I have to disclose here that, although the Invisible Friend Jesus stories are based on my true theological ponderings, IFJ is just a character. My true Invisible Friend Jesus thinks his caricature is hilarious, and generally approves, but I could never accurately capture the depth and joy of this relationship in the context of these flippant anecdotes. That said, enjoy.
To Hell with Church
“I didn’t go to church today, invisible friend Jesus.”
He glanced at me, raising his eyebrows. He was playing something like cat’s cradle with a length of yarn, except it was a lot more complicated. “You’re telling me?” he said. “I already know.”
“I have the flu, and Pastor Fred isn’t there anymore anyway.”
He brought his fingers together in this strange way and pulled them apart again, and suddenly the yarn had knitted into this amazing tea cozy shaped like a camel. “Have some tea and finish writing Book Six,” he said. “I’ve gone to enough church for the both of us.”
Dig Those Duggars
“Invisible friend Jesus, I’m sorry that I have long conversations with my friends about which of the Duggar girls I should corrupt.”
He glanced up from the book he was reading and gave me an arch look. “If I were actually worried about that idea bearing fruit, we would maybe have a chat.”
He went back to his novel, scowling slightly and flipping through the pages. I glanced at it, stifling a snort. “Uh, Jesus? Is that ‘The Sound and the Fury’?”
His lips twisted sideways. “Yeah, sometimes I just read things because I feel like I should, you know? But, holy fuck, this sucks.”
If It Offend Thee…
“Invisible friend Jesus, I was thinking….”
“I know,” he said, not looking up from his book.
I wrinkled my nose. “I was thinking about that part in the Sermon on the Mount, the part about mind-adultery, and cutting off parts of your body instead of being led into sin.” I shifted uneasily in my seat. “I’m worried about that part.”
“I know you are,” he said, still not looking up from Faulkner.
He licked his finger and slowly turned a page, a little smirk growing on his face. “And what’s up with people always quoting that sermon?” he said. “It’s like people going on and on about ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, but they’ve never even heard of ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’.”
I rubbed my nose and sighed. My invisible friend Jesus is frustrating sometimes.
Background Check, One Two, One Two….
“Invisible friend Jesus, I’m sitting in the POLICE DEPARTMENT. ”
He sat there fiddling with the loose wires of some gadget he was working on. Then he put the end of one in his mouth, stripping it with his teeth. “Mmm hmm,” he replied.
“But I’m going to let them take my FINGERPRINTS. I’m letting them scan me into the Registry.”
He spit out the wire sheathing and snorted. “You are such a nerd.”
“Calm down Tinkerbell, it’s going to be alright.”
“But what if….”
He put down the contraption and looked at me. “Listen. If there’s some snafu and you lose your job, then we can go on a road trip to San Francisco. Okay?”
He shook his head slightly as he went back to twisting wires together, his lips twitching with amusement. “You are so spoiled,” he said.
Parable of the Robot Puppy
“Invisible friend Jesus, why can’t I shoot fireballs out of my hands?”
He squinted at me in disbelief. He was screwing in a panel on the contraption he’d built, which looked like a robot puppy. “You really want to shoot fireballs from your hands?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said.
He rubbed his nose on the back of the hand holding the screwdriver. “Listen. Having superpowers isn’t all its cracked up to be. I healed a couple of people back in the day. I told them not to tell anyone, but they of course ran off and told every-goddamn-body, and pretty soon I’m mobbed by poor saps saying, ‘Jesus, my knee hurts,’ and ‘Jesus, my mother-in-law has the flu.’ It’s hard work.”
“Sure. But I’d just throw fireballs for fun, and to defeat the bad guys. Whoever they are.”
He turned the robot puppy over and started in on some more screws. “The trick is knowing who the bad guys are,” he muttered. “I mean, really? Say God came down right now to fill you up with the Divine Power. What you’d do with it, is throw fireballs? Just for fun?”
I thought about it some more. “Yes,” I said.
“You live in the dry-ass California desert. You’d set the whole place on fire.”
“Are you saying that setting fire to Shandon isn’t part of God’s plan?”
Jesus shook his head. “For fuck’s sake, Tinkerbell,” he said.
He set his robot puppy on its little metal feet, and laid his hand briefly on its head. The little eyes lit up blue, and it said, “Bark. Bark.” He smiled at me.
“Cute,” I said.
Stupid Agents Just Don’t Understand My Awesome
“Invisible friend Jesus, I just got another rejection for Book One.”
He gave me his little smile and put a hand on my shoulder.
“Don’t let it get to you, Tink. Your stories are awesome.”
“My writing isn’t that great though.”
“Your writing is just fine, and getting better every day.”
I looked at him for a second, cocking my head, and he raised his eyebrows expectantly. “Invisible friend Jesus, will you help me get my books published?”
He snorted and squeezed my shoulder. “It’s hilarious that you’d ask Jesus to help you get your foul-mouthed and theologically controversial stories published, but I’ll help you, one way or another.”
Take This Job and Shove It
“Invisible friend Jesus, are you sure you don’t want to make me lose my job somehow? Then we could go on a road trip to Vegas. We could sit in the casinos and write my memoirs in manic, rambling prose. We could take shots of whiskey and talk to the bartenders.”
He smirked at me, rubbing his chin. “We can have fun in Shandon, too,” he said, then he grinned. “You’re a piece of work, but you’re more fun than most of the religious people I hang out with.”
“Hey, thanks,” I said. Then I pursed my lips. “Would it change your opinion of me if I joined the Shandon Lyons club like they’re pushing for?”
He laughed. “Oh, man, that would be hilarious. Tinkerbell in the Lyons club.”
“Invisible friend Jesus, I just had to chase my chickens all around in order to put them into the coop for the night.”
“Mmm hmm,” he said, blowing on his tea to cool it off. Apparently Jesus CAN make tea so hot that even he can’t drink it. Anyway….
“Well, they were all scared of me, and ran away all freaked out, but with each one of them, when I finally caught them and petted their heads and stuff, they all looked at me like, ‘Whoa, this is trippy. You’re really great. Pet me some more.'”
Jesus pinched the bridge of his nose, wincing. “You’re trying to make one of those crazy correlations like people always do, right?”
I stared at him thoughtfully, my foot jittering. “Am I as stupid as a chicken to you?” I asked.
“Only when you’re drunk,” he replied, sipping his tea.