When I met him, I thought Larry was my dream guy. He was intense and intellectual, and he wasn’t very tall, but I could get past that. I could get past a lot of things about Larry, from his attitude toward wait staff—impatient—to his taste in clothes—lacking—and even to his penis size—underwhelming. What I liked best about Larry was the way he talked about Heaven, like we were both going to get there, like this crappy college town we were still chained to as restless thirty-somethings wasn’t all there was out there. I hadn’t much thought about it before, but what Larry said made sense to me—I’m not a homosexual, I only drink a beer or two on weekends (and on weeknights when I really need to, which really isn’t as often as it used to be), and I even have my own Bible. See, the thing about Larry was that he believed in me, got me to think about what I could be and where I’m going instead of what I am and where I’m staying. That kind of thinking is important to a person like me. Keeps me moving through the world so I can focus on getting to the next one.
I remember Larry used to talk a lot about deserving. What he deserved, what I deserved, what humanity deserved. Larry said he deserved a lot; I don’t think I deserved much, but Larry said I deserved him, and that was good enough for me. He’d leave small tips at restaurants and say that was what poor people deserved. I didn’t really understand that, but Larry told me I’d get it someday when I got to Heaven. He also said I’d understand why he shouted at women in short skirts out the window of his van, and why ancient civilizations like the Aztecs and the Egyptians fell. It’s all about deserving, he told me, deserving and sin. The less you sin, the more you deserve. Simple as that.
Larry used to talk to Jesus a lot. I’ve talked to Jesus too, but he never talked back, not like he did to Larry. Larry told me that Jesus explained things to him in a way that opened his eyes to the whys of this world.
When I asked Larry why he told me these things, he said it was ‘cause he needed me, that I had a part in all this. I was the clay to his pottery wheel, and he needed to open my eyes before he could be sure he could open anyone else’s. He needed to be sure he could do it and do it right before he went out in the world and spread the Word as Paul reincarnated (I tried real hard to find my Bible after he said that ‘cause I couldn’t remember which one Paul was, but I realized it didn’t matter; all that mattered what that I believed Larry was Paul, and since I knew Larry, I supposed I knew Paul too).
I asked Larry how long it would take before I was “finished,” before he could go out and tell more people what Jesus was whispering in his ear.
“Soon,” he told me.
“How will you know?” I asked.
“I’ll know,” he said, “and you’ll know. It could be tomorrow, or it could be months from now, but we’ll know when we know.”
And that was good enough for me.
And for several weeks, things went on like that—meaning, nothing much changed. Larry and I were still having the same conversations about Jesus and Heaven and deserving, and he was even starting to talk about moving in together—Jesus told him that would be alright, so long as we continued to keep the premarital sex to a minimum, only when he absolutely needed it. Larry gave me one of his Bibles to borrow until I found mine, and I finally figured out who Paul was. Things were like they were supposed to be.
One evening, I had been digging around really diligently in my apartment, and I finally uncovered my dusty Bible at the bottom of a box of old books and photographs in my closet. I decided to go over to Larry’s apartment and return his Bible right away, since he would probably be needing it to study up for the next time Jesus gave him one of those pop-quizzes he likes to give on the verses. So I drove over, went up the stairs, and knocked on the door. There was no answer, but I knew that the lock on Larry’s door was broken and he hadn’t had time to call the locksmith to fix it, what with all the talking to Jesus he’d been doing lately, so I just let myself in. I heard noises coming from Larry’s kitchen that sounded like he was watching pornography on his laptop while making dinner again. Jesus told him that was alright too, so long as he absolutely needed it. So I followed the sounds and walked straight into the kitchen, but when I saw Larry in there—Heaven forgive me—I dropped the Bible.
There was Larry with another woman bent over the countertop. When they heard the heavy Book hit the floor, they both stopped their noise-making and looked over their shoulders at me in shock.
“What are you doing?” I demanded.
“I’m doing Paul’s work,” he answered. “This is the only way to teach the truth.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, not expecting to understand his answer.
“It worked with you,” he replied simply, and I did understand.
“Did I deserve this, Larry?” I asked in a small voice.
He didn’t answer this time. He just looked at the woman and continued to thrust, right in front of me.
And that, friend, is why I stabbed Larry twenty-six times with a meat fork. If you ask me, he deserved it.
Written by: Kayla Wilton
I received my English degree with a Spanish minor from CSU Stanislaus in spring, 2019, and I will complete my creative writing certificate at CCSF in spring, 2020. Writing is my passion, but I also dabble in drawing, painting, photography, and performance. My work has appeared in Penumbra Literary Magazine
Art title: Bird of Pride
Artist: Travis Yallup
Travis Yallup is a contemporary realist who lives and works in San Francisco. He has studied art at various colleges and universities over the past eleven years and has developed a preference for drawing and painting in a variety of mediums. His focus usually comes from life, photos, and collages and he often draws an inspiration from influences such as Andrew Wyeth and Vija Celmins.