The Jesus Bubble
We were talking about zombies. More specifically, we were talking about the recent rash of cannibalistic occurrences whipping the media and the zombie apocalypse acolytes alike into a paranoid freak frenzy.
There's the story of a man who killed his girlfriend and ate chunks of her, mailing other pieces of her carcass to places in her address book like little postal doggie bags.
A mixed martial arts fighter killed his training partner and devoured his heart (Whether the fella was an actual MMA fighter or just wore the UFC shirts from Wal-Mart is unclear).
A man murdered his room mate and dined on his brain and heart. He would have gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for the victim's meddling relatives noticing the deceased's severed hands propped up on the coffee table.
"It seems like it all got kicked off with that crazed negro down in Miami," I said. "Ate the homeless man's face right off the skull. He'd gone totally feral, growling at the police, strips of flesh dangling from his barred teeth. Cops shot him a couple times without effect until a Romero savy officer capped him in the head. If that's not the epitome of a zombie insurrection, I don't know what is."
Sera nodded. "I saw pictures on the internet, all the homeless guy had left was his left eye and a chin beard."
"Guy coulda been Amish for all that was left behind," I agreed.
Sera's best friend, Angela, remained unconvinced. "The news channel I watched said he was high on bath salts."
"Well, I can tell you the zombie apocalypse is not going to be a product of Bed, Bath and Beyond."
"Bath salts, the drug," Sera clarified. "And the CDC announced yesterday all this cannibalism lately is not the work of zombies."
"And you're gonna believe those guys? Damn, Sera, my girlfriends usually have more sense than that. I've done all kinds of drugs in my life and never once have I felt the urge to eat a person's face, or even associate with the homeless."
"I think it's demon possession," Angela said.
Sera agreed. Of course she agreed, they shared the same brain. If Angela got bit by a zombie tomorrow, Sera would dine on flesh in solidarity. "It'd explain that guy we read about the other day. The one who ripped his abdomen open and threw his own intestines at police."
"That was just... bath salts," I sputtered.
It was a disconcerting news story, one that I couldn't quite incorporate into my zombie apocalypse angle.
"The world's going crazy," Angela preached. "The end times are upon us. You never heard about this sort of thing when we had a white Christian man in the presidency."
Yeah, if you discounted the entire human history, it would seem as though the world were going insane.
"I don't know if I buy that," I said. "Dahmer happened on Bush Sr's watch."
I will say that I'm certain the United Association of Bible-Thumping Preachers would be far less inclined to discount demon outbreak than the Center for Disease Control were disavowing zombies. How many more cases of spontaneous cannibalism would it take before decent citizens began arming themselves, gunning down poor fools in the street whose only crime was to leave the house looking hungry and spacey and smelling of lavender bath salts?
"I know Sera and me will be all right," Angela said. "We're protected by our Jesus Bubble."
"You got that right, sister." They slapped hands.
"What the fuck's a Jesus Bubble?" I asked. Strangely, memories of Bazooka Joe bubble gum came to mind.
Sera and Angela shared a beatific smile. Angela fielded the question. She raised her arms in a strange manner one could deduce to be a serene Southern Baptist gesture meant to convey spiritual superiority.
"It's an aura of white Christian light that surrounds the saved and protects us from evil. I have it. Your girlfriend, here, has it."
"I don't see any white light, Christian or otherwise."
"Are you saved?"
"Let's just say I sing in the devil's choir."
"He's Catholic," Sera jumped in. Allusions to Satanism made her nervous.
"That goes a long way toward explaining a lot of things about him," Angela said, cryptically. "With the right set of Christian eyes, you could see the Jesus Bubble shimmering all around us. Nothing evil can get through."
"I penetrate Sera's bubble at least twice a day." All I wanted to talk about was zombies...
"Only because I let you," Sera said. "And if you don't get right with God and quit watching Alien Artifacts on the Discovery Channel, I may have to reconsider."
"Alien Artifacts... You know how old the pyramids are...?"
"I don't care. Jesus wasn't an astronaut. Aliens didn't invent microchips. And zombies are not MMA fighters."
"I'm keeping an open mind."
"There was an atheist," Sera said, "who was a barber. And one day a good Christian man came in to get his hair cut."
"I love this story," Angela said.
"During the course of the hair cut, they got to talking religion. The barber admitted he didn't believe in god. How could you not? the righteous man asked. Well look outside, if there were a supreme being, how could he allow homelessness, abuse of children, rampant drug addiction-"
"Let her tell the story," Angela scolded.
"I know how it ends."
"It ends with the righteous man leaving the barbershop and returning five minutes later to tell the barber, he doesn't believe in barbers."
"Aliens invented clippers?"I asked.
"Shut up or I swear I'll never let you finish another Polack joke as long as we're together."
It said something about our relationship that she didn't attempt to swerve me with the promise of compromising sexual favors, but rather went straight for the joy I get most, berating my ancestral brethren. "Fine, you win."
"He doesn't believe in barbers, he says, because he's not left the barbershop five minutes and has all ready seen two men with long hair. How can barbers exist in a world where there are long haired men walking around?"
I don't know how I can exisit in a world where there are long-haired men walking around with ponytails...
Sera looked at me with triumph mingled with disgust, the same look she usually gave me two minutes after I drop my pants.
"That's the same reason I don't believe in teachers."
"Yet they exist."
"So some people believe."
"What do you believe?" Angela asked.
"That the zombie apocalypse is upon us! Goddam, it's what I've been trying to talk about the last fifteen minutes..."