“No false idols,” said Epson, almost smiling, now bringing his pen down to a post-it note that he held in the palm of his hand. He scribbled a note to himself before sticking it to the lapel of his tailcoat.
“Every soldier has to be a little diva, a little Jesus,” he said, “In order to insure this, of course, no false idols are permitted…” He chuckled, and said, “And what good is a savior anyway if he’s not a soldier…”
Epson’s pen came up from the paper; he raised his eyebrows.
America looked at him in much the same way a cow looks at a fence post.
“A soldier has all the good qualities of a martyr,” Epson continued, mostly talking to me, and professing a bit, almost as if he were interpreting a script “…plus he has a rifle. A big stiff dick made of metal and wood, that fucks people with hard tiny bullets of sperm. This is to make everyone comfortable about his martyrdom; the fact that he has testicles…and a penis, makes everyone more comfortable. Because no one would want a woman as a savior…”
Epson broke into high pitched, hysterical laughter, and then, realizing he was being watched, tried to get the better of himself. There was a murmur among the theatergoers. Some of them sipped their cocktails.
Epson cleared his throat, and continued, under his breath at first, “no…a woman as savior…no…much too realistic…and…ahem….,” he said, smiling now, “and no one would want a man savior without testicles… Biggest downfall of Christianity, really…”
He removed the note from his lapel, scribbled something more, raised his eyebrows, looked at me, looked at America, and then broadened his gaze to include a couple of the theatergoers who had now drawn closer to listen.
He continued, looking intently at his listeners, almost as if he were telling a story to children “It would have been much more popular, Christianity, if there were only some gospel tales about the rock hard erections of Jesus Christ… Then we could have trusted him better. There’s a formula for this sort of storytelling, you see. It goes like this: You all need saving; and a man with a rifle, one of us, is going to save you. Yes, the rifle toting Jesus, the erection Messiah…spreading bullets, like seeds in the desert…”
“…Of course the gospel is a martyr tale without an erection… And it just doesn’t stimulate the soul in the same way,” Epson said, shaking his head gently, as if internally scolding the writers of the gospel for not consulting him, “It’s not complete…”
Then he looked down, and turned into himself. Almost self-admonishing, he said, “But I know, I know…God is a victim..God is a victim..God is a victim…remember what they taught you in school, Epson…remember what they taught you in school…”
He was now fussing with getting his pen back into his inside jacket pocket; he’d gotten it caught somehow, and was trying to get it free so that he could slip it back into its proper pocket. As he did this he continued to mutter to himself, but the words were by now indistinguishable.
I closed my eyes to consider what he had said.
(Back Door: Enter “The Man Called America” or “Upside Down, Hogtied to the Timbers” into the search bar)