Street Jesus: Chapter One

by Cody Spencer

Bullets taste like blood.

Fitting, isn't it? One is the cause and one is the effect, but they taste the same. Your taste buds can't tell the difference.

I've been Jesus since before I can remember. And my last memory, how long has it been? Years? Weeks? A lifetime? I don't know.

All I know is that the meat that hangs on my bones is real and that my story is the pure product of no imagination. It's complicated, being Jesus, and I'm not gonna try to explain just how I got to be Jesus. You just gotta read the Books and decide for yourself.

Enough with the bullshit.

The non-bullshit began down at Goodway Foods. I was shopping for the house specials, in no particular order or variey: canned beans, canned soup, canned cranberry sauce, canned fish, canned all-else-that-comes-in-tin, and thank God (that's my dad by the way) (I call him Sir in person) for cans and military-surplus duffel bags, they go together like Sin and Temptation, and I can take a week's worth of meals with me out on the street, and who cares about diseases when you're Jesus?

Am I wrong?

Anyway, there I was, plodding my feet on the waxy linoleum, trying to look casual among the cans, all of them staring me down through their metal skin and sticky-paper straightjackets.

"Pick me, I'm beans," bellowed a can of blood-red kidney beans.

"Okay," I said, giving in to the man.

Sometimes, you just have to give in to the man, thank you God. Especially when the man is a sealed tin can full of blood-red kidney beans.

I tilted my head up at the rows of cans standing idly by with their mouths shut and swiveled my head slowly to the left, and the right, and the whole time I'm looking each can right in the mouth, anticipating the nervous sound of another tin-can voice, letting my food choose me.

I waited for fifteen seconds.

A young woman down the aisle needed something. I was standing in front of it.

Society says cutting in front of people is evil, so naturally, she pretended to look at some other shit she probably didn't even want.

Temptation is a loose sort of envy.

The cans were still and silent.

"C'mon," I offered the aluminum meal-tanks. "Hurry up, I wanna go home."

The young woman down the aisle, I remember, quickly developed a strong personal interest in powdered gravy.

"Hello," blasted a deep, resonant voice. "I'm corn and I'd like you to eat my me. Will you please eat my me? You're nothing if you don't."

I walked over to the corn and put it in my cart.

Could I argue?

I suppose I could argue, but there's only so much sideways garbledygunk you can talk before your words start falling on unworking ears, so I try not to tongue-out too much.

Canned foods ain't mellow dudes.

But the canned foods can't help it. They're the ones who as children were shunned and cast aside as preserves, while their more accomplished and privileged peers became nourishment on the plates of doctors, lawyers, famous athletes, and producers of children's television shows, which in-turn became nostalgic memories for stoned college students in the future.

It's easy to imagine the angst of the canned foods when you think about the amount of disappointment they carry in their vitamin-rich hearts. The sheer tonnage is enough to collapse even the strongest man's back.

The young woman down the aisle put the gravy in her cart. I secretly hoped that she was able to select the the packet she sought after all that time she spent looking at Goodway's respectable selection.

Soon, my cart was carrying the following contents: the beans and the corn, chopped carrots, diced tomatoes, four cans of pork and beans (family deal), clam chowder, chicken and wild rice soup, and refried beans.

Should make for one hell of a burrito.

There is a proper way to shop, and I'd believe you if you told me it was written down somewhere. But it's lost to me.

Here I am, wandering around like I know what I'm doing, glancing upward at the giant sign that try to sell what's in the aisles so you don't have to go through the incredible trouble of looking for yourself. I was hoping to see something about tortillas. Soon, a sign appeared.

"Tortillas", it said.

I marched over to where, sure enough, the tortillas are plopped on top of each other like some sort of giant squished-bread World Series celebration.

Eating a tortilla without stuffing it full of other food items feels like eating the first page of your favorite cookbook author's final burrito-themed novel.

Whole wheat. Flour. Whole grain. Green. Red. Gold. Blue tortillas. Tortillas with brown spots. Tortillas with no spots.

Tortilla world. Take your pick.

I waited for twenty seconds.

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