The Second Going
by Suzie Plakson

I first saw Him coming up out of the subway at 79th and Broadway. I saw this halo over his head, and I thought, that's got to be Jesus. Nobody else wears a hat like that.

So, I go right up to Him. Like we were supposed to meet up or something. Like I'd been waiting for Him.

I ask Him where's He going. He says He's heading to Zabars, He's got a real craving for a bagel and lox. Tells me that's His idea of heaven on earth, then He laughs. He has the greatest laugh you ever heard, I swear to God. Kind of makes your heart explode in your chest, like some kind of great, wonderful music or something.

I know -- I don't know why me either. I mean, it's embarrassing to say, and you'll think I'm making it up and I wouldn't blame you, but He told me later that He picked me to see Him because I was honest. Think what you want, I don't care. I'm just telling you what He said.

Anywho, there we are, walking up Broadway -- Jesus and me, go figure, right, but it felt so just normal -- and I ask him did He just get into town, and He says yeah, He just got into a body, and the second He got in, and got to New York, all He could think about was getting a Zabars onion bagel with lox and a schmear.

Then He says, "As you know, Larry, being human can be very distracting."

All of a sudden, He looks like he was worried if He had the bagel and lox, He'd get side-tracked and forget to do something.

"I mean, it's not the only reason I've come back, obviously."

"Yeah, right," I say, "obviously."

Like I knew. What a jerk. I was nervous. But He just smiled at me, so sweet, like nothing I could say was gonna be too stupid for Him to deal with.

So, we get him the bagel and lox, and there He is, glowing, and, I mean, there's Jesus freaking Christ going through the line and telling the guys what He wants and pulling some money out of His robe, and nobody knows it's Him!

And I whisper, "Jesus, do you have, like -- a cloaking device around you, like in Star Trek, cause nobody knows it's you. What's that about?"

So, He smiles and He laughs and He goes,

"That's New Yorkers for you." As soon as we get out on the street, He rips into that lox and bagel -- man, you never saw somebody enjoy anything so much. It was like watching a little kid with ice cream after they've begged for it for a week, only better. He's bending His knees with every chew and He's going,

"Mm-mm-mmm mm-mm mm-mmm-mm-MM!! Oh my GOD, that's soooo GOOD!!"

So, He tells me, in between bites, that all the planets and God and Him and everybody spirit-like, you know -- that everybody on His side of things was just looking at us with their heads in their hands and they finally told Him that it really is time for the Second Coming, no screwing around anymore.

I'm like, "Oh, my God! This is the actual Second Coming?! Shouldn't we tell somebody?!"

So, then He starts telling me His plan. He thinks He probably needs an agent. But He still has to think it through.

I'm a little freaked, and I say, "Jesus -- I got some friends trying to get in the business. It's impossible to get an agent nowadays."

Then, I swear to God, it was hysterical, He goes, "Can you say Miracle,' Larry?" -- and He sounds exactly like Mr. Rogers.

And I go, "Jesus Christ! I mean -- You!" and we both totally crack up at that, but I go, "That was terrific! You sound exactly like Mr. Rogers, that's hysterical!"

I was always seeing pictures of him dying on the cross, so I guess until I met Him, I never figured Him for funny.

So, anyway, I offer to bring him home to Queens for supper. I still live at home with my mother, like you probably heard made fun of a lot. Well, alright, if you didn't hear, real quick:

I was one hell of a fast bike messenger, then I got dragged by a truck, and lost part of my leg. I'm forty-seven, I get disability, I'm a loser -- enough. And don't ask me about Jesus not being able to heal my leg. It doesn't matter. So, just leave me alone about it already.

Anyway, but -- what was I going to say, oh -- no, I know -- weird that such a big famous perfect guy like Jesus would want to hang with the likes of me. But for whatever reason, He didn't seem to mind.

So, I called home first. I figured Ma would want to know that Jesus Christ was coming over.

I go, "Ma -- You'll never guess who I ran into at 79th and Broadway."

So, I tell her. First thing she says is,

"Oh, my God, Larry -- did you tell Him we're Jewish?"

"Jesus Christ, Ma! -- oh..."

Thank God He was looking at a wacko homeless guy, and not listening to me at all. So, I say real quiet, "He is a Jew, Ma, remember, just don't worry about it, for God's sake!"

"What do you mean, don't worry about it? You know how many years they've been saying the Jews killed Jesus, the Jews killed Jesus?! What if he believed the rumors?! What if he's angry? It could be very awkward!"

"Ma, I'm bringing Jesus home for dinner, can we not make a big production number out of this, please!"

I hung up on her before she could say anything else that would drive me too nuts, cause I gotta tell you, that afternoon, I was in the best mood in my whole entire life so far, just by walking with Him while he was eating His bagel and smiling at people.

It's like, I felt -- well, like -- it was really stinking hot, you know? Like the sweat's rolling down the side of your head, you feel like you're wearing cling wrap, and you can smell all the garbage on every block, and everybody who can have it, has b.o., like, three times worse than usual? But, I swear to God, from the second I saw Him on 79th St., I felt like there was a nice cool breeze everywhere, and the air smelled really good, like real actual honest to God fresh air. It was something, boy.

So, we go to Queens. I asked Him couldn't we fly or something, cause the subway was gonna be murder at rush hour, but He smiles and says He's all excited cause not only could He get to see even more people, but He always liked trains.

Which confused the hell out of me. Cause I thought this was only the second time He'd been back after the whole three day rising from the dead thing you hear about. He started explaining something about being inside everyone all the time, and sometimes He comes back, like, more or bigger or something in some people, but they just keep getting killed and it doesn't seem to stick and all the powers in the universe were getting real frustrated already. I'm not saying I exactly really got what He was talking about, but I'm just, you know, some guy. I could see He was putting the pressure on Himself to really do it right this time.

Anywho, later, I realized He was pulling my leg about it being just because they were New Yorkers that nobody noticed Him, cause when Mrs. Clomsky from 13H came out into the hallway and I introduced Him as Jesus Christ, she looked Him up and down like He was a drag queen or a pimp or something, and she says,

"Did your parents name you that?"

And He tries not to laugh and He says, "Yes, ma'am, I'm afraid they did."

"Hmph," she says, and walks off to the incinerator, and says, "Some people shouldn't be allowed to have children."

And I'm just about to go and straighten her out but good, but Jesus stops me and He goes,

"Larry, see, I've only revealed myself to You so far. In Zabars, I was kidding about those people not noticing me because they were New Yorkers. So we can't blame Mrs. Clomsky for being a little judgmental. But, don't worry -- I promise I'll reveal myself to your mother."

"I'm not worried -- you want to reveal yourself to my mother, it's your funeral."

And He just thought that was so funny, and He laughs again, and I mean, that laugh, I know I said it before, but it's like a present somebody went out and bought just for you, honest to God. And suddenly, for whatever reason, I get real panicky. I go,

"But wait -- why me, Jesus? Are you sure -- I mean, I'm just, you know, I'm nobody."

"Nobody's nobody, Larry," He says, "And, anyway, you're me and I'm you. And that's the honest truth."

I didn't get it, but it felt real nice to hear, so I go, "Okay. Thanks, man. I don't get it, but I'm real honored."

"So am I, Larry. So am I."

And I know you won't believe me, but I swear to God He meant it.

So, anyway, I said, "Are you sure you don't want to wait on revealing yourself to my mother, cause she's all tripping on the whole --"

-- too late. Ma heard my voice already and our door opened. I gotta say, I wished I had an instamatic camera in my head that would spit out pictures. I mean, obviously, I would've taken a few snaps of Jesus, but my mother's face when she laid eyes on Him, oh my God -- a major Kodak moment, take my word for it.

And we go into the hallway and we're all smashed together, and she's staring and staring at Him, of course, especially the halo, like she was wondering if it would look good on her, and she says,

"Hi, hello, so nice to have you, c'min, c'mon in," -- but she still has to stick her whole head outside the door and make sure Mrs. Clomsky goes into her apartment and locks her door. My mother always did that when we had company. She thought Mrs. Clomsky came out to listen at our door, so she could tell people our business. They hate each other, but for thirty years they pretend they don't. You don't want to know.

"Ma, for God's sake, stop it --"

"I was just checking --"

"I know, alright, Ma, we've got company, big time, alright? Jesus Christ -- Shirley Levy. Ma -- Jesus Christ, live and in person."

"Why, hello, Mr. Christ, what a real pleasure to have you in my home."

"Why, thank you, Mrs. Levy --"

"Oh, call me Shirley, please."

"Well, then, call me Jesus, please."

And then they both laugh.

My mother eyes are, like, glued to the halo. I have to say it's very, very beautiful up close, you know, not too bright, but like, very golden and sparkly. It was then anyway.

Ma looked like she was four years old. Until that second, I never saw my mother look cute.

"I don't mean to make you self-conscious, but your halo is just gorgeous, Mr. Christ, may I --"

"Ma, can we get out of the hallway, please."

"Oh, forgive me, Mr, Christ --"

"Jesus, Ma! Will you stop calling Him Mr. Christ already!"

"Oh, for Christ -- oh, will you look what you made me -- oh, God, Larry, I'm nervous, leave me alone!"

I thought Jesus looked a little uncomfortable for a second. I guess he and his parents never got on each others nerves.

So, anywho, pretty quick, we go sit down, and we eat. Like normal people. And we're talking about the world, which, of course, my mother is a complete authority on, and Jesus is listening to her like she's, I don't know -- Henry Kissinger or somebody. I didn't get too worried though, cause I figured He would talk to some other people before He came to any actual conclusions.

Then my mother puts her fork down and she says,

"You know, Jesus, I feel I have to say this --"

"Ma --"

"We're Jewish, maybe you guessed."

"Yes, I actually -- did guess that."

And she goes, "And, well, as you probably also know, we don't believe in you. I hope you don't take offense."

"Ma!! The man's a guest!!"

Jesus just puts His arm around her and kisses her on the cheek and laughs His head off on her shoulder.

And my mother leans into Him and tries to slip it in, real quick, like maybe He won't notice, "And we didn't kill you, my hand to God. I don't know who did exactly, but it wasn't us --"

Well, He keeps laughing and it's like, He's now laughing so hard He's crying, and I'm thinking He's gonna pull a muscle.

And my mother starts laughing like that, too. And then I did, too, and then it didn't matter what my mother had said, or what anybody believed or didn't believe, cause it was like all the laughing just sort of wiped all the -- I don't know, junk out of the air or something, and we were all just a bunch of old buddies from way back, who could tell each other anything.

And then, as we finally catch our breaths and settle down, He starts talking and talking, and getting more and more upset, about how He feels so awful all the time at how He's been shoved down so many people's throats by people who really don't know what He meant at all, and that so many horrible, rotten, terrible things have been done to so many people in His name, and still are being done, and how if He thinks about it too much He'll cry a whole ocean of tears.

So we got real quiet. And He sort of stared off and sighed and said, "Wow. There certainly is an awful lot to straighten out, isn't there. It all looks so clear and simple from the other side of the veil. Hmph."

And He just turned His fork over and over and over, and looked sort of worried. My mother squeezed His arm and said, "Don't worry, sweetheart, you're gonna do just great. Really. You'll see. Now, do you boys want some Rocky Road, or some Chocolate Chocolate Chip -- I just got some special."

Right then my mother looked like she did twenty years ago, when Joey was alive. She was pretty and thin then, and sort of light on her feet. What a night, I'm telling you.

So, we go into the living room with our ice cream and my mother's pouring coffee and we're laughing and Jesus is telling jokes and doing impressions (He does a killer Sean Connery), and man, let me just tell you, what a cool thing -- Jesus is one hysterically funny guy.

Then He gets up to leave, and I'm like, "Whoa, wait a minute, where are you gonna sleep?"

And my mother's like, "You are not leaving this house tonight! You will sleep in Larry's bed, and Larry will --"

And I'm like, "Ma, He's an adult, will you wait a minute? Maybe He's got plans, just wait!"

And Jesus is laughing, and He hugs us, and He tells us that He really doesn't need almost any sleep, and what He really needs to do is mingle, and she really shouldn't worry about Him, He'll be fine.

"Mingle?!! Are you crazy?! In this neighborhood?!!" My mother was yelling at Jesus Christ Himself, it was so embarrassing, "He wants to mingle, He'll be fine!! I'm sure that's what you told your mother last time, and look what happened!!"

I think she was more worried cause of what happened to Joey, if you want to know the truth. But suddenly, Jesus got real quiet, like He remembered something awful, which I guess He did, and then He said, "You know what, Shirley, when you're right, you're right. But Larry sleeps in his bed, and I stay out here --"

"No, you don't --"

"Ma, please!"

"I'm telling you, Shirley, I don't need much sleep, even though I'm in density."

"Wha--"

"In a body, Ma --"

"Oh --"

"I'll need some room to think in, if that's okay."

"Whatever you want, darling. But you're going to need some good sleep, so don't walk up and down all night and drive yourself crazy."

Only my mother would tell Jesus Christ what to do with his nights.

The next morning, I come in and the two of them are having coffee. I think she must've told Him about Joey, cause I think He was wiping tears off her face. They turned and saw me, and then, funniest thing, my mother got up and kissed me good morning for the first time since I was probably four. We were both a little embarrassed, but it was nice. Jesus pretended not to notice.

So, I'm eating, and Jesus is telling me He watched TV all night, and got some ideas, and then He sat out on the fire escape and listened to people's thoughts and prayers and dreams. He said He thought the only way to get into their hearts really deep nowadays was to "infiltrate the media" you know, get in through show business, which is where He and God and everyone thought too many people were putting their, what'd He say -- "spiritual motivation." He needed to get everybody's attention real fast, so He figured that was the way. So He tells me He thinks we should go to the William Morris Agency, right after breakfast.

He said, "Would you mind very much putting on a suit, Larry?"

I'm like, "Are you kidding? For you I'd dress like the Energizer Bunny."

He's like, "Thank you, Larry, I really appreciate it."

What a mensch, huh.

So, there we are at William Morris.

Jesus reveals Himself right off, the second we walk in, and the receptionist, was like, on her knees and crying and telling him all the people she ever slept with, and kissing His robe, and apologizing and stuff. It was so awful. I felt bad for her.

He got her up off her knees, and He told her to treasure herself and to be only with people who treasured her and stuff like that. What a nice, nice guy, let me tell you. Then He asks her to please call a few of the agents and tell them He was here and needed their help.

Well, of course, they thought she was looney toons, so nobody came out at first. So, she calls again. Finally, one royally pissed off guy, comes stomping out, and he goes,

"Carla, for Christ's sake, what's the matter with you?! -- I was on a call, what the hell -- oh my -- God..." He gets a load of Jesus, right, and he puts his hand to his heart, and he starts whispering, "Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God."

And Jesus is so smooth, man, He goes right up to the guy and shakes his hand and says,

"Good morning, Marty, I'm so terribly sorry to drop in unexpectedly like this, but can we sit down for a bit and come up with a strategy for saving the world? I think an agency as powerful and venerated as William Morris should be able to steer me through this journey, don't you?"

"Uhh, yeah, sure. Yes, sir. Uh, c'mon back, I'll -- uh -- Carla -- could you get, uh -- Mr. Christ, some -- what do you want to drink, we got coffee, soda, juice --"

And he starts to lead Jesus back to the offices, and I sit down, to wait for him. But Jesus peeks his head back around the corner,

"Larry, c'mon, don't dawdle."

And He winks at me, like, hey, we're in, isn't this cool. So, I just, you know, go with Him.

And so, there we are. Sitting around this big beautiful sharp-looking table with all these guys in thousand dollar suits, and Jesus in this beautiful robe with his halo just shining away, and, you know -- me. I know, I don't know what the hell I was doing there either, but so long as I was with Him, I was fine. Just taking in the view.

So, Jesus starts talking. And I mean, how do I explain it, it was like music, or something, like, I don't know, I mean, He just starts explaining to them the whole Second Coming thing, and how things had to happen really fast cause we weren't headed for disaster anymore, disaster is here, big time, "upon us," like He says, and He could work miracles alone, sure, but only up to a point, and He said cool things I mostly don't remember, like "cynicism is a cancer on the spirit," and wild, heavy, true stuff like that, and He went on for a long time, but listening to Him felt like your brain was getting washed out with real clean water or a light show or something, I don't know, but when He was done, these guys were like, on His team, you know.

I mean, they're normally the type you want to smack in the head with a bat, believe me, I delivered enough packages in my time to enough offices of jerk-offs, but somehow they just --- it's like, just by listening, He re-wired their hard-drive or something, and they were with the program.

One guy goes, "So, what do you visualize, Jesus -- if I may call you that --"

"Sure, of course --"

"-- Okay, you want us to book you, what, lecture tours, colleges, corporations, maybe -- what?"

"Not just yet, Sammy -- I think we should start me off on David Letterman."

They all go really quiet, and look at each other, like He may be Jesus, but He doesn't have a clue about show business.

And suddenly, I go, I guess cause I don't like them thinking He's an idiot, I go,

"Uh, I gotta say, this guy is hysterically funny. I mean, really, really funny -- He had us crying last night. And he does fantastic impressions."

Jesus sort of blushes, and one of the shmucks goes, like I'm a chair that talked without being asked to,

"And you're who, I'm sorry?" the guy says, annoyed.

And Jesus says, "I'll introduce him yet again, Steve. Larry Levy is my very dear friend. I trust his instincts completely."

And I could tell these sharks are thinking of a thousand and one ways to leave me in a ditch, but they smarm me up anyway, shaking my hand, kissing my ass and stuff, and all the while Jesus is smirking at me.

And some other guy goes,

"-- no, but seriously, folks -- I don't get how we can sell Letterman on the funny Jesus thing."

"No, no, no, no, no," the Marty guy says, "we don't need to pitch Him as a comic, Robbie -- we just pitch The Messiah thing. Are you kidding? The Second Coming has come, for Christ's sake -- ohh, no offense, it just -- sorry, whoa..."

"None taken," Jesus says, and I could tell He's trying not to laugh.

"Good, great, anyway -- the coming of the Messiah, folks -- kind of sells itself, hello? Come on, we're talking about one phone call, two tops, maybe some tape, or even a quick meeting with what's-her-name."

Somebody else goes, "Hey, Jesus -- I wonder, how much time do you think it would take you to come up with an HBO show?"

And somebody else says, real excited, "Wait! Wait! Oh my God, wait! Okay -- a reality show, like -- Jesus goes from town to town and, you know, works miracles, you know, but --"

And one of em goes, "Oh, please, that's so Highway to Heaven."

And so they all start arguing and riffing on how they're gonna sell Jesus. How before He does Letterman, they should definitely get somebody to work with Him on what anecdotes He'll tell on the show, and maybe they should hip His look up, and how maybe they should try to time it for sweeps week, and how they could leak it to this one and that one first, and I'm watching Jesus listen and I can see that maybe He's starting to think this plan of His in action may not turn out to be totally kosher.

So, yeah. Sure, you guessed it, you know the way it goes. He goes on Letterman and He kills. And so, at first, it feels incredible, you remember how great it was those first few weeks, when we were all full of pure hope again, like little kids, jumping up and down and thinking maybe something could really get fixed in this world by magic, and people everywhere could really be happy, and have clothes and food and jobs and stuff, Him being all revealed to everybody and all, being so clean and pure and full of charm and love and miracles and all.

And then, you know, there were all those goddam hour specials on Him, and all the pilgrimages to Queens, and all the talking heads talking their heads off, and then the articles criticizing Him for this and that, and saying He was naive, and not as tall and as they thought He'd be, and then the Church suing Him for libel all over the place, and just the whole hurricane of shit they threw at Him for not fixing everything overnight just by showing up.

In the beginning, He was smiling through all of it, just being Teflon, letting it all slide off, like He expected a lot of it, but I could see, after a while, when more and more things happened that hurt Him or surprised Him, every time He came home, He looked less and less, well, like Himself. His skin started looking sort of pasty, and His hair looked thinner, and even His halo got sort of dim, and didn't sparkle so much anymore.

And the paparazzi scumbags that still sometimes hang around our apartment house like a bunch of cockroaches just made Him totally crazy. They completely wrecked His nerves. He didn't know what to do with them, and how mean they were. He kept thinking they were human, and I kept trying to explain to Him that they weren't. He didn't understand that they didn't have a soul, let alone a conscience.

He was losing steam. Everybody wanted to bleed him dry. Everybody wanted miraculous healing, you remember -- right after He healed Dave's neck on air to prove He was who He was. It got so He couldn't even do it anymore, it wouldn't take, so people would get mad and call Him a phony. People with crosses hanging around their necks yet. People would claw at Him on the street, and ask for auto-graphs and blessings and miracles and money and, of course, He refused to hire bodyguards. We may be talking about the Messiah, but this was one incredibly sensitive guy, and He just wasn't ready for the 21st century wacko world.

Now, you can ask me as many times as you want to, and you can try to trick me, and you can think I'm lying, and I really don't care, but me and Ma don't know where He went, okay. Not that if I knew I'd tell you, no matter what you did to me, but we don't. Period. And we've been interviewed by CBS, NBC, ABC, the FBI, the CIA, the IRS, and God only knows who else. Our phones are still tapped and we're still being watched. Yeah, sure, we've been offered plenty of money, too, but we both decided if we said yes to anything, we'd feel too permanently disgusting about it. Sure, I admit, we were pretty tempted once in a while, but not ever for very long. I don't care if you believe me or not. Why would we still be living the way we were living if we had any dough.

I myself was getting pretty stressed and crazy with it all, too. You know the media was pretty vicious about me and what a loser I am. You don't have to pretend, I know you know. And I hate those talk show host sons of bitches, they got no heart. I told Jesus it would happen. And when it did, it really made Him so mad, one article He read made Him cry it was so mean about me. He just didn't get how nasty people are, which I can't understand, considering what happened to Him the first time around. I think He thought we must've changed since then.

At first He didn't get about sound bites making even Him look like an idiot and about how the lighting with those cameras and Him on all those magazines just make Him look like just another celebrity we're all sick to death of hearing about how great He is, and how His whole Second Coming thing just ended up being something else for asshole comics to make fun of, or like some big new ride they were going put in at Universal Studios.

Sometimes He'd sit and watch TV and see something real stupid or violent or He'd by mistake flip on one of those sex shows on HBO late at night and He'd just get so overwhelmed, and He'd put His head in His hands and say, "What was I thinking..."

And I felt so, so bad for Him. Breaks your heart to see a guy as perfect and as sweet as Him feeling failed. He started sleeping a lot, and He'd wake up really tired, with puffy circles under His eyes, and then He got a really bad cold that lasted for so long it was starting to worry us.

So finally, Ma and I had a big conversation, after we saw Him on an interview, and we could see something deep inside Him was going seriously south, and one day, while He was on the couch, sniffling from this cold that wouldn't go away, with His nose all rough and red just like a normal sick person, sipping at some chicken soup that was too hot, I decided to break it to Him, without my mother there, just so I could concentrate and not be interrupted, and I say to Him,

"I'm your pal, right?"

"The best, Larry." He starts to put down the soup to listen.

"No, here -- Ma said you have to finish this --"

"That's okay, I'm not hungry --"

"Jesus -- don't make me sound like my mother, cause if you don't eat this, I'll have to yell at you and I know I'm gonna sound just like Ma if I yell at you to eat your soup, so, please, don't take away my last shred of diginity."

And I get Him smiling a little and He sips some more, and I go,"Why, thank you, Mr. Christ."

And we laugh hard, even though He's feeling low. We cracked each other up a lot, like me and Joey used to. And then, His beautiful laugh starts choking Him and He starts coughing and hacking, which breaks my heart clean in half, which gives me the guts to say what I had to say:

"Okay, so listen -- you gotta get out of here."

And He looked all apologetic all of a sudden.

What a jerk-off I am, I made Him think I was kicking Him out of our apartment.

"No, no, you big goofball -- not out of the apartment, you could stay here forever, you know that, you're family, you're better than family -- you could unreveal yourself to the rest of the world, and just hang with us forever, we'd love that. But, just -- hear me out, willya."

And there was Jesus Christ on our couch, sipping chicken soup, listening better than anyone who ever listened to anyone ever. God, I miss Him like all hell.

"Alright. You said you thought it looked so simple when you were totally made of spirit, and not weighed down in density, and hooked into all the -- you know, "

"-- egoism and materialism and negativism --"

"-- right, exactly, exactly right -- and so, I'm thinking you need to go some place, maybe on Earth, maybe close by, I don't know, you choose, but some place really, really beautiful, and peaceful and quiet, with trees and birds and stars and whatever, and hang out with the most intelligent people in the Universe, and, you know -- come up with...a whole new plan."

He looked into His soup for a couple of seconds. I knew He felt real humiliated that His plan had gone so way out of control that it was like a monster that turned on us and was eating us alive.

"Now, I don't know much, I mean, maybe also next time you oughta pick somebody more, you know, intelligent --"

"Larry," He looks at me, sort of tough, "please don't insult my friend."

"Yeah, okay, no, right, shh -- but I -- I think this plan, you know, this Coming, maybe wasn't so...well, you know..."

He looked at me and He smiled, but He was so sad.

"...well thought out," He says.

"Hey, look, you always say to me you gotta be as compassionate with yourself as you are to others,' so walk your talk, wouldja -- you can only know what you know when you know it, right? So, take it easy on yourself."

And He started blinking hard, trying not to cry.

And I said, "-- look, look, man -- you made so many people so happy to see you, right, you inspired a whole slew of people, millions of people, how do you know, one or two, or seventeen thousand kids or grownups you inspired isn't gonna do what you were gonna do anyway -- you don't know that, you know, if You're in all of us, you know? There's no shame in leaving now, you shot for the moon, so, you missed a little, so what -- you're sitting on your ass in the stars, like they say. How failed is that? Now cut it out!"

And I start to get choked up. He put His hand on my shoulder. But I just kept talking, through a couple of tears myself.

"So, yeah, you know, you and your friends or whatever, you and God and all the big shots you know, and maybe you should get a bunch of incredibly smart dead guys who used to live here, like, I don't know, like Einstein, you know, or Lincoln, maybe, yeah -- Lincoln'd be great for this kind of thing, but you know, guys like them, and just sit around, you know, and brain-storm, and come up with another plan, now that all the bullshit on Earth is so fresh in your mind --"

We both, like, snorted a little at that one.

" -- and -- and write it down, and run off some copies, pass it around to a whole team of miracle-maker types like yourself. You know what I'm saying -- just get the hell away somewhere and think up...you know, the -- the Third Coming. And when you do, you'll come look me and Ma and -- and maybe my wife up," and he smiled so sweetly at that, "and you could, I don't know, play with my kids on my front lawn, alright? Run through the sprinklers with them, you know, right? But, hey, please don't be so hard on yourself -- you did good, you did really did so good, alright? We're just a lot worse off than you thought, you know?"

He looked at me for a little, and He looked out the window for a little, and then, He agreed with me. Told me it was a fine idea. He was the first person who ever really listened to me and showed respect for what I had to say. And when people don't listen to me now, or when people look down on me, or make fun of me, I don't care anymore. I just remember Him laughing that fantastic laugh when I said something funny, or listening to me with all His heart and respecting me, and I don't get hurt by most people not respecting me at all any more.

Anywho, that last Sunday morning, we all had a nice, long breakfast, sure, Ma got a big Zabars spread, for His one last lox and bagel, and, sure, we all cried our heads off, and then Ma and me watched Him out the window. He looked up and waved at us and blew us a kiss, and then, He walked up the street, unrevealed, so that anybody He passed just thought He was a nice breeze. Then He just disappeared.

We stood there for like five minutes, looking at the place in the air He just disappeared from. Then Ma and I finally sat back down at the table and she cut me a piece of coffee cake and poured herself some more tea.

And I look up at her as she's stirring in her Sweet n' Low, and I remember I said, "Ma, if He comes back again, do you think it'll work?"

And she shrugs a little, and she smiles, and she says, "Well...I hope so, you never know -- three's the charm, right?"

THE END

© 2005 Suzie Plakson