“Jesus was not born in Texas, but he was raised and whelped hereabouts. The Lord reddened the rock, greened the grass, and yellowed the roses. Was He educated here? That cannot be answered with any liturgical precision, but the Apocrypha shows that Christ did play high school football. That his crucifixion was on a Friday was one last kiss of cruelty from the Romans.
“Missing that game hurt as much as them nails did.
“The relationship betwixt Jesus and Texas disproves atheism. We take it as axiomatic that Texas is blessed. If it is not, then why is the beer so cold? I just ipsoed your facto, and we continue our metaphysical mathematics. And if Texas is indeed blessed, then whom is the blessifier? It could not be a man, for Texas is too big to be blessed by a man, and so must be a god, but this god ain’t gonna be some oogie-booger from the who-knows-where, this god’s gonna be from Texas, and Jesus is from Texas, so Jesus is Lord.
“I have never made any apologies for my apologetics.
“As I wandered far from home, I also wandered from God. Leaving Cascabel, I was but a boy. A boy whose virtuosic vocalizing and hall-of-fame hoofing had enabled him to bed scores of the hot-to-trot, absolutely, but a boy nevertheless. I did my routine in Eugene; my song-and-dance in Paris, France; I sang rock in Bangkok. The world pulled up her skirt for me, and I removed my jumpsuit. If a man could drown in nonny-nonny juice, then someone should have tossed me a line. Humanity had slipped Roy Head her hotel key. Yes, that Roy Head.
“You should have heard of me.
“Distraction leads to destruction, and the delights of the road were shiny and moving about in my peripheral vision. I chased many dragons, and also purchased a komodo dragon. They are far less trainable than the man at the pet shop led me to believe. The drink was always there, but now it came bearing friends and they was all some Good Time Charlies. Pills of both the tablet and spansule variety, and powders laid out in lines longer than Russians waiting for toilet paper. The three of us conquered the highways and stuck our dicks in America. Me, Big Bucktoothed Pete, and Skippy Joe: we was debauched and debased and headed towards debilitation.
“Louie Grabass was also involved, but he doesn’t count.
“We was off the road, but not home. Caesar’s Palace was always a triumph, and I played there twice a year for a month each time. Las Vegas treated me like a king, and friends like the king’s friends. The craps dealers loved Big Bucktoothed Pete, and different sorts of dealers loved Skippy Joe. No one loved Louie Grabass; in fact, several chambermaids and valets had beaten him for living up to his name. I was setting the lounge on fire, mostly metaphorically except for that one time what wasn’t my fault and that other time what was. My singing was ringing, my dancing was entrancing, and my patter was snappier than a rude man trying to get a waitress’ attention. Attendance, already swell, swelled.
“Redd Foxx caught my act one night, and called me a honky.
“The days ran together like a bobsled team. Time began to repeat itself, as if our carousing had become a carousel. Was it Tuesday? Saturday? Ombleday, which is the secret eighth day of the week hidden from us by Jewish fellows and the US Postal Service? None of us could tell for certain! Our existence had shrunken to hallways, bathrooms, dressing rooms we wasn’t supposed to be in. When we rose in the afternoons, we would take a shvitz, which was not a secret of the Jews; this steamy pleasure they shared with the world of gentility. The previous party’s poisons would puke from our pores. I staggered, haggard, around the sumptuous suite that was now my glitzy Gehenna, and I mortified my mind with fortified wine. The pit bosses at the craps tables had 172’ed Big Bucktoothed Pete, which means they 86’ed him twice, and Skippy Joe had lost his shirt. He may not have brought a shirt with him. Regardless, the man had no shirt.
“We were gimlet-eyed and grasping at straws.
“I had not met Jesus prior to this occasion, not personally, but I was of course familiar with His work. The band was hot and so were the changas Louie Grabass had secreted within the piano after they had undergone full chimification. My crazylegs burned almost 100,000 calories a show, more if it was a good crowd, and I needed to maintain my blood’s sucrosity. The crowd cheered me on and cheered my up, and as I entertained them to a far greater extent than they deserved, I looked them over. A woman with fantastic boobies was up front. Next to her was a woman whose boobies wasn’t as great, but they was still pretty good. I blipped over the rest of the room, except for the man in the back. He was long-haired and bearded, and wearing a flowing white robe.
“I nearly sicced Skippy Joe on him for being a hippy.
“The Lord locked eyes with me and I knew in my heart that He loved me. I knew there that I had to stop sinning. I knew there that I was reborn in the Lord. When I finished the show, ducking and shucking the autograph-seekers and stage-door peekers, I searched high and low for the Lord but I only found slot machines and cocktail waitresses. I thought I found Him at a blackjack table, but it was just a hippy, so I sicced Skippy Joe on him. I could not find the Lord, but He had found me, and so I had Big Bucktoothed Pete baptize me in the suite’s hot tub. From that day on, I would lead a clean and well-lighted kind of life. I would repay the world which had given me so much, and done so much to me, and let me touch and fondle so much of it.
“Upon return to Cascabel, I immediately bought a water park.
“There was, according to Big Bucktoothed Pete’s research, no Bible-themed water parks in America. I set about to rectify that injustice with my new acquisition, which I had renamed Headwaters. The lazy river ride became Moses’ Baby Journey; the big slide became the Red Sea; the rapids ride became Noah’s Adventure. I would spread the Word while renting out lockers and selling hot dogs, a prophet making a profit. When the renovations were completed, we raised several glasses to our new venture and kept to the Christian theme. We drank Sauls, which is when you take so many shots you go blind and start answering to a different name. We drank Methuselahs, which are incredibly aged whiskey. We drank Western Schisms, which is where you have two drinks and they denounce one another.
“Nothing could go wrong with the Lord on our side.
“It did not take until noon to realize that the Lord had not been informed of our opening date! The first mass baptism in the wave pool resulted in several drownings! Apparently, the reason I had been able to purchase the park so quickly was the significant structural deficiencies affecting all the rides! An entire church group from Brownsville went missing from Moses’ Baby Journey! The Red Sea straight-up collapsed!”
“Sir, do you want popcorn or not? The movie’s about to start.”
“THE LOCKER ROOMS WERE RIFE WITH LEGIONNAIRE’S DISEASE!”
“Okay, can I help the next person in line?”