January 28, 2014

Literary LEO 2014

Flash Fiction — Honorable Mention

Parousia

by L.E. Elder

“Look,” said Justin, nodding at the woman in the filthy gray housecoat begging for change on the sidewalk outside the bar. “Disgusting. I hate meeting downtown.”

“We needed to escape the Highlands-St. Matthews-Summit axis of dweebville, bro,” said Greg.

“Could have gone to Fourth Street Live,” grumbled Justin. “And where the hell is Steve?”

“Right behind you,” said Steve, pulling up a chair and setting his Stella on the table. “My bus was late.”

“Bus?”

“The Mercedes is in the shop.”

“Again? Crappy foreign cars,” said Justin.

“Poor Steve,” said Greg.

“Not at all. I got to see the Lord.”

“Jesus, Jesus?”

“So I was assured by his disciple Robert, a former seminarian.”

“Whoa,” said Greg. “You met Seminary Bob?”

“Who’s he?” asked Justin.

“Some crazy dude. He preaches on Jefferson Street near Wayside. But nobody listens.”

“I listened,” said Steve. “He had a crisis of faith. Thought the Bible clearly, and erroneously, predicted Jesus’ imminent return. It drove him from the seminary and almost to suicide. Then, he reread a New Testament passage and everything clicked. Now he’s positively blissful.”

“He thinks he’s God?”

“No. He saw an old, homeless man shuffling down the street and yelled, ‘There He is, it’s Jesus,’ and he hopped off the bus to follow him.”

“So he’s crazy,” said Justin.

“How can we know?” asked Greg. “We haven’t read the passage.”

“He told me,” said Steve. “Something from Matthew. The hungry, the sick and the homeless — they are Jesus. What we do for them, we do for him. According to Seminary Bob, we’re living in the Kingdom of God and Jesus walks among us neglected and unrecognized.”

Justin glanced again at the woman begging on the sidewalk, frowned and turned away.

“Let’s talk about fantasy football,” he said.