It’s been a long month, flash-fiction wise. But I’m having fun (again) with blasphemy*, a farce, and a 2-parter.
This story is PG.
Phony Baloney Jesus War
Fried bologna pops and sizzles in the pan. Deanna pokes the meat with a fork with one hand, and holds back her long hair with the other. She carefully leans forward, her nostrils pumping in the scent. She licks her lips, smearing her lipstick, then carefully shoves a sizzling slice into her mouth.
Her dog sniffs the air and whines.
“Quit’cher bitchin’ Hellfire. Mamma eats first, you know that.”
Hellfire whimpers and lays her head on her paws.
“All you do sleep an’ eat anyway. How about you git yer own food for a change? Lazy dog.”
Deanna turns up the radio and sings along:
“Have you ever met Jesus, soon you will see
You’re gonna meet Jesus if you’re messing with me”
“Stormtroopin’ Jesus, you’re gonna see
You’re gonna meet Jesus if you’re messing with me”**
Deanne grabs a slice of bread and puts it on a plate. She squeezes a crucifix of mustard on the slice.
“Gonna meet Jesus, messin’ with me,” she sings off-key.
She flips the remaining bologna with her fork.
“Metal Blessing Radio plays Christian metal 24/7!” the DJ says. “Music loud enough to blow the devil away!*** Can I get an amen?”
“Amen!” Deanna echoes.
“And I dedicate that last one to all the hard-core Jesus freaks out there,” the DJ continues. “That was Electric Hellfire, by Black Label Society. And I ask you, have you met Jesus? Gimme a call at 584-3341.”
Deanna stabs her sizzling bologna and plops it onto her bread. She tosses the plated sandwich onto the table, then squints. She gives the plate a quarter-turn, then gasps. “Jesus Hoobastank Christ! What’s that number? Jesus Christ!”
“And we’re back. Once again, the question of the day is ‘Have you met Jesus?’ Gimme a call at 584-3341.”
“Hello, and you’re on the air.”
“Hi, is this Metal Blessing Radio?”
The feedback screeches.
“Yes, and you’re on the air. And turn down your radio volume please.”
Deanna carries the phone to the living room and switches off the radio.
“Yeah, my name is Deanna, and I eat Jesus. I mean I meat him. Met him! He’s here. He’s in my kitchen!”
“Jesus Christ is in your kitchen?”
“Yeah. I was makin’ a sandwich, and his face appeared in the fried bologna. I know it’s his face, I recognized it from church.”
“You say the face of Jesus appeared in your fried bologna?”
“Yes, right in my very own kitchen.” She looks up and sees Hellfire snatch the sandwich off the table and gobble it in one bite.
“Hellfire! Fuckin’ dog!”
“Ah- I mean, hallelujah. I was overcome with the spirit.”
“Can you come in with your Jesus baloney and do an interview?”
“Great. Looks like Deanna will be blessing us with her Jesus baloney. Hold on the line, Deanna. Metal Blessing Radio plays Christian metal 24/7! Music loud enough to blow the devil away! We’ll be right back after a word from our sponsors.”
Deanna fries bologna slice after bologna slice, looking for Jesus. Each slice is Jesus-less, and each slice she feeds to Hellfire, cursing and swearing.
Until the last slice- bingo.
“Hello, my fellow saved Christians, and soon-to-be-saved Christians. We’re here with Deanna and Nadine, two lovely ladies who have met Jesus through meat- or at least have seen the image of our dear lord in bologna and salami, respectively.”
“We’ll start with you, Deanna. Let me see what you brought in for us.”
“You mean I’m not the only one?”
“Not the only one to see Jesus? Well, I’m sure lots of believers have seen Jesus. But you’re the only one in this station who says she saw Jesus in bologna. So if you could hold up the bologna, I’ll describe what I see for our listeners.”
Deanna lifts her bologna.
“Praise the lord! It really is Jesus, folks. Looks exactly like him. The eyes, the nose, the mouth. This is amazing. We are blessed.”
“What about my salami?” Nadine says.
“And next to Deanna we have Nadine, another lovely lady who has met Jesus in meat. This time, in salami. Hold up your salami Jesus, if you would, Nadine.”
Nadine lifts her salami slice high in the air.
“It’s a miracle! A salami Jesus! The likeness is uncanny. It even has the hair- you know how Jesus has long, curly locks- it even has that. I think I’m gettin’ emotional here.”
“Oh- well I accidentally dropped it before I came over. I didn’t want to pick at it too much. I think some of that hair might be from my kitchen floor.”
“God works in mysterious ways,” the DJ says.
“Amen to that,” Nadine says.
“Well I had two bologna Jesuses,” Deanna says. “Hellfire ate one.”
“I had a whole package of salami Jesuses,” Nadine says. “I just didn’t bring them all because I didn’t want to brag. That wouldn’t be Christian.”
The next day, Monsanto Meats and Smithfield Swine announce their ‘Manna Meats’ and ‘Holy Hogs’ lines, respectively. Pre-packaged processed meat guaranteed to have at least one Jesus per package. The Jesus meat war begins.
But with the price of meat so high, tithing believers switch to Marmite.
Deanna turns up the radio and sings along:
“Have you ever spread Jesus, so easy to do
You’re gonna spread Jesus if your heart is true”
“Spreadin’-ready Jesus, you’re gonna see
You’re gonna spread Jesus, and be spreadin’ with me”
“Metal Blessing Radio plays Christian metal 24/7!” the DJ says. “Music loud enough to blow the devil away! Can I get an amen?”
“Amen!” Deanna echoes.
“And that was a just-released single from our newest sponsor, Marmesus sandwich spread.”
**Metal Blessing Radio.
***Lyrics by Black Label Society.
Moose Lodge Murders
“Howdy!” Doyle waves to the family climbing out of the station wagon. “Welcome to the Madawaska Moose Lodge! Are you the Waldo clan?”
“Sure are! All the way from Imperial Beach, California. The name’s Waldo- Chaz Waldo. This here’s my wife Angie, and these are my boys Hal and Aaron.”
“Pleased to meet’cha. Name’s Doyle Murray.” He snaps his suspenders. “I’m the proprietor here. You say you’re from California? You sure are a long way from home.”
“Yeah, we’ve been through every other state in the US of A. This year we decided to spend Christmas in the last state on our list.”
“Glad to have you, and welcome to Maine.”
A woman in a mini skirt, halter top, and stilettos steps out of the car and saunters up to Doyle.
“And that there is my Aunt Coco,” Chaz says.
“You can call me ‘Auntie Coco,’ Mr. Doyle,” Coco says, pecking him on the cheek. “I’m semi-famous in San Diego County, California, and a welcome addition to any entertainment list.”
“Aren’t you a friendly thing!” Doyle says, winking. “I’m full up on entertainment. But you might want to check out our gift shop for some sensible clothes. The lodge is heated, but it gets a little drafty at night. And it looks like it’s starting to snow. I’ll help you folks with your bags.”
“Mighty nice of you inviting us for dinner, Mr. Murray,” Chaz says. “Smells gamey.’
“Aw, heck, call me Doyle. And it’s no trouble at all. We’re expecting the biggest snow of the season tonight, and I wouldn’t want you and your family to get stranded looking for a restaurant. Besides, I thought a big, family-style moose roast dinner would be just the thing to kick off this evening. I’d like you to meet this evening’s entertainment- Andy and Marie. It’ll be their first show at Moose Lodge.”
“Looking forward to the show,” Chaz says.
“Ditto,” Andy and Marie say in unison, giggling.
“It’s really coming down hard now,” Angie says. “We may get snowed in.”
Two snugly-costumed nurses in nurse hats and heels burst out of the kitchen.
“Bullwinkle!” a man in a wheelchair says, rolling from the kitchen to the dining room.
Doyle laughs. “Have you been running Candie and Christie ’round the kitchen again, Professor Talbott?”
“Of course I have! They won’t keep still. Lucky for me my chair’s greased up from the moose fat. Wheels go flyin’- wheee.”
“This here is Professor Gene Talbott, a fixture at Moose Lodge, and his loyal and long-suffering nurses, Candie and Christie Cousins.”
“Twins?” Chaz says.
“Yep,” Doyle answers.
“Your moose is cooked, Mr. Murray,” the nurses say in unison.
“So let’s eat!”
Andy and Marie huddle on stage, clutching each other and shivering.
“You held my hand, when it was cold
When I was lost, you took me home”*
The rest of the residents sit on the floor in a solemn, silent semi-circle around the single electric heater. The duo finishes, and the room applauds.
How about a trio? I know ‘Camptown Races’,” Coco calls out.
Andy and Marie smile and roll their eyes.
“That furnace sure is temperamental” Doyle says. “Seems like it conks out when we get our biggest snowfalls.”
“What are we supposed to do for heat tonight?” Angie says, rubbing her hands together.
“I wouldn’t be worrying about heat if I were you. I’d be worrying about the moose.”
“The moose?” Angie says.
“There’s a moose that’s been coming around every winter, but only when the snow gets really high. I think it comes lookin’ for food.”
“But a moose can’t get inside the lodge, can it?”
“This moose is a clever moose. It’s gotten inside before. And it’s killed.”
“Killed?” Chaz sasys. “What do you mean? It’s killed people?”
“Yep,” Doyle says.
“Are you kidding me? You mean there’s a killer moose on the loose?”
“But that wasn’t in the brochure!”
“What kind of a place is this, that you don’t tell people about a killer moose?”
“The economy’s down. Gotta keep the negative publicity down as well.”
“Well, that does it! First thing tomorrow morning, me and my family are outta here!”
Coco jumps onstage and wrestles the mic away from Andy and Marie.
“In that case, this will be my one and only performance at Moose Lodge,” Coco announces. “I shall sing the Jewel Song from Faust.”
A moose bugles outside the front door. The residents quickly say goodnight and rush upstairs to their rooms, leaving Coco to sing, and Andy and Marie to operate the mixing and lighting consoles.
The residents wake to a scream. They rush downstairs and find Coco, Andy, and Marie gored dead on the front room floor.
“Gored by a moose!” Angie screams.
“That does it! We are outta here!” Chaz yells.
“Wow, this is the coolest vacation ever,” Hal says.
“Wait ‘til I tell the guys about this- I’ll finally be popular!” Aaron adds.
“Hold your moose, folks. Looks like we have a big moose-understanding here.”
“Will you quit it with the moose this and moose that already?” Chaz says. “Playing murder moostery is very inappropriate at a time like this.”
Hal and Aaron pile onto the sofa and peer out the window.
“The snow’s up to the window ledge,” Hal says.
“Looks like we’re snowed in,” Aaron adds.
“Last night I had the weirdest dream,” Angie says. A moose climbed through the window in our room and bugled at me.
“What a two-timer!” says Coco’s ghost.
“Make that four-timer,” Angie says. “You’re not the only ghost.”
“That really does it, we’re leaving, Chaz says. “I don’t care if we have to burrow outta here!”
“It’s a guy in a moose suit!” Marie’s ghost says, pointing to the front window.
Moose suit waves with a shovel, swims through the snow to the front door, and shovels an opening.
“It’s the killer! The moose is the killer!”
The door opens.
“I’ll save you Maaaarrrie!” Andy’s ghost charges the moose, high heels clicking, and
Right in the crotch.
Moose suit falls with a thud and a whimper.
“Take off the moose head!”
Chaz grabs the antlers and pulls.
“Aye, you caught me,” Talbott says. “Merry Christmoose!”
“But how- what about your wheelchair?”
“Every year I play the part of the moose. After so many times, it takes a while to recover from a crotch kick, even from a ghost, and even with nurses, you know.”
*Lyrics by Anne Murray.
Honeymoon in Galtür (part 1 of 2)
“I have a surprise for you, love,” Grant says, as he clips his skis to his boots.
“Another surprise? I’d think you’d be fresh out of surprises by now. I need to come up with some surprises of my own!” Jazmin says, brushing the snow off her jacket. “I still can’t believe we were strangers only two weeks ago, and now we’re married.”
“Correction- we will be married. We haven’t consummated the marriage yet.”
Jazmin laughs. “I think I know what the surprise is. You want to consummate at the top of Mount Silvretta. You’re nothing if not romantic.”
“You got me.” Grant shrugs. “Mount on the mount. And it was gonna be a surprise.”
“If it’s any consolation, I promise to surprise you too.” Jazmin winks.
The ski-clad newlyweds clomp to the ski lift.
“What about the other skiers?” Jazmin says. “Won’t they see us?”
“I know a trail that leads to a hidden crevasse on the opposite side of the main run.”
They hitch a lift to the summit. At the pinnacle, they jump off the lift, and Grant motions for Jazmin to follow him. They ski to the other side of the pinnacle.
“The crevasse is right there,” he says, pointing at a gap in the snow.
“Let’s forget about the crevasse. Sounds kinda dangerous anyway. Let’s just do it right here,” Jazmin says, unzipping her jacket. “There’s nobody around.”
“Okay. Whatever works,” Grant says, looking over his shoulder.
Jazmin flings off her jacket, unclips her skis, and wrestles off her boots. “What are you waiting for?” she asks. “I’m way ahead of you.”
“I’m just enjoying watching you get undressed.”
She sits on the ground, pulls off her sweater, and looks up at him.
Grant pulls a black box out of his jacket.
“What’s that?” Jazmin asks.
“Part of the surprise.”
“Looks like a remote control box.”
“Just how much are you worth, love?”
“You mean my inheritance? Oh, I don’t know, and I really don’t care. I let my financial planner worry about all that. Why do you ask now? I’m half naked.”
“There’s something to be said for short engagements.”
“Stay right here, love. I’ll be right back.”
Grant skis away, and ten seconds later, flips the lever on the box, triggering an explosion above the crevasse. He skis over the summit just as the avalanche reports blare over the loudspeakers.
Seven Surprises (part 2 of 2)
Grant chuckles and reclines in his seat.
“Good morning,” a voice crackles over the static-y intercom. “This is your captain speaking. Ground control tells me you survived the devastating avalanche, congratulations. And further congratulations on being my only passenger. The rest of the tourists leaving Galtür filled the first plane to capacity.”
Grants smiles and looks at the empty seats around him.
“Please make sure your seat is in the upright position and fasten your seat belt before take-off, and please familiarize yourself with the emergency landing instructions located in the pocket on the back of the seat in front of you. This is a non-stop flight to Monaco. Estimated arrival time is in one hour. Sit back and enjoy your flight.”
Grant closes his eyes and is asleep before takeoff.
An hour later, Jazmin emerges from the flight deck with a parachute strapped to her back and a black box in her hands.
“Enjoying your flight?” she says, starling Grant awake.
“Jazmin! You’re alive!”
“And an experienced skier. That’s surprise number two. And a pilot. Surprise number three.”
“But . . how? You were half naked on the summit when I trig- I mean when the avalanche happened.”
“That’s something my daddy taught me- how to get dressed in a hurry. Surprise number four.”
“My daddy is Prince Albert II, of Monaco. I’m one of his illegitimate heirs. That’s five.”
“I’m . . so glad you’re alive. I tried to find you, but the snow-”
“We’re flying on autopilot over the Tyrrherian Sea right now. I thought you’d enjoy the view.”
“Yes, it’s lovely. But not as lovely as you, my love.” Grant starts to snivel. “I love you, Princess Jazmin.” He genuflects at her feet.
“And now for number six and seven.”
“Stay right here, love. I’ll be right back.”
Jazmin opens the first airlock, and turns. “There’s something to be said for short engagements,” she says, stepping through and shutting the door. She opens the second door, steps down into the stairwell, and jumps off the plane. Ten seconds later, the cargo door of the plane explodes.