The Jesus Bus

It was a quiet Thursday afternoon.  I was minding my own business when the bus stopped and a vision so horrifying I almost cried aloud clambered up the steps.  Mormons.

These terrifying apparitions almost always hunt in pairs.  They dress in a business like way to avoid people recognising them at first glance.  Only a small lapel badge gives you any warning at all.  They are undoubtedly pure evil.

These creatures are not selective with their targets, instead they opt for quantity rather than quality.  They will approach you with questions about God.  If you do anything other than run away screaming they will hang onto you like a horny rottweiler hangs onto a postman’s leg.  Their mission on earth is two-fold.  The first is to create a universe where everybody looks the same.  The second is to eradicate any semblance of personality they encounter.  Then and only then will Mormons actually have a chance of getting laid.

I felt them train their sights on me.  I have witnessed it countless times.  They always target the people who are alone.  I turned my back to them and pretended to study the nearest window.  I heard footsteps getting closer and closer.  A tap on my shoulder.  It took every ounce of willpower not to scream in terror.  And then the question.

‘could you spare a few moments to talk about our lord?’

Our lord I thought.  I didn’t know I had a lord, I was certain this was some kind of Jedi-Mormon mind trick.  I tried to string together a sentence.  It was no good.  My lips were dry.  No sound came out.  Then I realised they were talking to me.  There were words like Jesus, God and sin.  I knew if I started to listen I would get off the bus with a white shirt, a tie and a side parting.  In my head I tried to hum a tune to block out the noise and save the surviving molecules of personality which I had managed to retain in 30 years of my existence but the only song I could think of was Umbongo Umbongo they drink it in the jungle.  The problem was that was the only line I knew.  I could feel my blood pressure rising.  If I didn’t act soon I was sure that all the spirituality and righteousness on the bus would almost certainly make my head explode.  I took a deep breath, and caught the end of a sentence about someone dying to save us.  I cleared my throat and asked loud enough for the entire bus to hear.

‘Sorry.  Did you just fart?’

It was then I discovered that Mormons don’t believe in loving thy neighbour.  They both scowled at me as if I was something they had trod in, one of them told me that I was crazy and then they both walked away.  After giving it some thought I realised that they had a point, that I must in fact be crazy.  After all I was the one who approached a complete stranger on the bus and tried to convince him of the existence of a mythical creature which lives in the clouds and made absolutely everything in the universe.  I must remember to book me an appointment with a psychiatrist tomorrow.

Coming Out The Closet

One of the weirdest aspects of trying to be a writer is the moment when a new acquaintance discovers your hidden, dirty secret.  The first thing they usually say is ‘wow, you’ve written a book.  What’s it about?’.  To which I reply ‘the death of a pet, a conspiracy and a period of social disruption.’.  Then there is a pause whilst they try to compute what exactly this means before replying something like ‘so does it have any vampires in it?’.

Perhaps I am mildly exaggerating, nevertheless the point is a valid one.  The moment you tell someone you have written something or you want to be a writer creates a moment of awkward reassessment despite the fact that many moons ago artistic aspirations were admired.  Nowadays it seems that people believe that if you want to write you are either mad or just bat-shit mental.

It is even worse when the thing you have created is not typical of now.  If your novel doesn’t contain wizards with their wands out, or gay vampires or women eating chocolate in their knickers or a lawyer in a race for justice or a policeman in a race for time or some other more acceptable 21st century template for success then you are even harder to understand.

Personally I find these moments extremely embarrassing and stumble through my answers certain of what the people I am speaking to are thinking.  The most amusing thing is that they try awfully hard to be pleasant and almost everyone ends up asking the same question.  “So are you going to try and publish it?”, to which I usually reply “No, I am going to eat it.”.  Bizarrely it never even raises a smile.

The urge to write isn’t dissimiliar to being as mad as a barking cat.  It’s a compulsion which sits inside the body and can flare up at any time.  It grows and shrinks during your lifetime.  I wrote the first draft of my novel, some 75,000 words in less than four months.  It is almost an addiction.  It is part of a person’s character.  If ever you find yourself in this situation, don’t be afraid of this person who is sharing part of their soul with you.  After all, most crazy people aren’t violent.  It’s only their thoughts which are.