Casual Savior

Fiction by Amy Barnes

I crucify Ken with sewing pins. One goes into each of his curved hands and another to his perpetually-ready-for-shoes flat feet. The popsicle stick cross I made in Sunday School buckles under his weight. I jab harder until he’s fully impaled.

“That’ll teach you to ignore my prayers.” I tell him.

He doesn’t listen any better than he did at the Toy-R-ama when I used my offering money to buy him. He seemed happy on the shelf and looked a little like Pastor Steve. I should’ve known better and bought G.I. Joe instead; he was at least named after Jesus’ father. But I was drawn to the golden, molded hairline halo that made Ken look like Watercolor Jesus hanging in our hallway, blonde and blue-eyed, pale-skinned, but always wearing old man sandals. I couldn’t quite figure out the surfer shorts and Hawaaian shirts but figured Jesus surfed after he got done fishing and healing and preaching and teaching.

My daddy didn’t even have one job and wore his yellowed-boxer shorts every day like they were pants. I prayed hard my plastic Jesus would find my daddy either real pants or a job; it felt like too much to ask for both.

***

After I nail my doll savior to his cross, I toss confetti Saltine bits at him, like we’ve just gotten married and I’m wearing the Barbie white wedding dress and veil. I pour grape juice blood down his naked plastic body.

He still doesn’t blink. He can’t blink because his eyes are fixed but the Bible says his eyes could be opened. I watch for him to perform an instant miracle but he stays still.

I baptize him in the murky flood waters that were left rotting behind our house after they stole my Daddy’s job.

Silence.

***

I look into our family room and see my father answering Jeopardy questions. He yells at Alex Trebek.

“Why are you wearing a suit? You’re a game show host.”

I turn back to my crucifixion scene.

“I’m Amazing Grace. Why won’t you help me, help us?”

Ken hangs without words from his craft cross. The Barbies I’ve gathered to watch are silent too. Even the sleazy one I call Mary after our neighbor who is a hore according to my mother. I wait for Ken to bleed a little plastic blood. Nothing happens.

***

My father leaves the same day, picking up his extra boxers from the yard where my mother throws them when she loses her patience.

I jam Ken, cross and all, in a shoebox, put him in a hole I’ve dug by the fence.

Three days pass.

I open the box and resurrect my new father.

<strong>Amy Barnes</strong>
Amy Barnes

has words at sites including: FlashBack Fiction, Popshot Quarterly, Flash Fiction Magazine, X-Ray Lit, Stymie Lit, No Contact Mag, Streetcake Magazine, JMMW, The Molotov Cocktail, Lucent Dreaming, TunaFish Journal, Reckon Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Flash Frog, Janus Literary, Leon Review, Lunate Fiction, Rejection Lit, Perhappened, Cabinet of Heed, Spartan Lit, and others. Her work has been listed at NFFD, Reflex Press (3rd place), Retreat West, Bath Flash Fiction, and TSS Publishing and nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best Microfiction. She’s a Fractured Lit Associate Editor and reads for CRAFT, Taco Bell Quarterly, NFFD, Retreat West, The MacGuffin, and Narratively. Her flash collection “Mother Figures” is forthcoming at ELJ Editions, Ltd. in summer, 2021.

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