Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Foul-Mouthed Jesus

I used to work as a shuttle driver for a parking garage at Tulsa International Airport where, everyday, Jesus would careen into the parking garage, often literally squealing the wheels of his dilapidated cargo van, honking the horn and yelling "Last call! Last call! Last call!" out his window. He'd park in the valet lane, jump out of his van -- juggling a small ice-chest, a ketchup bottle, and a few Wendy's disposable condiment cups. Then he would whistle as loud as possible -- his screech bouncing and echoing throughout the concrete garage.

Jesus sold burritos. He was Mexican. He was about 5'6" and maybe weighed 130. He was always moving and always yelling and always throwing burritos at people, or, if he was sold out, he wasn't around.

When Jesus arrived at 10:30 a.m., almost every employee wanted a burrito, because, on first shift, we had already worked four and a half hours. And Jesus' cheap burritos could tide us over till we got off work at 2 p.m. We communicated by radio at the garage, and whenever Jesus roared onto the lot, you'd hear a variety of Apocalyptic codes whispered through your two-way: "the Messiah has returned," "He's alive," "it's the Second Coming," or simply "Jesus is here." These were spoken for the drivers at the concourse, because anyone within half a mile of the garage already knew this.

Once, I was the last shuttle in line to pick up customers on the lot and had turned off my two-way to listen to the crescendo of Barber's "Adagio for Strings" coming over the radio. It was the first time I'd ever heard it. I had the volume up almost to capacity and was transcending time and space, when I looked up and saw drivers ejected from their shuttles. In high contrast to my meditation, the drivers were ammunition, blasted out the long-side doors. "Jesus is here," I thought. Luckily I had written down the composers name before the adagio began, and jumped out of my shuttle as well.

All the children were running to Jesus.

As I approached I could hear his usual liturgy that he never tamed, even for the few women that worked there.

"Shit! How many? I don't have no goddamned chicken. The assholes (translation: policemen) at the station cleaned those out. You want Jesus Juice? I said no fuckin' chicken!"

Jesus Juice was his own recipe of habanero sauce that he kept in the squeezable ketchup bottle. If you said yes to Jesus Juice, he'd fish a condiment cup out of his chest pocket and fill it up. He tossed small burritos wrapped in wax paper, all the while yelling at everyone. He yelled "last call" from the time he arrived till he left. If he was in a good mood, he'd tell you one of the nastiest jokes you've ever heard, again, regardless of the presence of women.

I only saw him in a bad mood one time. I was smoking a cigarette and standing next to my brother who was working the dispatcher booth at the entrance of the lot. It was a slow, cold Tuesday and traffic was dead. Business came in waves and you could never take a decent break while working at the garage, so I took advantage of slow times by walking around or talking to coworkers. Jesus liked my brother and would often talk to him about too many things, which didn't bother my brother who loved to talk. We were standing and chatting about nothing when Jesus came rolling in.

"Hey, Jesus," my brother said, "you alright?" He looked the same to me, but I guess my brother could sense something different.

"My wife's fucking car broke down," Jesus said.

"I'm sorry," my brother said.

"I don't give a shit. It's a piece of shit. But now I gotta sell 300 goddamn burritos, today!"

My brother and I couldn't help but laugh, and Jesus sped onto the lot. That was it.

Like most depictions of Christ Jesus on film, Burrito Jesus behaved in the same manner whether he was happy, sad, or pissed. But Burrito Jesus was just tempered, rather than even-tempered. Regardless of his money problem, he still screeched, squealed, tossed burritos and yelled profanities at his children as he blessed them.


  1. I love the part where "the children are running to Jesus." Also the comparison between "Christ Jesus" and "Burrito Jesus." I think I'm going to change my religion to worship burrito jesus. I wanna get blessed!

  2. For the love of Jesus, keep this up.

  3. I was once in a car accident in a foreign country, and far from medical attention, but was comforted by a companion's prayer and oil. If only my anointment would have been with Jesus Juice; recovery would have swift, I'm sure.

  4. hahaha! Seriously. Burrito Jesus is AWESOME.

  5. I LOVE the way you write... Can't wait to read your novel (hint, hint)

  6. I was there was those days too. Those were some of the best Burrito's around. I love this post. I think it is my favorite one on Okie

  7. Ah, this is great stuff, man. I've been bugging everybody to read it, but so far I've only been able to read it aloud to one person. For what it's worth, she seemed quite amused by the extended metaphor and play on words of Jesus, even without actually seeing it in text.

    Very pleasant read.

  8. love this post. am now more of a fan of yours than I was before.

  9. great post. I want to hear more about Jesus and I love your new picture, you remind me of a pirate.

  10. Ha! You can write! Very Good! Thanks for sharing Jesus with the world!

  11. hmmmm.....Jesus needs to change his name. Poor guy needs "Jesus!"