Jesus Suffers a Bit of Stage Fright

He survived crucifixion, but can he survive high school?

He survived crucifixion, but can he survive high school?

“Hey, Jesus, how about some wine?”

“Huh?” Jesus said, turning around. He softly brushed his long, brown hair out of his eyes with his left hand, careful to keep the scars on his palm hidden from view. He had become quite sensitive about them since returning to high school at the age of 2,014. His father assured him it would be quite beneficial to earn his diploma. Jesus protested at first, said he wouldn’t need it if was just going to work in the family business, yet he knew his father wouldn’t budge. He always had to be right.

“Wine. How about some wine?” Chaz repeated.

“Yeah, sure.” Jesus picked up a red Solo cup from the beer-pong table beside him and held it outstretched, careful to keep the sleeves of his long, white robe from touching the tabletop. He did not want to stain his outfit. Chaz peered inside the cup.

“It’s empty,” he said.

“What? Yeah, I know. It’s for wine.“

“No,” Chaz said. “We need some wine. You’re the wine guy.”

“Oh,” Jesus said, lowering his arm back down to his side. “Yeah, okay.” Jesus paused. “Like right now?”

“Now would be great,” Chaz said, lifting his sunglasses up with his right hand and placing them just behind the gelled-up chunk of hair above his forehead. Jesus wasn’t entirely sure why Chaz had been wearing the glasses, considering it was 11:30 p.m. and the sun had long since set. He wanted to ask him, to see if he perhaps had some sort of congenital eye disease that he could possibly help with, but didn’t want to be a bother.

“Oh, okay. Sure. Do you have any water?”

Chaz reached onto the table directly beside Jesus and grabbed a clear jug, filled to the top with water and ice. He handed it to Jesus.

“Thanks,” Jesus said. It was heavy, the handle slippery against his palms. He never was very good at gripping things these days, but he held no grudges against the Romans. They knew not what they did. Jesus placed the jug back down onto the table and stared into it. It certainly was water.

“Red wine, please,” Chaz said, eyes locked on his iPhone. Jesus heard what sounded like Angry Birds, but it’d been quite a while since he’d had the chance to play any iOS games; his father did not allow him to have an iPhone. He said he needed to show he was responsible enough for such an expensive item, and was instead stuck with a second-hand Motorola Razr. Jesus had protested, said it would make him a social pariah to have such an old phone, but knew his arguments were in vein.

Jesus continued to stare down at the water with all of his might, a bead of sweat forming around his forehead.

To be perfectly honest, Jesus wasn’t entirely sure how he did the whole “water to wine” thing. Most of the time it happened incidentally, often when he didn’t want it to. He’d once gotten terribly drunk at his first (and only) game of football with the guys, during which he mistakenly swapped all the water in his water bottle with wine. He did not want to make a fuss, so he simply drank it. Chaz and the rest of the guys laughed when they found out, then demanded the bottle for themselves. Jesus happily offered it up after he found himself unable to turn their own bottles of water into wine.

“You gonna do this?” Chaz said. He glanced up from his iPhone and stared at what was clearly still a jug of water.

“Yeah, I’m just warming up.” Jesus furrowed his eyebrows and stared harder into the jug. “Come on,” he thought, “I really need this.” The water seemed to vibrate slightly, although he was pretty sure it may have been from the trembling that had started in his arms.

“Hey!” said a voice from in front of Jesus. “Where’s that wine at?” Jesus glanced up. Brad, the quarterback of the high school football team and the desire of every single girl at Saint Francis High, placed his hand on Jesus’ shoulder.

“He’s working on it,” Chaz said, nodding toward Jesus.

“My man!” Brad said. “Let’s hurry that up, I want to get nice and drunk tonight.” Brad smacked Jesus on the back. Brad had never called him his “man” before. He felt his heartbeat quicken.

“Yeah, sure. I’m on it, I’m your man,” Jesus said, watching as Brad walked out of the kitchen. His hands were now trembling more noticeably. He stared back into the jug. “Come on,” he thought, “for the love of God, come on.” An ice cube shifted slightly on the top of the jug. Jesus took a step back.

“That’s still water,” Chaz said, leaning slightly past Jesus. “What is taking so long?”

“Sorry, Chaz, I’m really sorry. Give me just one more minute. I got this.” Jesus reached out and placed his hands just behind the clear jug of water, forming a V with both of his palms touching, fingers encircling the perimeter of the container. “Ka-me-ha-me-ha!” he shouted, just as he’d seen done on his favorite Americanized-anime, Dragon Ball Z. The jug of water responded by not moving in the slightest.

“The fuck was that?” Chaz said. Jesus turned toward him, Chaz’s eyes locked on his own. His eyebrows were distorted as if he’d just witnessed a crime.

“I—I,” Jesus stuttered, “it’s an old tradition.”

“Sounds like some fucking nerd-talk to me,” Chaz said. “Are you going to make us some wine or are you going to finally convince me that you’re just not cool enough to chill with us?”

“No, please, I can do this,” Jesus said. He grabbed the jug of wine, sweat pouring down his forehead. “Do not let your heart be troubled, trust in God. Trust in Me.” He leaned forward again, entirely aware that he had almost no remaining trust in his own self, then returned his hands to the V shape. He slowly wrapped his fingers around the jug, careful not to touch the plastic exterior, then glanced at. He was again staring down at his iPhone.

“Ready?” Jesus said, waiting for Chaz to look up at him. Chaz nodded without removing his eyes from his game of Angry Birds. Jesus knew it was probably a pretty intense round, and therefore totally made sense for him not to want to watch him perform a miracle. He stared back at the jug. “Aaaaa—,” Jesus said, holding the letter for as long as he could, “—bracadabra!” The words exploded from his mouth louder than he had anticipated. The music in the other room came to an abrupt stop as confused voices replaced it.

“Fucking finally,” Chaz said, glancing up from his iPhone. The clear jug had turned a purple hue, the smell of grapes subtly wafting through the air.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” Jesus said, just as he had practiced in his imagination for months prior. “Now who wants to get shit faced?” He lifted the jug and poured it into Chaz’s cup, not needing to wait for the answer. He hoped to God that it wasn’t grape juice this time.

____________________

Writing Prompt: Jesus has stage fright.

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