Jesus glanced over at his wrist and sighed heavily. It appeared to be nailed to an irritatingly familiar wooden frame once again.
“Oh, come on,” he hissed. It had only been a few hours since his latest resurrection, since he’d attempted to welcome his people with open arms for the official thirty-seventh coming of Jesus. Upon his arrival, however, something had immediately smacked him against the back of his head and knocked him unconscious. “Are you serious? Are you serious right now?”
“I’m so sorry,” said a man knelt down in front of him, some sort of hammer-like tool clutched in his right hand, several nails in the other. He was a younger male, probably around the age of 23, with long blonde hair and a short, curled beard. He wore a black, government issued suit, the dim, fluorescent lights overhead making it appear slightly more yellow than it actually was. “Really, I am.”
“Then why are you doing this?” Jesus said, thrusting his body upward in an attempt to free himself. The nails in his palms pulled against his skin slightly, but refused to budge. He glanced over at his left wrist. They’d gotten really damn efficient at the whole crucifixion thing lately. The first time, they’d had to use dozens of nails, hammering each one in at a crooked and near diagonal angle. Now, however, they’d managed to get their trade down to just two per limb. It was great that they were learning, but he hoped it would’ve been under a different scenario by now.
“You know why,” the man said, standing up slightly and stretching his back. He then knelt back down and lined one of the nails up with Jesus’ left foot. He hated this part.
“Come on,” Jesus said, closing his eyes and thrusting his head back. He pulled his hands upward again, but they still refused to budge. He wasn’t going anywhere, not this time. In fact, he’d only managed to escape once out of the thirty-six—no, thirty-seven times they had crucified him thus far. He was caught within minutes and re-attached to the crucifix he’d become way too familiar with.
“Sorry,” the man said, his voice trembling slightly. “It’s not really up to me.” He nodded toward the opaque, mirrored window at the opposite end of the room. Yes, it was nice to no longer be getting crucified out in the middle of a desert, but the fact that he was receiving his crucifixion in a much more sanitary government building did little to ease his discomfort. It was more luxurious, yes, but it still required him to be crucified. At least he didn’t have to see the eyes of the onlookers that stood behind the one-way mirror.
“I’m Jesus Christ,” Jesus said, glancing down just in time to see the man lift the hammer above a nail held over his foot. He closed his eyes again, a wave of pain emanating from his right leg and washing over his body. “Oh, Jesus Christ,” he said, acutely aware of the fact that he’d just used his own name in vain. The phrase had become an unfortunate habit at this point, thanks to the hours he spent watching television while waiting to die during each crucifixion. That was one of the few changes he was actually quite fond of, that they allowed him a few basic amenities as he slowly asphyxiated and starved. Now if they would only just stop killing him, that would make things fantastic. “Come on. Can’t you use at least some sort of anesthetic first? Why do you guys need to keep doing it like this?”
“Does it still work with anesthetic?” the man said, hammering Jesus’ foot like someone attempting to hang a picture. He was the least efficient crucifier that Jesus had worked with in the last few years, missing the nail several times and instead smacking the hammer into his flesh on more than one swing.
“Yes,” Jesus said, squirming. “Of course it does. Why wouldn’t it?”
“I don’t know,” the man said, abruptly ceasing his hammering. He stood up and took a step back, tilting his head as he admired his craftsmanship. “I’m not God, I don’t know everything.”
“I am,” Jesus said, gritting his teeth and pushing his head back against the cross. “So could you guys perhaps just stop crucifying me once every few years? I could share my knowledge with you. This is getting ridiculous.”
“No can do,” the man said. “We need somebody to die for our sins.”
“Just go to confession,” Jesus said, now almost yelling. He took a deep breath in an attempt to calm down, reminding himself that they knew not what they did. “Just go to confession,” he repeated, quieter. “Or just sin less. Yeah, do that. Just stop sinning so much.”
The man glanced up at Jesus, his head tilted. “Sin less?” he said, as if Jesus had just said something in some sort of ancient, dead language.
“Yes, sin less,” Jesus repeated, making sure this time that he was not speaking in Aramaic. It was definitely English.
The man lifted his hand to his face and softly rubbed his short, blonde beard. “Like, not sleep with prostitutes as often?”
“Exactly,” Jesus said, slowing his breathing as he struggled to ignore the pain in his leg.
The man continued staring at Jesus, his face contorted as if he were deep in thought.
“Nah,” he said, kneeling back down and grabbing another nail from his tool belt. “I really like prostitutes.”
Jesus closed his eyes as he felt the man return his hand to his foot, the cold touch of a nail again pressing into his skin. They were all so stubborn, but that was part of why he loved them. He’d let them crucify him this time, let them get away with killing him to wash away their sins. It was the least he could do. It would probably be the last time, though, he was pretty confident that they wouldn’t crucify him for a thirty-eighth time. That would just be ridiculous.