David J. Thompson

And All That Shit

For Christ’s sakes, Mary, Joseph told her.
You’ve got to stop crying and staring out
that fucking window. Face it, Jesus died 
on the cross, no matter what that crazy bitch
Mary whatshername says, and that’s that.
He’s just not coming back. Ever.

This was in the summer, months after
the crucifixion. Mary had barely changed
her clothes since then, spent her days 
in total silence with cigarettes and bourbon.

It’s more than that, Mary said as she walked 
over and sat opposite Joseph at the kitchen table.
She lit up a fresh Marlboro, told him she had
something to tell him. What’s that?
her husband asked.
You know that whole story about the virgin birth?
she asked. When he nodded, she continued,
Well, don’t get angry or upset,
but it was all bullshit.
Jesus’s father was some Roman soldier, definitely
not God. We met one night at a club,
we were so young back then
and drinking and dancing and doing Ecstasy 
and he promised to pull out, but . . . 
Her voice trailed off into silence, she made
a little palms up gesture. You mean, you weren’t
really the Virgin Mary after all? Joseph demanded.
Hardly, she replied,
then made a sound like a snorting horse.
Joseph said he felt like throwing up. Mary pushed
the bottle of Jim Beam across the table, urged him
to have a drink instead. 

Later, when Joseph had finally stopped crying
and the bottle was almost empty, Mary was back
at the window. She asked him how in the hell 
he ever believed her ridiculous story anyway when 
everybody else in Galilee knew she was a party girl 
prone to big lies. I don’t know, he replied sounding 
like he was going to start crying again. I guess 
because life is so much easier if you believe
in God and miracles and all that shit.
Ha! said Mary, still waiting at the window,
fucking tell me all about it. 

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