After a twelve hour flight delay, more beer than I can recall, with friends I’ve long forgotten and a bus ride to a place called Stansted Airport… we were finally leaving jolly, old England. Thinking back on the trip… I’d seen a guy with a Mohawk, a rat lashed to his shoulder, demanding cash to have his picture taken; I saw a guy get stabbed 5 feet away from me in Trafalgar Square and a guy getting sexual favors from a transvestite in the streets of Soho. In short, it was a bizarre little corner of the world, but little did I know my nights of drunken revelry would be relatively mundane compared to my plane ride back to the states.
After boarding the Boeing 747 Jumbo, my buddy, myself and a couple guys we’d run across from Staten Island, NY, were all seated in a row. The only stranger amongst us was sitting next to me, of course. He appeared to be American with a full long flowing beard and dreadlocks …I couldn’t help but think he looked like a Rastafarian Jesus in this outfit, and the fact that he rolled his own cigarettes only made it comical. He was dressed in a long flowing white robe of the kind you’d see at an OPEC summit or a Christmas Nativity Scene, but, I guess, in reality, is called a thawb.
Settling in, and after an hour or so in the dark cabin, everyone started dozing off. All of a sudden, the lights came back on and flight attendants started pushing their carts down the aisle, announcing it was snack time. Snack time?! Feeling somewhat hung-over and not being able to sleep, I needed something to kill part of the eight hours of flight still left before arriving back in Newark. Besides, if memory served, where there are snacks, there’s booze.
I really enjoyed my snack. Jesus, on the other hand, well I’ll put it this way…one man’s snack is another man’s art supply. Now, anybody who knows art can tell you, you need crème fraiche to do anything worthwhile in the abstract department. However when life gives you cream cheese, you make post modernist expressionism on the back of the seat in front of you. Yup, some folks work in clay, others in metal or wood, Jesus… was a cream cheese man.
He worked in forms and movement far too advanced for this young, un-art-educated man of eighteen years to wrap his head around. But I thought it smacked of smoldering sensuality… especially when he started embedding the goldfish into it. Move over Picasso….make way for Jesus at the Guggenheim! This is where it went pear shaped. While I thought it to be some of his best work yet, Jesus seemed unconvinced, even angry to the point of being inconsolable. Either that or he was tripping his balls off. He started beating the seat in front of him like it owed him money to replay his student loans.
The man in the seat, who until this point had been sleeping, woke up, turned around and asked “Do you mind, I’m trying to sleep?!” Jesus said nothing and seemed to relax for a couple minutes before commencing to beat the back of the seat a second time. This time the man stood up and calmly explained that if it continued, he’d have to call a flight attendant. Jesus calmed down again for a few minutes and lit a cigarette. He then began to tap the seat and started to dab his fists into the creamy work of art he had created for me and my seatmates to enjoy. He began to poke the chair, as if trying to gauge the strength of tap needed to make the poor man once again arise from his relaxed state. We didn’t have to wait long… as the man stood up and turned to say something, Jesus stood up and in his own silent way, commenced to slobber knock the man in his cake hole.
Thus began the scrum…the man was stunned and with his face covered in cream cheese, jabbed back, knocking Jesus’ lit cigarette into the chair behind him. This caused another half-asleep man to jump up and wearily try to grab hold of Jesus without really understanding what was happening. The first man saw an opportunity to throw a haymaker and after hauling back and letting go, Jesus ducked his head just in time for the newly involved man to get knocked the hell out. Jesus put up a decent struggle, but by this point there were multiple male flight attendants and either good Samaritans, or air marshals, pig piling on the still quiet Jesus, and cream cheese was everywhere.
Everybody sitting around Jesus was sent down to first class, for our safety, and given free drinks for our troubles. It was like an after party, where we drank and recounted our stories of what had just unfolded. After landing and waiting in a long, grumpy and drunk line to get through customs, a swinging door opened with a bang, and some half dozen or so of New Jersey’s finest busted through carrying a hog tied Jesus through the express lane…. to a full cavity search I’m sure. A cheer erupted through the crowd of weary passengers, some wearing a white schmear of courage. To be sure, it was a great trip with a thousand memories, but none as vivid as when I toast a bagel and grab for the cream cheese.