Book II: Chapter 12
“What do you want me to do?” I asked Miriam — who’d been pleading with me from the moment she arrived, over three hours ago.
“John, I’m at my wits end,” She replied. “Yet all you do is sit there in your Laz-E-Boy with your arms folded and a sour expression on your face? Put down your beer and look at Alan!”
“This isn’t any ol’ brew, it’s a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – only the finest beer in the world!” Even as I said it, Miriam glowered all the more, so I slowly lowered my glass and glanced at Alan as she requested – I had to admit, he looked pretty bad as he lolled mindlessly in his chair.
Before I could comment more, Miriam was on me again, “You’re probably the only person in this world who can help. I need you to save him, John. Bring Alan back to us!”
“And then I suppose you’ll want me to help you to save the world. Is that it? We’ll feel so good about everything in life. The sun will always shine, and unicorns will fly out of my butt when I pray? Is that what you want? ”
“Ugh, I don’t understand you?” Miriam whined. “Why have you given up on our mission? Why have you forsaken our Lord?”
“You think I have forsaken Him?” Now it was my turn to get angry. “What kind of a fool are YOU, Miriam? Open your eyes! It’s been nearly 2,000 years since He left. Yet He said He would fulfill His mission to us DURING our lifetimes? What a crock! If anyone has been abandoned it’s US!”
“John,” Miriam replied quietly. “Don’t forget that our lifetimes are still going. There is still time for Him to fulfill His promises. You just need to have faith. Remember, He said ‘I go to prepare a place for you. I will come ba–“
“Don’t throw that verse back in my face — I wrote that! And yet apparently I was deceived, because what I wrote is NOT true.”
“How can you say that?” Miriam’s eyes were wide in fear – I guess she didn’t realize how disillusioned I’d become these last few decades. “Your gospel is the most beloved of all. YOUR words have changed the world – for the better. Look at all the many millions who have been saved directly because of how you were able to capture the essence of The Teacher. You are the greatest Fisher of Men of us all, John.”
“What good has it done me? I am supposedly ‘the Apostle that Jesus loved.’ Yet what did it get ME? Am I with Him in paradise? No, instead He gave me this… wonderful curse of immortality. But with a worn out body to enjoy it in! Why? To sit here and see the world decay? To live like a tired, old man forever? When is He coming back? When?”
“I… I don’t know. But we can’t give up now. The Final Battle is on.”
“Don’t count on me. I’m done fighting.”
“Shall we accept the good from God but not the trouble?” Miriam tried to negate my words. Then, glancing at Alan, “John, regardless of how you feel about Our Lord, I’m asking you, as a friend, please help Alan. He needs you.”
“Take him to a doctor.” I waved her off. “Medicine has advanced quite a bit. These men fancy themselves as gods now.”
“You know they can’t help him. He needs YOU, John.”
“Alan was forced to endure The Chair of Wrath!” Miriam screamed – as if I didn’t already know. “He is trying to kill himself from the inside out!”
I let Miriam’s words hang in the air for a moment as I pretended to ponder the situation – even though I had no intention of helping. But then…
Wait a second, old man. I thought to myself. Alan IS trying to kill himself — and he very well might succeed!
Once I made that connection, things changed for me.
I couldn’t bear to let Alan escape this life – not without me too!
“Interesting.” I nodded, playing it cool for Miriam, even though my scientific curiosity was now raging.
The moment lingered as I tried to convince myself that what I was about to do was worth the risk.
Miriam waited anxiously, tending to Alan, and I could sense that she was praying urgently inside her mind.
“Arg! I should be asleep already,” I blurted at last, “lying with the kings of the earth, men who built monuments for themselves, but which are now lying in ruins. Let me just be like Ozymandias — dead and forgotten and covered over with sand.”
I continue my rant for a bit, however Miriam didn’t bat an eye.
Tired of it all, at last I gave in to her, “Fine. You have your wish – bring him to my workshop.”