About Us


There is a good chance you found us accidentally by using the word “taint” in your search (If you found us on purpose, you deserve our accolades). Of course we don’t know what you were looking for, but you stumbled on a damn cool project. Look around; let us help send you on a musical journey. Here you will find a number of album reviews from the strange and extreme to the tame and mainstream. Our reviewers are a bunch of obsessive miscreants. Most of us are avid music collectors and have been involved in the music world for decades. A couple of us have been in or are still in bands.

There are no rules on Tickle Your Taint Blog. Our reviewers might make you laugh, or piss you off; both results are legitimate. One reviewer might write a glowing review of an album another might tear it apart. We may end up adopting a single review system, such as five stars, or each reviewer may use his own or none at all. We may have a new review every week or we could end up with one every six months. This blog exists as a social experiment to build community among a diverse group of music maniacs – our reviewers and hopefully you. Pull down your knickers, lube up and join us in tickling yours and our taints.

If you are in a band, have released a physical (rather than an MP3) CD or record, and would like us to review your efforts, contact us at tickleyourtaint@yahoo.com

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Hugo Montenegro and His Orchestra, Music From ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ & ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ & ‘For a Few Dollars More’

By SoDak

My father hated John Wayne films. But he loved Clint Eastwood westerns, especially those directed by Sergio Leone. When he was in his twenties, he even looked like Eastwood did in these movies. We regularly watched A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. My father, who generally did not pay too much attention to music, really liked Ennio Morricone’s compositions for these films. These scores were an integral component, woven into the landscapes and the characters, creating an emotional connection to the scenes. The main title song of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is permanently etched in my brain. I can repeatedly listen to just this song. I have a visceral reaction. I get chills and excited when I hear it; I wish I was riding a horse through the desert while this song emanated from the earth itself. “La Missione San Antonio” and “La Storia di un Soldato” are absolutely beautiful and moving compositions. I can clearly see the scenes from the film, every time I hear these songs.

My parents had a few 8-tracks and a dozen records when I was very young. The main record that was ever played in the house was Hugo Montenegro and His Orchestra, Music From ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ & ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ & ‘For a Few Dollars More.’ My mother knew how much my father loved the music in the Eastwood westerns, so when she was at Woolworths and saw this record she bought it, not knowing that it was not the original soundtrack. Regardless, this particular record was extremely popular within the United States when it was released in 1968. The cover of the theme song (for The Good) was a hit, reaching number 2 on the Billboard Charts, just behind “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel. Hugo Montenegro, after hearing the music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, decided he had to record a cover version of the theme, and then proceeded to record an additional ten songs selected from Leone’s Spaghetti Western trilogy. These versions of the songs are more lush and smooth, than those in the films. Nevertheless, they evoke similar feelings in me. Plus, this record is satisfying given that it includes the theme songs for all three of the movies. In many ways, I have two versions of these songs in my head, from the films and this record.

Many years later, I made a copy of the Montenegro record on cassette for my father. Every road trip, he would request that we listened to this tape, and then he would let it play over and over. While we thought it was funny, none of us ever got sick of hearing it. Every time the opening notes of the theme for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly started we got goosebumps and settled into the ride, enjoying looking out over the open plains of South Dakota. It was the only tape he ever listened to. When my father died, there was only one choice for the music to be played at the funeral, and this record provided a bit of solace.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dream Sequence, Vol. 1

By SoDak and Null

We have spent countless hours discussing musicians, records, rock documentaries, and songs. Our lives have become intertwined in countless ways. From time to time, we have similar dreams. What follows is an account of our dream. It is an essay of “fiction.”

Hollywood is a fantasy. It is for the delusional. In one of the mansions, on this day, many celebrity musicians congregated to engage in their customary activities. In the grand room, in front of a giant mirror, James Taylor and Carly Simon are awkwardly entangled, fucking each other. Each of them stares into their own eyes, while singing “You’re So Vain,” thinking they have achieved immortality. In the corner, sitting in a gold chair, David Crosby wipes away the remnants of cocaine from his nostrils. With his other hand, he drops a turkey thigh on the floor. He then uses the grease from the cooked bird as lubrication, while he tries to achieve an erection. Splotches of dry cum cover his abdomen. After he climaxes, he runs his hands through his stringy hair, where the jizz acts as gel. Every now and then Crosby yells out, “I am a rebel—just look at my long hair. I am the counterculture.” Bob Dylan is propped up at a piano, mumbling old blues songs, deciding which lyrics he should steal for a new song. All the while, Roger McGuinn is hiding under the piano, hoping some of Dylan’s scraps will fall into his hands. Scattered around him are photos of Ben Carson, along with receipts for the donations he gave to this Republican assclown. In one of the corners of the room, where a giant television is mounded on a wall, is a stack of videotapes, including Chuck Berry’s collection of videos—from his hidden camera—of women peeing and pooping in the restroom in his restaurant/bar. Since Berry died, the videos are collecting dust, as no one else wants to watch them.

In one of the bedrooms, there are boxes stacked from the floor to the ceiling, filled with papers related to U2’s tax havens. In the corner are copies of Harry Browne’s book, The Frontman: Bono (in the Name of Power), torn to shreds. Some of the pages are in the fireplace. Bono paces the room, thinking that if he burns these books, the world will not discover all the ways that he actively avoids paying taxes in Ireland, in order to increase his wealth, while pleading that other people should give their wages over to his “causes.” He stops for a moment, in front of a picture of him posing with George W. Bush. Both of them are smiling, knowing that they executing a slick PR move. “I am the world’s greatest agent of change. Fuck Browne for suggesting that I advocate ineffective solutions, amplify elite discourses, kiss the asses of the rich, and do not truly care for the poor. I pay more than enough in taxes and am just being smart at business.” Out of the corner of his eye, he spots his cowboy hat, hanging on a hook on the wall. He smiles thinking of the time he had the hat flown first class after he forgot it at home. If he did not have all this wealth, the hat could not have travelled safely for him to wear at a concert. “Fuck Boff Whalley [from Chumbawamba] for writing that poem ‘The Twat in the Hat’ about me.” Bono runs over to the computer, googles himself, wishing he could delete any reference to this poem. All the while, The Edge has been sitting at a desk, working on papers related to his decade-long fight to construct luxury mansions on Sweetwater Mesa, an undeveloped part of Malibu. A loud noise, from the outdoors, interrupts their self-absorption. Both of them pause, look at each other and then toward the window. The unsettling disturbance continues, creating confusion, given that it sounds like a dying goat. They walk to the window, witnessing a spectacle.

By the pool, standing on a chair, is Stevie Nicks, singing one of her most recent songs. The lyrics center on Nicks being a mystical angel; there is nothing new here. Her handler looks exhausted, as he has spent the last twenty minutes blowing cocaine up Nicks’s ass. Gene Simmons swaggers around the pool, hoping that everyone is watching him. He removes his robe, bearing his family jewels. He sits down in the grass, bends over and proceeds to lick his taint and balls with his unusually long tongue. Once he gets hard, he starts to suck his own cock. He immediately makes plans to copyright oral sex. Eric Clapton stands by the side of the pool, staring at this display, while contemplating his increasing irrelevance. Given the election of Trump in the United States, he considers whether his own anti-immigration statements from the past several decades, in regard to the United Kingdom, could gain him some new fans. His thoughts are fleeting, as he desires something more sensational. For some unknown reason, he is carrying Courtney Love’s bastard love child, who was born addicted to opiates. Clapton holds the baby above the pool, wondering if he could write another hit song if he dropped the kid into the water. Instead of “Tears in Heaven” it could be “Tears in the Pool (The Drowning Baby).”


Monday, November 13, 2017

Fred Cole (1948-2017)




Null:

It would be exhausting to give even a brief account of Fred Cole’s long rock ‘n’ roll life. There would be a long list of bands. There would be examples of a father, husband, bandmate, and overall genuine guy. There would be a life-long love story with Toody. And all of this would be in mono. I direct those interested in Fred Cole’s life to the documentary Unknown Passage: The Dead Moon Story, which was released in 2006. I hate writing this. I actually wept when I heard the news of his death, even though I knew it was coming.



I loved Fred. I loved his music and his lyrics. I loved his bands. I loved how every time I met him, he greeted me like a long lost friend and gave me a big, long hug. I love that when I hung out with Pierced Arrows, after their show in Denver, he remembered me from when I stopped by Tombstone Records years earlier in Oregon. I met him several times and he was the heart of love, DIY, and rock ‘n’ roll. Dead Moon will always be the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band, and Fred will always be a great man in my memories. I cherish the few times I helped him and Toody load up gear into their van while we drank beer until 2 AM, waxing poetically about the romance of love and life and death. He was a good man. He was an old romantic; he admitted it to me personally. People don’t know. That’s OK—some of us do. Love to Toody and their kids. “It’s OK—we love you anyway.”  

Fred was the salt of the earth. He was punk rock. He was the old west. He was the embodiment of community. One could hear the history of the twentieth century in his songs—before everything became “virtual,” when a real world existed. It was a world of shitty production and worn out boots, containing both a beauty and history that is inexplicable to post-modernists. Fred’s history is in the dirt under your fingernails. He was an inspiration and will continue to be. He showed not only how independent rock ‘n’ roll was done, but more importantly, how integrity and comradery are done. Down here, we put our shoulder to the wheel. I’ll leave you with the closing lines from “Deadline”:

Yeah, my life’s a broken wire but I’m getting my kicks
Another night of chaos with Edwin on the mix
Time to load equipment, where the hell did Andrew go?
Weeden’s got the t-shirts, and records on the floor
Hans and Ruud are talking, man, I need a cigarette
They say we’re playing Vera, if we don’t get in a wreck
Toody holds the lighter, when someone has to ask
“So why’s the candle burning?” “Cause nothing ever lasts”
My head’s a little scattered ‘cause I'm working on the dead line.”



SoDak:

Fred Cole, from the bands Dead Moon and Pierced Arrows, was cool as hell. Every time I saw him, he was dressed in a western, snap shirt, had a Dead Moon belt buckle, and was—most importantly—super friendly. Many years ago, Null and his partner flew into Portland, where I picked them up. We thought it would be cool to stop by the convenient store and musical instrument shop that Fred and Toody ran, where all the buildings look like they could be sets used in a western movie. By chance, Fred and Toody happened to be there, loading up gear to play a house party that night. We helped them load the last of their amps, and then they gave us a tour of the buildings. We just spent time hanging out and sharing stories. They invited us to the house party. We already had other plans, but we should have gone.

Fortunately, I was able to see Dead Moon play once and then saw Pierced Arrows perform several times. I wish I could have seen them more times. Both bands were fun. They were simply a three-piece, who loved playing raw, fuzzed-out, garage-punk rock. There is nothing fancy here. I loved the songs with the back and forth vocals, between Fred and Toody. Fred’s vocals, sometimes a shrill, captured anguish, excitement, and love. They fit the style of music and the attitude of his bands. While these bands are an acquired taste for many, once they grabbed you, they were chilling. Like, Motorhead, they played rock ‘n’ roll, just not in a commercial way.

Fred was fiercely independent. Fred and Toody embodied the do-it-yourself ethos. The documentary Unknown Passage: The Dead Moon Story captures their approach and spirit, as they are building their own house and recording their music. Heck, they cut their own records. Fred was unbelievable kind. I am glad that our paths crossed several times, as he was an inspiration in many ways.






Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Blood of Christ and the Beneficiary

By Null
           
“Hold still, goddammit!” he said, as he once again attempted to snort the line of cocaine off the young Mexican boy’s erect penis. He gave the young boy a swat on the ribs, which of course, resulted in the cocaine falling to the carpet like a winter day’s festive dusting.
            “He” was Mr. Lye, one of the most respected right-wing Republican presidential candidates running for office this year. As the empire slowly descended into greater turmoil, and the inevitable crisis of capitalism began to flower, these cartoon characters, like Mr. Lye, were the refuge from rationality in which people escaped.
            “Fuck it, I’ll have to come back on Thursday,” he looked mockingly at the young boy and continued, “Thursday, Thurs-day, do you understand? Tell your stinking pimp daddy Pedro that I will buy you on Thursday!” He spoke as if the boy was hard-of-hearing. “Get your fucking clothes on you little wetback bastard.”
            Through the back door, Pedro walked in. Mr. Lye said to him, “Thursday, and keep your mouth shut. I could have you both killed.”
            As Mr. Lye burst out the door, he knocked over the maid’s cleaning cart that stood outside the door. It crashed to the floor and the contents of the cart were spread across the seedy old carpet. “What the fuck is wrong with you people?” he said as he stormed down the hall.
            Of course, Mr. Lye didn’t care that Maria, the maid whose cart he tipped over, had spent an hour preparing and organizing the cart. Nor did he know, or would he have cared, that she wouldn’t get paid for the time it took her to reorganize the cart, as the slogan of the hotel manager was, “You only get the money if you’re scrubbin’ honey.” She was paid by the room. As Pedro and the boy exited, they looked at Maria. They all repressed the sensation that they were aliens living in “his” world.
            Later that day, Mr. Lye appeared before adoring crowds to announce his intended cure for the nation. The one thing his elaborate description lacked was rationality and practical application, and of course, none of it was true but only existed in his tiny mind and in the fear-filled heads of the adoring crowd.
            He spoke into the microphone, “We’ve got to take care of this immigration problem. English is the language of the land and the heritage of our entrepreneurial forefathers. We must take back America. We must put this nation back into the hands of the God-fearing, hard-working Christians who established law and justice in this land of opportunity.”
            The crowd went wild.
            He continued, “The free market will solve the problems we face and establish a new America, free of terrorists and radicals. This nation can once again be a place where every human life is valued, from the corporate boardrooms to the mother’s womb! It will be a place where the sanctity of marriage remains to be defined by the holy union between a woman and a man, the way the Lord intended!”
            To the left of the stage a young woman screamed, “What about your own lesbian daughter?” The rebel rouser was cut short by a billy-club to the head.
            After hearing the question of the young woman, he remembered, “Oh, right. I have to meet my lawyer this afternoon. I have to fix that goddamn life insurance policy.”
             Last year, his wife had persuaded him to spend Christmas with his disowned lesbian daughter, whom he despised. He was once proud of her, as she was a graduate from Harvard Law School. However, in an act of insidious betrayal she worked for the ACLU. During that horrible Christmas she got him blisteringly drunk and tricked him into signing some papers, the result of which made Planned Parenthood the sole beneficiary of his life insurance policy.
            He waved his Bible in the air before the adoring crowd, descended the stairs, and disappeared into a black limousine.
            Minutes later the limousine was slowly moving through a residential neighborhood on its way to the Sweatshop Sweets Inc. offices downtown. Along with his political pursuits, Mr. Lye was also the CEO of one of the most successful multi-national corporations in the United States. On occasion he asked his chauffeur to take the long route through the neighborhoods as it gave him some time to relax between appointments. Today would be a little different.
            The limousine came to a screeching halt in front of an old Catholic Church, propelling Mr. Lye against the back of the driver’s seat.   
            “Edward, what the hell!” he said pulling his body up from the floor of the limo.
            “Sorry, sir. It’s just, there’s a man in the street. He came out of nowhere.” Edward said, flustered.
            Mr. Lye looked up to see a man standing in the middle of the road. He was of slight build with long hair, a beard, and dark olive-colored skin. He was wearing what appeared to be a toga and was bathed in golden light. He looked like Jesus Christ, but with that skin tone it wasn’t Mr.Lye’s favorite representation.
            “Well, just go around him or run over the bastard for all I care. It’s just some street urchin,” Mr. Lye said, fear audible in his voice.
            Edward’s head moved down in the direction of the accelerator pedal. He moved his leg franticly.
            “It won’t go! It won’t.” he said.
“Go, go, go!” Mr. Lye shouted.
            Suddenly the figure who stood before them appeared at the driver-side window, the golden light was gone.
            “Open the fuckin’ door,” the figure said calmly—the voice seemed to be inside the car.
            “Don’t open the window,” Mr. Lye said, his voice low and serious.
            The figure outside the car reached into his white robe and pulled out a thick black handgun and tapped the window with the barrel.
            “Oh, god. He’s a terrorist. Look at him,” Mr. Lye screamed.
            The window rolled down, seemingly of its own accord.
            “I was born in the Middle East you son of a bitch; what did you expect me to look like?” the figure said leaning into the window.
            “What do you want? Give him what he wants!” Mr. Lye said motioning to Edward.
            “Just get out of the car,” the figure said pointing his gun at the politician.
            Mr. Lye got out of the car and stood before the figure.
            “Turn on the radio,” the figure said motioning to Edward.
            Edward turned the knob and the Doobie Brother’s “Jesus Is Just Alright” blasted out of the speakers.
            “God, I hate that song,” the figure shouted, “find the news.”
            A sterile voice came from the speakers. “A figure resembling Jesus Christ appeared in the downtown business district around ten in the morning and began smashing windows. Reports from witnesses say that he was screaming and ranting about greed, global destruction, and capitalism. The madman somehow eluded police and later appeared at the state hospital where he somehow acquired keys and let several patients free. Astonishingly this, ‘Jesus’ character, again eluded police. The police chief released a statement that everyone should be on the lookout for a man in white robs with long dark hair and beard. All witnesses have confirmed that he is barefoot and is armed. The officials do not know how he continues to elude police as he was not seen with a vehicle. Officials do not know his mode of travel. It is unlikely he is on foot.”
The radio went silent.
            “I am Christ, Jesus, the Son of God, what have you done?” the figure said, mere inches from Mr. Lye’s face. He then motioned with his gun toward Edward, “Go Away.”
            The limousine disappeared down the deserted road and faded into the distance.
            “Listen whatever you want. I have money.” Mr. Lye said. He cowered before the lankly, skinny prophet.
            “I don’t want your fucking money; you are not what you own,” Jesus said, “Here,” Jesus handed him a small piece of folded paper.
            “What is this?’ Mr. Lye said,
            “Just put it in your pocket, you are going to need it later.”’
            Mr. Lye simply slipped the piece of paper in his pocket, as he figured he had more pressing issues at the moment.
 “Now move.” Jesus motioned with his gun toward the golden gothic fa├žade of the church. With the gun in Mr. Lye’s back they walked toward the church and entered.  
            The church was dark and beautiful inside. It contained the large stained-glass windows and colorful statues commonly associated with Catholic cathedrals. The light was muted as candles and incense burned near the alter filling the nave with a soft rainbow of light. As the door closed behind Jesus and Mr. Lye, a hushed boom echoed through the church. There were only two other people in the church. One was a woman in the third pew praying and the other was a young man sitting several rows behind her.
            “Okay, where’s the priest? Father, father, come out wherever you are,” Jesus yelled. The sound echoed through the church. The young man and woman immediately spun around, shocked by the disturbance. Jesus grabbed Mr. Lye’s arm and pulled him down to the front and sat him in the first pew. Seeing the gun, the woman shrieked and the young man sat up straight.
            The woman began sliding down the pew, as if to escape. Jesus held his handgun in the air and said, “Don’t move, Mary.”
            “How do you know my…,” Mary said under her breath, startled and shocked with fear.
            Just then the priest, Father Luvkids, walked out from behind a curtain. Seeing the man before him with the gun in the air he let out a, “Good Lord!”
            “At your service Father, no pun intended. Listen, I want you to lock the doors. You have keys?” Jesus said.
Father Luvkids nodded but said, “We never lock the…”
“Lock the fucking doors. You wait all your life to follow my commands and then I speak directly to you and you stand there like fucking furniture. Lock the doors, motherfucker,” Jesus said smiling. The priest walked to the doors and locked them, the whole time Jesus had his arm extended with the priest’s body as his focal point, so the priest wouldn’t attempt to leave. Jesus motioned for the father to sit in the front pew next to Mr. Lye. Jesus then told the young man and woman to move up to the front pew across the aisle. The four of them sat and stared at the man before them. It was now apparent that the woman, Mary, was pregnant.
“So, John, it is interesting to see you here considering you are an atheist,” Jesus said motioning with his gun to the young man.
“How do you know who, what…, I’m just doing some research for a paper on…” John said.
“Catholicism and idolatry,” Jesus said, “I know, you are thinking about tying in Barth
and the idea of the body as text in there somewhere. You are a senior at the University and quite bright, I must say. You’re an atheist, so there is at least one sensible person in this room.”     
Motioning toward the woman, Jesus said, “You, of course, are Mary. Beautiful name. I must say.” The woman’s face was hidden under cascading red hair as she wept. “You have been a devout Catholic your whole life but right now you simply don’t want to die.”
Father Luvkids, interrupted, he spoke with his head down, “Please, sir, let her go. Can you not see she is with child?”
“Enough out of you! You fucking Catholic priests! You only care about children when they are in the womb,” Jesus slowly walked toward the cowering priest; “once they are out of the womb you could give two shits. Well, fuck priests who fuck children! Sure, I know you, Father Luvkids, you haven’t personally molested any of these children but you know of a few who did, don’t you? Kept your little mouth shut to protect the institution. The institution, mind you, glorious as it is, burning witches and bloodthirsty crusades, swords thrashed through babies’ skulls—in my name!” Jesus leaned in close to the priest and whispered, “Well, fuck your institution.”
The priest began to whimper like Mary, to whom Jesus now redirected his focus saying, “Fear not Mary, you and your child will indeed die. However, it will not be today and it will not be by my hand. Still, Mary, you must remember that whenever you come into this church and put money in the dish, you are paying the pensions of child molesters all over this world. Not figuratively, but literally. The safest place for a child molester is in the sanctity of the church, as the greatest shroud of egoism, bigotry, and horror lies in Christianity.”
Then motioning toward Mr. Lye, Jesus said, “Case in point, I am sure you all know the famous and incomparable Mr. Lye, who started his day by snorting cocaine off a young Mexican boy’s erect penis. You march around at your Pro-Life rallies while you simultaneously support the United States in its indiscriminate killing of brown babies throughout the world and you cut the programs that would take care for the unwanted children after they are born. But I guess you need somebody to shine your shoes and flip your burgers. Don’t you? Besides, if men carried babies in their tummies it would never even be an issue. There is no way you would ever let a woman tell you what you can and can’t do. And of course if men bled, tampons would arrive free in the mail every month.”
“Blasphemy.” Father Luvkids said.
“Father, will you shut up? That doesn’t even make any sense,” Jesus said, laughing.
At this point the room became hysterical. Father Luvkids, Mr. Lye, Mary, and John were all certain that this was, indeed, a raving madman who was hell-bent on, not only verbally assaulting them for hours, but probably killing them as well. Even John, who was known for remaining calm in crisis situations, began to panic.
The tension in the church was unbearable. In the momentary silence, sirens could be heard approaching in the distance. There would be a shoot-out. They would all be dead soon. The whimpering and panting began to grate on the Son of God.
“Calm down!” Jesus shouted. The room filled with soft light and his hostages appeared calm, which supplied them with a new courage, most evident in Father Luvkids. Bracing for a bullet in his head, he simply said, “You are not the Son of God.”
Jesus said, “What do you want? Is this what you want?” He then held his hand flat against the end of the handgun and pulled the trigger. Before the captives could react to the deafening echo of the shot, he pointed to his feet and shot a bullet into each one.
“Is that what you want?” he said.
John jumped over the pew and hid behind it yelling, “This guy is fucking nuts!”
Mary screamed, Mr. Lye simply shivered, burying his head in his hands, and the priest was on his knees praying. Jesus stood with his arms to the sky in the Jesus Christ pose, as if transfixed by the pain. Splatters of blood freckled his white robes and he stood in a growing pool of blood drenching the carpet beneath his feet.
Like the priest, Mary began to pray in a hurried panic. Calm had once again left the room.
“Fools! To whom do you pray? I am right here. I am the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ! Speak to me! You were cast out of the Garden of Eden. There have been no prayers answered. Ever. It is all self-delusion. When your grandmother survives her surgery you praise God, but when your neighbor is raped why do you not also attribute that to God? It is you Christians, who speak of the omnipresent, the omnipotent! Don’t tell me it is the devil who creates evil in the world! Who the fuck created the devil? God did! Is he omnipotent, is he all-powerful or not?” Jesus yelled.
As if on cue, the room calmed again. They looked at Jesus and his hand and feet no longer bled. The wounds were gone but the pool of blood on the carpet and on his robe remained.
“You are some sort of devil, demon, the Anti-Christ!” Father Luvkids said.
“No, my friend, you do the work of the devil,” Jesus said, “are you confused by my countenance? I am not white and blue-eyed like the devil himself. Where is the Jesus of love, the Jesus of forgiveness, you ask? I am the Jesus of the Temple; I am here to overturn tables!” His eyes glowed with fire and rage.
 He then slowly waved his hand across the air and each of the hostages witnessed visions, the most personal visions projected upon Jesus’s robes. Mary witnessed the last kiss of her dying husband when he was still well and felt the caress of her dead father’s hand. Father Luvkids felt again the exalted worry and hope for humanity that he once associated with his faith, it was a feeling long forgotten. Mr. Lye remembered his mother’s tender arms wrapped around him as a child, before she passed away in his youth, before his abusive father destroyed all the love in his heart. John felt the presence of his brother, whom he hadn’t seen since he ran away from home when they were still in high school.
“Here, that which you see before you is the love, the compassion you feel in your hearts. A feeling some of you may have forgotten,” Jesus said.
It was evident to all. This really was Jesus, they could feel it.
The siren went quite outside. “We are surrounded. Soon they will come to claim their prize,” Jesus said.
John finally spoke up, “I am sorry, what the hell is going on? I feel like I am insane. I am an atheist and I have gone crazy.”
“No, John. You are not mad. I am an atheist, of sorts. God is dead. The game is up. There has been a change of plans. Christianity means nothing. Life is absurd and frightening. People need something to cling to. Well, fuck them. They can’t have it. All you find in this building is cowardice. These Christians, they put it all ‘In God’s Hands.’ It is not in God’s hands, it is in their hands! Look at me, I’m a fucking mess! People use religion to evade responsibility, it makes nothing but cowards. You were given a brain, a will, and a heart to love. And you pissed it all way. The whole of the human race has. You do not deserve heaven, as you have made this world a hell. My father left a loaded gun in a house full of babes, you are correct to reject him, it is an expression against the absurd, it sets the course to meaning.”
             “But the Church gives, it does good things.” Father Luvkids said.
            “Stop your diluted grumbling,” Jesus said.
            Jesus was pissed again. Father Livid seemed to have that effect on him.
            “Why do Christians give?” Jesus said, “Because God tells them to. They don’t do it because it is right, because they should help their fellow man and woman; no, they do it to get into heaven. It is selfish egoism masquerading as benevolence. Humankind should understand how to conduct itself with or without God, the result should be the same. We should give because we depend on each other. Beside, philanthropy is simply rich bastards giving back a little of what they stole in the first place. Philanthropy simply aides the institutions that create poverty.”
            Jesus slowly turned around to face the priest. “You see, Father Luvkids, you lost your desire to understand the world long ago. Your quest has not been spiritual for many years. You are simply a cog in the wheel of this religious institution that is based around money and power. It is true of all organized and institutional religions,” Jesus paused and slowly swung his finger in and out of the flame from one of the candles. “You see, I am Buddha, Mohammad, Vishnu, and Christ. I am all these things. I am the expression of love and humble selflessness that lies in the heart of humanity. I am humankind’s own expression of itself. I am its hope and its helplessness. But you turn this expression into power. A real spiritual quest will lead one away from God and toward personal responsibility,” he then moved his entire hand over the flame and held it there, “If you love God, burn a church.”
            Father Luvkids just starred at the floor as his world crumbled around him.
            Jesus stared hard at the flame and his hand; the flesh began to burn. He was transfixed.
            Initially, in an effort to distract him and make him stop, Mary said, “Oh, um,” as if yearning for him to engage her. Jesus slowly moved his hand and turned toward her.
“But what about the scriptures, how do we know how to live if...,” she said.
            “Rubbish, monks get tired you know, how many times can you copy the same thing down? Flaming swords and all that bullshit. My story was rewritten so many times. That is not the word of God,” he said motioning toward the pulpit upon which a bible lay open. “Sure, some of the revolutionary teachings are in there, but they are buried under piles of riddles and meaninglessness. Testament, testis, testicles, the balls of man. I am afraid it is the word of man. I’m so sick of fairies, elves, and Harry fucking Potter! You dissolve into your fantasies and electronics while your people die all around you. This consumerism has made you all idiots. The universities speak of the cultural importance of fashion shows while people starve in droves. It is but the blabbering tongues of the privileged. This whole ideology and its complacent populace deserve to be set alight!”
            A flame burst from his mouth.
            “But you are real; you are here; is this revelation? Are you here to weed-out the…”
            “Stop with your nonsense. How could you love a God who would create such a hell! But yes, Mary, revelations are true. It has been going on for a long time now.” Jesus’s voice began to rise and he was once again filled with anger.
“The rivers will run red and…” Jesus said.
            “Yes, Yes,” Mary said as she fell to her knees beside him. “The rivers, the air, it has been going on for some time, we are slowly killing ourselves.”
            At hearing Mary’s words, Jesus’s eyes filled with tears. Yet, like a coil, his anger slowly began to unravel. He said, “You drink water out of plastic bottles. You drink water out of plastic bottles! There is an island made of plastic in the middle of the ocean twice the size of Texas. The cities are filled with concrete and the world is a big fucking dump for all your plastic shit! Consume, consume, and consume all the resources on the planet under the guise that God declared it thus. Fuck the idea of Heaven because it turns your world into a cesspool! Why honor this life when you have another? If you want to know how to live then look at this wonderful and rare life around you. Learn from the biodiversity that depends on each other to live. You are surrounded with examples. You don’t need stories about magic. You don’t need me.”
            “We live in a world of make believe,” John shouted.
            “Indeed, you live in a world in which you are unable to be kind to one another. No matter how much you wish it to be so. You live in a world of things, of material” Jesus said, as he walked over to the podium and began throwing things around, bibles, chalices, candlesticks, “This is the world you live in and yet you want more, is this not mystifying enough?”
            “You sound like a Marxist,” John said.
            Jesus laughed loud for several seconds, “Kid, I was the first revolutionary. I was the first communist, socialist, I am the Internationale! Imagine, Jesus a materialist. You derive meaning from your work, from your ability to survive as a community, from your common solidarity. It is your alienation and loneliness in this dark universe that binds you together, it is not I. Religion has done nothing but separate. You are bound together now, however you cannot see. Your very clothes reek of slavery.”
            At this statement, small goblets of blood began to form on the captives clothes until they became drenched in blood. John vomited into the second pew while Mary’s face was stricken with horror. The priest stared at Jesus and Mr. Lye sat still, unmoved. Jesus bent down and put his hand on Mary’s shoulder.
             He said, “Do you know, Mary, from where these clothes come? Do you know the labor and the human cost?”
            Before her, Mary saw visions of barbed wire, stolen passports, and young girls working. Their fingers bloodied. Young girls raped, and then sold into the sex trade when their hands became too large.
“Do not objectify!” Jesus screamed and beside each person was a child, a child they each knew personally with its throat freshly slit. They all recoiled and the bodies were gone.
            “This is the slavery upon which your privilege depends. All of you!” Jesus whipped around and caught the eye of everyone in the room, “As it is with your food, your toys, gadgets, your jewelry, all of it. Shame your pride.” He walked up to Mr. Lye and ripped the copper American flag pin violently from his bloodied suit jacket. “These trinkets of deceit! How you harbor your magic drenched in the blood and on the backs of others’ labor. No christian has entered this church. Never!” Jesus pointed up to the American flag that hung to the left of the giant crucifixion replica. Both of fixtures crashed against the floor of the church. Jesus walked over and picked up the flag and held it in his hand. He began to squeeze it, and blood ran down his arm and dripped from his elbow. The flag was soon drenched in blood.
            “Like Rome, this empire was and continues to be built upon mounds of dead bodies,” he said. His face became darker and more sinister. His expression was terrifying. Behind him a grotesque scene of slaughter slowly became visible and dead bloodied bodies began to fill the church. The stench was unbearable.
            “Mr. Lye,” Jesus said staring at the man in the front pew, “I understand why you are the way you are. I know your father was awful to you but you must forgive him so that you may be free of that pain instead of replicating it in the world. Come talk to me about abusive fathers when your father nails you to a board. And never evoke my name again. Your speeches about the atrocities of 9/11 disgust me. Look around you, Mr. Lye. Violence begets violence begets violence. You Americans had it coming. It is amazing it didn’t happen sooner. There is very little difference between the fanatically religious zealots and this American fundamentalism of yours. You are all so alike you can no longer recognize yourself. Do you worship power, do you worship money, do you worship the free market? The shock and surprise of 9/11 is the proof of your ignorant empire. Since you have no memory, let me ask if you remember another 9/11, in Chile, 1973. Americans are terrorists! You confused and diluted fuckers! God was never on your side. Torture!!” Jesus screamed this last word and bent over as if he were writhing in pain. He continued screaming, “Were there no prayers in Dachau, Auschwitz, Treblinka, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Russia, America, Chile?” The American flag burst into flames, as did his white robes and the mounds of bloodied bodies. A violet wind whipped the flames through the air. The church was a cacophony of pain, death, and fear. Blood was everywhere. The blood of Christ.
            Outside, the cops, FBI, and Swat units had the building surrounded. “What the fuck is going on in there? We have got to go in, one way or another. Christ, he’s probably already killed the hostages,” one commander said to another. Behind the police vehicles one could see Edward, on the far side of the parking lot, chain smoking.
            Back in the church all was calm again and there were no signs of the horror that existed only moments before, except that Jesus now stood naked, his flesh burnt, and oozing blood. The four captives sat up in the pews. Unsure if they could handle another episode like that one, seared into their memories.
            Jesus spoke, “Economics determine your social relationships. You are a part of something bigger than yourselves, but all that you seek exists here, not somewhere else.”
            “But why did you come here? Why did you kidnap Mr. Lye?” John said.
“I don’t know; I don’t have it all worked out anymore.”
“The miracle…doesn’t that mean there is something more?”
“It’s just quantum trickery. Focus on what is in front of you,” Jesus slouched forward, weakening.
“But, then why did you have the gun?”
Absent mindedly, Jesus smiled and looked at the gun still in his hand, as if he had forgotten it. He said, “I guess it was just a romantic notion really, considering how much you all love gratuitous violence and penis replacements.”
The four gathered around the dying man. “Can’t you heal yourself?’ Mary said.
“My time is up. The game is up. Fight the institutions. Goddammit, be an enemy of the state. Brotherhood, sisterhood, and love were once revolutionary ideas and they still are today, but you must measure them in reality not in some fantasy world. It is all up to you, as it has always really been.” Jesus dropped the gun and stood proud, straightening his spine. He looked at Mr. Lye and said, “You must go now. Leave through the back door. Walk right past the cops. No one will see you. Edward is parked at the back of the parking lot. Do as I say.”
Confused, Mr. Lye got up and proceeded to walk toward the back door and disappeared.
 “They are coming now. They always kill us. The empires have always killed us. It would not be so easy for them if we did not walk alone. The human race should worship the earth, its systems and the social relationships upon which you all are dependent,” he looked at Mary, “The very relationships and world you can no longer see, teach your child to see with an anger fueled by love and justice. The biggest threat to an empire is love, not in the spiritual world, but in the real one.”
He pushed the remaining three captives away with a slight move of his hand. He rose into the air, a few feet off the ground. He looked over at Father Luvkids and said,” Move to Latin America, excommunicate yourself from the church, and first thing in the morning,” he looked around the church, “burn this fucker down.”
The doors burst open and several bullets littered the body of the skinny, burnt, bleeding man. His body flew backwards and landed upon the giant crucifix. Blood streamed out of a bullet hole in his temple and his head lay upon his own wooden replica. On November 11, 2017, Jesus Christ returned and, like all other revolutionaries, was killed by the state. Nothing changed.
Mr. Lye entered his office at Sweatshop Sweets Inc. and quickly walked past his secretary. As he passed, she could see he was sweaty and distraught.
            “Sir, Sir, are you Okay?” she said.
            Ignoring her, he entered his office and slammed the door. He sat down and rolled up to his desk. Over the phone speaker he heard his secretary’s voice. “Um, Mr. Lye, I just wanted to remind you that a Boy Scout troop from Virginia is due to arrive for a photo-op for People magazine in forty-five minutes.”
            “Christ, I hate those kids,” he thought.
            He felt tired and dejected. The world was one giant cesspool and he knew he was at the heart of it. He was struck with a horrible chill. He looked up at the portrait of Martin Luther King Jr., which a valedictorian from a local private Catholic school had given him during an MLK celebration. “Nigger,” he muttered.
            He reached into his pocket and pulled out the small piece of paper that Jesus had given him only hours earlier. He opened it and laid it on the desk before him.
It read:

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.
—Karl Marx

Mr. Lye poured a pint glass of vodka and drank the entire glass. His eyes watered. He opened the drawer of his desk and brushed aside his NRA membership card, put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger, leaving a bright red Jackson Pollock on the wall for the Boy Scouts.
This was the only kind act he had ever done for humanity. Well, there was one more, thanks to his daughter. Two months later Planned Parenthood received 3.5 million dollars.