my dear Epiphany…’ he exhaled into my eyes making them burn. ‘and to continue, my soul, which is here, is sorrowful to the point of rebirth. keep awake with me Epiphany. keep awake.’

‘oh Jesus, what do you want me awake for? I want to sleep.’

‘let me tell you.’ Jesus said. ‘we sit here, you and I, in hell, smoking Marlboros, me preaching parables. why speak in parables? because the simplicity of the kingdom requires a mask so as not to be naked and turn to a musty funeral. the seeds are ingrained, implanted… all I need to say is FOR THE HORN OF THIS NATION HAS GROWN OUT OF SEASON into a horn on the head of a goat to be sawed always, but never removed.’

‘pretty intense, Jesus man.’

I exhaled into his eyes.


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