IFJ Collection Two

Just Chew Gum
“I really want a cigarette, Invisible Friend Jesus.”

He snorted. He had a sketch pad on his knees and was drawing something with a charcoal pencil, using manic strokes. “You don’t smoke,” he said. “Whenever you smoke a cigarette, you feel nasty and smell bad.”

“I know, but I just want one.”

He blew the chaff off his drawing and smudged at it with his finger. “You have one of those compulsive personalities. You just need to calm down.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

“Why don’t you make yourself a nice cup of tea instead?”

I laughed. “A nice cup of tea? Seriously? Jesus, you are such a doofus.”

He rolled his eyes, starting in on the drawing with his pencil again. “Fine. Why don’t you just suck on, like, a pacifier with Justin Beiber’s mug shot on it or something. Would that be hipster badass enough for you?”

I thought about it. “No. That’s just weird.” I sighed and scooted over to look at his sketchbook. “Is that a giraffe?”

He pulled the drawing against his chest, glaring at me. “Don’t look at it. It’s not done yet.”

Personal or Work?
“Invisible Friend Jesus, can I use you as a reference on job applications now?”

He briefly glanced up from his drawing and cocked an eyebrow at me. “It might work at the Hobby Lobby,” he said, “but why in hell would you want to work there?”

Love Thy Neighbor
“I made some molasses cookies, Invisible Friend Jesus.”

He looked at me, how I was sitting there hunched over, clutching my elbows, avoiding his eyes. He heaved a tortured sigh. “You’re going to take some over to the neighbors, aren’t you?”

I nodded twitchily and risked a glance at him. “Do you think that’s a bad idea?”

He squinted at me, tapping a finger against his lips. “No, it’s not a bad idea, really. They’re your neighbors, and you want to be friends with them.”

“But they’re such oober-doober right-wing Christian thumpers,” I muttered.

He shrugged. “Just don’t engage in anymore political discussions, you’ll be fine.” Then he smiled toothily. “I’ll go with you. You can introduce me to them.”

He and I exchanged a look and both burst out laughing.

“Oh, that’s hilarious,” I said.

But Don’t Covet Them
“Sit up, Tinkerbell.”

“No,” I said. My voice was muffled because my face was mashed into my knees, my hands clutching my hair.

He laughed. “You’re so drama.”

“I need to not hang out with God Girl,” I said.

He patted my back gently, and I could almost hear him smirking.

“Why do I do this to myself?” I asked, but he didn’t answer, because it was a rhetorical question.

Careful of Those Palms
“I just thought of something, Invisible Friend Jesus. They haven’t fired me yet, so I must have passed my background check.”

“Of course you did,” he said, grinning. He held up his hand for me to high-five him, but I was a little too exuberant with it and he winced and massaged his palm.

“Oooh, sorry, I forgot,” I said, grimacing in sympathy.

“It’s all right. Anyway, congratulations. And you have one up on me, you know.”

My eyebrows shot up. “That’s riiiight, you have a criminal history.” I laughed. “That’s fucked up. If Jesus Christ walked into a McDonald’s and asked for a job, they wouldn’t give him one.”

“No big loss,” he said.

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