Second Coming and Going
Jesus Christ has returned to Earth. But instead of heralding the Apocalypse, it turned out to be just a brief visit by the Messiah, who said he was "a bit pushed for time".
Christ appeared unexpectedly in the home of 74 year-old Apocrypha Cartwright, an ex-nun and bingo caller living in Duluth.
Cartwright, who has previously been visited by the Virgin Mary, Gandhi, Elvis and Oprah [check that last one, it might be true - ed], said that she was taken by surprise when she found Jesus in her utility room.
"I was just going to put some of my husband's shorts in to soak, because they've got some of those difficult stains, and there He was, standing by the tumbledryer," she quivered. "At first I thought He might be cleaning His robes, but then I could see they were all sort of glowing and ethereal and that sort of thing really needs hand washing."
The Messiah then explained that he was only "popping by".
"I asked Him if He was going to scourge the wicked and cast them into the bottomless pit and bring forth locusts with hair of women and teeth of lions and bring about God's kingdom on Earth," said Cartwright. "But He told me it wasn't really an official visit."
Unsure what she should do, lest she be judged, Cartwright offered the Messiah a cup of tea, which he gladly accepted. "I asked Him if He wanted herbal but He just wrinkled His nose. He also asked if I had any vodka to put in it, which I thought was strange. But I'd drunk the last of it that morning."
Although disappointed that Christ had not come to punish evildoers, the old woman confessed that it was also a bit of a relief. "I was a bit worried I was going to be cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God," she said. "And I still had my curlers in. Hopefully, we'll get a bit more warning when the Apocalypse really happens."
Although his visit was brief, Cartwright says Christ left a message for the world.
"He said to say He was really sorry he couldn't stay," said Cartwright, "but He was literally in the neighborhood and thought He'd drop in to see how we're getting along. He said He'd try to stay longer next time."
Mark of the Beast
On June 6th, 2006 the world was saved from tsunamis, earthquakes, famines and devastating comets by a handful of people and the power of prayer — and billions will never know how close they came to annihilation.
"Yep, we did it," smirked Patrick Beatitude, 53, Pastor of the Internet Church of Instant Salvation, North Carolina. "We've been warning the world for months that 6-6-06, the day that bears the Mark of the Beast, would bring down on the Earth a storm of terror and death. It was D-Day for the world. Only total subservience to God could prevent it. So my buddies and me spent the whole day on our knees, and look what happened. Nothing!"
Beatitude scoffs at people who suggest out that nothing might have happened anyway. "Those godless heathens don't know how lucky they are. We saved their sorry asses and we're not even charging them for it."
He also dismisses those who point out that the day includes a zero in the number, that it wasn't actually 666 but 6-6-06, or even 6-6-2006.
"They're just playing games with numbers," he said. "And when you're dealing with the presence of evil on the Earth, when Satan himself is about to lay waste to the entire planet, well that's no time to be playing games."
Beatitude also points out that he and no fewer than seven of the church's congregation prayed for the entire world, not just their own members or even just God-fearing people in North Carolina.
"That's right. We saved the entire planet," he points out. "I mean, I'm sure some people still had a bad day. You know, getting mugged and stuff. And I guess there were some of those third-world type countries where they still had, you know, wars and famines and things. But it was nothing like what it could have been. And here in North Carolina it was nothing but peace."
Beatitude is now planning a nationwide tour, a book and a DVD which will detail the devastation and suffering that would have been visited on the Earth but for prayer. He also said that his church would soon announce a range of forthcoming catastrophes including plagues, infestations and so-called 'natural' disasters. "We want to give people time to join with us to save the world. And to ensure that we can all work together to maximum effect in our selfless crusade, we have introduced a new range of membership options, some as cheap as $50 a month. Not bad for a shot at eternal salvation, huh?"
When asked if he could provide proof that he had saved the world through the power of prayer, Beatitude smiled and said: "It ain't about proof, it's about faith. And I wouldn't have it any other way."