Jesus Christ Ceo ©
The Second Coming© hasn't had quite the impact one might've expected. In fact the largest affect it's had is on our shopping habits, you know, convenience and lower prices and all. A few folks have gotten rich, if they were smart enough and had the resources to buy stock, and more folks, like myself had to make some adjustments as certain small businesses were gobbled up. I ran a bait and tackle off of highway 99. Thought I'd be there for life. It was the perfect location, right there on the way to the river and a thoroughfare for people making their way up north to do some more serious fishing. Now I'm a "Blesser/Greeter"© at the Super Church.© I'm hoping to work my way up to the sports department eventually, but even that will pale compared to the joy of owning my own business. Oh well, life goes on yeah?
I woke up with a cold yesterday morning and discovered the bright side to corporate employment, calling in sick. I was ready to go in; pockets loaded with cough drops, a scarf wrapped around my throat, an extra pair of thermal underwear. It was my daughter Mary, that told me to stay home. She'd come by to check on her old man. She does that now. As if my will to live was all wrapped up in that drafty little shop of mine. She needn't worry. I'm not going anywhere. There are fish yet to catch and no Super Church © is going to take that from me. So Mary swings by and she catches me having chicken soup for breakfast.
"You sick?" her greeting as she lets herself in through the kitchen door.
"Yeah, caught that bug that's goin' around. I'll be fine." I reassured her.
"Why do you have your vest on? You're sick, stay home."
"Hey, I can do that can't I. I'm not used to this work for someone else business. I can call in and tell them I'm sick! Hot damn." And that's just what I did. I got a hold of Brian, my teenage supervisor and told him I wouldn't be coming in.
"But Frank, today's the big day. The boss is appearing on Oprah and we're going to be swamped." He whined.
"Look Brian, you don't want me there. You can't have me blessing people while snot runs down my face and I'm hackin' all over the place. Who would want that kind of blessing?"
"Well we can put you in the warehouse and move John or Paul up..."
I started hacking here, really coughing up a lung. It wasn't entirely an act but I really let it all come up. "Brian... cough, gag... Look, I gotta... hack, hack... I gotta go...cough." and with that I hung up the phone. I gave Mary a free blessing and promised her I'd take it easy. It was an easy promise to keep. I'm not much for sleeping in. If the suns up, I'm up, so going back to bed wasn't inviting. Instead I lingered in a nice hot shower. It felt nice to have that hot water beating down on my back. I could see out the window and there is something delightful about being home on a work day standing in a hot shower and being able to see the blustery day outside.
After my shower I grabbed a bowl of cornflakes and had a seat in front of the couch. I really hadn't intended to watch the Oprah show. I was actually hoping for I Dream of Genie reruns, but I clicked the tube on just as the boss was taking his seat on that famous couch and my curiosity was piqued.
"Jesus Christ©!" Oprah was playing up her excitement at having such an esteemed guest and motioning for the audience to continue applauding. Jesus© waved and smiled, looking sharp in an olive green suit. The audience rose to their feet and the applause continued long after the reborn messiah took his seat facing the world's most successful talk show host. He rose from the couch twice more before, at last, the clapping stopped.
"Jesus©, thank you so much for agreeing to appear on my show."
"Oprah, thank you for having me. This beats appearing on a tortilla hands down." and with this a barrage of laughter erupted from the audience followed by yet more applause.
"Now Jesus©, the first thing I've got to ask about is this new look. Did my people do this to you? I mean, this is not the look we're used to seeing. Where are the robes and the beard and long hair?" She asked, referring to the images that adorned JC Products©.
"Listen, Oprah, after 2,000 years I figure my wardrobe needed a bit of an extreme make over." More laughter. "But seriously, the robes and the beard are comforting to most people, but I do a lot of traveling and with the current political climate it was just too much of a hassle getting through airport security."
"Well you look fantastic." Oprah responded, knowing it would trigger a new surge of applause. I was ready to go searching for Genie if the love fest kept up.
"Well thank you, and to tell you the truth, I feel fantastic." Jesus gave the stock answer and I reached for my remote.
"You've been a carpenter, an outlaw prophet, a scapegoat and a swear word, but few expected your latest role as CEO of your own major corporation. It's been awhile now since The Second Coming© and many are surprised by the fact that you haven't been performing many miracles this time around." Good question. Looks like Oprah might not be going soft on our man after all. I set down the clicker.
"Oprah, what's with the tough questions? I thought my agent had negotiated for more of a fluff interview." More laughing from the audience. "But I'm not afraid. Let me tell you, since The Second Coming© was officially announced a mere five years ago, the stock in J.C. industries© has risen to a point where a one thousand dollar investment in 2002 would be worth over 3.5 million dollars today. Now, if that's not a miracle, I don't know what is!
"But, I know that this isn't the kind of miracle the naysayers out there are clamoring for and so, next Sunday at the Grand Opening of our Fresno Super Church© I'll cure the first 500 lepers who attend. The healing is first come, first served; so all you lepers get there early and do a little shopping in our Lepertorium© before the store officially opens. I'll also be turning agricultural waste water into the finest Merlot you have ever tasted. Watch out Napa valley! And I'll turn milk into JC Cola© for the kiddies. Jehovah's Witnesses and other heathens can get JC Sugar Free Root Beer© by special request."
Oprah looked amazed and I was almost convinced that she didn't know in advance exactly what announcements her guest would be making.
"Well that should silence some nonbelievers!" She observed. "Speaking of which, I've got to wonder if you're upset that the Jewish community still hasn't recognized you as the one true Savior?"
"OY Vey!!!!!!! The Jewish community? Oprah, Oprah, Oprah, I AM Jewish, and I believe in me, and I believe in J.C. Industries©. We ALWAYS have the lowest price and I believe our Jewish Friends can appreciate that."
"That sounded a little, well, anti-Semitic."
"Oh, come now, I can kid the Jews. We go way back you know. Tit for tat. Seriously though, the Jews continue to patronize our J.C. Super Church© and they're visiting our Jews For Jesus recruiting booth while they're there."
Oprah appeared anxious to change the subject. "Let's talk a little about the latest JC Industries© policy statement stating that entrance to heaven© shall no longer be based solely on faith©. According to this release any party who has made at least 10 major appliance purchases at any JC Super Church©, is eligible to be admitted to heaven© by a simple majority vote."
"That's absolutely right, and I should add it wouldn't hurt to buy some of our stock, and avoid eating meat on Friday, although both are voluntary and fall within our Free Will© provisions."
"With all these changes aren't people beginning to wonder if the bible is still relevant? Should we still be reading The Bible©?"
"We at J.C. Industries consider The Bible© to be a very important document, it is in fact, the basis for our mission statement. But we realize it hasn't been revised for some time and it does have some, well, inconsistencies so a revision is in the works. There will be a few new commandments designed to cover modern issues such as youtube and myspace ettiquete, genetics and those five for a dollar fruit pies, but we recognize that a lot of people are unable to read. Most people can read but simply don't care to. So, in keeping with our policy of satisfying our customers, J.C. Films©, A wholly owned subsidiary of J.C. industries©, will release Bible-THE MOVIE©, early next year. It will be presented at your local J.C. Saviorplex Cinemas© in every known language in the world, except for those clicking people, but I'm sure they'll get subtitles."
The audience went predictably nuts at this big news, and Oprah invited the plugging to continue. "Now I've just got to know, what other new products are on the horizon?"
"I"m glad you asked." The CEO flashed his perfect smile and from behind the couch produced a cheerful bit of packaging. "There's new Body of Christ© brand microwave dinners, because if people are going to commune with me by eating of my body, they should get a decent meal out of it. No offense to the church but those little wafers just aren't very filling, are they? We're offering good sized, nutritionally balanced meals for those who have a lot of faith, but not a lot of time. BOC© Meals are also available in kosher style, and for those who need to watch their weight we have Body of Christ Light©."
After fishing more products out from behind the couch he continued with great enthusiasm. "And we didn't forget about the Blood of Christ© either. Watch for the introduction of our new Blood of Christ wine. It will be available in bottles and cans and on tap at our Super Churches© worldwide. Tests are underway in Utah right now for our Blood of Christ© non-alcoholic beer."
"These are amazing products. It seems like JC Industries has bounced back from the unfortunate incidents involving your J.C. Walk on the Water sneakers." Jesus winced at the mention of this.
"Oprah let me stop you there. The Walk On Water Super Sneaks© were taken off the market out of consideration for the loss of the two families in Mississippi and Oklahoma. The shoes were plainly labeled for use only on shallow bodies of water, two inches or less in depth and recommended for use when the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. As for the claims of child labor being involved in the products manufacture let me assure you; all children employed by JC Industries© here or abroad are paid a fair and competitive wage. I mean really, they're kids! How much money do they need?"
The audience gave an enthusiastic response despite Oprah's hesitancy. "Well, outside of these controversies, you're also dealing with some stiff competition as Satan Inc.© continues to monopolize the music industry and the movie industry, as well as role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and World Of Warcraft. Does J.C. Industries© have any plans to compete in these markets?
The boss put his broad smile away at last, but by now I was sure it was all according to script. "The board has been studying this problem for some time. You might remember that two years ago Satan Inc.© rejected our generous offer to buy them out. They are so entrenched in the industries you mentioned that its just not feasible to try and compete directly with them. We would of course like to ensure that our devoted customers are able to enjoy Marilyn Manson, Danzig, The Rolling Stones and of course Celine Dion without incurring the wrath of my dad. Well it can now be announced," and with this his pearly whites were flashed once again. "We are in talks with Satan Inc.© and the prospects for a merger look very promising."
Another round of applause. "There are some details to be worked out, such as corporate salaries, and what position Satan would have on the board of the new company. We feel he could be an asset in dealing with the malcontents among our employees who are trying to unionize the Super Church©." Ha, as if he hadn't completely squashed any chance of a union forming anywhere near his organizations already. "Look for further announcements on this matter over the next few months, and in the meanwhile be sure to give the Devil his due."
A concerned Oprah struggled to get her question in through the applause. "Now this is shocking news. Some would suggest that a merger between God and Satan, might compromise both entities."
"Yes, well its been great being here, Oprah." The applause grew louder, the end of interview music came up and the cameras pulled way back.
"Wait a minute, Jesus, were you going to answer the question?" A hushed silence fell over the crowd.
"Yes of course, Oprah. To your listeners I'd just like to say, Remember, your creator, my father has endowed you with certain inalienable rights, like the right to shop at a huge, well-stocked store, with plenty of parking and the lowest prices imaginable. Exercise those rights at our conveniently located Super Stores, and build up bonus points redeemable at the pearly gates." And with that, Jesus made his way out of the studio as the wildly cheering audience rose to their feet.
Oprah had no choice but to abandon her protest. She closed the show by supplying free JC Industries© products to every member of her adoring studio audience. They cut to commercial, as if we hadn't been watching one this whole time.
I found my I Dream Of Genie rerun, and miracle of miracles, it was the episode that rocked the censors way back when it was originally aired by giving us a quick peak at Barbara Eden's belly button. Bless you Barbara Eden. I decided I'd call in sick again the next day.