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The following is an exerpt from my novel, PUSHING UP DAISY, which has been completed and is ready for publication. The work is a critique of the commercialization of religion and modern free market economics. As of today, September 20, 2004 I have been unable to stimulate interest due to the "political" and "liberal" content of the book. If you like the text below and would like to see the full novel published, please help me by signing the petition below.

-- K. Domaradzki

ТYeah, I seen Jesus nailed to the cross,У said a man named Cracks as we stood in line for a morning cappuccino.

I nodded and asked, ТWhat was that like?У

It was a mistake asking him. I had already noticed the three or four brochures tucked under his arm for WhereХs Jesus?

ТHonestly,У replied Cracks, ТI didnХt think much of it at first. Those Romans would nail a man up every other weekend. It was a regular thing back then. YouХd wash up, get dressed and then youХd see some poor schmuck dragging a cross up the street. A regular thing.У

WhereХs Jesus? was different from all the other afterlife corporate religions, only in that followers were constantly on the lookout for Jesus Christ- quite literally. The idea was that Christ did in fact die after being crucified and so would have gone through the Throat just like everyone else. WhereХs Jesus? preachers broadcast the belief that once Jesus was found (possibly living next door to you, or working in the same telemarketing office- depending on the sect), he would then deliver his followers to Heaven. To help in the eternal search, the marketing division of MultiFaith, the churchХs parent company, offered a long line in Christ detection gear. Faith was ultimately proven by the purchase power of a MasterCard.

I moved up in line and asked Cracks something he didnХt hear and I didnХt really bother to remember.

ТBut I tell ya sir,У he continued, Тwhen I saw that Jesus fellar hanginХ there, I knew there was something special about him. Granted, maybe not right away, but once he started talking to God and the skies opened up, I knew, hereХs a guy whoХs special.У

ТSpecial?У I echoed.

ТYeah, when he started talkinХ to God everyone on that hill top got kinda excited. We all thought those Romans would be in for it.У He hung his head slightly, Тbut IХll be honest with ya, once he started defecating himself and that spear finished him off, the momentum kinda drained. He had us going for a good long time until he died. Then he was just another schmuck hanging from a cross.У

ТI see.У

Honestly, I had some doubts that Cracks had been witness to anyoneХs crucifixion. His accent was a bit too much Wyoming and WhereХs Jesus? disciples were notorious liars.

ТNow I didnХt see him get resurrected,У continued Cracks, Тbut I did hear about it a few years later and I realized that just like that Judas fellar, my faith had been tested.У

ТDid you know Judas?У I asked as we moved another space closer to the cash register.

ТNo,У said Cracks, ТI hear he got killed by some fishermen.У He smiled, Тbut the point is that I realized the wrongs of my life and became a Christian,У he adjusted himself slightly, Тmaybe not right away, especially once the Romans started feeding them to the lions, but on my death bed I swore to be faithful ever after.У

I patted him on the shoulder, ТGood for you.У

ТWere you a Christian?У he asked.

I shrugged.

ТWell thatХs okay, thatХs okay,У he reached for one of the thicker pamphlets, Тbecause you can find Jesus right here in the afterlife. If you look hard enough.У

I told him that I really wasnХt interested.

ТAll IХm asking,У said Cracks in a fit of composure, Тis that you take some literature and think about the cooks you know.У

After a moment of refusal I politely took the pamphlet and stuffed it into my pocket.

Cracks belonged to the Cult of Culinary Christ, a sect of WhereХs Jesus? that was considered the scourge of all fast food restaurants within the city limits. Unwitting fry cooks sporting any resemblance to the Son of God would find themselves on a short list of suspected Christs. One day youХd get a job flipping burgers and the next youХd have five regular customers sitting at the counter all day long and taking notes, waiting for the miracle. Understandably there was a high turnover in food services, but no one dared do anything against the Cult, their political clout was thick and they bought food all day long. A guaranteed base of at least five customers per restaurant. The more financially minded fast food managers started requiring beards.

ТSo why a cook?У I asked.

ТWell sir,У he said, ТI heard that once before I saw him hanging from that cross, Jesus made dinner for hundreds of people with only a bucket full of fish, a few loaves of bread and a portable barbeque.У

ТA barbeque?У

ТWell, they didnХt call it that back then,У he said, Тand between me and you, those apostles of his kept leavinХ facts like that out to make him look holier than thou.У

ТI see.У

ТI heard even that he was really a cook for Pontius Pilot and that whole carpenter thing was cooked up later for the history books,У he said, Тif you forgive the pun.У

I forgave it and quickly paid for my cappuccino.

ТWell,У I said inching toward the door, Тnice talking to you.У

ТDonХt forget to read that literature,У he howled, ТJesus might be serving you dinner this very night.У

The last time I heard about the Cult of Culinary Christ, its members had become convinced that Jesus was rolling tacos at a Mexican fast food place. IХm not sure if they actually found the messiah, but from what I understand, taco sales jumped almost three hundred percent.


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