This Is My Corporation, Eat
by Lon Prater
They got rid of the Easter Bunny first. There in the middle of the mall this year
stood a guy in a slightly larger than life, felt-skinned Jesus costume with three
fingers on each hand and cartoony sewn-on blood at wrists and ankles. Scrubbed
and spit-combed children lined up like lambs to have their picture taken with Him
under a giant pastel cross. Backlit Pharisees and our little handful of protesters
looked on, shaking our fists in empty rage.
When the last of the protesters abandoned me, I waved them off in half-hearted
disgust. "Go on then," I grumbled, turning back to the diminished line of picture-goers. "Jesus will be taking a break soon anyway."
After the last two shots of squalling tykes and their gap-toothed siblings, Marian
flipped the clock sign down and set it to read: Back at 1 p.m.
"You ready?" she said, but not to me. She was talking to Jesus.
The Savior stood there with both three-fingered hands on his hips. His beatific
smile remained perfectly in place and unmoving even as her co-worker Paul's
squeaky voice issued from somewhere inside the costume. "What's he doing here
again, Marian? You trying to get us both fired?"
"Drew won't do any harm. He promised me." Marian shoved off to take Jesus to
the mall's locker room.
I followed, leaving my MONEYCHANGERS REPENT sign leaning up against a
pair of plastic centurions. A harried mother glared at me, tugging her two boys out
of my reach as if I would somehow contaminate them with my extremism.
"Don't get too close to the Fundie," she hissed to her boys, loud enough to make
sure everyone in the Food Court could hear her.
I let the woman's disdain roll off me, ignoring it the same way the rest of the mall
ignored me and my CHRIST IS NOT A CORPORATE SHILL (WHAT WOULD
JESUS ENDORSE?) t-shirt. I fell into an empty seat by the Wok-n-Roll and
waited for Marian to come back out with Paul for lunch.
We weren't into bombing things then, or Homeland Defense would have been all
over us. Ours was a peaceful revolution. Signs and marches and pray-ins were the
glorious weapons of our insurrection. All we wanted was to de-commodify the new
Christ-chic. Marian wasn't a true believer, not a Fundie like me, but she loved me
anyway. I was the ultimate freshman law accessory: a radical boyfriend. She
volunteered at a religious freedom center teaching immigrants enough about the
New Testament to help them get their Patriot cards. She had stunning hazel eyes,
which made it even more difficult to break up with her when I knew things would
be going south at Christmas.