Chapter 4 : quatto saves Crimson Jesus, don’t know much biology, an arrest is made
I had thought that things had settled into a quiet routine, but I was wrong. The velvet Jesus folks have been very busy, scrubbing the pigeon shit off of Jesus’ shoulders and head. It seems oddly symbolic, and yet weird at the same time.
Of course, as soon as they are done, there is more the next day. Satan’s pigeons are relentless, and apparently have enlisted the help of other local demonic birds. Crows, bluejays, starlings, mourning doves, even the cute little sparrows have discovered the Crimson Jesus Port-a-potty.
Well, you know I am partly to blame for that too. Yep, I put that bird feeder out, right on the edge of the property where the damn Nazi squirrels can’t get to it. The birds love it.
I even saw a woodpecker at it a few days ago.
But of course, the quiet normalcy was not meant to last. It was merely the calm, as I noticed yesterday when I got home. I hadn’t even gotten my coat off when there was a knock at the door followed by the doorbell ringing. I thought about what seriously stupid bastard would feel the need to do both. Then I found out.
It was Gerard, aka Gerry, aka G.O.D. He did not look pleased.
I didn’t even get a chance to say hello, he just marched right into my foyer as I stood dumb-struck in front of the open door.
“Please, won’t you come in and make yourself at home? Oh – sorry, my bad, you already did.”
He turned and looked at me, and he looked wildly furious. “We need to talk, neighbor.”
I took off my coat, hung it up, and motioned him to a chair. “Can I get you something, Gerry? A drink, maybe?”
He ran his hands through what was left of his hair, which was amazingly unkempt this morning. “Pomegranate juice would be nice.”
I smiled. “I’m sure it would, Ger old man, but all I have is water, beer, and orange juice that has been in here since I don’t remember.”
He shook his head. “We need to discuss your dog. He is becoming a problem.”
I sat down facing him, and I smiled. “Well, Ger old boy, firstly I don’t own a dog. But even if he was quote-unquote my dog, I find it kinda funny that my concerns about the noise, the lights and statues in the back yard, and the goats is MY problem but the dog is suddenly OUR problem.”
“He has sexually molested nearly every animal within reach. The goats have become quite skittish…”
I cut him off. “Speaking of goats, you had ten when you originally moved in. Last count, there are now nine. What happened to the other one?”
He blinked at me, mole-like. “I had to give that one away. He was causing too much trouble with the other male. I got a reasonable offer from one of the other neighbors, a nice fellow named Siddartha or something like that.”
I thought about it for a minute – then I realized he was talking about the new Turkish Muslims, Suddartha is the father. And I remembered him (Suddartha, that is) telling me about a great recipe he had for goat curry. Mental note – do not go over to Sudda’s house for dinner for at least a week.
“Anyway, the goats are not the problem. Your – the dog is the problem.”
I smiled at Ger. I like smiling at him, it kinda throws him for a loop when I do that and don’t get indignant. “So Ger – exactly where are these molestations occurring?”
He looked puzzled, which was my intent. Let him guess fastball, then throw an off-speed pitch. “I…ah…I don’t know, how would I know?”
“Well, if you did not witness them, how do you know they occurred?”
“Ruth told me. She said the dog had abused the goats, the same way it abused Simon.”
Now it was my turn. “Who the hell is Ruth? You’ve got so many people over there, you’re gonna need to give me a little more than a name.”
“My partner, Ruth. She is the eldest amongst us.”
Bingo! It was Morticia. Just what I thought.
“Well, ask her where it happened. If it was on YOUR property I ‘d like to know how, since Kojak doesn’t leave the house without a leash. And if it was on MY property, I’d like to know what the hell your livestock is doing in my yard.”
He seemed a little flabbergasted, and was trying strenuously to sort it out when there was a rather loud WHOOOSH from the yard. I got up and went into the bedroom to look out the window.
In the back yard of the velvet Jesus people, there were two grills set up; one was a propane grill, and one was a smaller charcoal model. Apparently the propane grill was off, but the charcoal grill was still lit and the goats had upended it.
Also apparently, they had been nibbling at the feeder tube of the propame grill because a flaming jet was shooting out of it, all over the bottom portion of the Crimson Jesus. Someone had turned off the grill but had neglected to shut off the feeder valve on the propane tank.
“Holy shit! Ger, getcherass on the phone and call the fire department! You’ve got a fire going!”
He ran over to look and his face went white. “Jesus Christ!”
“Yep, and his ass is on fire.” I handed him the phone and tore outside and down the stairs, grabbing my trusty fire extinguisher and thinking to myself that I must be nuts.
There wasn’t a soul in the yard except the damn goats. I rushed over and grabbed the tank out from under the grill and took out my trusty pocket knife. Quickly, I severed the feeder tube and twisted the valve on top, shutting the tank off. Then I flung it to the other side of the yard.
Jesus was starting to kindle. So I pulled the pin on the extinguisher and let Jesus have it until the flames quit.
Ger came running over then, closely followed by Kojak. I grabbed him by the collar – Kojak, not Gerry – and said, “dammit, Ger, you let the fucking dog out! You can cancel the fire department. I got it covered. Good thing I have my own grill or I might not have had this extinguisher.”
People started coming out of the velvet Jesus house now, curiously tittering to themselves. They looked … well, rather calm and sedate about the whole thing. I tapped Gerry on the shoulder, as he appeared to be in a state of shock.
“Ger – you better have your people gather up those coals before something else catches fire. I need to get Kojak back inside. Sorry, but Jesus looks a little charred.”
“I can’t BELIEVE THIS! It’s that damn dog of yours, it’s HIS fault! If he hadn’t impregnated the female goats, Joseph would not have been so upset and he wouldn’t have knocked over the grill!”
I shook my head. “Dude, you need to learn about basic biology; you cannot have cross-species impregnation. It doesn’t work that way, or there would be some interesting babies being born to some farm animals. Not to mention, if your people hadn’t left a lit grill unattended, you would not have had a fire to begin with. But regardless, glad I could pitch in and save Jesus for you.”
Of course at that moment, three things happen simultaneously:
The fire department comes roaring up along with a police escort, everyone’s attention (including mine) is drawn to the surge of emergency services personnel flooding the street, and Kojak notices that the goats are all standing around across the yard.
The fire department comes over to make sure everything is safe, the cops notice something curious about the fauna on the far side of the yard and go over to investigate, and Gerry and the velvet Jesus people begin trying to put the grill back to its original upright position.
I realize that I no longer have a hold of Kojak’s collar. And of course, I know where he is.
Humping the damn goats. As I head over there at a fast trot, hoping to get him out of there before someone sees him, a cop comes over and grabs me. “Are you the proprietor?”
I shake my head. “Nah. That would be Gerry, over there. Is there a problem?”
“Not for you.”
The cop lets me go and goes over to Ger. “Gerard Orville Delacroix? Proprietor of this residence?”
Gerry nodded. “Yes, I am the head of this church.”
The cop slapped cuffs on him. “You are under arrest for illegal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, we just found twenty-six marijuana plants in your yard.”
Ger looked stunned. “WHAT? WHAT??? That’s impossible! I don’t know anything about that!”
The cop started dragging him to the car as I went back to corral Kojak.
“Sure, sure. Whatever you say, pal. You have the right to remain silent. If you think you can’t lemme know now and I’ll put in a different squad car ‘cause I hate people who run their mouths. If you give up the right…”
I grabbed Kojak, in the process of satisfying his third goat. It appeared that crimson Jesus was slightly scorched around the ankles, but seemed none the worse for wear.
As I turned to go, I noticed that Weeping Mary was having a problem of her own. In the middle of her forehead was a neat, round hole.
Apparently, the woodpeckers had been at her, establishing a beachhead in her forehead.
I figured, it was actually the least of the velvet Jesus people’s problems right now: their leader was dragged off in handcuffs, all of their pot plants had been confiscated, and the fire department told them the next time they had an unattended grill around livestock they would be fined heavily.
As I led Kojak home, the goats followed us to the gate, plaintively bleating.
And I had to wonder if this was the first time that someone saved Jesus. Well, maybe he wasn’t saved at all.
Time will tell.