“Hello. I am an officer of the Intergalactic Ministry of Justice and I am looking for the fugitive known locally as ‘Jesus Christ’. Have you seen him?”
“No,” Jesus said, hiding his noticeably impaled hands behind his back as casually as he could. He’d always known they’d eventually come after him, hunt him down for what he’d done all those millennia ago. It always was just a matter of time, but he had convinced himself for so long that they had forgotten, that they had moved on. It was naïve, yes, but it helped to forget.
“About 6 feet tall, long blonde hair, either white or black skin depending on who you ask. Not ringing any bells?” asked the man. The officer looked just as Jesus thought he would, still adorned in the fashion of Jesus’ time. Long white robe, sun-tanned skin, thick black hair curling down to his shoulders, and eyes just dark enough to make someone question his humanity. A small piece of metal was pinned to his lapel, the words “Intergalactic Ministry of Justice” written across it.
“No, no bells—oh, wait. What did you say his name was? Yeezus? Actually, that does ring a bell. Several bells, in fact. I think his real the name is Kanye West. Lives somewhere in California or something,” Jesus said. “Anyway, if that’s all, I need to get going. I have a work to do.” Jesus paused. “I mean, I have to go to work.” Jesus turned, shifting his hands to the front of his body as he did so, and began walking away.
“Hang on a moment,” said the officer. Jesus turned back around. “You’re telling me that you’ve never heard of a guy named Jesus Christ?”
“I told you, his name is Kanye West. He’s married to the ex-wife of Kris Humphries. I forget her name. Kim Kaspian or something.”
“No, not Yeezus. Jesus. Jesus Christ.”
“Jesus Christ?” Jesus said, tilting his head slightly. He subtly caressed the holes in his palms that made it so hard to swim competitively. “No, never heard of him. I have heard of Larry Christ, if that helps. I can get you his number, it’s in my van out on the driveway. Let me just quickly run over and get it.”
“No, I don’t need a number for Larry Christ. We’re not interested in Larry Christ. Are you saying that you’ve never heard of Jesus Christ, one of the most prolific people on your planet? His name has absolutely no familiarity to you?” The officer crossed his arms.
“I just moved to this country, so I’m not really up to speed with what’s popular in America. I’m just now trying to understand that whole ‘YOLO’ thing, but—” Jesus stopped himself. He was going to explain that he didn’t only live once, but realized that might seem a bit suspicious. He needed to play it cool. “—uh, nevermind.”
The officer nodded and took out a notebook. “Where did you move here from?”
“Me?” Jesus said. He quickly glanced around him as if searching for someone else. He knew no one else was there—it was his own damn house—but he needed time to think; he needed to pick his words carefully.
“Yes, you. Of course I mean you.”
“Oh, I thought maybe you were talking on a radio or something. You know how people use those Bluetooth headsets and then you can never tell if they’re speaking to you or to someone else? I once had a full-on conversation with a man who was talking to his wife—or maybe it was his girlfriend, perhaps even a boyfriend; I do not judge, for I do not want to be judged—before I realized he was just talking on his headset. He was like, ‘hey, how are you?” and I’m like ‘hey man, I don’t think I know you but I’m doing well’ and he says—”
“No,” the officer interrupted. “I don’t have a Bluetooth radio. Please just answer the question. Where did you say you moved from?”
“Spain,” Jesus said. He wasn’t sure whether Spain was a very Christian country or not, but he had panicked and chosen the most foreign place he could think of. He knew they spoke Spanish there, and he had not had the Bible written in Spanish. There was probably a good chance that no one there had ever even heard of Jesus Christ. Probably.
“¿Usted es de España?” said the officer, scribbling something in his notebook.
Jesus inhaled deeply. He recognized the phrase from when he’d tried to learn Spanish once. He had given up on the language after only a few hours. It took too long and he was very important. He also didn’t really feel like knowing Spanish would help him much in life. He figured that he was already a god and didn’t really need an extra leg up.
“Sí,” Jesus said, essentially extinguishing his Spanish-speaking abilities.
“¿País o ciudad??” the officer said.
Jesus had no idea what the officer had just said. As far as he could tell, it was something about pies being visited by their father. He knew he couldn’t just ignore the question. He needed to say something, anything.
“Sí,” Jesus said.
“¿Que?” the officer said.
“Okay,” repeated Jesus with a smile. He’d seemed to have somehow gotten the officer to fall for his façade.
The officer closed the notebook and placed it into his back pocket.
“Here’s the deal. I know you’re lying to me. People from Spain have certainly heard of Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus is a very popular name in that country. Now you’re going to answer my question now, or I will have you arrested for obstructing an investigation. Have you, or have you not, seen Jesus Christ? And your answer better begin with ‘yes.’”
Jesus sighed. He’d avoided this moment for so long, hid in the shadows for millennia out of fear. People worshipped him, prayed to him, truly believed he was an honest, respectable man. Yet he knew inside that he was flawed like everyone else, a criminal on the run. He had to accept the fate he had chosen for himself, accept the punishment he’d evaded for so long.
“Yes,” Jesus said. “Yes, I do know who he is. I am sorry for lying, I—” Jesus paused. “I was just scared. I know who Jesus is. I know where he is. He’s right over there, just outside the house. He always has been.” Jesus nodded toward a man outside his front door, leaning with one leg against a black Crown Victoria. The officer turned around and looked toward where Jesus had signaled.
“That man is Jesus Christ?” he asked.
“Yes, that is Jesus Christ. I didn’t want to give him away.” He just needed the officer to walk over to him, to leave him alone for a few seconds so he could escape. Just a brief moment and he could be free.
“So you’re telling me that Carl, my partner, is also Jesus Christ?” the officer said. “You’re saying that, in his free time, Carl enjoys acting as the god for millions of people, listening to prayers, and evading the law for the very investigation he and I were assigned to?”
“Yes,” Jesus said. He knew it was a flimsy argument, but he just needed those few seconds alone and he’d be gone. Maybe he’d fall for it.
“Carl is not Jesus Christ,” the officer said. “Carl is a middle-aged intergalactic investigator with a bad leg and a surprisingly short temper. I’m done playing games, I’m going to have to place you under arrest.”
“Wait,” Jesus said. He sighed heavily. “I—I am Jesus Christ.” He brought his hands to his front and lifted them so that the officer could see. Each palm had a hole pierced through it, the wounds healed long ago. “I am sorry; I accept my fate.”
“I thought so. We’ve been searching for you for a long time,” the officer said. He reached into his back pocket.
Jesus closed his eyes and held his arms out, waiting for the jingle of handcuffs, the sensation of the cold steel wrapping around his wrists. The thought of the cuffs had haunted him for so long, kept him awake for hundreds of years.
“Here you go,” said the officer, shoving something into Jesus’ hand. He opened his eyes, staring down at what appeared to be a yellow piece of paper crumpled up in the hole in palm.
“What’s this?” Jesus asked.
“Ticket,” said the officer, closing his notebook and slipping it into his back pocket.
“Ticket?” Jesus said, bringing it toward his face and studying it.
“Parking ticket. You tied your horse up in a celestial towing zone about 2,000 years ago. Fine is $25. You can take it to intergalactic court if you’d like, but I don’t think you have a very good case. We have satellite imaging of the event.”
“I see,” Jesus said, folding the ticket and placing it into the pocket of his robe. He sighed deeply. He had no idea where he would get $25. It was far worse than he’d thought.