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I Feel So Proud When the Reckoning Arrives

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You control your own reality, and you are God.

I AM GOD

you control your own reality and you are god.

I am God

youcontr olyour ownreali tyandyouaregod.

i am god

yuocotnerol realtyanyourgod

ia mgo d

realicotnrlyuorg doan

ia mg odi a mg odia mgodg dim gdo

***

Mac is eating cereal at nine AM when Dennis decides to greet the day and come out of his bedroom. There are dark bags under his eyes and his hair is skewed in all directions. He’s emanating a strange, vibrating energy, and he keeps running his hands through his hair as his eyes dart in all directions.

On good days, Dennis is rarely awake before noon and takes cat naps throughout the day. He loves sleeping more than sex with two-star girls. The only reason he’s up at nine and looking like death has to be that he hasn’t slept. Mac groans inwardly; Dennis is unbearable when he’s struck with insomnia.

“Morning, Dennis.”

“What? Oh, morning,” says Dennis. He heads over to the miscellaneous drawer and begins rifling through it.

“What are you looking for?”

Dennis swivels around. “A pen. I need a pen right now.”

“Do you not have any in your room?”

“They all ran out of ink.” He turns around and digs in the drawer again. Junk flies out of the drawer every which way as his searching becomes more intense.

“Jesus Christ, dude. Calm down. What are you writing?”

Dennis finally finds a pen, and faces Mac again. His face is lit up with a fervor; he’s been waiting for someone to ask.

“I’ve seen God.”

“Oh! That’s great. So you’re taking notes on the Bible or-”

“No, Mac,” he says, shaking his head. A Cheshire cat smile grows on his face. “I told you yesterday. I’m God.”

Mac narrows his eyes at Dennis. “Wait, you were serious?”

“I’ve never been more serious about anything in my entire life.”

“That’s insane, dude.”

“Is it?” He presses the end of the pen into his chin. “You know, that’s what people said to Jesus too.”

Mac can’t help but laugh. “If you think you’re anything close to Jesus Christ –”

“I don’t. You’re not getting this. I had a vision.”

This gives Mac pause. “You did?”

“Yes,” says Dennis, walking away. “And I’m trying to figure out how to spread the word of the Lord so if you don’t mind-” He shuts his bedroom door behind him.

Mac spoons some of his now-soggy cereal into his mouth.

Dennis is going to hell.

***

dennis has spent several days in solitude  filling four notebooks full of writing. thoughts flow through his mind in a wonderful enlightened procession; when one leaves, another takes its place. he’s been writing so much that he hasn’t had time to go back and read anything he has written. stopping for even a second fills his stomach full of dread and clutters his brain with urgent and disorganized buzzing. fasting for mental clarity is helping, but not as much as he wishes it were.

finishing his bible is more necessary than sleeping or working or going outside. none of his friends understand. mac has knocked on his locked door umpteen times to ‘check in’ out of ‘worry.’ he has ignored three phone calls each from dee and charlie; paddys pub and its schemes are far beneath him now. dennis is still waiting for a return call from frank about donations to his Cause – no reply so far.

Mac, ask Frank for money when you see him,’ he yells in a thin voice, not pausing to look up from his notebook. there is no response. he checks his phone for the hour and date – it’s dead. his room is an island outside of time.

within this new awareness, dennis’s body cries out in need. there’s pressure on his bladder, hollowness in his stomach, burning thirst in his throat, the black weight of exhaustion on his shoulders, and intense pain in his joints. he stands on wobbly legs, stretches his arms above his head, and realizes that he smells awful. dennis rubs the crust out of his eyes, yawns, and opens his bedroom door.

their apartment is still outside of his room, looking the same as it did when dennis isolated himself. a ham sandwich on a plate with a glass of water and a beer sit next to his door frame. there is a note perched on the plate: At work. Be back later.

he drinks the water, puts the beer and the note on the counter, and dumps the food in the trash. then he goes to the bathroom to take care of other matters. dennis pees more than he thought he could even hold inside of him, washes his hands, and looks in the mirror. the purple bags under his red-rimmed eyes extend to rest on his cheekbones as if even his skin is exhausted. his hair is tousled and greasy, and his lips are cracked. being a vessel of spiritual energy is taking a toll on his body and his hygiene. he needs a shower.

dennis strips naked and turns the shower on. he steps beneath the flow of hot pressurized water, and audibly sighs in pleasure at its steady thump against his back. sloughing the grease off of his body feels amazing, and massaging shampoo into his hair feels even better. his head is clearer than it has been in a while, buzzing relegated to the back of his skull. fast replacing it is a pleasant radiating internal glow; he has done well, and the spiritual energy of the universe is rewarding him. dennis is ready to proselytize. all he needs is an audience.

he’ll start with mac. if he can convert him, he can convert anyone.

***

Mac arrives home from work at three in the morning. To his surprise, Dennis has finally left his room. He’s watching a sermon on a local evangelical channel and taking notes. His hair is wet, and he’s in his bathrobe. There are four beers on the coffee table in front of him, but no sign that he has eaten. He looks up at Mac when the door swings shut and mutes the television.

“Mac! Just the person I wanted to see,” Dennis says hoarsely. He looks sickly, but his eyes still retain the same fervor they had when Dennis had isolated himself in his room three days before.

“Really?” Mac sits down on the couch next to him, and surreptitiously holds his palm at a close distance from the skin on Dennis’s wrist to see if he has a fever. He does seem to be running a little hot. “Do you have the flu or something, dude? Did you need someone to take you to the doctor or –”

“I’ve told you a hundred times. I’m not sick. I feel better than I ever have in my entire life. This,” he points shakily to his body. “Is just what happens when you’re a spiritual vessel. The human body isn’t built to contain gods.”

“Have you eaten recently?”

“I’m fasting.” He rubs his eye with his index finger in a tired way.

“Christ, no wonder you’re acting so weird.” Mac goes to the fridge and pulls out a peach. He sits down again and puts it in front of Dennis on the coffee table. “Eat.”

Dennis picks up the peach and inspects it, turning it to and fro in his palm. “Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments,” he murmurs. “Mac, how long was I in my room?”

“Three days. Are you comparing yourself to Moses now? I thought you said you weren’t doing stuff with the Bible.”

“We stand on the shoulders of giants. The man did admirable work, even if he was wrong.” Dennis picks at the skin of the peach with his thumbnail as he gazes at it hungrily.

“Dennis, you can’t just say stuff like that. If you keep talking the way you are, God is gonna strike our apartment down with a grease fire or aim lightning at us.”

“What are you not understanding about the statement ‘I am God’?” says Dennis. His voice is calm, but his grip on the peach is leaving indents. “God is living in our apartment. There is a Holy Book that I wrote in my room with the same amount of wisdom as four Bibles. We are entering a new era of religion, and it all starts with me.”

Mac has never seen Dennis so convinced of or passionate about anything. Whatever has brought his eyes from dead to more alive than Mac has ever seen them must be very powerful. Maybe it is a message from God, and Dennis just needs to be pointed in the right direction.

 “You don’t need to be afraid anymore, Mac,” says Dennis, placing his hand on Mac’s.

His heart flutters in a breathless way somewhere between terror and exhilaration. This is a fork in the road, a message to choose from God that he feels wholly unprepared for. Following Dennis could be his calling or his damnation.

 “I’ll read your book if you eat your peach,” he says indecisively, and Dennis’s toothy smile lights up his sallow face with an electric glow that makes Mac feel like he swallowed a brick.

 “Deal,” says Dennis.

Maybe it was always too late for this to be a choice at all.