David J. Thompson

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Artwork by Gene McCormick

Jesus Signs A Shoe Deal

Jesus held a press conference to announce
he’d signed a big endorsement deal
with Nike. On the wall behind him
they put a huge poster of his crucifixation
but with a Nike swoosh on his crown of thorns,
a sweet pair of vintage Air Jordans
on his feet (nail-resistant, I guess),
and a bloody t-shirt that read
Blessed Are Those Who Just Do It.

I guess Adidas will have to wait
for that slowpoke Mohammed, Jesus joked
with reporters, then they showed a sneak preview
of a commercial directed by Spike Lee
that they’re waiting to premier
during the Super Bowl. The voiceover,
that sounds a lot like God himself, admits
the new line of Air Jesus Miracle sandals
won’t make you run faster or jump higher,
but, it implies, if you have enough faith
and 150 dollars to plunk down, they will let
you walk right across the Sea of Galilee straight
into heaven without even getting your feet wet.

Artwork by Gene McCormick

Children Under Twelve Are Free

I’m the night manager at the Motel 6,
between Denny’s and Dunkin Donuts,
here off the Interstate into Bethlehem.
It’s Herod’s tax season, so we’re booked
up tight, worse than home football weekends
in the fall. So, anyway, last night late, even though
I’ve got the No Vacancy sign on large as life,
this rusty, beat to shit Chevy pulled into the front,
and an exhausted looking couple comes
into the lobby telling me they’re exhausted,
the Super 8 lost their reservation, have looked
everywhere else . . . blah, blah, blah. Normally,
I wouldn’t give a damn, but the woman was pregnant
and starting to cry, so for 100 bucks cash
I agreed to give them the big storage closet
under the back stairs and a couple rollaway cots;
told them to use the bathrooms near our indoor pool.
I put the money in my pocket, it’ll come in handy
next week on New Year’s Eve. I just hope to hell
the big boss doesn’t come in early tomorrow
and catch me doing this shit.

I dozed off watching Jimmy Kimmel on the
lobby tv and only woke up when the phone rang.
It was that mean old lady on the second floor
who bitched earlier about the broken ice machine.
This time she said she couldn’t get to sleep
because of some weird voices from the stairwell
and I needed to do something about it lickety-split.

When I got there the door was open and a bunch
of guys I recognized as waitstaff at Las Mariachis
down the road were standing around the door
to the storage closet speaking Spanish a mile a minute,
and to make matters worse, I heard a baby crying.
Oh, shit, I thought, my boss is really going to have my ass
for fucking sure now. One of the Mexicans said
to me real fast and with a heavy accent, An angel came
to us back in the kitchen at work and told us
to follow him here to see this baby. It’s a miracle.
I pushed my way into the room, found the mom
on a cot holding a newborn, the dad sitting next to them.
We’ll call him Jesus, she told me. He is the son of God.
That’s just perfect, I said trying my best not to shout,
because all God’s children under twelve are free anyway,
so no problem there, but checkout’s still at eleven,
and if you can’t keep that baby quiet and get these guys
out of here real quick, I’m going to need a lot more
than another goddamn Christmas miracle to keep my
my fucking job around here until then.


David J. Thompson is a former prep school teacher and coach. He grew up in Hyde Park, New York, and currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His new book, Grace Takes Me, is available from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. Please visit his photo website at ninemilephoto.com.