IV. My Mouth Will Tell of Your Righteous Acts
THE GOD WE DESERVE IS JUST A MAN
by Mary Jetson
When I ask Gideon Dodd, 42, why he wants to be God, his eyes glaze over in that way many would assume means he’s staring straight through them, cooking up some diplomatic, sound bite-ready answer.
But after wandering the plains of the Serengeti with him for nearly a full day without sleep, food, or water, this reporter knows the good reverend. That empty look isn’t the sign of an artful political dodge, or of mistrust in the media. Dodd is searching inward, dissecting his very soul.
He hasn’t, in fact, given any thought to this quandary before.
And it’s in this ten-second pregnant pause that the writer decides she’s going to vote for Gideon Dodd, because there’s an honesty, a truth in that self-reflection. Dodd is impetuous. He’s bull-headed. He has a terrible sense of self-worth and more neuroses than you could ever count. He has irritable bowel syndrome and a fear of flying.
He is, in a word, human. Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 13)”
It’s been three weeks since the debate at Radio City Music Hall.
And tonight, Benjamin Dunwoodie hugs a beach pail with his thighs and dry heaves into it. Only a thimbleful of bile plops out into the bucket. There isn’t much left in him; he hasn’t been the same since Tanzania.
“I am certain you understand our… disappointment.” Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 12)”
There is a stomp, a shattering of glass, and blood.
The bridegroom collapses into a heap upon the bunched train of his newly-minted wife’s gown. Flat red flowers bloom on the white of her dress from under her man’s heel, where shards of a wine vessel sparkle in sunlight from the dirt — and from their jutting positions in the sole of his foot.
“Oy, I’m dying! I’m bleeding out!”
The bride turns to her mentor, her hero, who stands with hands clasped over the Torah at his crotch, stone-faced. Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 8)”
I’m taking a week away from “The Man Who Ran for God” to work ahead and allow readers to catch up.
In lieu of a new installment of that, please enjoy this audio version of my short story “A Routine,” from last year’s The Good-Bye Garden & Other Stories — which, incidentally, is for sale here.
(illustration by Emily Gable)
VIII. A Vain Man through Pride Causeth Debate
It was small, this little playhouse stage. Big enough to put on Our Town but certainly not The King and I. Two podiums were on either side, flanked by the drawn and roped curtains.
Dodd looked around, heart pounding, forehead damp and chilly.
But no one else was out here yet.
A light smattering of applause greeted him. About a dozen people occupied some of the seats in the first few rows. One guy hung around in the back, sleeping or maybe dead.
Onstage cameras stood on tripods angled toward the podiums; a few more were scattered throughout the house.
In the middle of the front row was a small woman with curled white hair and a flowery dress divvied up by the thick belt around her waist. There was a foldout card table before her, a little cheapie microphone and stand wobbling on its warped surface. A stack of papers lay beneath her folded hands.
Concentrating on the microphone, apparently vexed by it, she tapped the mouthpiece and screwed up her pruny lips. Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 5)”