The Trade

“That’s the corpse of Jesus, Brad,” I explained, “And I’m going to need him back.”

Nick Anderson

I found Jesus in a cup of Lapsang Souchong this morning — unfortunately, he had drowned by the time I noticed him. I pulled him out carefully with my index finger and thumb (the tea was still very hot) — he must have gotten into the teapot before I poured the water in. I pushed lightly on his small chest, thinking back to my CPR training in 9th grade health class. I could hear air moving in and out of his lungs. I never got that certificate, I remembered. Or card. There was supposed to be some sort of proof of completion that we were supposed to get at the end of the year.

Jesus was not breathing on his own. I propped him up against the toaster, but things looked utterly grim. I began to debate what I was going to do with the body. At first I thought about flushing him, since he was small enough to fit, no problem; but then changed my mind when I realized the levity of flushing a messiah down the toilet. Scientists were probably going to want the body or something. That in mind, I began to prepare him for display. I laid him flat on a bookshelf, and mimicking the angles I saw in my Star Wars actions figures, bent his elbows and knees just slightly, so he would be able to stand upright once rigor mortis set in.

I went about my routine and didn’t really think about him the rest of the day. But the next morning, I noticed he was no longer on the shelf with my action figures. My friend Brad had been over the night before, and we had gotten drunk and made some trades, and now I was wondering if in my inebriated state, I had traded him away for the new Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker that stood proudly beside a couple of unfamiliar Ewoks. I called Brad and asked him what happened.

“Oh, so that’s where I got this.” he replied, his words stifled by an unseen hangover. “I looked at it this moring and was like, who is this? What episode is this from?”
“That’s Jesus, Brad,” I said, “And I’m going to need him back.”

Now, Brad is not one to miss an opportunity to haggle. That’s why I like him — he’s a shrewd businessman, not one to be taken by emotional appeals. No doubt he could hear the anxiety in my voice.

“I want Leia.” he said. “You know which one.”

See, back around when the remakes of Episode IV, V, and VI were being released, I found this weird Leia figure in a Target with smears of black and red ink all over her face. It was nothing epic, like a Darth Vader with a green lightsaber, but I know a lot of fans will pay a lot for a figure that’s just a little messed up, hoping it will become a collector’s item. It sat on my shelf for a couple years, until Episode I came out — to my jubilant surprise, the black and red paint on Darth Maul’s face matched those found on Leia EXACTLY. The mere existence of such a thing sparked so many difficult questions, the oddity immediately became the centerpiece of my collection.

“I’ll NEVER give up Leia.” I responded. For years fanboys had hounded me just to see it, offered me thousands of dollars for her, but some things are just more important. Owning something like that is priceless. And I was supposed to trade it all away for the corpse of Jesus?

“Keep ‘em” I told Brad. He was dead after all, what did I care? Sure, I felt a certain obligation to the religious masses to turn him over to some authority — not Brad, who would probably lose him within a couple of days beneath a pile of DVD cases and empty tortilla chip bags. But this had been the result of a fair trade, and being a man of my word, I wasn’t about to call backsies. The issue was out of my hands.

I didn’t call Brad for a while after this, I was still so upset over the whole Jesus thing. But about three days after our trade, he called me. This was odd, since I was usually the one to organize everything in our group. It was rare for him to even answer the phone. When I picked up he was out of breath from excitement.

“Get this!” he said, “He came back to life!”
“Who, Jesus?” I asked.
“Of course Jesus!” he proclaimed. “And get this — he’s cleaning my kitchen!”
“Brad, don’t make him do something demeaning like that.”
“I didn’t ask him to or anything, I got up and he was just in there scrubbing away. The place is freaking SPOTLESS. He found a bag of moldy bread in the back of my pantry, and he just clapped his hands and it turned into glitter.”
“Why would he turn it into glitter? Isn’t that harder to clean up?”
“Yeah, probably. I don’t know. I think he was just trying to impress me. He keeps looking at me every time he bleaches another surface.”
“He’s probably waiting for a thank you.”
“I told him thank you. I’m making eggs for him right now.”
“Well why don’t you and Jesus just have a WONDERFUL TIME.”

I don’t know why, but I was really upset. I was the one that found him after all. Even if it was unintentional, or if I somehow accidentally drowned him, whatever, he was in my apartment first. What could Jesus like about Brad anyway? The guy is a total douche. He just moved out of his parent’s place like last year, the only reason I hang out with him is because of the whole Star Wars thing. I’m a fucking nice guy. I didn’t mean to trade Jesus just because I was drunk, I probably thought it was one of my Obi-Wans. It was total bullshit.

I got a call from Brad about twenty minutes later.
“Dude, Jesus is gone.
“What? You lost him already?”
“Naw dude he just, absconded, or whatever you would call it. The kitchen was all clean, he even got a little bit of the bathroom — then he looked around all proud, started floating and just disappeared through the ceiling.”
“Did you go upstairs and ask Tom about it?”
“Yeah, he didn’t see anything. He’s definitely in Heaven or something.”

Just like that, he was gone. It was kind of sad to think of such an important existence lasting for such a short time. You come to earth, probably with all these great ideas and love and all that, and right off the bat you drown in a teapot in the coldest, most awful part of Ohio. I guess neither of us really deserved him. But why’d he clean Brad’s apartment? That’s total bullshit.

Older Questions

A collection of early work by Nick Anderson

    Nick Anderson

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    Contributor of essays to Nerve. Writer of short surreal fiction for you.

    Older Questions

    A collection of early work by Nick Anderson