Articles of Faith

“Good God”

by Jack Bristow

 

Mark Simmons had been everything. A plumber; a truck driver; an architect; an accountant; a lawyer; a businessman; an investor; a private investigator; a police officer; a motivational speaker; a dancer; a singer; a songwriter; an actor; an abortionist; a male stripper; a male prostitute; a critic; a Mormon; a politician; a locksmith; a go-to guy; a scoundrel; a monk; a husband; a father;  a priest; an agnostic; a Nazi; a communist; A Marxist; the President of the United States; a boy scout; a porno star; an archer; a sadist; a pirate; a clown; a mime; a guru; a saxophonist; a bigamist; a vegetarian; a gymnast; a drug dealer; a teacher; a cult leader; a peacenik; a vampire; an herbalist; and a robot.

There was, however, one thing Mark Simmons had never been, and had always wanted to be: God.

He tried everything. Paying off local priests—no results. Visiting the Vatican and asking for the Pope’s blessing—he wouldn’t give it. Starting his own church and then placing an opening-day sign in front of it—nobody would come. Concocting his very own shrine in his house that he could sit upon—he’d felt like a fool. Buying airtime for his very own public access show, God-talk—nobody tuned in. Then, one day, he’d come up with a plan he was certain was fool proof. He pulled his God-sized Dodge truck to the side of the road, where there was a bald, toothless homeless gentleman holding his sign, “Will Work For Food.” They talked awhile and deal was reached. For twenty dollars a week, plus free room and board and all the pizza he could eat, the homeless man, whose name was Knuckles, would be one of Mark’s Apostles. The job entailed Knuckles preaching the divine word of Mark, house to house. Alas, the arrangement didn’t last long. For Mark was arrested a few days later. His crime: Pulling his pork near a fire hydrant.

Mark Simmons was saddened by these set-backs, but, like all great minds, he had not been discouraged. No, once the man had his mind set on a goal, he would accomplish it. No doubt about that. One day, he was walking down the street, staple-gun and fliers in hand—the flier’s bearing his campaign slogan: “Mark Simmons for Lord of the Universe and all of creation: 2013.” He walked near the curb and accidentally fell onto the street, cracking his head open. A few hours later he had awakened in a hospital.

“You’ll be fine, son,” Doctor Grossman said, patting Mark Simmons on the head affectionately. “All you have is a minor concussion. While you were out, we pumped you with a bit of morphine. In a few days, you will be as good as punch. Just be sure to take your prescription Vicodin and Naproxen.” Dr. Grossman handed Mark the script. “And in the meantime, be a little more careful when you’re out stapling your fliers, for God’s sake.” Doctor Grossman laughed heartily, merrily. And then he was gone.

Maybe Doctor Grossman is right, Mark Simmons thought, feeling defeated. Maybe I should just give up on this ridiculous little becoming God dream, and focus my energies on becoming something that’s just a little more practical. 

Mark flicked the television set on with the changer. On the TV was the ‘80s series The A-Team. There was a buff, mesmerizing, be-jeweled character inside, who instantly caught Mark’s eye. “What you talking about, fool?” He exploded, before punching the other character in the face.

Mark Simmons smiled brightly, realizing there were two things he hadn’t been.

 

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