(The exciting conclusion) (It's kind of awkward reading these archived, since you've gotta go to the bottom of the page to begin with part one...but I don't know of any better way. So do it. Unless, of course you've read parts one and two, then please go ahead, you don't have to read them again, since doing so would only create some kind of infinite loop, just reading parts one and two again and again because a silly preamble told you to. If you've figured it out, I'm just trying to build suspense for what truly is the exiting conclusion to the trilogy...which is actually just one story that I split into three parts to make it more internet manageable...enjoy.)
The miracle lasted about a week before my sight began to blur, but the momentum Frank had gained from that one incident was unstoppable. He had begun to hold what he called “Disciple Meetings” every Thursday night with his closest friends. They discussed what was to be done with the world, usually over a game of Halo or Mortal Kombat.
I wasn’t allowed to attend.
While Frank preached what he knew of forgiveness and kindness, the disciples called me the doubter or, more often just the simple epithet, heathen; and it was because of my being barred from these gatherings that I didn’t know Frank had cancelled what would have been the fourth Disciple Meeting.
I walked through the front door, expecting the venomous glares of the disciples. I was carrying a bag of groceries and a Styrofoam box containing leftover Guac-o-molay Extreme from work. It was then that I saw Frank with a rope around his neck, standing on a stack of Gideon bibles, each one lifted from a different hotel, which they claimed to read at the meetings. The groceries and Guac hit the floor, the latter of which left a green stain which remains to this day.
“Oh my God no,” came my frenzied whisper.
“I didn’t want you to have to see this,” Frank said, tears welling in his reddened eyes, “I tried it earlier, but I just broke the ceiling fan,” he added, gesturing first to the mutilated fan on the floor, and then to the hole in the ceiling, through which he had tied the rope this time firmly to a wooden rafter.
“Frank, I need you to stop this,” I was trying to be calm, but it wasn’t working. I broke down and cried out, “Take that damn rope off your neck, now!”
“What’s the point, man? Just look around you, I mean, the world isn’t even worth me saving it anymore!”
“Just come down here and we’ll talk about it, come on,” I said, inching towards him.
He wasn’t listening anymore, “I mean, a few hundred years ago,” he was crying now, but he continued, gesturing frantically. I remember being so worried that he’d fall off, that each movement would be his last, “even just a hundred years ago, the world would have been worth it…but now it’s just full of so many bad people doing so many bad things, that, they just outnumber the good now, and I’m just going to let it die, it’s not worth it.”
“Frank, come on, you can’t be—“
“No. Stay right there, dude. There’s nothing more that you can do here. I’m just going to martyr myself right now, tell Dad what I told you, and He’ll forgive me.”
The first second; I stood frozen, just watching him there dangling helplessly. I wanted to throw up.
The next second; I ran to him in slow motion, hoping to get there before—
The rope snapped. He fell to the floor with a crack and a thud as he went through the coffee table.
Two seconds after that; I knelt next to him, taking his head in my arms. His forehead was bleeding, but his chest was still moving. At this point we were both crying.
Frank sobbed, and after several minutes said, “I’m sorry.”
I sobbed back, “it’s okay,” and we cried there until both of our shirts were wet with tears. Neither of us remembers who fell asleep first, sitting amongst stolen bibles and ruined furniture, and looking back we really don’t care.
A week went by, and we didn’t once mention the events of that night. Frank dissolved the disciples, telling them finally to worship someone else, and that he was a terrible Christ. We had the hole in the ceiling repaired, explaining to the landlord that we were hanging wet clothes from the fan when it fell, breaking the table. I thought that the whole mess was behind us, when, on a Sunday morning, Frank looked up from his bowl of cereal.
“You know, I was thinking,” he said, pointing at me with his wet spoon, “I didn’t go to church this morning, because,” crunch crunch crunch, “because, well, I slept in, but they never talk about J.C. sleeping in…but they were always talking about him going to temple, so I think I’m gonna start trying harder.”
I lowered the classifieds and stared at him incredulously, “I can’t believe you’re still doing this,” I said, giving him a death stare, “Frank, you tried to kill yourself…twice, over this thing, aren’t you ready yet to give it up?”
“But dude, it’s destiny—“
“I don’t give a damn about destiny anymore,” I said, “and I don’t care that you think that you’re the messiah! I don’t want to hear any more of this crap from now on, I’m sick of it!”
He pushed his chair back, stood up, and pointed angrily at me from across the table, “I don’t care what you’re sick of, I know what I was told—“
“by an escaped mental patient!” I shouted, standing also.
“—and I’m going to do exactly what he told me…and…and, you know what?”
“Look behind you.”
For the first time in over a decade of atheism, I prayed. Standing before me, engulfed in light too brilliant to look at directly, was the form of a man, and Frank was right; wings and a halo, whole bit. He was right. I turned my head towards Frank, who was smiling triumphantly, bathed in the light emanating from the angelic form before me.
He then pushed his hair out of his eyes and said, “Thom, I forgive you,” slapping me on my shoulder, “but I freakin’ told you!”