Feed Them The Lions

It’s not a lie if you believe it. The words of George Costanza came to reassure as he sat in the interview room, sweat nerves tightening his smile. Yes, he knew in his heart he was a good person, even if his mind sometimes wondered. Just believe.

“So, when did God first come to you?”

He saw the job and applied before reading the description fully. He was unemployed, desperate and willing to do anything. CV and covering letter were emailed on automatic, one of ten he dispatched that day. Only when he received a swift response did he investigate further and alarm bells tinkered. Christian charity. Charity. Christian.

“When…” He paused, took a breath, nodding to the three expectant faces across the table. Fred, Jude and Penny – fresh-faced, ageless, welcoming, just waiting for him to slip up and reveal the sordid desperation beneath his ill-qualified application. But he didn’t have to lie, he just didn’t have to tell them what they didn’t want to hear. 

“Well, this may be a bit embarrassing, but… I believe He was already there.” Smiles and nods; good. “I’m not sure if I ever really had the, y’know, great epiphany, big shining moment of blinding light. I think I must’ve always believed.” Onward Christian soldiers.

“Because you only have to look at the world around you to see Him everywhere. Look at the sunrise in the morning, hear the birds singing in the trees, really look at the wonder of each blade of grass, the intricate patterns of flowers, the endless flow of the sea.” He was on cliched fire, either due a standing ovation or a hail of tomatoes.

“That’s lovely,” said Penny, more soft exhale than comment.

“No,” he said. “That’s Him.” He barely contained himself from pointing a finger and winking. Take my wife, puh-lease.

TO CARE ABOUT CHARACTER THAN THE COLOUR OF KNICKERS

Penny wore a short, blonde pixie crop, suiting a slight Audrey Hepburn build, eternal youth glowing skin that didn’t need makeup and a pure open smile. She emanated a goodness you could believe true, as translucent blue eyes stared with unvarnished interest when someone spoke – she actually wanted to hear them.

“I really liked your words in there,” she said. The formal interview had extended to an informal tour of the church and resources, essentially a village hall and kitchen. “About Nature – about Him being everywhere, being inside us.” Bite your tongue.

“Well, I guess that’s just the way I see the world. We can’t see through His eyes, but we see his wonders everywhere.”

“I want to see wonder where I work – I try, but it’s hard sometimes.” Penny was a nurse in an end-of-life cancer hospice, caring for those in their remaining embers. He wanted to know her birthday, read up horoscopes to find out more about her. Was she a Libra or a Gemini? “His words give me hope and I want to pass that hope on.”

“You got two jobs? Must be hard, even if well-paid?”

There was a nervous giggle in her laugh, almost virginal and he wondered if she gave herself to God without thought for the unmarried many who wished her company.

“This isn’t a job, it’s a calling that keeps me sane.” Her smile creased her wide eyes without narrowing them. Her breasts were pert and ass was tight. 

He was in love. Were his loins unchristian in their charity? God was love, right? He wanted to vanquish sleazy desires suddenly, to care about character than the colour of knickers – that was his old self and there was a new one rising. To be loved by someone like Penny would make you a better person, a good man. 

He wanted that so badly it hurt.

HIS BELIEF SYSTEM COULD ENCOMPASS THE HOMILIES OF ALL RELIGIONS

Fred really knew his scriptures; he would have to think on his feet not to be caught out. Within the space of a few minutes the golden wonder-bread leader of the pack had spouted enough Bible quotes to leave him dizzy.

“When Fear knocks on your door, send Faith to answer.” Who the hell says that about a cup of tea?

Tony, a flatmate from moons back, filtered life through The Simpsons; he was forever analogising situations as “this is just like that episode where…” When asked why the obsession with yellow cartoon characters, Tony said “it helped lighten the load of the day.” And it was funny.

He often referenced Seinfeld in his own daily musings. Perhaps it was the same with Bible junkies, recalling convoluted rambles as others did TV or movie quotes. They could shoe-horn lines into random situations for an easy gag, pot ever-ready for dipping on whim. It didn’t make them wrong or right, just different.

It wasn’t that he wasn’t Christian, he just didn’t know the background; he’d never been baptised, his parents didn’t care about that sort of stuff. He hadn’t chosen an agnostic or atheist path, he really hadn’t thought about it. 

So he decided, as the Bible was too heavy a tome to learn, riddled with endless minefields of possible error, his belief system could broadly encompass the homilies of all religions. Hindu, Muslim, Buddhism, Zionism, Pagan Astrology; he’d saved a screen-shot library of Instagram memes he could reference.

“After all, they’re all based on Christianity really,” he said. “Everything comes from the same place, belief in a higher power.”

“Buddhism doesn’t,” said Fred.

“Well, they’re hippies. But my point is we’re all from the same earth, just speaking in different languages, split apart like the, uh…”

“Tower of Babel?”

“Yeah, those Babelfish speak all tongues.”

They laughed. He was glad he remembered his Douglas Adams. They laughed a lot when he spoke and it got less nervous the more they got used to him. 

It was all good. He was in.

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