Jesus was defrosting the multiplied fish and leavened bread when he heard a commotion near the dinner table. He’d been losing up to 10 followers a day since the year before and staff morale was critically low. Rumors within the dinner hall stunk of betrayal and blood.
In a flash, he wiped the remaining water stain off the lip of a crystal chalice and filled it with thick, fruity gas station wine. The son of God was terrified of blood letting ever since a baptism turned into foreskin leeches. It wasn’t normal, but this wasn’t a normal day. He had no idea why spreading his ideology had failed.
Quicker, with a nervous jitter, Jesus pulled open the microwave and thrust a half-thawed pile of fish covered in layers of saran wrap inside. The plate chipped from the force. He started it on 15 minutes, high. Sure, he’d been cutting corners recently. Hanging out with a few prostitutes. Using his mouth for healing rather than hurting. Once and a while he cursed. He impulsively bought authentic leather wallaby whips from Australia and had poor credit as a result.
When times got real tough, he stopped going out to the sea every day to purchase fish. He had been in too much debt to show his face around the market since there was a lot of pressure for him to never fuck up anything in his life time.
The fish came with a cheap, mix it yourself corn batter. After pulling the steaming hot, soggy fish out of the microwave, Jesus sopped it into some cob slop and slapped it onto a screaming hot pan. The ice shot the shimmering, rancid oil straight into his face. He didn’t even blink. Apathy had fully encompassed Jesus, sucking him dry. He couldn’t even talk to his closest friend about it. Without his encouragement, the supper would surely fail. Every time.
When the followers’ count started to drop, the bread went from homemade, straight from the prophet’s body, to dry and crumbly slabs of ergot-infested wheat stuff. Most followers couldn’t tell the difference, as they were of the older crowd, but also hallucinating from the poisonous mold. Sometimes when Jesus and his followers broke the cheap bread, it crumbled too much and got in everyone’s lap, giving people the impression he was a very weak and impure man. The fleshy bread dust often induced group coughing fits that lasted far beyond the salvaged clean water. Soon after, even starved beggars and aching lepers turned away the bread, opting instead to eat mouthfuls of sand.What power could he have in changing the world if his bread crumbled for naught and there was neither blood jam or table cream to sate those ideologically starving souls?
“Ello! Ello!” A crowd of shirts juggling boom mics and shoulder cams squeezed into the kitchen. Startled, Jesus feverishly pried the burned fish off its side and onto a paper towel. He covered it with another paper towel in intense shame. He knew who was coming.
“Aye, what ‘ave we got here?” Gordon Ramsay pointed to a stack of microwaves tucked under the sink.
“Just a few microwaves, my son. Uh, I don’t use them. I just didn’t get around to throwing them out yet.”
Gordon’s eyes widened. “Uh, yeah, I would hope so, since this is a classic Jewish restaurant.”
“Well, I don’t necessarily cook Jewish food.”
“Then why does it say that on the sign outside?” Gordon cocked his head with a confronting stare.
“What sign?” Jesus blushed. He had imagined the restaurant would have taken a different direction. Yes, the sign did say he served classic Jewish cuisine, but after the whole Roman thing, it was not looking like a bright future for kishka and lekach.
“Are you telling me I hallucinated that sign? Come here. Come here.” The crew washed over the kitchen and flooded out the door. Jesus followed on mortified autopilot. Caught in a lie. No, caught sinning. Him, of all people.
“Come on, man.” Ramsay rubbed his ridged face in frustration. His face simmered.
Jesus walked back to the kitchen. Gordon followed behind, barking from behind the door that he would be tasting the meal. Jesus pricked his finger and let a single drop of blood fall into Gordon’s chalice. Maybe the wine would taste more authentic. As hopeless and predictable as his situation was, like many before him, Jesus hoped to impress him. He was such a hard ass, but so, like… cool. His hair is all up there and hard, his face is all filled and diced, he brews his own beer … man.
Jesus whipped out and assembled the table with adrenergic focus. He swore he could see the curled lips and twisted faces as he laid the burnt, cold, frozen fish in front of his brothers. The disciples peered down from their noses and blinked, refusing reaction out of deep respect. Gordon grabbed the fish by the tail and stood up from his chair.
“Ay, Judas, look.” Gordon swung the fish around by the tail and whapped it against the wall. Part of it broke off and shattered. “Look! Look! Loook!” Gordon shook the grease off and put two fingers to its fish-neck. “It’s stone cold! It’s stone! Fucking! Cold!” Judas smirked and averted his gaze towards his superior. Jesus peered through his fingers. The humiliation was too much.
Gordon waltzed over to the wine. “I hope at least the wine is good! That’s the whole reason people come here, right?” Jesus said nothing.
“Right!?” Jesus shrugged. “I guess, I mean, we have other things too that people seem to like.” Gordon scoffed a horrible sarcastic laugh.
“You couldn’t raise up this dish if you tried! It could not get any worse than this!” The tension in the room had built up as Gordon rubbed the back of his neck. The camera crew salivated with juicy berating ratings.
“This fish is clearly frozen, clearly weeks old! Pitiful. Unlike you, if it’s been dead for 3 days, don’t try and resurrect it!” Gordon was extremely amused by the fortunate nature of this kitchen nightmare, as there was so much juicy material to be used to break down Jesus’s self-confidence. Jesus felt tears welling up in his eyes. He had been unemotional up until the personal jabs and felt that at any second, one remark would be the final nail in the crucifix.
Gordon sipped the wine like old Robitussin. He winced and gasped. He exhaled the vinegary vapors into Jesus’s line of scent. His breath smelled awful. Kind of a bummer when you figure out your favorite celebrity doesn’t brush their teeth. You have all the money in the world, brush your fucking teeth. Hire someone else to do it for all I care. Get surgery so your breath doesn’t stink. There’s really no excuse.
“This is awful! Is this really the blood of Christ?” Jesus paused, then nodded slightly.
“Yes, this is authentic and aged Christ blood. This is the blood of my body and spirit.” The lies hurt his heart as they tore from his mouth.
“Unbelievable. You’re in the shit, you’re hanging on by a literal thread, your staff hates you, your friends can’t talk to you, and you’re a weak, blubbering, incompetent mess of a manager, let alone a prophet! You use frozen product and sell it as fresh! The bread! It’s like sand! And you push it as arguably the most valuable meal on the market! I don’t even think you have frozen fish! That isn’t a fish I’ve ever seen along these seas! I think you’re way in over your head, you’re ignoring your family, you’re losing money and now you’re going to lie to me! And I’m the only person who can really help you! And you won’t let me help you!” Gordon ranted and shook. The camera crew circled around him in a slow orbit.
“No… No… It’s real. It’s real.” Flustered, his holiness began to back towards the kitchen.
“Where are you going? Where are you going?” Ramsay had already begun a demo deboning in front of ten unique home chefs before dragging him back.
“I just, I don’t need this kind of abuse, okay? I have reviews, I’ve read many reviews, many good reviews, and I just don’t think that the food is the problem.”
“You’re right. The food isn’t the problem.” Gordon looked Jesus in the eyes.
“The problem is you.”
Eavesdropping, one member of the staff pumped his fists in elation and validation. Jesus hung his head. Gordon shook his.
“You got anything to say?” Gordon crossed his thick, toned arms in front of his puffed, solid chest.
“I.. I don’t know what to say.”
“Well say something! Do something! Be the manager! You’re the guy running the ship! And right now, you’re sinking it!” Gordon smirked internally yet again, his snarky quip-streak doubling by the second. Great metaphor, really expressive.
Jesus began shutting down the kitchen in feigned obliviousness. Gordon had it. He was tired of being stonewalled by this empathetic Semite. “You can serve whatever crap you want, but you will not get away with calling it authentic or cuisine! I will not have people suffering for your sins!” Gordon slapped a rag onto the stainless steel counter in anger and stormed off, making more interesting quips to the crew as they spilled out behind him. He slammed the door of his black Escalade and looked at the picture of his wife and mistress. This kitchen nightmare would be a tough one to shake.
In three weeks, Jesus’s kitchen stock was replaced with entirely fresh, gourmet and organic ingredients from several local farmer’s markets. The interior of the building was painted a mint green and studded with yellow and white ceramic tiles. Random black and white photos of fish and bread hung framed and clustered. Someone donated him a gelato machine of some kind, so he does that now, and young people seem to like it. The kitchen got rid of the microwave stack and replaced it with a new oven. The menu was upgraded from fish, bread, and wine, to mushroom risotto, beef Wellington, and a tasteful selection of wines from local vineyards. The meat was cut and served table-side. His restaurant gained traction and he began to pay off the bills again, albeit slowly.
Within weeks, he was betrayed by his disciples and crucified. The restaurant was soon afterward converted into a Crown Fried Chicken.