copyright © 2001 Todd Ristau

Mortichi Krable

(38 year old man walks on in loin cloth, crown of thorns, sandles and carrying a rough, handhewn cross)

Hey. (pause) My name is Mortichi Krable, I’m a semi-professional Jesus impersonator. Or I was, until this year, because I’ve decided to retire.

I’m 38--and I’m not going to do that vanity revival trip that Ted Neely thing--you know, he’s not too far from the right age in the 1973 movie, but rising from the dead in 2000 to play the role again on Broadway? He’s an actor, he’s not immortal. Jesus was 33 when he went to the Father....anyway, I turn 38 on the 21st and its time to retire the cross, the sandals, and the nails.

Its been a great ride, saints. I’ve been playing the part since I was a child. I was adopted--I don’t know who my parents were, my real parents, or the circumstances of my conception, maybe it was in sin, maybe there was illicit fornication involved, maybe it was rape, maybe it was a bottle of Jack Daniels and reefer using the bodies of my parents to get together....but don’t worry--whoever my parents are, God is gonna get them too.

You can hide in the backseat of a buick from your parents and the cops, but not God. And even though it says in the bible that that which is conceived in sin is sin itself, God won’t turn his back on any part of his creation that has not turned its back on him--look at Solomon, one of God’s most beloved--where did he come? You don’t know? You better do a little reading about old King David and Bathsheba.

Don’t get the idea that I’m quitting because you dogs don’t deserve what is holy--I mean, sure, you trample on my pearls, well, that’s my fault because I didn’t recogize you were fucking swine--Right? Plenty of times out on the road I’d lay down some word and college guys would just attack me, and beat the crap out of me, saying, "Where’s your God now you fucking jesus freak?"

Sure, it gets to you. But it didn’t break me.

One summer I tried to organize the Million Jesus March on Washington, I organized maybe 100 of the professional Jesus’s, tried to get Ted Neely on board, but he wouldn’t go for it, said it would be bad press.

Bad press to dress up like Jesus and try to get America to live a more moral life, instead of dressing up like Jesus to try and win a fucking Tony award.

I mean, you try to get the word out to those who can hear it, but how long can you scream at a deaf man before you give up? And then you try learing sign language, right? And thenk instead of knocking out your teeth, they break your fingers.

Turn the other cheek? Offer your hands and legs? Your average hard core Jesus impersonator doesn’t carry insurance--it seems like a lack of faith.

I mean, when he says go out like sheep in the middle of wolves, let them drag you into court, whip you at the synagogues, be dragged in front of the governor for his sake---be hated by all for my name’s sake, flee from town to town but above all endure!

I have fled and I have endured....And I am pissed off. Not very Jesus-like?

Well, there is some evidence that even Jesus could get pissed off over the little things. Did you ever read the forgotten books of the bible? The other texts? When I was a child I used to read the book of Niccodemus over and over again. That’s the story of Jesus as a little boy. He kicked some righteous ass, saints. He’s helping his step father Joseph do some carpentry, Joseph makes the kings chair lopsided and Jesus stretches the boards that were too short and he shrinks the boards that are too long. Talk about a carpenter’s assistnant.

One time Jesus was playing by the river bank and making some little clay animals with the other children, and the other kids, they laugh at Jesus’s animals. they say they aren’t good enough. Jesus says, "What do you mean?" And with a wave of his hand clay bird flies away, and the little clay bunny runs off into the wood. And the little children they are scared.

One time this other kid comes running out of a building and knocks Jesus aside and Jesus just withers that kid's arm, makes it useless forever as a reminder of the disrespect he paid to the Son of God. Now, the people they come to Joseph and say, "Hey, Joe, your kid is trouble!"

And Joseph, he’s like trying to apologize, but Jesus, He just says, "Now, wait a minute there Joe, let’s remember what is important here---I’m GOD. If you get scared by witnessing an act of creation, or judgement now while you still have your breath and time to repent, how much greater your agony when the FINAL judgement comes?

Well, Saints, I’m glad to say that Jesus calmed down some by the time he was a man, like most of us do--but we still have flash backs to childish behavior--don't we? So does Jesus. Like the time when he blew up the fig tree because it didn’t have any fruit and he was hungry, but he was cool, and turned that episode into a parable about good works and shit, but jsut because he stopped making people drop dead who touched him without permission doesn’t mean that the basic message changed, only that the messanger changed how he delivered the message.

That’s what I’m talking about with my retirement. I gotta find a new way to get the message out because I’m getting too old for this, and it aint’ working anymore.

For 20 some years I have tried to get the message out by portraying our savior in a way that people could see, hear, touch, and feel. I never got rich in a material sense. No, I don’t even own this loincloth. I get some free meals for lecturing at fundamentalist functions, a little coin for Roman Re-enactor galas, and for a lot of years I did the summer passion play circuit. I played all the apostles, but I never got to play Jesus.

Well, once. That was at the very last passion play I did.

I was in Arkansas one summer, playing the role of Peter, and the guy playing Jesus weighed in at around 300 pounds. Well, this was an indoor passion play and Big Fat Jesus goes into the sepulcher when he’s buried and there’s an interlude like before the ascension, when he is risen from the dead he is flown by pullies up into the fly space around 40 feet above the stage. Now, I don’t know if any of you know about how these fly things work, but they are very carefully counterweighted on one side of the stage, so that the guy just flips a lever and the rope is released and these counterweights on the other side just gently let him rise up out and go on into heave. Well, this Big Fat Jesus would slip out of the tomb and have a smoke every night before getting into the fly harness. Then one night the light in the tomb isn’t working and Jesus hits his head on the back door of the tomb and needs about a dozen stitches.

They come get me as the Jesus understudy and strap me in, but no one tells the stage hand--I am not a 300 pound Jesus, and I weighed about 40 pounds less in those days than I do now.

He hits the switch and the audience sees Jesus come flying out of the tomb like a rocket and I'm screaming the whole way to Heaven-then there’s this sickening thud when my head hits the grid....and then one by one my sandals drop to the stage.

I never did a passion play again.

Not because of the head injury, no, because the whole thing was false.

The audience wanted to be entertainened, not shown the truth. I found that out when they fired me in Alabama for mingling with the audinence after the show. If I said, "Oh, thank you so much, you really thought my Peter was wonderful?" everything was fine. But if I started asking how many divorced men there were and trying to convince them to leave the woman they were with and go and reconcile with their true wife...well, "that’s wrong".

And if I tried to heal someone in a wheel chair, the "artistic director" of the Passion Play says we don’t want any miracles here, son, put the Jesus act away until you are on your own time. Say what????

That’s when I started my own thing, I used to follow people around grottos and steal crutches from the people so they would accept that I’d healed them--people want so much to cling to pain because they think that is what defines them....and I got arrested when I started having people actually nail me to a cross.

But I just did what I did to shake people up. All these assholes out there are walking around saying "Lord Lord I am a Christian, I follow you" and they are so full of shit. I mean, that is what Jesus got the most pissed off about man. You know? The hypocrisy!

He who hears and does not do is going to go to Hell, baby, that’s just the way it is and people need to get that message straight. I mean, how can you misunderstand a message that simple? Just saying you are a Christian ain’t a get out of Hell free card. People need to know because most of the time the churches around here are temples to man and not to God. They are so caught up in financial survival they would rather have some butts on pews than souls in heaven. How many people gonna come back next sunday if they get told they are doomed?

You gotta repent, relinquish, and recieve or you are toast on a stick for the devil’s picknic!

People say, well, I’d like to take just a little bit of my sin with me when I go, yeah, I repent the stuff I got caught at, but you know, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have my vices and if God loves me he must love my sins--Wrong!

That’s lawyer talk. These fucking lawyers, man, they fucking piss me off.

You know its bad when they slap an injunciton on you for going to some church and telling people in the congregation that their minister is leading them to Hell instead of Heaven. These lawyers fucking with my freedom of speech man. Well, Woe to you Lawyer Dudes!

You load up people with burdens and don’t touch them yourselves. You build on the tombs of the prophets, man! And when the hammer falls, when the horn blows, there’s gonna be a whole lot of smiting going on. God takes off the gloves when Jesus comes the second time! Think about that when you’re counting your money on Sunday--Its easier for all of heaven and earth to pass away than for one jot of the law to become void!

Read some Luke 16:18. Matthew 19:4-12. that is some hard core shit man. Listen to Jesus! I was piping and you were’t listening. I’m wailing and you aint’ weeping. You’re a brood of fucking vipers, man, evil black poisonous fruit that god will not allow in his heavenly basket.

(sigh) Well, like I said, I’m retiring....hanging up the loin cloth, putting away the thorns. I don’t know what I will do or where I will go, but don't hate me for telling you the truth.

And the the truth is, when Jesus comes again, its going to be as a child, like in the book of Niccodemus, armed with a child’s sense of justice.

Grow up and be as children, then--be hot or cold, but Be what you ARE! And you won’t have this Jesus to kick around anymore. I’m outta here.

(lights out)


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