Ned put down his briefcase and looked at the note pinned to the front door again:
“Did you fix the charcoal?” it said.
Ned shrugged, got out the cat-carrier, and went looking for the cat.
“Here, Charcoal!” he shouted. “Here, kitty-kitty!”
No sign of the cat.
He went to the cupboard, pulled out a can of food, and tapped it repeatedly with a spoon.
“Who wants din-din?” said Ned.
Again, he waited.
Still no sign of the cat.
“Well, you’ve got to come out sometime,” he said to the empty room.
Under the bed, Charcoal cleaned his claws.
Home Of The Future! they called it.
Every Convenience Imaginable! they claimed.
We moved into our H.O.T.F. and instantly fell in love with it. Everything was voice-control, from breakfast to bed and back again.
I could even control the house by telephone. Just phone Home and tell it “make dinner” or “bubble bath” or “walk dog” and it’s taken care of.
One day, I was running late, so I called Home to delay-record the game.
But I keep getting a busy signal.
I thought it was my wife whispering “Do it yourself” last night, but now I’m not so sure.
Would you like to know why I’m so tense?
I turn water into wine, but wedding guests complain that it’s not a good year.
I multiplied the loaves and fishes, but people whine about carbohydrates and mercury levels.
The leper I cured didn’t grow back any of the appendages that rotted off, so he’s saying I did a half-assed job.
After that, Lazarus whines that his terminal cancer wasn’t cured, but he can’t die from it now. So he suffers constantly.
Bitch bitch bitch.
Finally, I come back from the dead, and I miss the weekend.
What a goddamned crock.
“Why hast thou forsaken me?” mumbled Jesus, twisting in agony.
God looked down on his son and smirked.
“You want to know why?” asked God. “You were showing off, kid.”
“Showing off?” groaned Jesus. “I was performing miracles. For your glory. To demonstrate your awesome power.”
“No,” said God. “To demonstrate yours, not mine.”
“Who is he talking to?” mumbled a soldier.
“I thought he was talking to you,” said another soldier.
“Oh, just spear him and let’s go home,” said the first soldier.
“You do it,” said the other soldier.
So, they rolled dice to decide.
Obviously, Jesus lost.
Pain… so much pain…
The priest pats my ankle and tells me everything is going to be fine.
No it won’t. I’ve been nailed up here all morning.
All I’ve known in this life has been pain.
And it fucking hurts like Hell.
I wish they’d never found my blood on the Spear of Destiny. With the DNA, it took the cloners four months, and now they’re geared for global mass-production.
Truly, it’s Communion gone mad.
If I were fed pieces of myself, would they turn to wine and crackers in my stomach?
I feel the knife.
Damn you all!
If you want to come in Hell’s Den, you need to play by the rules:
Leave your shoes outside. Your socks, too.
Cut the knuckles on your left hand with a silver knife.
Knock three times. Two raps, a pause, and then one hard knock.
Really hard. It’s a long way down, and it’s sometimes hard to hear.
Stand back. Door opens fast.
No saints allowed.
Got diseases? Bad diseases?
Good. The more the better.
But when you come to Hell’s Den, come alone.
Once you’re inside, trust me, you won’t be lonely.
Tell them Jesus sent you.
It was a dark and stormy night. Lightning was striking everywhere but Dr. Frankenstein’s lightning rods.
Transylvania Edison kept refusing to run industrial-grade capacity to his castle, so it was lightning or nuclear.
Sure, Dr. Frankenstein was mad, but he wasn’t crazy. Lightning it was.
And without lightning tonight, his creature couldn’t come to life.
He called the rod manufacturer’s tech support line when the phones went dead.
That’s right. Lightning had struck the telephone pole.
Not even a dial tone.
He shrugged, hooked up the creature to the phone line, and that’s when lightning hit the rods.