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By David Coppi

Jesus looked around his workshop filled with wood shavings and saw blades. He sighed as he reached for the broom and began sweeping. He thought that his return to earth would have been a fairly low-key event but how wrong he was.
   Once the hysteria had died down and the interview requests had ceased Jesus thought he could settle into life, living in the heart of these city above his furniture store and workshop. Or so he thought.
   Carpentry was still a passion but his heart had also been stolen by another. Specifically, a 5ft Phillipino named DeAndré. You won’t find this in the Bible, but ever since a young age Jesus had always known that he was gay. Despite the women who would throw themselves at his feet back in his heyday, Jesus knew in his heart that an unkempt pussy disgusted him and the way that they bled every month? No thanks, he thought. It was rock hard cock or nothing, he had decided.
   Mary, his mother, had always suspected Jesus was gay but his father, Greg, had no idea. As the story goes, Mary was supposedly a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus, however, on his seventh birthday (the first time around) Mary told her son the truth over a leg of roasted goat and a tankard of ale. In hindsight she probably over-shared, especially the part about Greg bending her over in the alley behind Peter, Paul, and Mary’s rehearsal space, a folk trio she had recently formed.
   So, nine months later, Jesus was born and people starting calling him the Son of God. Greg protested, even going so far as to show anybody who would look at his inguinal hernia which he claims arose from the ferocious thrusting that brought about the true conception of Jesus. Either way, Greg was somewhat placated when Mary chose to give Greg’s last name, Christ, to her newborn son.

Modern day Jesus and DeAndré lived a simple life, or at least they tried to. People still knocked on their door or took selfies outside the workshop, but for the most part, Jesus was able to lead a relatively normal life. There was the odd scandal, like the time the beauty therapist bleaching Jesus’s arsehole took unsolicited photographs of said area and sold them to the gossip magazines, and then the police caution for when DeAndré ironically wore Cradle of Filth’s infamous ‘Jesus Is A Cunt’ shirt. For the most part however, the boys were content with the quiet life.
   Like any young couple, the pair enjoyed brunch and light BDSM, and both had recently discovered Buddhism. They weren’t fully committed, rather they flirted with meditation and quite enjoyed Richard Gere movies.
   One particular weekend, Jesus and DeAndré were dancing up a storm at their favourite club, Disciples. DeAndré was dancing with Paul and Luke, whilst Jesus was chatting to John.
   “I’m so happy you can help me celebrate my 30th birthday,” Jesus yelled over the pounding music.
   “Me too, babe. Here’s to many more,” John gushed back, clinking his short highball glass against Jesus’s half empty martini glass. Other patrons were clearly annoyed that the group were openly flaunting the no glass on the dance floor rule.
   Just then, a hulking man-mountain strutted across the dance floor. Jesus bit his lip and felt a jolt of electricity shoot through him as the man passed, close enough for Jesus to pick up the frankincense and myrrh in the man’s cologne. Jesus couldn’t remember where or when but he knew he had smelled these scents before. The man then returned, cutting a swathe through the group of men Jesus had been dancing with. He was aggressively close to Jesus.
   “I’m Judas. I think you should come with me,” he said gruffly.
   Jesus was unsure what to say, but he was three-quarters erect already. He glanced at DeAndré who nodded and smiled, allowing Jesus to explore the boundaries of their open relationship.
Judas roughly took Jesus’s hand and pulled him through the crowded dance floor towards the toilets. As they entered, Jesus noticed the broken light flickering above a stall. Judas punched the door open and threw Jesus against the stall wall. As he plunged his tongue into Jesus’s mouth, the flickering light illuminated the stranger’s face. He was rugged and acne-scarred with patches of stubble across his square jaw. He was handsome but he radiated danger.
   “I don’t usually …” Jesus began.
   “Shut up,” Judas replied, roughly grabbing Jesus’s shoulder length hair and pushing him to his knees.
Judas guided his cock into Jesus’s mouth while still holding his hair. As Jesus held the stranger’s firm buttocks he worked the shaft, not forgetting the balls, until Judas lifted the Son of Greg back up and slammed him against the wall of the stall, face first.
   “I haven’t got a condom,” Jesus said.
   “Fuck it. It doesn’t matter,” Judas said gruffly.
Jesus heard Judas spit into his hand and then felt the warm tingle of a stranger’s spit against his arsehole. The jolt of pain as it slid in was enough to make Jesus momentarily catch his breath but after the third rough thrust Jesus had relaxed into it.
   “I’ve always been jealous of you,” Judas snarled into Jesus’s ear.
   “I’m really quite normal,” he started to say before Judas cut him off.
   “I’m going to give you something to remember me by, you bitch,” Judas hissed.
   Jesus was confused but that was short lived, as he could feel the rhythmic contractions of the beautiful stranger behind him, still inside him. Judas disengaged and tucked his now half-hard cock back into his jeans. He looked at Jesus and snorted.
   “Remember this,” he said, as he swaggered away.
As the broken light flickered above Jesus’s face, he smirked as he felt the trail of a stranger’s cum descend down the back of his thigh.

Cut three years later.

Jesus had begun to develop symptoms not long after his night with Judas under the flickering light. DeAndré was convinced it was just a bad case of the flu but Jesus knew better. Doctors ruled out a raft of diseases with slightly different presentations until a professor made the diagnosis that would change Jesus’s life forever. He was diagnosed as gluten intolerant.
   Just kidding. He had AIDS. Jesus had full-blown AIDS.
The dark markings were a giveaway, as was the sore throat and fatigue. Perhaps the most striking symptom was the weight loss. Jesus had shrunk to a mere shadow of his former self. When DeAndré would sponge his back in the bath, he could almost see right through Jesus’s paper-thin skin. Jesus often looked at himself in the mirror and thought, I’m even skinnier than when those Roman cunts had me up on the cross. DeAndré had been a pillar of strength but he couldn’t hold it in any longer. He gushed tears and wailed for his lover, partly because they would now never get the chance to marry as the Australian Government still hadn’t legalised same-sex marriage. Motherfuckers, DeAndré thought.
   Jesus was weak and close to the end, but decided to throw a farewell party for himself. On the Facebook invitation he set the start time for 9.30pm. It was really more of a supper, he thought. A few of his friends from his night-clubbing days at Disciples attended, namely Simon, Andrew, John, Philip, Thaddeus, Bartholomew, Thomas, Peter, Luke, Matthew, and Matthew’s new boyfriend Cygnus, who didn’t say much and only drank rainwater.
   The men demolished a Subway party sub and drank mimosas late into the night. Jesus leant on DeAndré’s shoulder and spoke in soft tones to Cygnus, who was gently playing with a spider he had found. “A man named Judas betrayed me,” he began. “Cygnus my new friend, always wear a condom and be nice to your fellow man. And women. Especially women, actually.”
   As the party cleared out, an exhausted Jesus lay on the bed. DeAndré kissed him gently on his cracked, dry lips. “My love, can I go now?” he croaked softly.
   DeAndré blinked back tears but a few escaped. He nodded through tear-filled eyes. Jesus closed his weary eyes as DeAndré gently stroked his lover’s cheek. As Jesus’s breath became shallow and laboured his eyes flicked open once more and he pulled DeAndré close. “Don’t … date any … black guys … after me,” he whispered. DeAndré smiled through his tears at Jesus’s casual racism. He nodded at his lover, knowing full well that he’d probably have some part of a black man inside him within the next three months.
   DeAndré watched Jesus’s chest heave upwards and then come to a sudden calm. It didn’t move again. Jesus looked peaceful in the glow of the bedside lamp, somehow even more beautiful than the billions of images that bear his face all around the world, DeAndré thought.
   The second coming of Jesus had been and gone. There was no judging of the living or the dead. There was no fire and no heat. People went about living their normal lives guided by the laws of nature and a couple named Jesus and DeAndré had tried to live a good, honest, normal life. When trundling through the forest with his new friend Cygnus, DeAndré often wondered if there would be a third coming of Jesus but he knew in his heart that there probably wouldn’t be. As anyone who has seen Superman 3 or Little Fockers will attest — sometimes a third just isn’t necessary.
   In his final weeks, Jesus managed to sign a publishing deal to bring about a revised version of the Bible, based on his personal recollections. Obviously large parts of the traditional Bible were scrapped, given their fantasy and fabrication at the hands of those who sought to profit after Jesus’s first death, however it didn’t prove to be a big seller. Both Jesus and the publisher grossly underestimated the ability of Christians to adapt their thinking and beliefs to new evidence or ideas.
   Unable to recoup the costs from Jesus’s failed Bible venture, DeAndré studied Buddhism further and took comfort knowing that Jesus would probably be reincarnated in some form. DeAndré looked to nature for any signs of his great love but aside from a cockroach that made its home under the fridge, DeAndré finally came to the realisation that he would never be reunited with his Jesus. He was OK with the fact that he’d never have God-tier dick again. He was OK with the fact that he was still young and he’d probably find some form of love again. Most of all though, he was happy that people finally got to see the real Jesus — the regular man who shit, drank, fucked, watched Frasier and worried about how to pay his bills just like the rest of us. A normal man propelled into the spotlight, as if his mother was Kris Jenner, but a normal man nonetheless.
   DeAndré always smiled when he saw an impressionable teenager wearing a WWJD bracelet for he knew exactly what Jesus liked to do. Namely, snort a line from atop DeAndre’s veiny cock then wash it down with a Vodka Cruiser. Guava flavoured, of course.