“Second Coming” by Rupert Merkin

Rupert Merkin

Hyde Park is mined. There’s barbed wire on The Strand. Snipers line up London Bridge and watch the Underground.

Through the miracle of modern genetics Christ the Redeemer is back on Earth to save us from ourselves. From the brown curly lock, locked around the Papal neck, we managed to grow Jesus in a tube. His beard and sandals are way out of date.

Down the escalator, London Bridge station, Jesus addresses the crowds – Christianity the underground movement, now in the Underground. No more temptations, girls in black leather, politicians flip-flopping with broken words. Begone foul heathens (yes you I mean), here’s some glue, a sticky Saviour, to bind our broken souls. He addresses the moon-men, the mad-men, the new-meek, the bowing, kow-towing, where once there were millions all over the land now there’s five hundred thousand. All armed to the teeth with middle-class values and Ford Mondeos, with cups and doilies and Moroccan rugs.

Over the Tannoy, Jesus calls out: “Life is an overhanging cloud. I am the rain that’s come.” He swigs from a bottle of fine red wine (a gift from the Smiths at the last dinner party). “I came in from the planting,” he says. “Now it’s time to reap.”

A new gospel fresh from the fancy glass cabinet where you keep your (unread) bible.

What did we want? A change from the usual bills, circulars, life as junk mail? Isn’t it enough being free to catch a train, sit your wife on your lap; be a bird to flutter in and out of the open window of life?

“I had a trial once,” says Jesus, then jabbing his chest with his finger. “Now I’m in the driving seat.”

What we have is never enough. If it wasn’t this it would be something else, a new bomb, a death-law, a James Bond villain in power. We’re bound to destroy everything in the end.

We just can’t help ourselves.

“I rose once, now I’m back again!” cries Jesus, arms V-ed up, the original zombie, now twice-removed from his grave.

And his followers, the Christians, the original bearers of sin, they rise from their status of ‘deserted religion’, they come with their purpose once more; they lift their middle-class gardening weapons, their hoes and rakes and outmoded ethics, and they take to the streets to burn London down.


After leaving the States a lifetime ago, Rupert Merkin has now settled in London with a quill, two dogs, and a monkey. But sadly no ink. He has most recently had publications somewhere, somehow…

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