The Burning Bush, flash fiction by Jim Meirose
Father Dwyer boomed out from behind his bright lit kitchen worktable, sending words swarming in every direction, shouting, All right, there you are, seamen! Welcome aboard, yes, right now, for episode one thousand, of The Sunday Dinner with Father Dwyer Cooking Show—an achievement we will celebrate, by allowing the Lord my God to speak to us wisdom, from this downsized burning bush set on the cold stainless steel here before me!
Then, the smiling Father Dwyer spread his vast arms, guiding the camera to pan down to a little Christmas tree style bush, live, or fake, didn’t really matter; because here comes, comes, comes the Lord Thy God! shouted Dwyer—and at once, The Lord boomed from the small pretty fire back at him saying, Father Dwyer, Know thee this! Supper is smaller, but is otherwise similar to lunch! What else do you need to know, hey there, Father? What else? Uh?
Father Dwyer answered the bush, through the short fat flushed fingers come up to his lip, saying, I thought you were going to run the show today, My Lord. We talked last night! I knelt before the main altar of the great church at nine in the evening in this here January, all dark around, heat turned down, silent, silent; as befits great holiness—I prayed, Lord, come do show one thousand tomorrow. I will prepare the bush!
When Father Dwyer asked that question, a great voice boomed forth from the sanctuary, saying, What bush? Tell me now! I want to know right now! Blowing great cold winds down across Father Dwyer, saying it again and again, demanding an answer, What bush what bush what bush what? And, said Father Dwyer here and now, And Lord, in the gale I screamed at the top of my squeezed-out lungs, The burning bush! From the bible, my God! And the wind stopped instantly. It was like, like, I don’t know, like—
Like what? said God, impatiently from the little bush. What? Hurry, man, hurry, stop blubbering, my time is precious you know I am important I am the boss I run all ‘round heaven all meetings day and night I have no time spit it out my next conference call’s already begun!
Oh, sure, yes, my Lord, I—yes it was like one day long ago, Lord, when I lay in the back seat of a moldy damp 1950 Ford, watching pounding blinding rain which someone I never will see again, was driving through toward home from his weekly trip to visit Grandma, so mundane, you know, so mundane it sounds yes, I know it does, I know, but, it’s, like, uh—
What’s it like? cried God shrilly.
It’s uh, the rain, Spat Father Dwyer—yes, the rain it was, it was the rain, that’s all, just another rain but during this rain, whoever was running the clouds shut them off, and in less than a snap, we were sailing along through a bright sunshiny day! My Lord, God, my Lord, I had never ever been woken up so fast, hard, and completely! All the raindrops instantly came together into wires running dipping and rising from pole to pole as the car pushed faster now toward, home, now that the weather is clear! Do you get it?
Yes I do!
Are you sure?
Yes, I am!
Say it again!
Then, thunder—yes, and when you shut off the clouds that day was the first I woke up to your tremendous power! But, huh, I, uh, whut? And Father Dwyer shot up from dozing senseless, asleep on his feet in the bright lit battleship-sized cooking show sound stage, embarrassed, yes very, yes more than even all the husbands who’ve ever fallen asleep to embarrass the many wives next to them, in many bright lit churches of all sizes, ‘round the world just before it’s time to get up to stand at the start of another seven thirty a.m. Sunday mass. Falling asleep even as God himself speaks; my God what a sin no no no–Dwyer jumped, writhed, stood like a rod, and pounded the tabletop, which also had been snoozing, and which had already sucked away and absorbed the burning bush, God and all, down into through the stainless steel all gone toward dark places, so here was the start again. This time it’s the real start again, oh God, thank God; I will get it right this time, guys! Yes, I will, so, yes, and he went on from there saying, All right, here you are, seamen! Episode one thousand, of The Sunday Dinner with Father Dwyer Cooking Show—an achievement we will celebrate, by allowing the Lord my God to come, yes, right here and speak to us wisdom, from this tiny burning bush! And his spreading flowing long-robed arms, again flamed it up, ready for the one thousandth new take of ninety-nine hundred previously completely flubbed attempts.
Jim Meirose‘s work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Calliope, Offbeat/Quirky (Journal of Exp. Fiction pub,), Permafrost, North Atlantic Review, Blueline, Witness, and Xavier Review, and has been nominated for several awards. His E-book “Inferno” is available from Amazon. Underground Voices. His novels, “Mount Everest” and “Eli the Rat”, are available from Amazon. “Mount Everest” has been adapted to a play by a leading west coast playwright. Click www.jimmeirose.com to know more.
© Jim Meirose