I don’t remember when the first email showed up. Sometime late in the fall, I think, when I was starting to get that nesting feeling, the sun going down early, spending my nights online, making little chatroom friends, getting very opinionated about whatever. October, maybe, around Halloween, lotsa talk about parties and costumes and how to make orange beer. I had my blog, and I posted in it, pasted up the articles that I could find that managed, however slightly, to criticize the government, made pithy comments about Constitutional rights, about term limits, about what terms like “state of emergency” actually meant. We discussed Jr., and how he really didn’t look any different than when Osama torched Cleveland, promoted theories that he was getting botoxed, that he was making illegal clones of himself and transplanting his brain into a fresh body every couple of years, that he was, as we’d suspected all these years, nothing more than a robot fueled by greasy barbecue and Old Testament scripture.

Those articles, the ones that managed to have some voice of dissent, a ghost of the first amendment floating through them, they were my gold. Proof that I wasn’t the only one who felt that Something Was Wrong. That it’s not a free country when public debate about lost civil liberties means jail time, when the Feds can wiretap you for making overseas phone calls, when your car can be pulled over and searched by any random DHS drone. That it’s not a democracy when you don’t get to vote for who runs the country.

But they were hard to find, those articles. The New York Times ran it out for a year or two, until their reporters started getting jailed for refusing to divulge sources and their overseas stringers began to die almost daily in hails of purportedly misaimed rounds from GI M-16’s. They folded once the Editor-in-Chief got busted on a kiddie porn charge, gigabytes of ten-year-olds giving blowjobs found on his laptop. The scathing editorials ceased. The pointed front page stories were blunted, turned, refocused to praise the ‘heroic actions’ of troops moving into Iraq, Iran, Syria.

CNN, The Washington Post, all the west coast papers, most of the networks were denied passes to the White House press conferences, unable, according to the FBI, to produce even one reporter from their ranks who could pass a background check. The wire services, blocked from any real access, began to run Oval Office press releases almost verbatim, barely bothering to point out that those missives were unmitigated by any sources beyond those who produced them.

And the thing was, is, whatever, is that we all knew. There was nothing particularly secret about the whole thing. The White House, Congress, especially the Supreme Court, they locked out the reporters, literally, with a door slammed in their faces. The friendlies stayed in, ran stories that relied heavily on ‘government sources’ and little else, criticized only those who criticized the government. You could practically hear Rupert Murdoch laughing and lighting a fat cigar.

And so I posted what I could find, added in my own comments. Ranted and raged and spit electric bile out into the void. Surfing safe, oh so I hoped, behind an anonymizer, listening for funny clicks and whistles on my phone, the Feds having found me out, tapping me, looking for info on the Al-Queda cell I was almost certainly a part of. I wrote my vicious words and screamed for change and called for rebellion in the streets. And sat in my apartment, chain-smoking and swilling beer and wondering why everything stayed the same.

And then, one day, sent to the freemail account hosted in Iceland:

Like what you’ve been saying. I think maybe you’re on to something. I’ll be in touch.

Jesus Christ

Generally, you ignore things like that.

Which is what I did. You would have, too.

People who pretend to be Jesus, they’re best disregarded, I’ve found. People who think they’re Jesus, they’ll talk big so long as you’re listening and then go away when you go blank and start looking over their shoulder. It’s a test, so far as I’m concerned. If you’re Jesus, you should be able to blow my mind enough to keep me listening, or perform a couple of miracles to get my attention back. If you’re Jesus, I shouldn’t be able to walk away from you.

Heavy Christians, like my folks, they’ll argue that one with you. They’ll point out that people walk away from Jesus all the time, every day, every minute. Some poor schmuck decides that Christianity is a sham and turns away and boom, straight to hell, boy. The whole free will thing, that nebulosity that keeps people on the hook. Hmm, they say, you say, the whole thing might be bullshit, but maybe…

And as soon as you’ve made it that far, you’re hooked. You can run, but there’ll always be a little bit of Jesus bumping up against the back of your brain, pushing at you. Could be, really, could be. It’s not so far-fetched as some of the things that I’m willing to buy into. Really, is Jesus any stranger a concept than UFO aliens ass-raping cows in the Midwest?

But Jesus sending emails? Dude, c’mon. That’s hardly a burning bush, now is it?


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