By FRED FAOUR
So this is the first chapter of Jesus Just Left Chicago. There is no release date yet — we are in the negotiation stage — but we are very close and expect an announcement soon. The idea came from listening to the iconic ZZ Top song one night. If Jesus just left Chicago and was on his way to New Orleans, where would he stop? Houston, of course, at the racetrack, where he would make everyone money. If you like gambling, drinking, the mafia, and religious weirdness, this is for you.
The movie is in the works. I think it will be incredible, but I am a little biased. I’ve also begun work on a sequel, which will either be titled Three Days Later or Waitin’ For the Bus.
Regardless, here it is. Hope you enjoy it.
WARNING: Graphic content. If you are hyper-religious, then this is probably not for you. Enjoy.
JESUS JUST LEFT CHICAGO
THE BOOK OF LOUIS, CHAPTER ONE, VERSE ONE — PARADISE LOST
My name is Louis. I killed Jesus.
I have been trying to live with that. I can’t anymore. How do you live with killing Jesus?
How do you live with the greatest crime in history? There’s no redemption for that. No forgiveness. Not from anyone.
You must think I’m crazy. I’m not crazy. I am a little drunk. I’ve been trying to think of a way to deal with this, to come to grips with the greatest sin ever. Get it out of my head.
This is what I have come up with: tell you the story. Get it all out there. Confess to you.
Tell you why. Maybe you will believe me, maybe you won’t.
One thing is for sure: I believe. I met Jesus. I was his friend.
And I betrayed him. I killed him.
There’s no real way to deal with that. Not much precedent. Tried to call Judas a few times and figure out what he did, but they don’t have a hotline to hell. Guess I will see soon enough, though. That will be a lonely spot at the bar in hell – Judas and me.
I’m not there yet. Just in case, I bought a fifth of Jack Daniels. Black label, the good stuff. Don’t plan on taking any of it with me, though. Just thought I would start working on the bottle and writing my story.
More than a story, really. The longest suicide note in history.
My plan is pretty simple. When I get to the bottom of this bottle, I hope to have told you everything I know. And I hope someone will believe me. And then I am going to take this beautiful piece of cold, hard steel – a .45 my dad gave me a long time ago, with his initials carved on tiny letters on the trigger — and blow my brains all over this computer.
I wonder what that will look like. Will it spray? Will it splatter? Will it be black? Red?
Will it clot? Will I see pieces of my own brain before I die? I wonder how many seconds I will have before it all goes dark.
Before I go to hell.
I wonder if it the bullet will go through my brain and destroy the computer. Wouldn’t that suck? My suicide note ruined in the blast? Wouldn’t that be ironic?
Hell, maybe no one ever sees it. That would be the greatest sin of all.
I’m going to write it anyway. Maybe my kids will get to see it. (I wonder how they will handle being the children of the most evil man ever? They will keep some therapists in business for a long ass time!) Maybe my ex wives. They won’t be surprised, that’s for sure. Oh well. I am writing it for whoever reads it. But mostly I am writing it for me.
That’s all I ever really wanted to do anyway — write. Like everything else, I was just never very good at it. At least not until Jesse showed up. Everything got better when Jesse Christian was around. (Sorry, Jesse was Jesus. I’ll get to that. Weak attempt to get you to keep reading. There’s some technique there, but I don’t remember what it’s called).
I’m a little drunk. Did I mention that? I had a few beers before I started this Jack. I don’t usually drink beer. Always Jack. Jack and Coke. Turned Jesse onto it for a while, but he always went back to wine. Man, there’s something about Jack and Coke…smooth, a little sweet, a nice punch. Gets you there pretty quickly. Five or six really strong ones and you are good for the night.
I don’t have any Coke, though. Today, it’s straight Jack. Except for the last little bit. I do have a Diet Coke, and I will mix it with that. Won’t be the same, but then I expect to be too drunk to care at that point. Just want my last drink to be Jack and Coke. Or close enough.
(It’s not as bad as the time when Kiddo No. 1 was an infant and all I had to mix it with was pedialyte. Ugh.)
You probably think it should be red wine. No way I ever drink that again. Not after what I did.
At least I have that glow. That warm, just-a-little-drunk glow. It’s all I have. And thanks to it, I can be honest with you.
Of course, it’s probably why I failed so much as a writer. Probably stayed drunk too much.
I have no idea how I became the most evil person in history. I mean, Hitler looks like a choir boy next to me. Wow. That’s a tough one to figure out. I was a good kid. Hell, I was an altar boy. Snuck a little wine every now and then, but who didn’t?
I had good parents. My dad worked in the refineries. Got cancer from whatever stuff he inhaled every day and died at 50. My mom stayed at home and raised all of us. She wanted to be a romance novelist. I guess that’s where my interest in writing came from.
She sucked at it, too. And I don’t think they had much of a romance. There was a neighbor who visited a lot. She only seemed happy around him. I figured out later they had been carrying on for years. Apparently he wasn’t her only beau, either. Guess I inherited her curse.
I was always more like her, and I hated that. But I didn’t want to work in the refineries,either. I went to junior college, took writing classes, met a girl, got married, got a divorce. Wrote short stories for a while, then tried writing technical journals. Then I worked as a reporter. Covered all kinds of stuff for the local newspaper.
I wasn’t very good at any of it. Stayed drunk too much. I think I mentioned that. But I
enjoyed reporting. My favorite was the cop beat. That’s where you stayed at the police
station, and went to cover stories when something weird happened. I saw a lot of cool
stuff – double homicides, drug-related murders…all kinds of bloody stuff. Galveston had
some bad people back then.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention: I grew up in Galveston. That’s where I am now. Galveston
is a failed port on the Texas coast. A nothing little island that’s a lot like New Orleans
without the tourists or the French Quarter. (New Orleans is where I killed Jesus, by the
way. We will get to that).
Saw a lot of cool stuff in Galveston, mostly when I covered cops. Man, that beat was fun.
One time I went with the police to an auto-pedestrian accident. The victim’s body was
twisted under the tire base of an 18-wheeler, but he was still alive when we got there. He
was breathing fast, blood everywhere, his body broken in all different ways. I wondered
why he wouldn’t die. He just kept whispering, “forgive me. Forgive me.”
I know it’s sick, but I laughed. “You are asking the wrong guy, chief.” He kept begging
anyway. Right before he died, one of his eyes actually blew out of his head. He had some
weird hemorrhage in his brain. Essentially, his eye exploded. He didn’t die right away,
even then. He reached up with the one arm that was only partially broken and tried to put
his eye back. I admired that.
So did the paramedics. They gave him a shot of morphine as a reward. He had no chance, and they knew it. They could never have gotten his body out of the wheel base, even if he’d had a chance. It took them hours even after he died.
I watched him die that night, just after midnight, a man I would never know. He was just
road kill to me. But he wound up making an impact, because that night I decided I was
truly sick. I enjoyed watching him die.
My story in the paper the next day didn’t really do it justice.
It read like this:
“GALVESTON – A Texas City man was killed when he was struck by a tractor-trailer
truck Monday night at Highway 45 and 61st
John Economy, 27, was attempting to cross highway 45 on foot at night when he was struck by the vehicle.
He died at the scene.
Economy was unemployed and had no known address and no known living relatives. He graduated from Texas City High School in 1983 as class Valedictorian.
Services are pending.”
I always wondered about John Economy. How he went from being the smartest kid in school to a guy who got killed crossing a freeway in the middle of the night. A guy who died begging for forgiveness, wrapped around the wheelbase of a Nabisco truck, his eye blown all over the pavement.
I also wondered why I wrote such lousy news stories.
I tried sports for a while, then features. Then I tried teaching. Then I met another woman, had another wife. Two kids. Another divorce, too. My fault this time. The curse of my mother.
It occurred to me for no real reason that had John Economy lived, we would be the same age. We’d both be 43.
I think John got it right. He checked out before he fucked up his life. I waited too long. I should have gone a long time ago. I think that’s what a truly smart, sick person realizes: you can’t escape the sickness. Mine was drinking and gambling. And I couldn’t get away from it.
Most people with my sickness just go broke. I wound up killing Jesus.
Damn. This Jack tastes good. I hope they have it in hell.
I wish you could see this view. A little alcohol glaze really makes it beautiful. I rented a little condo on Galveston Bay. It’s summer, and it is usually hot as balls and muggy, but today is unseasonably cool and the sun is setting on the water.
I doubt I will see the sunrise. I hope to be done before then.
Something you should know about Galveston Bay: it’s dirty. It’s brown. You can’t see your feet when you walk in the water. But when the sun sets, it makes the ugly brown glimmer and shine. It gives it an odd, white-ish hue that looks almost like ice. Today, the horizon is framed with a huge thunderstorm just off the coast. The sun is behind the top of the huge, cumulus clouds, spreading a weird, orange color across the sky. It looked like someone set off an A-Bomb, and it the explosion stopped halfway through and froze itself in the sky.
I came here because every important decision I made was done staring out over Galveston Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. Over this water, I decided to try to be a writer. I decided to get married. Twice.
And divorced. Twice.
And I decided to kill Jesse Christian. Turned out he was Jesus. Damn. Blew that one, huh?
There is a comfort in this water. My life has been built around it. I’ve lived most of it here. Now I am going to die here.
My name is Louis. I killed Jesus. I told you that already, didn’t I? Sorry, I’m a little drunk.
Guess I better tell you how I killed him.