It's an exciting day here on location for episode three of "The Great Outdoors with Jesus Christ and Friends." We're at a very special little coffee shop in Marquette, Michigan where, to our great surprise, we've made an outstanding discovery: Bigfoot! Now, I know what you're thinking, loyal reader: "But Don Johnson last week you said we were going to go into the woods to search for a bigfoot…"
To which I would reply, "Why go into the woods to search for a bigfoot when it turns out that THE Bigfoot frequents a coffee shop just steps away from Lake Superior here in Marquette?"
Believe me, I'm just as surprised as you are, and don't even get me started on how annoying Thomas has been. Yeah, he's the special guest this week: St. "Don't Call Me Doubting" Thomas. Here's a tip: don't bring that stick-in-the-mud on any expedition where a bit of faith is required. The whole drive over….
"Except I shall see its conical head, and caress with my palms his hair-covered cheeks, and thrust my hand into his *ahem*, I will not believe."
Umm. He tried it. Yeah, he won't try it again. I think we should grant some leeway for our guests—most of them have been living in a different realm for a couple millennia—but unless you're a veterinarian you should know better than to cross that line with the reigning King of the Cryptids.
* * *
So we're all really enjoying ourselves. For once, Christ is actually in a jovial mood. Bigfoot, gruesomely thick regional accent notwithstanding, has proven to be quite charming and cheerful. His personal veterinarian, a voluptuous redhead of 26, is cute and bubbly, and she's obviously having an intimate relationship with her furry client. He seems like a healthy guy, I guess, but when you're eight feet tall, covered in hair, and spend large parts of your day rolling in putrescent black bear carcasses, there's bound to be certain self-maintenance issues that can only be attended to by a trained professional.
We're just relaxing and drinking a delicious blend of coffee brewed from beans roasted right here in the shop. Christ is digging Himself a hole trying to prove His existence (sans the use of miracles) to some 16-year-old kid smoking a pipe and wearing a Yukon Cornelius costume classically accented with a vintage-looking cravat. Maybe that's just how he normally dresses though; coffee shop people are… eclectic. It's all good-natured though, and Yukon and Jesus agree to disagree so they can move on to more interesting topics. You can't really blame Yukon for being skeptical, but Thomas had no excuse. After all, he was able to witness the miracles of our Benevolent Host. Nothing ever changes, I suppose.
St. Thomas long ago, with a little help in the form of fondling an open flesh wound, eventually accepted Christ's first resurrection but now, even with Bigfoot moderating the debate, he refuses to accept that Bigfoot exists. He thinks Jesus is toying with his mind like the Espheni Extraterrestrial Overlords from the hit apocalyptic alien drama, Falling Skies. Trust me, Jesus Christ isn't that creative. He got the plans for humanity off the effing Internet.
Needless to say, Tommy totally killed the mood. Everything started off so wonderful, but now I'm getting bored and irritated. I've always been able to maintain a civil relationship with the caffeine main-lining intellegentsia types, but they've never really accepted me into their exclusive guild. But maybe I'm just covetous of the obvious preference they're showing for the Mythological Being and the bigfoot next to him. Really, though, can you blame them?
Oh. My. God. FML.
So Bigfoot, sensing the sullening atmosphere, has suggested that we walk a few blocks across town to an abandoned orphanage to hunt for ghosts. Jesus reminded him that our show is of the genre "The Great Outdoors," so an indoor ghost hunt wouldn't quite be relevant. Once again, Bigfoot contradicts his Harry and the Hendersons PETA stereotype by proposing we bring shotguns and make the trip ghost hunting and raccoon blasting. The orphanage, he reasons, doubtlessly is populated by those bandit-masked, rabies ridden, trashcan rodents. So gross. Well, here's what he actually said, in an amazing Upper Michigan accent.
"Yah eh, I teenk we gosta gover dere tuh dat ol' orphnij tuh bloway sumdem raccoons—jestta keep wit da teem of da show. Weekin do wondem ghostunts adduh same time, eh? Dat'll be more intrestin den jest da coon shootin."
Big surprise here. Thomas is skeptical.
"Really, guys? Ghosts? There's no such thing—except of course, for the Holy Ghost—but he wouldn't be caught dead haunting anything, especially an orphanage for Your sake."
We ignore Thomas—kind of annoyed that he'd even bring up the Trinity. All it takes is one person to ask, "Wait. What? I don't get it?" and we waste four hours listening to Christ struggle to explain something even He doesn't fully understand.
Anyway. That's that. Thank God for our new cryptozoological friend's raccoon idea. I am actually looking forward to shooting those sick little pathogen locomotives. But guess who will have to organize everything first?
"Can I leave, Master?" I ask. "I have a lot of work to do, and I don't have Your level of productivity." It takes me three days to make a piece of poop and sometimes it isn't even solid. Christ/God whatever created the world in six—though some might argue that there isn't much difference between His production and mine.
He Who Holds the Glory of the Ages in the Palm of His Hands nods in approval, still trying to convince Emo Lumberjack that He could totally damn him to Hell. Bigfoot, very skillfully, has led his personal vet out of the room to engage her privately. He's surprisingly charming for an eight-foot tall mass of dingleberry matted fur.
So, after a lovely little walk we're here at the orphanage. Christ made Thomas come with me. Yukon piqued His interest after mentioning that he was "bicurious." Apparently, that's dans le vent with the youngsters these days. I'm not saying anything's gonna happen, but buggering/getting buggered by the Son of God would give Yukon a lot of material for his latest project:
"It's like a coming of age, anti-corporate, post post-capitalism, meta-modern, mid-sexual awakening, bildungsromane epistolary novel that I've been working on for seven years, but is really pretty much finished in my head, you know?"
God, I fucking abhor writers. Technically, I abhor walking, too, but something about the way Christ made St. Thomas lug the fifty pounds of equipment over made the casual stroll rather pleasant. The orphanage, on the other hand, isn't pleasant at all. Bricks. Broken windows. Gutted rooms: Guillermo del Toro.
Anyway. We only have one camera as always. Jesus has budget issues, and refuses to do anything to raise money for our venture. In fact, He freaks out whenever anyone tries to actually make a profit from something (see Mark 11:15); however, I suspect that He fits the "Coffee Shop Socialist" jib more than, say, George Orwell's adventures with the aspidistra and also that fighting against General Franco thing like forever ago.
"Mr. Johnson, did you see… ?" Thomas whines. But I'm too busy getting shit ready for who? THE LORD. I don't have time for his negativity—especially since he slept through his "2000 years of Tech in a Day Training" that would have made him at least a little bit helpful setting up equipment. Judas did it—even after being battered by Christ for trying to call the cops about something.
So I set this single camera up on a tripod, point it at the exterior of the orphanage, and hook it up to my Macbook Pro Retina Display. Wouldn't you know it? Blam! Every room in the orphanage shows up on the screen like that preachy bit in Batman Begins where Morgan Freeman is standing in front of like 100 Samsung Smart TVs with Allshare technology. Again, I wonder… why did Christ hire me when He can just Cris Angel everything?
And again, St. Thomas:
"What was… did you hear that?"
Luckily, I don't have to cater to Thomas's delusions because I'm saved by the "beam." The stars of the show have arrived, transporter-ing onto the set Star Trek style. Christ and Bigfoot are wearing the proton packs from Ghostbusters outfitted with shotguns instead of particle accelerators. Yukon has doffed his checked flannel for a red shirt that, perhaps, has signaled a breakdown in his relationship with Christ. I don't even want to know what happened there.
The veterinarian pulls up in her Subaru Outback. For some reason, she's declined Christ's offer to teleport her here. Come to think of it, she turned down an Irish coffee earlier, too …
"IGON!" Christ screams. I think He's talking to me.
"Yes, my Merciful Triumvirate?" I say.
"We're going in.
* * *
Bigfoot was right about the raccoons. The joint is loaded with them. They make me sick—especially when they grate their deformed little infant hands together like they're actually washing them. Nobody really wants to shoot one after all. Imagine all the blood and guts. So gross.
"Guys, I'm not sure this is a good idea," sputters Thomas cowardly.
"Jesus Christ, Thomas. Can't you just suspend your disbelief one more time!" snaps Christ, shameless using His own name in vain.
"But I am—"
"Shut thy fuck up!" rebukes the Lamb/Tiger.
OK. Up to this point, I've done my best not to ridicule the guests. Judas was too easy. Pilate was kind of intimidating. But with this guy, I've just had too much. I interject: "This isn't the 100 acre wood, Thomas, so please stop acting like a dejected ash-colored donkey."
Bigfoot's voluptuous veterinarian winks at Bigfoot and says, "Yeah, because I'm the only one here who's been to the hundred acre wood."
Strangely, but somehow appropriately, we hear a sound not unlike the clash of a high hat cymbal coming from the kitchen. Bigfoot is startled, and I swear I see a trickle of piss moistening the mound of fur that graciously covers his genitalia.
"What was that?" he asks.
"I tried to tell you!" Thomas says, running toward the kitchen. Has he become a believer? We run after Thomas into the kitchen. Holy shit! Remember the raccoons—they've somehow transformed into nightmare creatures straight out of Pan's Labyrinth or the H.R. Giger xenomorph atrocities from the Aliens trilogy. Our pitiful weapons our obviously useless against them. We just throw them down.
"Scatter, Goonies!" screams the Original Zombie. And we do, but not before Christ kicks Thomas in the ass and slams the door behind him, locking him in the kitchen with the Evil Abortions of Nature without any form of self-defense except for his despicable disposition.
As we bolt out of the orphanage I know what we're all thinking: Christ engineered this whole thing just to mess with Doubtin'.
"That wasn't me," Christ says, violating my privacy in a way the NSA could only dream of. "I'm still a little miffed with the guy, but that shit had nothing to do with me!"
"Den who was da one dat done it?" inquires Bigfoot as we emerge out of the House on Haunted Hill into the daylight with the lumberjack and the veterinarian close behind.
* * *
Everything's calmed down now. I found a quiet little spot by a stream that runs just down the hill from the orphanage. I left the cameras rolling—why not? Nobody has heard from Thomas, and whether or not anyone goes back for him isn't a matter of bravery—just a general lack of interest. It would be cool though to scan through the film later and maybe see Thomas's bloody doubting corpse being dragged across the ceiling by alien-raccoon hybrids leaving behind wide streaks of his blood. Maybe later an anthropomorphic raccoon with big hanging balls a la Hizao Miyazaki's Pom Poko will show up with a mop bucket—pathetic creatures just trying to make a living in the world of humans.
We still don't know who punk'd us but…
"Heya, kid. How about grabbin' a couple of rods and goin' fishin tomorrow morning, maybe play some catch and have some ice cream, too," says some random guy who obviously sees nothing wrong with foregoing basic introductions and getting directly into weird pedo-van driver invitations.
"What?" I ask, slightly disturbed but intrigued by the prospect of getting a nice coconut gelato somewhere. The fishing: not so much. I abhor fishing.
"You wouldn't happen to have any unusual birthmarks, Don?"
"How do you know my name?" I ask wondering why I suddenly want to tell him that my daddy is really strong and he'll be back soon. I also wonder how he knows about my embarrassing Euclidean mole—a lucky guess maybe? Then I realize….
"Oh. You must watch the show."
"I've been watching the show for your whole life, Don." He says.
I'm suddenly reminded of a certain scene in a certain Al Pacino movie that happens just before another certain scene with Keanu Reaves and Nicole Kidman that never fails to give me an uncomfortable erection.
"But it's only been on for a few weeks, and what about that ice cream?" I've never met a fan before, and I'm ready to take advantage of my first one. Free ice cream is free ice cream. No shame there, peoples. Wow. This dude just decides to plop down next to me. Personal bubble anyone?
"Say, Don… let me ask you a question, Don. Does Jesus properly show his appreciation for your hard work?" He's still not interested in traditional formalities that usually precede personal questions.
He has a point though, so I reply, "Not once actually. I mean he doesn't even seem to like or respect me very much, in fact."
He says, "Yes. That's to be expected."
"And why is that?" Curiouser and curiouser… I'll allow this to progress a little farther.
He continues, "He only cares about himself. That's why. You never hear our side of the story…"
"Our side?" Well, this is getting interesting.
Suddenly, I hear The Voice—and I'm not talking about Simon Cowell or Christina Aguilera. "JOHNSON! Get over here!"
"Sorry, dude. He never tells me twice." Seriously, I have to go. I run up the hill and cross the street to the orphanage location and see that the whole gang is back—except Thomas. Something must be happening inside the orphanage though because they're all coveyed around my MacBook Pro with Retina Display gasping in astonishment.
Thomas is standing in the corner of the kitchen. The camera angle allows us to see enough of his face to understand that he's in some kind of catatonic state. Suddenly, his body begins to pixilate impossibly, and a pair of giant raccoon/alien/human hybrids reminiscent of Resident Evilpounce upon him, shredding him to pieces.
Bigfoot, with his natural gift for empathy, senses a need for humor to break the silence.
"Yah guys. I tink diss gonna be da best found … FOOTage movies ever made, eh?"
And we all have a good El OH EL. You know what? I think this just might be the start of some very unnatural friendships.
Alright then. Tune in next week for The Great Outdoors with Jesus Christ and Friends and see what happens when we get Cain and Abel back in the same room together.