Jesus and Mary Magdalene walk through the spinning doors of the Airport Hotel in Jacksonville. Jesus’s sporting large, impenetrably dark sunglasses and holding a cup of coffee; he rubs his temples, stumbling.
Mary frowns, “Jesus, did you get drunk last night?”
“No, I’m not drunk!”
Her frown deepens. Jesus, swaying left to right, bumps into a cleaning cart, knocking it over.
“Oh, Jesus, you are drunk!”
Jesus gives Mary a dirty look, “leave me alone! I’m 2,019 years old, you can’t tell me what to do!” He pulls a joint from his pocket and sparks it with the snap of his fingers.
“Jesus, you can’t smoke that in here!”
“What’re they gonna do, crucify me?” He blows the smoke in the air.
An employee in a servile vest and clip-on bowtie comes scampering from behind. His hand is high and his finger wagging.
“Hey, sir, you can’t smoke in here! Hey!”
Jesus turns around, “eat it, bro! Do you know who I am?”
Unnamed Employee jerks to a halt and takes a few slow, cautious steps backward then turns and runs.
Jesus ashes the joint on the carpet, “that’s what I thought.”
Muted tears stream down Marys’ face, she opens the door to room 840, a small conference room, she turns back to Jesus, “come on, it’s in here.”
Walking through the doorway, taking off his glasses and looking around, Jesus says, “this blow better be as good as you say.”
F. Dick Paine gets up from his chair, smiling. He walks towards Jesus and extends his hand, “Hey, Jesus, I’m F. Dick Paine, I’m an interventionist, and I want you to know that everyone here loves you and wants you to get help.”
“Oh, what the fuck. Come on, man. So there are no drugs?” Jesus throws his coffee in surprise.
FDP looks sideways and squints, “no.”
Jesus turns and goes out the door, “no way, man; I’m too up for this.”
St. Patrick gets up from his chair, looking at everyone, “don’t worry, mates, I’ll go talk some sense into him.”
After fifteen minutes, Jesus and St. Patrick return. St. Patrick has his arm slung around Jesus—whose head is hurting, as if wearing a crown of thorns, from caffeine withdrawal. He waves over a Christmas Elf who brings him a cup of coffee. The Elf gives the coffee and turns but Jesus grabs the Elf by the back of the shirt and points at the coffee forcefully. Bashfully, the Elf pulls a flask from the breast pocket of his vest and pours the contents into the Jesus’. Jesus shoos off the Elf.
Christ takes a seat, Mother Mary to his left and the Father on the right. Currently, God is taking the form of a young orangutan. God hugs Jesus and slips him a banana. Jesus begins to cry slightly, dabs his eye with the banana, peels it, and begins eating. Mary takes her sons’ hand. Jesus wipes a tear away from her eye.
FDP coughs to gain attention, fixes his glasses and speaks, “thank you, Jesus, for coming back. We know this isn’t easy for you. There’re some refreshments behind me if you need a snack break.”
F. Dick Paine points behind him to a table with coffee, donuts, fruit salad with too much pineapple, ice water and two bowls of various flavored mini-quiches, “so, some of us here have written letters to you. Judas, would you like to begin?”
Judas, wiping sweat from his brow, stands up and unfolds his letter, “Jesus… I’m sorry I betrayed you with a kiss; that was totally lame. I didn’t realize how my actions would impact your sense of basic trust. I know I have hurt you, which has contributed to your current state, but, Jesus, it’s been over two thousand years; it’s time you face your addiction. You’re not the same person. You lie, you cheat; just last week I heard you went church to church under the guise of meeting the people when in reality all you did was drink red wine and get wasted,” Judas begins sobbing, he places a hand over his eyes, “I just—I just can’t watch you kill yourself anymore. It hurts; it hurts so much. You need help, Jesus; will you please just get help?”
Judas sits. The Tooth Fairy rubs his shoulder gently and gives him a quarter.
“Thank you, Judas. That was very touching. Ok, St. Patrick, would you like to go?”
“Ay, lad. Jesus, Even the best party must end, it’s time. I know I haven’t helped you like a friend should. Instead of talking to you about your problem with drugs and alcohol, I’ve been doing drugs and alcohol with you. I’ve been letting you down. It’s not too late for you, lad. I don’t want to take the attention off you, this day is solely about you, but I think my mistakes can help you learn,” St. Patrick sighs and hangs his head for a second, “Jesus, I have an inoperable, terminal, hepatocellular tumor. I have six months to live…”
Santa begins crying hysterically and runs out the room; Dracula gets up to corral him. Jesus, too, begins crying at typhoon level. After the initial shock dies down, St. Patrick starts up again:
“You’re still so young, Jesus. If you change your ways, you’ll live, at least, another few thousand years. I know your hurting, Jesus. I know you’ve been through a lot, have unreachable expectations on you, but I know this,” he waves his hands around the circle of chairs, “is something you can do. Get help, Jesus, not for any of us, but for you.”
“Thank you, St. Patrick. Santa was to read next but it would appear that Dracula hasn’t been able to convince him to come back…”
Dracula knocks on the door to the locked bathroom in Santa’s room, “Nick, come on out, buddy, St. Patrick and Jesus are gonna be ok.”
“No, I’m not coming out!” Santa cries, as he rocks back and forth, clutching his knees’.
“Well… I can at least come in and take a piss?”
“No!” Santa yells.
Dracula sighs, pisses into the trash can, grabs a glass, removes a pint of O-Negative from his pocket, grabs two small bottles of vodka from the mini-fridge and makes himself a Bloody Mary, “I’m gonna be here a while.”
A 15-minute break is mid-session in room 840. Jesus grabs one of the quiches.
“Spinach and feta, nice,” he says.
He devours it and grabs another, bacon and cheddar. God climbs about the room on the light fixtures and throws his shit at Satan.
“Oh, real mature, God,” Satan says, lowering his newspaper.
“Don’t you mean, ‘real manure,’ you piece of shit?”
The devil just squints and turns back to his newspaper.
St. Patrick furtively sneaks some Jameson and Bailey’s into his coffee. Superman walks up to him, “hey, what’re you doing, Pat?”
“Uh, nothing!” St. Patrick cries as he rushes off, leaving Superman nonplussed.
Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene talk about how they’re tired of being confused for one another on Tinder, and all the unsolicited dick pics, especially from Zeus—who looks over at them and winks. The Mary’s shudder.
F. Dick Paine is talking to St. Peter about what its like being Heavens’ bouncer: “It’s okay, I guess. Imagine the universes’ greatest party. Now imagine standing outside, the whole time, letting people in, but never getting in. The only peaks I get are while the door closes.”
“Well, that’s pretty… uh, unfortunate. You guys haven’t figured out, like, some sort of schedule, or shift system?”
“I keep putting that in the suggestion box, but I don’t think anyone’s checking.”
“Hmm, sounds like that job should be reserved for someone from hell, am I right?” F. Dick Paine chuckles.
“Yeah, well, maybe when you get there they’ll ship you right up,” St. Peter mumbles under his breath.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Oh, my mistake. Alright, everybody, let us return to our seats. Still no sight of Santa and Dracula….”
“No! I should’ve helped them. I’ve been bad. I deserve a big chunk of coal.” Santa yells from behind the door.
“Oh, what, wow, look at that, I happen to have a big piece of coal with me. Care to see it, Nick? I can give it to you ahead of Christmas, thus nullifying your badness.”
The door creaks open.
“…We’ll continue. God, would you like to speak now?”
God drops down from the roof.
“Jesus, my only son, the savior of my usually-favorite creation, humans; I know I haven’t been the best father. I wasn’t there for you as a child, and I sentenced you to a horribly excruciating death, but believe me when I say, ‘I love you.’ I was so busy, before I knew it, you had lived and died and returned home. I know you think I’ve ‘forsaken’ you but I’ve always been in your corner. I’ve been trying so hard to reconnect with you since you’ve been back, but you just push me away. You’re always high or drunk. You’re not the perfect savior you were when you were younger; I want that Jesus back. I apologize, son; I’m not asking for forgiveness, but truly, from the bottom of my hearts, I’m sorry. I want you to get better, to be better; to be the guy who turns water to wine and not because he can’t afford alcohol, but because he’s expressing the Glory of the Lord. Please, son, get help.”
Jesus stands and begins to yell:
“Piss off, dad! Honestly. Save your sanctimonious bull for the birds. You think you can waltz back into my life after ending my one on Earth? I still have nightmares about that shit! Why do you think I’m on drugs in the first place? I have horrible PTSD,” Jesus begins to breakdown, “I’m hurting, I’m hurting so bad. I started to numb out the pain, but now, now, I just can’t stop, because if I stop, I get sick. As trite as it is; I’m so sick of being sick,” Jesus falls to his knees, head in hands, and cries.
Mother Mary goes to her son and holds him, “Oh, my baby, I love you so much! Will you get help?”
FDP chimes in, “Well, Jesus, what do you say? We have a car that’ll take you to the airport right now so you can go to the Betty Ford Center and get the help you need. Not only will they help medically with the withdrawal, but they’ll also help to treat the underlying issues that push you to using.”
Jesus sniffles and runs his finger along his nose, “yes, yes, I’ll go.”
Everyone rejoices and Tubthumping begins playing in the background.
Jesus hugs God, “I’m sorry I’ve been such a jerk, dad. I didn’t think it’d be hard for you too.”
“Fret not, my child, we have both strayed from the flock, but it’s our time to return.”
Santa and Dracula come back mid-celebration.
“Where did you get this piece of coal?” Santa says happily, rubbing a fairly large and impressive piece of coal.
“You know, it’s so weird. My grandfather gave it to me on his deathbed; I thought he had lost it. But he kept saying, ‘you’ll need this one day! you’ll need this one day!’ Guess he was right.”
Santa notices the intervention is over, “ah, fuck, we missed it!” Santa yells. He snaps the coal in half in anger.
Dracula notices and sheds a tear, “grandfather…” he runs up stairs to the bathroom.
“Turntables…” Santa says.
Jesus walks, holding the hands of his parents, to the minivan waiting in the parking lot. Inside waits Emma Apprentice—black hair, bangs, nurse practitioner—who’ll monitor Jesus on his trip to California. As Jesus gets into the car he turns to everyone:
“I got knocked down, but I’m getting up again… thanks to you all!”
“See you losers when I’m sober!”
The cheering intensifies as the holy rollers roll to the lobby bar to celebrate the successful intervention.
Inside the car, Jesus turns to Emma, “you look familiar, weren’t you on a TV show, or something?
Emma quickly looks right then left, “uh… no, no.”
“Oh my mistake. It’s just, you look exactly like federal agent—”
Before Jesus could finish his sentence, Emma stabs a syringe of potent tranquiller into Jesus’ jugular. Jesus falls into a stupor within seconds and begins drooling on himself.
As the car drives into the sunset, Emma throws her hands behind her head and crosses her feet, “Christ, it feels good to help people.”
“Oh, not you…”
Sean MacDonald is a Boston-based writer proudly published for the first time in the Button Eye Review. He has a complete manuscript of poetry and is midway through a novel manuscript. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.