Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Praying For Ammonia

I almost died yesterday. Let me share my narrow escape with you, faithful reader.

I was driving to pick up steak burritos from King Taco. I frequently volunteer to pick up lunch for everybody at the office. This allows me to escape the flickering light bulbs and nattering tech speak for a few minutes. I get to breathe fresh exhaust and try to run over squirrels with my four door sedan. I was casually screaming down the street when my radio began playing interviews with excited heavy breathing frantic people. Another religious story. More testimonials from idiots.

I was prepared for this. Ever since the Pope shat his pants for the last time, people have been fondling their rosaries with rekindled desperation. They've been mumbling at the sky with double the hallucinatory fervor. This story, however, was not about the Vatican. The Virgin Mary had returned to Chicago. Catholics were making pilgrimages to the underpass to see her pray for their eternal souls.

The underpass, you ask? Why yes. The concrete supports that hold up the Kennedy expressway have grown a moldy mother of god. Praying freaks are drawn to the spectacle like children with sticks to a rabbit corpse. Below the roaring shuddering rumble of rushing cars at Fullerton Avenue, the candles are burning, replacing the bitter artificial lighting with the warm soft glow of a thousand tiny dancing flames of love.

I brought back the burritos. I bade my time, seething and scheming. I couldn't wait to depart work and go raise hell. When I finally left, I went to the supermarket for some high powered sanitizers. Good strong chemicals that would bleach the nighttime back to dawn.

I'd already had my fill of Pope shit. All sorts of people bitched and moaned about some frail old fuck croaking because he held God's sceptre of divine lightning. Or something like that. I've always maintained that God is Santa Claus for adults. Come on, the parallels are stunning. Heaven is a new bike and hell is a lump of coal. He knows if you're naughty or nice so you better watch out. Et cetera.

That would make the Pope an elf. I like the elves that hide in trees striping cookies with fudge. Since the Pope elf is not, he's off my love list. People wonder why I'm an agnostic.

I just wish I could've scored the last Pope's feeding tube. Those things are shit hot right now. I'd make my own shrine around the corner near the entrance ramp and charge viewing "alms" for all the condemned drooling goulashbrains that walk by, chanting at the sky. Hell, I'd even bless them.

So I went to visit this site to spread my gospel. These people needed to know a few things. I spoke to the assembled worshippers.

"The reason that concrete discolors like that is usually from seepage. There are plenty of birdnests that fill up with corrosive green pigeon feces until a particularly violent sideways rainstorm knocks them asunder. The shit reliquefies and runs down the concrete, staining it forever.

Also, rock salt for dissolving snow from the highway drips down here and discolors the concrete. Try scraping that off and sprinkling it on your french fries.

There's another possibility! Sometimes homeless people die leaning against these cold lifeless stone monoliths, and nobody notices for days on end. Their pulpy flesh merges with the concrete as the bacteria slowly nibble their way through the corpse.

It isn't God! It's some sort of stain. Go away. Save your wax! Save your matches!"

I may be an irredeemable unrepentant asshole, but I'm nowhere near as violent as a Christian who thinks somebody just called Jesus a dirty effeminate wino. Which I did. I also said this Mary they found was better than the one in their silly book with thin paper, because this one is actually probably a real honest to god filthy dead whore. Or at least the remaining stain of one.

They chased me. They pelted me with lit candles that were originally meant to call old Jesus's attention to their pappy's gangrene amputation operation. Candles rained upon me, splashing hot wax all over my clothes and my exposed skin. It felt sexy.

I ran and ran, desperate for an idea. Hell, I even would've settled for divine intervention at that point. If he came, I'd convert. But no God appeared to remind all those foamy mouths to stop chasing the infidel. No heavenly reminder to remember the old adage about turning the other cheek. I would've been trampled and killed and likely crucified if I hadn't pulled the old "made you look."

"Hey, look at the shadow of that fire hydrant! It's the manger with little baby Jesus snoring blissfully under the stars of Bethlehem!"

Only about seven of the furious crowd fell for the obvious dupe, but that was enough to trip everybody behind them. People tumbled and tangled and screamed. I saw elderly skulls pop and splash. I saw middle-aged fat guys with untrimmed mustaches roll off into oncoming traffic, where they met their maker for real under squealing rubber and screeching brakes. I saw an angry mother swearing at me in Spanish until she was tripped by a writhing headless body. She broke her collarbone on the hydrant.

Back down the street at the shrine, forgotten strollers with abandoned babies rolled about aimlessly, carried by gravity and incline. Cracks in the sidewalk halted many of the drifting children. The babies cried for their mothers. Terrible vengeful mothers who'd rather drink my blood than tend their young.

Those poor babies had no idea that Mommy left Jesus to look over them. If he could see through the highway from up there in the dark sky, that is. If he couldn't, they were on their own.

Back at the scene of my gory diversion, blood splashed everywhere, running in amazing fractal pattters across the sidewalk, seeking old cracks and crevices where it could well and dry and make new visual tributes to the Virgin Mary. The blood of the Romans ran at my feet, and I felt like Jesus with a machine gun and a cigar.

The feeling evaporated when I spied a few particularly athletic Christians extricating themselves from the bowels of the limb pile.

Yeah, so I got the hell out of there. I'll try to cleanse the shrine with ammonia later, when there's fewer crusaders. If that fails, there's always paint.

Many thanks to for the photographs. You can visit her by clicking the sidebar or either of the two large photos above.
7:20 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm


April 27, 2005 7:24 AM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

I wrote this for The Handsomes, but I don't want to oversaturate the place. I'm still the new guy there, and I've still got the most current entry there, so up this goes on Tinfoil Viking Science.

Someday soon I need to try some fiction that is not a juvenile first person account of violence.

April 27, 2005 8:25 AM, Blogger Other Brother said...

Even though our beliefs differ, I can understand your point of view. Religious fanatics are just that - fanatics. Much like pro sports fanatics, they take things way too seriously. I often get fed up with the hypocrisy and showmanship that goes on in churches. That's why I rarely attend.

I like the story. It is funny.

April 27, 2005 8:43 AM, Blogger Anonysis said...

It is an enetertaining read, though I hope you're not such an anti-religion fanatic that you would ever care that much about other people's beliefs. They only hate you as much as you hate them. So I guess sometimes people have more in common than they would like to admit!
But still, it was a really good story, Steve.....

April 27, 2005 8:56 AM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

I'm not an anti-religious crusader, you know that. I just like to poke fun, and I can't do that in an entertaining manner if I'm driving the speed limit, so to speak.

I've got to go way overboard, use pedal to the metal craziness.

Otherwise the story would be a tepid "Jeez, they are so dumb. End."

So although I don't go around ranting and raving, I still won't apologize for viciously skewering any person's beliefs, especially if they think I am going to burn in a lake of fire and be whipped by angry demons for all eternity when I die.

Any serious Christian thinks that I am damned because I won't subscribe.

The rest are casual Christians that hold personal faith and beliefs, and I'm totally cool with that. Most of these don't attend church. I don't mind them at all. Faith is cool with me, and I respect it.

Opposed to faith, religion makes me ill. The serious types that need to put me in box A, saved, or box B, damned. Then they have to harangue and pester me about it.

Sanctimonious crusader types.

Fuck those people.

April 27, 2005 8:58 AM, Blogger P/O said...

I knew this was going to be one of my favorite things I've ever read when I got to this line:

"Ever since the Pope shat his pants for the last time, people have been fondling their rosaries with rekindled desperation."

Good stuff.

April 27, 2005 9:14 AM, Blogger Kerouaced said...

F-ing great. You have a wonderfully twisted mind.

If I hadn't heard anything about this Mary appearing on the underpass business and someone would have asked me what that stain looked like I would have said a vagina. Come on you were thinking it.

April 27, 2005 11:10 AM, Blogger Wardo said...

I got a kick out of this one. I need to add some shit to the Handsomes as well.

But the Pope crapping his pants line immediately summoned an image into my mind as I read it:

(The scene: Weeks ago, in the Pope's chambers. Lit candles flutter in a draft. In the distance, gothic chants can be heard drifting through the corridors of the Vatican.)

Some Cardinal: Heavenly Father...are you there? Are you awake, my lord?

John Paul: Yarrggghh! *BLORT!*

Another Cardinal: It is done.

April 27, 2005 12:17 PM, Blogger Stace said...

YOUR GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL!! But it was funny. And just for the record I have changed my "secret" address like 5 times, but then I gave you the "everyone knows" one. :) Thanks.

April 27, 2005 12:42 PM, Blogger Candace said...

Kerouaced! You stole my line!

That first picture certainly does look like a vagina.

Those silly people are worshipping a twat. Poetic justice, I suppose.

April 27, 2005 2:45 PM, Blogger Chicken said...

Another solution would be to immulate the mold look with some paint. Instead of eliminating Mary you could paint "The lake of fire" around her or better yet paint Satan giving her a big hug and a kiss or both. Ok now I'm going to hell too.

April 27, 2005 3:15 PM, Blogger Imogene_Pix said...

Jesus with a Cigar & Machine Gun... that's terrific. I have no problem with Santa Claus as long as he's dressed the way I see him.

April 27, 2005 3:17 PM, Blogger clothosfate said...

Or even better yet, you could paint it into a vagina and write: ye who contiue to worship the twat, hath always worshiped the twat"

April 27, 2005 8:23 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I'm diggin' the new layout.

April 27, 2005 9:34 PM, Blogger Wino McHackenpuke said...

Some street hood is going to "tag" that shrine, I'll betcha.

It'd be fun to paint a big cartoon devil on it, though. Or put up a poster of Paris Hilton.

April 27, 2005 10:23 PM, Blogger Wino McHackenpuke said...

And yeah, The Handsomes is open for comment now.

I liked your use of pictures on this post. They only add to the strength of what you're writing. You should do the same with whatever you post on TH.

April 28, 2005 3:21 AM, Blogger daniel said...

Ever since the Pope shat his pants for the last time, people have been fondling their rosaries with rekindled desperation. They've been mumbling at the sky with double the hallucinatory fervor.


Love your writing brother. Love your spirit with this quacky shit too.
People need to have less faith in a book of metaphors and more faith in themselves.

April 28, 2005 8:47 AM, Blogger Mishka said...

Bleach would work great too. In fact perhaps you could create your own images all over town and then get a little cult of sheep going....I am sure you would find followers with no problem at all.

April 28, 2005 9:14 AM, Blogger Pope Benedict XVI said...

Bless you, my child.

April 28, 2005 10:41 AM, Blogger Dave Morris said...

"...ever since the Pope shat his pants..."

Holy crap. What a great piece of writing!

Oh sure, there will be deluxe accomodations for you in hell lake-side someday, but that's waaaay in the future!

You're right. Spirituality is one thing, religion is entirely another. Wise people won't confuse the two.

But GREAT writing, my friend.

April 28, 2005 5:30 PM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

I laughed out loud at the fact that the candles pelting your skin felt sexy.

May 06, 2005 11:22 AM, Blogger Chicken said...

Check it out!!

May 06, 2005 1:34 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

Great news! The shrine is defiled! Thanks, Chicken. Three cheers for Victor's drunken Cinco De Mayo vandalism escapade.

I'd buy him a beer for sure.

September 30, 2005 2:10 AM, Anonymous Miss Twist said...

Oh my goodness, I haven't even finished reading your little story but I find myself giggling under covered mouth, it is so delightfully naughty, I go to church on Sunday's with my husband but am secretly agnostic, I feel as if I might burst into flames.
Miss Twist


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