by dm gillis
Willy Cox, who was small of stature and red of hair, was given just three minutes by the bouncers to find his dentures after Luther Sheeny knocked them out of his mouth with a wicked right hook.
When Willy discovered them in the farthest corner of the bar, he realised, after picking them up, that his upper plate had been broken clean in two. So, after telling Luther Sheeny, the bouncers and all of the patrons of the Dover Arms Pub to fuck off, he headed down to the Denman Street Dollarama to steal a tube of super glue. And it was there, in the insipid and colourless buzzing fluorescent light of the Dollarama hardware aisle, that Willy Cox witnessed Jesus Christ Himself perusing the store’s selection of multi-headed screwdrivers.
Now, Willy Cox was not religious about taking his medication and it may also be said that the medications prescribed for his disordered mind were not always adequate or free of injurious side effects. But whether medicated or not, Willy Cox always believed that he could see Jesus and that it was only Jesus’ refusal to materialise that explained why he never really had.
Further, the Jesus Willy Cox saw in the Denman Street Dollarama, it must be put forth, was the conventional white bread European-looking Jesus that one sees in American Christian tracts and framed on the walls of downtown soup-line missions. And to some, this may have been a suspicious sign; perhaps the Holy vision was a mere memory of a cookie-cutter Jesus seen somewhere else. He was blue eyed and had brownish blonde hair. He looked freshly bathed and His robes and sandals were flawlessly clean. What’s more, upon each of His hands was a clean and distinct nail hole. And there was a radiant halo above His head. Obviously, Willy Cox thought, this was the one and only immaculate resurrected Christ.
Willy tried not stare. After all, the other Dollarama customers didn’t seem to notice their Saviour scoping out screwdrivers, so why should he? What was the big deal? But it was hard not to take a sneaky look. Was it appropriate to ask for an autograph, he wondered. Could he approach Jesus to simply discuss the weather? Was Jesus truly divinely informed? Would He know Willy Cox for the unworthy brain disordered, shoplifting, bar fighting boozer that he was?
Jesus now had two different brands of multi-headed screwdriver in his hands. As His eyes moved from one to the other, back and forth, He shook his head slowly. “Made in China,” Willy heard Him say.
Then Willy Cox made his decision. He stuffed a tube of super glue into his jacket pocket and walked over to offer Jesus Christ what assistance he could in choosing a screwdriver.
“Hello, Your Holiness,” Willy said. Then, “That’s correct, isn’t it? Calling you Your Holiness?”
“Oh hello, Willy,” Jesus said. “Say, do you know much about screwdrivers?”
“You do know my name.”
“Of course, I’m the resurrected Son of God. I’m omniscient. And you’re Willy Cox, son of Tom and Agnes. You’re an unworthy brain disordered, shoplifting, bar fighting boozer. You frequently take my name in vain. You’ve paid for sex three different times this month and you left the fish and chip place down the street last night without paying for your meal. But back to the screwdrivers, which one do you think?”
“Well,” said Willy Cox a little ashamed, “pardon me for asking. But if you’re omniscient, why are you unaware of which is the better screwdriver? Wouldn’t being omniscient suggest that you have always known the ultimate truth of these two screwdrivers, and of all screwdrivers that have ever existed and ever will exist in the future?”
“Okay,” Jesus said, mildly annoyed. “So, maybe omniscience isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
“All righty then,” said Willy Cox, sounding a little surprised. “What do you need to know?”
“Well, what brand do you recommend? They’re both made in China for goodness sake. Can anything good come out of China? In the way of screwdrivers, I mean.”
“I can’t recommend either of them, Sir.” Willy Cox was still unclear on the correct way to address the Blessed One.
“So,” Jesus said, “where does a deity get a decent screwdriver in this town? And call me Jeez, everybody else does.”
“I don’t know if you can get a decent screwdriver in this town but you could try a hardware store. There’s one on Bidwell Street.”
“That may get a bit too pricy. Prices here at the Dollarama are more in line with my current economic circumstance resulting from my general adoration of poverty. A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
“I guess,” said Willy Cox. Then he said, “May I ask you another question, ah, Jeez.”
“Fire away,” said Jesus, still distracted by the two screwdrivers.
“What does the omniscient, and presumably omnipotent, Son of God need with a screwdriver?”
“It pays to be prepared, Willy,” Jesus said.
“Yes, but can’t you just will a screw to penetrate a surface? Won’t a screw be immediately present wherever you deem it necessary?”
“I tell you this,” said Jesus. “Do not use your stolen super glue to bring together what has been torn asunder. For I say unto you, your upper plate will mend cock-eyed and leave you with visibly uneven dentition.”
“You’re avoiding the question. What do you need a screwdriver for?”
“When a flood came,” said Jesus, “the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.”
“There are atoms dancing in the Dollarama,” said Jesus holding his arms out wide, a screwdriver in each hand. “Here beneath the fluorescence from on high. Do you hear their angel song?”
“I just hear Debbie Harry singing Rapture over the Muzak.”
“Ah, the rapture,” said Jesus. “The tribulation and persecution that will come before the ultimate triumph of the Kingdom of God.”
“Nah, it’s just a Blondie song about Mercuries and Subarus and getting eaten by Martians.”
“Yes, it bloody well is,” said Willy Cox. “Listen.”
“Stand and witness in yourself, Willy Cox, the direct and transformative presence of God here in this place, among the budget-priced hammers, wrenches and duct tape. Prepare yourself to be brought forth from the multitude of man and be seated at the right hand of God.”
“You sure you’re Jesus,” said Willy Cox. “You sound a bit unhinged.”
“I am the light of the world,” said Jesus.
“Really? In the Denman Street Dollarama? Looking for a cheap screwdriver?”
“Look unto Me, and be saved.”
Suddenly interested in seeing how Jesus Christ would pay for His purchase, Willy Cox pointed to the screwdriver in the right hand of the Lord Saviour. “That one,” he said. “It’s a pleasing shade of yellow.”
“I agree that it is,” said Jesus after a moment’s consideration. He replaced the other screwdriver and walked to the checkout where He stood patiently in line while the customers ahead of Him paid for their economically priced cupboard liners, greeting cards and office supplies.
When Jesus made it to the cash register and was asked how he’d like to pay, He leaned over the counter and whispered something into the cashier’s ear. Having heard His whisper, she smiled in elation and held her hand to her breast. Jesus smiled back and said, “Bless you, Doris,” and left the store.
Willy Cox ran to the head of the line and butted in. He asked the cashier, “What did that man in the robes just whisper in your ear?”
“He told me not to worry,” the cashier said.
“That’s it?” said Willy Cox.
“I guess it was more how He said it,” said the cashier. “Oh, and He also said that you have a tube of super glue stuffed in your pocket that you didn’t intend to pay for but that He’d take care of it.”
“But He didn’t give you any money.”
“No, He never does.”