Copyright © 2011 Alan S. Kessler
All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.
“First, though, you need a little perspective. We have to go back to the beginning when, as I’ve already told you, I was God’s favorite. Know what happened to me? Forget what you’ve heard or read about my fall from grace. That’s all propaganda. Jesus won and winners perpetuate their own myths. If the Moabites had a bible, would Moses be the hero? Here’s the real story. I got screwed! My younger brother is a brown-noser. He told Dad he liked the idea of free will for men. I said it was a lot of crap. How can you expect a dog to obey if you let it run wild to shit all over the house? For being honest, I was cast out. Jesus got a really neat holiday with colored lights, songs, and puppies in bows; I get blamed for everything that goes wrong and the only ones who celebrate my birth are a few old hags dancing naked in the woods around a stump. Take my word for it, Orem, that’s not a pretty sight. These women might be smart, they all have PhDs in English literature from Michigan, but I’m like most guys, I prefer dumb blondes with big tits.
“I’ll bet you’re thirsty.”
Legs crossed, reclining in the air, Mr. Green sipped a tall, frosted glass of lemonade. “Ah, that hits the spot.”
“So this is where I am,” Orem said, his dry lips cracked and bleeding, “in the world you created. Hell.”
Mr. Green jumped down, his face on fire. By crushing his drink he made Orem feel he’d just swallowed glass.
“You think this is Hell? Death is oblivion! Hell doesn’t have people! It’s a pit holding a few souls, the universe’s worst, and I’m their fucking keeper! ShinyLand 7 is infinitely better. But it’s not my design, you insulting son-of-a-bitch! The people here did this to themselves! They made the choices! Talking to you is like talking to a two-year old. Want to take a nap? Should I get you some cookies and milk? OK, I’ll explain it to you, step by step. I would love a world all bright and blue, the kind Dad gave to Christ. But God didn’t help me find one. He doesn’t even speak to me. I had to do everything myself. ShinyLand 7 is a shit hole, the location’s terrible, but it’s a place I can fix up and call home.
“Who really knows why some people get the blessing and others the curse?” Wanting him to understand, Mr. Green increased Orem’s pain. “Dad loves the story about Jacob tricking Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau. God can be old fashioned, very Old Testament, if you know what I mean. OK, maybe I was a little rebellious, all children are, except Jesus, but it’s not easy when your father doesn’t love you. You try and try; nothing is ever good enough. I disappointed my Dad. Pal isn’t exactly the kind of child I wanted either but here’s the difference between God and me: I didn’t abandon my son just because he’s different. You work with what you have. Take this place. Like I said, it’s not exactly the Garden of Eden, but it could be worse. The other ShinyLands burned to a crisp. I’m grateful to have Pal. I’m explaining the world to him and my wife is doing her part to make sure he understands. We hire good help. Pal’s education is a team effort. Occasionally, one of our staff dies or gets eaten. That’s not my fault. I’m just a parent trying to do the best I can for my son. He’s walking now and more alert. I told you I have a plan for him. As a Christ-like man, you’ll appreciate it. It’s all about the soul.”
Orem’s forehead and palms bled.
“It’s open kimono time.” Mr. Green stood sexless and naked, his small head with its jolly face resting on an enormous belly covered in front with a thousand, green, spider-like legs growing from sores of bubbling pus. In back, hands burrowing through scaly flesh dangled long strands of eyeballs twitching and spinning in torment. “I don’t often reveal myself. People find it disturbing. But I know you value the truth.”
The presence of the devil’s inner self overwhelmed Orem in a spiritual and physical, dark poison. He saw himself inside out. Blood dripped hot and sulfuric on his gray heart perforated by worms. Little men without eyes or mouths, their faces twisted flesh, hung upside down from his melting bones.