Creature Comforts [color version]

Original 2014 version here:

This was actually the first appearance of Todd Almighty. It’s been fun watching this character grow.

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Oculus Drift

10eye colorA gnat flew into my eye. The involuntarily blink that followed undoubtedly crushed her to bits. What must that final flight have seemed like? Such a delicately small insect crashing into the impossibly immense glass orb of my oblivious eyeball and then having two monstrous flesh panels slam closed from both above and below like giant, steel shutters of impossible weight. Perhaps she never saw the larger world around her. Perhaps it was too incomprehensibly vast to be taken in with her limited arthropod mind and her even more limited point of view. Perhaps, in seeing a gigantic eye so close, so fast, so grand, and so near the end she felt she was looking into eternity and seeing God at the other end.

Then I remembered that gnat’s eyes evolved in a completely different manner and so my human eye more probably was just some weird, reflective, kaleidoscopic alien landscape that came and went in, quite literally, the blink of an eye.

No, sir. I don’t think she got much out of it.

Originally published for 10 Magazine January 2015 issue.

On the Rocks

Roughly 2,000 years after the Tower of Babel Incident.

The sea resembled black mashed potatoes sloppily piled upon an upturned fan by an angry drunkard with his bare hands. It was thick and it was warm and the black sky seemed impossibly close to the rest of the world. It was a dark and angry soup and the little boat was a tortured oyster cracker growing soggier and soggier.

Across the choppy, black sea advanced a thing. “A thing!” James cried. Was this torrential hell haunted? The crew of twelve began to panic. Much girlish screaming could be heard between deafening thunder claps.

“Do not be afraid. I am not a thing,” the thing said, “I am Jesus.”  And sure enough it was.

“What are you doing out there on the water, Jesus?” called a nervous Judas. “Tell me to come out there if it really is you,” Peter shouted.

Jesus rolled his eyes and waved his hand, beckoning the disciple hither. Peter stepped onto the steps of boiling liquid. The sea greedily gobbled up Peter’s right foot, but fearing Jesus would think him a coward he proceeded with his left. The water lapped up his ankles and then angrily splashed his knees like a low-browed prepubescent ginger in a public pool.

“Oh, you of little faith,” started Jesus.

“It’s cool!” Peter hollered excitedly. He began to jump as if the waters were a discount inflatable bouncy castle rented to entertain the younger kids at a quinceañera.

The Messiah opened his eyes. “Wait. What?”

Despite the raging storm the boat was soon emptied of its formerly terrified occupants. They ran, jumped, skipped, and laughed like absurd marionettes. The sea had transmogrified from a menacing nightmare into a quite large and inviting bowl of jello.

“Boingy! Boingy!” jubilantly exlaimed Simon the Zealot.

“Stop that.” Jesus muttered, but they were all having too much fun with this newfound phenomenon to notice Jesus standing alone in the dark distance. The violent waves seemed to be even pushing the two disconnected parties further and further apart. How far away the merry disciples and the boat seemed to be now. Thadeus and Matthew were tossing a giggling Timothy into the air.

It was July 21, 1969. Earth time. God woke up. His Rocky and Bullwinkle alarm clock had yet to go off, but His dream had given Him a jolt. Groggily He folded His arms and blinked while nodding His head, a la I Dream of Jeanie. A Washington Post appeared in His hands. “The Eagle Has Landed—Two Men Walk on the Moon.”

Stop that.

J. Burrello