We were all assembled at Ye Olde Bull and Bush on Montgomery 76107--The Amy and The Brian, The Ned and The Blake, The Mike, The Other Mike, The Other Other Mike, The Claire Bear, The Will and The Will, The Tara and The Sara and The Tringa, The Monet and The Morgan, The Adam, The Deear, The Joseph, The Alex and The Liz, The Boss and The Julia, The Kat, The Austin, The Little John, The Big John, The Funny John, The Nick The Owner, The Nate, The Jay, The Jeremy, The Jason and The Heather, The Jade and The George and The Kelly, The Phil, The Mark, The Other Mark, The Jennifer, The Other Jennifer, The Gordon and The Becky, The Phil, The Lee Anne, The Patrick and a few other reprobates I will not detail here, lest this article read like a Book of Numbers--Kent the Lutheran presiding. The Rodney was in the corner, alternately fretting a lute and tuning a uilleann pipe. We were all there, every man and woman, to celebrate the life, and more importantly the death, of our dear friend, The Bobby Stubbs.
"At least he went out like a true Irishman," said The Gordon, looking down on the Stubbs' eternally sleeping face.
"Fighting?" I asked.
"No. Drunk and cursing his friends while waiting for a lift."
"That's half of Seventh Street every Saturday night," said The Alex.
"Hell?" The Kat asked.
"Irish paradise," Gordon said.
"Right on," The Kat said. "Hell. You think Bobby's there now?"
"The Stubbs was a follower of Christ's heart," Kent the Lutheran said. "His residence is now the kingdom of Heaven."
"Pardon me if I dispute your deductions," I said, "but it would appear by the empirical evidence his residence currently is Ye Olde Bull and Bush Montgomery 76107 (please no direct . . .)"
"Shut up!" the bar, the whole bar, every single last patron, shouted at once.
"No, young man, continue," The Nick The Owner said. "I don't need any more mail."
But it was now time to pay our dear friend our respects. Everyone had brought gifts to the family for the occasion, arranged neatly in a row on the bar top--among these were coupons to Torchy's Tacos, a free ticket to Saturday night at Rick's Cabaret, a Perroti's Pizza, a plaster of Paris Statue of Liberty, a jar of mead, a few IOUs, and cash from the tip jar, which came to about 26 dollars.
"Strike the lute, Rodney, if you please," The Lutheran intoned.
And Rodney walked forth, trickling "Amazing Grace" from his little guitar.
"Perhaps something more lively," I suggested. "Like Finnegan's Wake."
"I don't know that one," said The Rodney.
"It's an old Irish ballad, about an Irishman named Tim Finnegan, who gets drunk one day and falls from a ladder, breaking his skull. So his friends gather to celebrate his life and death, and accidentally spill whiskey over his corpse, which causes him to come back to life . . ."
I stopped speaking, for Kent the Lutheran had grown a shade paler than he already was, which is to say, his skin evaporated altogether, leaving a grimacing skeleton.
"It's also a novel by James Joyce," I finished, but no one heard, everyone was struck silent and even "Amazing Grace" had stopped.
I looked in the coffin and saw, how could it be, The Stubbs, his eyes open. Then his head turned directly to me, his eyes held mine for a second, and I'm certain I'm neither fibbing nor was I dreaming when I say: he winked at me.
I glanced at the pizza for a second, unsure if I may have had a slice with too many mushrooms.
The Stubbs rose. I say rose; he sat up, which, considering he had been dead five seconds before, was just as impressive.
Gasps, shuffling feet.
"Oh God! We're cursed!" shouted The Alex, who ran for the window, and somehow managed to effect a dive, right through glass, and nevertheless landing safely on his feet, heartily shrugging off the broken glass as he ran to his car.
"It's a miracle," Kent the Lutheran said.
"Bobby! So good to have you back!" I said.
"My name is not Bobby," he said.
"Pardon me. I meant The Stubbs."
"My name is Yeezus."
"You're The Jesus?!"
"Yeezus. Yeezus! My name is Yeezus! Y-E-E-Z-U-S! YEEZUS!"
"Nah, man," I said. "That's one's already taken. Kanye's The Yeezus, and he'll be certain to sue you."
"That man is a plagiarist of an identity conferred on me by the Anointed. And there will be a full accounting."
"I advise leaving Kim alone," I said. "So pardon me when I ask you this, Yeezus, but have you perished or are you still of this mortal coil?" I asked.
"I'm talking to you. What do you think?"
"I wouldn't provide your speaking as evidence. The other day you got shot and were speaking fine."
"What brings you back so soon?"
"The power of the Lord. He apologizes he's been so late for the Second Coming, by the way. Tax season. He's behind on refunds."
"By all means, the dear Man can take all the time He likes!"
"The Good Lord reckons it may be a few centuries yet till he gets around to it."
"But He promises it will be a heck of a party when he does. He sends his regards, and would like every one here to have a drink on me."
All at once, the whole bar, every last one, in one collective sigh, praised Jesus. Even those I knew to be atheists. Never before had I witnessed skeptics so quickly and easily converted to the one true faith--though, in fairness, I'm not sure if that faith be Lutheran or Catholic or non-denominational.
"So what comes next?" I asked.
"The Good Lord says I am to return to my body and continue my life, as it was not I whose time had come."
All at once everyone became very quiet.
"And whose time is it, Bobby?" The Ned asked. "I mean, Yeezus."
"One among you, responsible for my premature death . . ."
"I'm screwed!" I shouted.
" . . . who has made being a huckster his life's calling, committed to the sacred vocation of writing, and despoiling it by committing to a subject about which he knows nothing . . ."
"They're just jokes! And I know plenty about those!"
"That's the good news," Yeezus said. "The Good Lord finds them funny."
"The hell you say."
"He reads them every week, when He's not processing tax returns and refunds, of course. He particularly commends you for managing to, for the most part, keep out the four letter words."
"Whatever He likes. He's a good editor."
"And, because He has taken a liking to your prose, if not your character, He would like to have mercy on you this week and has given me this week's Big 12 Power Rankings to be articulated only once and never again, so mind my words."
"Anybody got a pen!" I shouted.
"What kind of writer doesn't keep a pen on him?" the Kat asked, shuffling through her purse.
"The kind who types," I shouted.
"Number 1 . . ."
"Number 2 . . ."
"I have one at the register," The Amy shouted, running to the bar.
"Number 3 . . ."
"Amy, throw it to me!"
"Number 4 . . ."
The pen soared perfectly into my hand.
"Number 5 . . ."
I dropped it.
"Number 6 . . ."
"Does anyone have any paper?" I shouted.
"Number 7 . . ."
"Use the back of your hand," someone suggested.
"Number 8 . . ."
"Good idea," I said.
"Number 9 . . . Kansas."
"Kansas or Kansas State!" I shouted.
"The Good Lord has spoken," said Yeezus. "And can someone help me out of this thing! I need a drink. It's hard work being dead for 24 hours."
And I uttered a litany of curses such as no man in the history of college sports.
"It's okay, brother," the Rodney said, holding a phone. "I got you."
He pushed a button on the "voice memo" icon and out came Yeezus' prophecy:
2. Oklahoma State
4. Texas Tech
5. West Virginia
7. Kansas State
"Well, that solves that," I said. "Direct from The Good Lord in His infinite wisdom."
I sidled up to the bar, threw about fifty people out of the way, requested a Guinness, if it please the Amy, and asked Yeezus what Heaven was like.
"A lot like here," he said. "More girls, fewer hangovers."
"Sounds like heaven to me," I said.
"Lots of harp music?" asked The Rodney.
"Harp music went passe in the 16th century. Right now The Good Lord's on a Grateful Dead kick. But it's tax season, so He likes blues a lot, particular Stevie Ray Vaughan's cover of Taxman and the Little Walter song, Dead Presidents."
"What's He going to do after tax season?" I asked.
"Before His Second Coming, He wants to take a vacation."
"That's nice. Maui? Iceland? Ireland?" I said, about to take a drink, but my Guinness was gone, swiped it would seem, by some lady nearby.
"He says He wants to visited Plano."
"Why Plano, of all places?" asked The Ned.
"Ain't never been there," Yeezus said. "He wants to see what it's like."
"Just tell him to stay out of Waco," I advised, and everyone concurred that was a very good idea indeed.
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