Hello and welcome to my short story. I am your author, Andy Jezuitski. It’s a pleasure to have you. I do have just one thing to say before we begin. I want you to know that, as a clumsy amateur writer, I am at least smart enough to know that I am not supposed to tell you anything. I am supposed to show you. I think I learned this rule in the sixth grade (in a public school of all places). It is a rule that was made up by so many people who are now dead. I must admit, even though those people who made it up are now dead, it is a good rule. Many authors have followed it to great affect. The problem I have with this rule is that the dead people who made it up could not have predicted the state of reading in the twenty-first century. I can tell you firsthand, again as the amateur author, I have absolutely no idea who won the Nobel Prize for literature in the current year. I can’t tell you who won in 1977 either. Awful waffles!
Also, aside from being an amateur writer, I have been a professional employee of the public library system for more than two years and can tell you there are only three kinds of people who still use libraries:
2. Very old people
3. Stinking Bums
I didn’t put bums last for cheap comedic effect. I did it because bums seem to outnumber all other library visitors. By a lot. Of course, they have stronger motivations for being there than measly-peasly books. The library offers shelter, drinking fountains, and public restrooms. It also provides computers with free internet access. Contrary to what you might expect, the bums don’t use the computers to learn about Dos Passos or Herman Melville or even E.B. White—they use them to look at pornography. As you might expect, the library has a rule against using their computers to look at pornography. Here’s what the bums have to say, in unison, about the library’s little rule: “Bollocks!”
This is the state of literature today. Something less than thriving I might say. So! Here’s my case: if we are living in an era where bums don’t even have to follow rules against looking at pornography in a public library, I certainly don’t have to follow rules about showing and not telling. And with that, I am ready to tell, tell, tell!
Although Gerard LeDoo was forty-five, he had once been twenty-two. The intervening years seemed to have passed by within a single breath. I am going to try to tell this story within one breath too.
When Gerard LeDoo had been twenty-two he had graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in poetry. It didn’t take Gerard long after graduation to learn that poets didn’t exist anymore. How he wished someone had told him this before he had chosen his major.
So how did Gerard LeDoo survive to become forty-five? What occupation did he hold? You will never guess. To prove myself right (something I like to do as often as I possibly can) I will give you three guesses. Go.
Give up? Gerard LeDoo had become an Episcopalian priest in Laguna Beach. Not even a young Gerard LeDoo could have guessed that.
A young Gerard LeDoo had once dated a Christian girl named Sharon Shi. At the time of her meeting Gerard, Sharon had already devoted herself to another man—to Jesus Christ. This made for a rocky relationship with Gerard. For one, Sharon Shi didn’t want to sleep with Gerard unless he married her first. Gerard wasn’t about to do something brash like that. This left the two young lovers at, what the French might call, an impassé. Gerard LeDoo didn’t speak French, and was quite immature, so this is what he called it: fucking shit!
There was another little quirk to Sharon Shi. It was worse than not wanting to sleep with the young Gerard LeDoo. If you can believe that. (Gerard couldn’t). Anyways, Sharon wanted the world to end. She wanted the world to end so badly that she prayed for it every night. She wanted Jesus to come back from the dead…again. She thought that the world ending would be a grand thing.
Gerard started to suspect Sharon Shi wasn’t right for him. Gerard started to think the apocalypse and Christianity weren’t right for him either.
Well, live and learn—sometime during his twenty-sixth year of life, Gerard was born again. That means that he, like his ex-girlfriend Sharon Shi, had decided to dedicate his life to Jesus Christ. And, surprisingly, it had more to do with Sharon Shi than you might expect. No, she hadn’t converted him with her words—her white horses and flaming swords and fireworks—she had taught him something that lay far beneath the surface. She taught him that a whole lot of people living on planet earth, probably the great majority, believed in whatever they wanted to for no reason at all other than that’s what they wanted to believe in. People on earth were allowed that freedom. Gerard learned he shouldn’t judge an idea based on who believed in it, but rather, on its merit alone. For every fiery-eyed apocolypto, like Sharon Shi, there was also an Oxford-educated man, with a mind three or four times more fantastic than Gerard’s, who also believed in God. Steve Wonder, for example, believed in God and he had won three consecutive Grammy’s for best album of the year. More than this, he was blind. Always trust the questions of the cosmos to the blind. Sharon Shi had 20/40 vision and wasn’t any kind of credible evidence against God.
Gerard spent the next half-year trying to find the blind evidence of God. It didn’t work. It left his brain so wrecked it could have fetched a fair price at any competitive scrapyard. So Gerard decided to take things to the simplest level. What would calm his mind? Surely happiness must have something to do with the sturdy design of his own being. Let the choice make itself. Gerard’s mind was happiest believing in God, so that’s what he did. Easy as pie!