Set in heaven, this is a board meeting with Sons of Anarchy characters based on religious characters discussing cuts to services.
Jax Judas Iscariot
Chibs John the Baptist
Bobby Holy Ghost
Happy Grim Reaper
Opie St. Peter
Piney Angel Gabriel
Tara Joan of Arc
BOARD MEETING – CUTS TO SERVICES
God bangs the gavel, bringing the meeting to order.
God (Clay): Okay people, let’s get started. There’s an episode of Sons of Anarchy I want to see at 9pm, so I need to be away by 8.45pm at the latest. Want to get me some more insight on dealing with all this disorder we’ve got going on. We’ve got too many people starting to think they can run this place with their own political ideology. Freedom of the individual is not an option. We’ve got to curb this now.
Moses (Unser): Hang on a minute, these commandments we live by, they’re sacrosanct. You know that, right? You can’t just change them to suit yourself. We’ve all got to live together. We’re not above the law here.
God (Clay): Erm, yeah, I think you’ll find we are. I gave those commandments to you, Moses. Anyway, I’m not saying we change them on earth, just up here where it affects us. We run Heaven, always have done. You’ve been in my pocket for years. That’s what’s kept us straight, you and me, doing what we do, for the good of our charming home.
Moses (Unser): I ain’t in nobody’s pocket, God. I’ve just learnt over the years to work with you, turn a blind eye for an eye occasionally. What exactly are you asking of me?
God (Clay): I’m asking nothing. But you’ll do well to remember who put you where you are. You got a problem with any of this, let’s you and me take it outside.
Moses visibly shrinks into his pew, his voice catching.
Moses (Unser): I got no problem. Just need to be sure we’re singing from the same hymn sheet here. If there are no proposed changes to the rules we’re all good.
God (Clay): Okay, good. We’ll start with apologies. Anyone heard from anyone who can’t be here tonight?
John the Baptist (Chibs): Aye, St Jude, patron saint for lost causes is off on some wild goose chase trying to sort out miracles for a queue of people at the pearly gates. He’s also pissed off at always being mistaken for Judas Iscariot so he said he couldn’t be arsed to keep trying to explain to ye all that he’s the good guy, not the nasty bastard who betrayed Jesus.
Judas Iscariot (Jax): Bit harsh ain’t it? Betrayal’s a subjective word. There was never any evidence to back up that accusation, and nobody ever found those 30 pieces of silver I was supposed to have got for it!
Judas Iscariot looks towards Jesus and gives him a derisive grin
Jesus (Juice): Look, did you all see that? John, babe, did you see that? He smirked at me! I swear, he’s always accusing me of betrayal, but he just doesn’t see it in himself. I want that recorded in the minutes.
John the Baptist (Chibs): Aye, lad. I saw it. Don’t worry, darlin’. He’s not gonna hurt ye again, I’ll see to that, boy.
God (Clay): Jesus Christ, we’ve not even started yet. Can we get on with it please? Holy Ghost, are you minuting this meeting?
Holy Ghost (Bobby): I am indeed, God.
God (Clay): Thank you Holy Ghost. And thank you John for passing on that message from St Jude. Any more apologies?
St Peter (Opie): Yay, St Christopher’s off on his Harley somewhere. I saw him burning rubber, just as I turned into Chapel. He asked me to leave the key for the gates for when he comes back later on.
Holy Ghost (Bobby): Just because he’s patron saint of travellers, that guy thinks he can come and go as he pleases. We could really have done with his input tonight. Maybe we look at reducing his travel allowances? His mileage claims have been astronomical recently. Let’s get him off the road and in the office a bit more.
God (Clay): Noted. And agreed. All in favour?
God (Clay): Passed. Moving on. As you know, we’ve called this meeting tonight to look at the dire financial position we find our heaven in. Government cuts have blighted us over the last few years, but this year the spending reviews are crippling. It’s the only thing on the agenda, so I’d like to get straight to it.
Mary (Gemma): I’ve got some ‘any other business’ I’d like to bring up afterwards.
God sends Mary a quick wink, seen by everyone.
God (Clay): Duly noted, Mary. Let’s get started. As this is an addition to our normal monthly meetings, I’ve taken the liberty of inviting a few extras along who may be able to help with some fund raising or cost cutting ideas. Welcome Ladies. And Moses. In light of this, I think it’d be useful if everyone could introduce themselves and give a brief overview of their role. I’ll start. I’m God, I rule this place. My will be done.
Judas Iscariot (Jax): Hi, I’m Judas. I’m one of the 12 disciples, originally meant to support and follow Jesus, then single handedly responsible for creating the situation that directly led to the crucifixion and ultimate resurrection.
Jesus (Juice): Jesus Christ, Son of God, doer of miracles, founder of the church, died by crucifixion and rose from the dead. And yeah, that arsehole was the one that got me nailed to the cross.
Mary (Gemma): Hi, I’m Mary, mother of Jesus and blessed virgin.
Snorts of laughter ensue from around the table.
Mary (Gemma): I’ll have you know I was a good, God-fearing girl you judgemental fucks! The Mighty One did great things for me. So I’ve read.
God chuckles under his breath.
God (Clay): You were so full of sin you little jezabel. Immaculate conception, my arse!
Mary flashes a sultry smile his way. Moses clears his throat to move things along.
Moses (Unser): Ahem. Hello. I’m Moses. Religious leader and lawgiver. Scriber of the 10 commandments, God’s police. Parter of seas, and advocate for slaves.
St Peter (Opie): Evening. St Peter, former fisherman, apostle, keeper of the keys to the kingdom and guard of the pearly gates.
Grim Reaper (Happy): Hey everyone. I’m Grim Reaper. Killer. Soul collector. Greatest job in the universe. People have to die. A LOT.
Joan of Arc (Tara): I’m Joan of Arc, heroine of France, burnt at the stake but proved innocent 25 years later. Not pissed about that at all!
Angel Gabriel (Piney): Angel Gabriel. Messenger sent from God to deliver prophecies. Official tequila taster. Nice to see you again Mary, long time no see!
Mary nods in response.
John the Baptist (Chibs): John the Baptist, preacher, prophet and baptiser. Foreteller of the coming of Jesus. Often maker of the coming of Jesus. And he is beautiful when he comes.
Jesus reddens slightly and a small smile glides over his angelic face. There’s nothing angelic about that mouth, thinks John, squirming in his seat.
Satan (Tig): Satan. How d’ya do, all? Bringer of evil and temptation, and lover of all things sin related.
God (Clay): Thanks everyone. Okay, on to the main matter at hand. We’ve already made a decision to quash mileage rates for St Christopher. Does anyone have any more efficiency saving or fund raising ideas?
Holy Ghost (Bobby): We could save a bit on bread and wine – Christ, every time we have a communion it costs us a bleeding fortune. And as for feeding the 5,000, we can’t carry on using that sting. As a hustle it’s wearing a bit thin. People are starting to see through this so called miracle and we just don’t have the stock left to keep pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes. I think we need to make people responsible for their own food. As long as we’ve got enough here for our own needs, food responsibility should be taken away from the board.
St Peter (Opie): I’d agree with that. There are plenty of do-gooders coming through the gates who will open up a foodbank or two for the needy. Foodbanks are the way forwards. It’s what the leaders downstairs are saying.
Angel Gabriel (Piney): Yeah, that’s the message I’m getting. The gap between rich and poor is widening the whole time. Everyone knows we have to cut services, this is the time to be drastic. We can blame it straight on the Governments.
St Peter (Opie): That’s right Pops. Ooops, Gabe. The blowback won’t be on us.
God (Clay): Right then. All in favour of banning communion bread and wine and getting out of the food business?
God (Clay): That’s a good start. But it only scrapes at the surface of the problem. What we really need is to reduce the number of referrals to heaven. Grim Reaper, what’s your take on this?
Grim Reaper (Happy): No, not an option. My role is to kill off those on earth. You talking about making me redundant?
Holy Ghost (Bobby): Not redundant, but maybe you could scale back a bit? Be a bit more choosy about who you end down there? Cut backs, Grim. We’ve all got to make sacrifices, there are posts being deleted.
Grim Reaper (Happy): I’m not happy about this, not one little bit. It’s all there in my job description. I don’t give a shit about what goes on up here, and it’s not my decision who gets in to heaven and who goes to hell. I just do the killin’. I love my job.
Holy Ghost (Bobby): Have you read your new job description Grim? It may be in the original, but you might have to look at comparability and get it re-written to include murder and torture.
St. Peter (Opie): Maybe I could get a bit stricter on who we let in. If we raise the thresholds a bit and turn a few more away, we might be able to manage things better up here. How would that sit with your lot down below, Satan?
Satan (Tig): That’s fine with me. The more the merrier down there. When it starts to get a bit too crowded we just chuck a few in the fire pit.
Joan of Arc shudders, goose bumps rising over her body.
Joan of Arc (Tara): Seriously Satan? Do you have any sensitivity at all for what people have been through? Empathy? Understanding? Consideration? No, all foreign concepts I guess for a corporate heathen like you!
Satan (Tig): I gotta say, the thought of those compassionate words terrifies me, but I’m totally erect right now.
God (Clay): Thanks for that image Satan. Don’t minute that Holy Ghost! You need any training to put that in place St Pete? Assertiveness training, difficult conversations, that sort of shit?
St Peter (Opie): No, I’ll be fine. I got this. But on that point, I think we need to look at the training budget in a bit more detail.
Holy Ghost (Bobby): Good idea. What sort of shite are the training department offering at the moment?
Jesus (Juice): John the Baptist and I went on a mandatory management stimulation course last week. Not sure how the rest of you lot managed to get out of it?
Judas Iscariot (Jax): Because we avoid our emails like the plague of locusts the old man released back in the day, you conscientious prick.
Holy Ghost (Bobby): How was the course, Jesus? Any good?
Jesus (Juice): It was a pile of pants. Run by some dipstick from corporate paradise, got no idea what goes on in the real heaven. A four hour course for what they could have got through in ten minutes. The only decent thing was networking with Johnny. And does that shithead Judas get to call me a conscientious prick without being challenged?
John the Baptist (Chibs): Actually Jeezy-boy, the course was management simulation but always good to network with ye. Nothing like a bit of schmoosing and interaction with colleagues for purging the soul. And I think calling him shithead probably negates yer argument somewhat, darlin’.
Angel Gabriel (Piney): Which brethren are in the training team now? Anyone likely to kick up a fuss if we pull their funding?
Jesus (Juice): I think Paul’s still heading up the department – sanctimonious, holier-than-thou saint that he is. And just a couple of prophets through whom God reveals truth, and teachers who explain the truth of God’s words.
Angel Gabriel (Piney): God’s truths? Now there’s a unique concept! And maybe if God had a bit less to say…….
Moses (Unser): Careful Gabe, you’d be out of a job for a start. But maybe we could lose the prophets and teachers. That’d save us a bit. Just leave St Paul to manage himself.
God (Clay): Sounds like a plan. If we leave the head of department there, we can’t be accused of slashing the whole team. And any more quips like that Gabe and we’ll be looking at retiring you.
Angel Gabriel (Piney): Couldn’t give a shit. Just know that there’s no way in this heaven that we’re watering down the tequila. That’ll be over my dead body.
God (Clay): That could be arranged, old man.
Moses (Unser): Thou shalt not kill, God. Remember that one?
Grim Reaper (Happy): Moses, you do talk some shit. That one better be written in my job spec. Kill, maim, hurt!
Angel Gabriel (Piney): You don’t scare me, oh God the hallowed one. Remember, I knew you when you were a snivelling kid, back in the days when we were fresh and idealistic, not worn down by years of your lies and deceit. You were supposed to lead us not into temptation.
God (Clay): Shut it, old man. I swear one of these days I really will clip your wings, with a bullet right through the middle of them. Vote people please – all those in favour of losing the prophets and teachers?
John the Baptist (Chibs): That’s the ones in the training department though, not me is it? I’m a prophet.
Jesus (Juice): Ah no, Johnny. We couldn’t get rid of you. I need you too much, babe.
Judas Iscariot (Jax): Come on boys, can we move it on a bit. Some of us have some betraying to do!
Jesus (Juice): Don’t you think you’ve done enough yet? Shame you’re not as good at money saving ideas.
Judas Iscariot (Jax): Jesus, Jesus, you’re the hacker extraodinaire. Can’t you just hack in to the banks and put a few noughts on our current account balance?
Jesus (Juice): It’s not that easy you douchebag. Firstly, if we want to do any decent, regular hacking we need to invest in some new equipment. I know for all you old men a decent laptop is a bit of a leap, but really, Amstrad computers the size of a wardrobe went out with the Ark. In fact, I think Noah’s got better communication and internet connection through his carrier pigeons than we have. Secondly, even with updated media systems you still can’t hack into tablets of stone. We need a whole new set up covering banking, security, law enforcement and business systems, and an update on all the peripherals. Then I might be able to hack into the financial systems.
John the Baptist (Chibs): That sounds reasonable to me. Ye have to speculate to accumulate, eh sweetheart? I’d happily back young Jeezy-boy with a bit of new equipment. I’m more than willing to give him whatever backing he needs.
Jesus (Juice): Gee, thanks Johnny, happy to be backed by you, whenever you fancy. In fact, I’ve got some pretty good hardware solutions I could show you afterwards if you’re interested, back at my place?
Satan (Tig): Keep it going lads. Still erect here!
Jesus (Juice): Are we voting on that then?
God (Clay): We’re supposed to be saving money not spending it.
Judas Iscariot (Jax): Are you actually saying that you can make this work, Jesus? Because if you can, we might as well do it this way than faff about with heavenly bake offs, pin the tail on Mary’s donkey, or throwing wet sponges at Moses.
God (Clay): Okay, okay. All those in favour of updating computer systems and Jesus setting up a bit of fraud in the collection plate?
Judas Iscariot draws Jesus in for a manly hug and a kiss to his cheek. As he does so, he whispers menacingly:
Judas Iscariot (Jax): This is how you earn the trust back, Jesus. Do it and we’re even. Fuck it up and I’ll kill you.
God (Clay): That about wraps it up for financial issues, fraud, deception and scamming it is. Over to Mary for any other business.
Mary (Gemma): Okay you cretins. The only reason I came here tonight is to try and get my boy re-instated. They were switched at birth God dammit. You only have to look to see. My beautiful blonde little Judas Iscariot, who’s been accused of selling out his brothers. How can you even think that this Hispanic imposter Jesus could be my son?
Jesus (Juice): Really, Mom? That old nugget again? And people wonder why I’ve got attachment issues.
Mary (Gemma): Oh come on, Jesus. Your parentage has always been an issue, and you’ve played on it as much as anyone when it’s suited you. You’re quick enough to deny your father’s biological imprint.
Jesus (Juice): That’s because my father wasn’t that waste of space carpenter from Nazareth. It’s enough that you tried to convince everyone you were a Goddam virgin. God is my father. Joseph was just another pawn in your web of deceit and lies. You screwed me over good and proper when Herod found that little gem twisted up in my DNA.
John the Baptist (Chibs): Ah Jesus, sweetheart. I’ve told ye, laddie. If Herod keeps giving ye grief, ye tell him to suck yer Daddy’s big black cock. It only matters what yer birth certificate says, and if that names Joseph, then yer safe. Herod can’t do a damned thing to prove yer the son of God.
Mary (Gemma): Too right he can’t, because you’re no son of mine. God can deny it all he likes, but I know the truth. He couldn’t keep his hands off me, fucked me good and proper, got me up the duff, then went off on his merry way, left me pregnant, to ride to Bethlehem on that flaming donkey.
Judas Iscariot (Jax): Is this true? You’re my mother? And he’s my father? Jesus Christ….. Mom…….? You didn’t think this was important to tell me?
Jesus (Juice): Look, will y’all at least stop using my name in vain. All this blaspheming is getting confusing.
Satan (Tig): Hell yeah. I’m lost. Can someone tell me what the fuck’s going on here? There may be some people in this room by mistake who should be wallowing in the fire and brimstone downstairs. That’ll be a great efficiency saving, it’s sooo much more expensive housing people up here than it is down there.
Jesus reaches across the table for John the Baptist’s hands and holds tight, fear gripping his face.
Mary (Gemma): It’s perfectly simple. God, surprise surprise, let his big dick rule his head one night and managed to knock me up. He couldn’t face his responsibilities so came up with this cock and bull idea that I should marry Joseph. I had a torrid time of it at the birth, no hospitalisation, and certainly no decent drugs, but God had a crisis of conscience and switched the babies at birth to protect his own son from that perv Herod who was the only one who believed me, and was determined to kill the son of God. As it was he fucked that up and left me with this Hispanic imposter while God hid Judas away – took him away from the mother who loved him.
Judas Iscariot (Jax): God?…. Dad?…… Is this true? I’m your son? Is that why you’ve always looked out for me?
Jesus (Juice): Dad? You’re not my father? And you left me to die at the hands of Herod? How could you do that to me?
Tears are rolling down Jesus’ face.
John the Baptist (Chibs): Jeezy-boy, don’t fret lad, I’m here for ye. Ye still got me.
God (Clay): Look, it’s complicated. DNA was just so expensive in those days. But yes, it’s true. I knocked Mary up and then switched the two of you at birth. Judas Iscariot is my real son.
Holy Ghost (Bobby): I think technically, you’ll find that Jesus, or in this case Judas, was conceived from myself, although the bible story is floored when it insists that he was born of a virgin named Mary!
Mary (Gemma): Careful you old goat!
Jesus (Juice): So who the fuck am I? Who’s my Daddy?
Satan (Tig): I’m really tempted to just fuck with your head and say John the Baptist, but actually, the truth might fuck with you more. I think I might be your Daddy.
Jesus (Juice): Jesus Christ.
Angel Gabriel (Piney): It’s true boy. Another one of those secrets that God here tried to bury. But St Moninna from Ireland, a good friend of John the Baptist and St Patrick, sent me some letters confessing all, that she’d done some sort of deal with the devil before she set up her community of virgins.
Jesus (Juice): Johnny, babe? You knew about this?
John the Baptist (Chibs): I never knew for sure, sweetheart. But it’s why I’ve always been there for ye. Always had yer back, in both the figurative and biblical sense. I knew yer Ma, and I suspected that it was Satan who had dishonoured her.
Satan (Tig): What can I say? You all know I can’t resist defiling and corrupting the odd virgin.
John the Baptist (Chibs): Jeezy-boy. I’m sorry I never told ye, darlin’, but I always kept an eye on ye when God used ye to save his real son. Please forgive me, sweetheart?
Jesus (Juice): I forgive you, babe. It’s God that I can’t forgive. I’ve always thought of him as my father, always tried to make him proud of me. And he’s used me.
God (Clay): Jesus Christ, don’t be such a wuss. I always treated you like my son. Did miracles for you and all sorts, even if you did fuck up all the time!
Joan of Arc (Tara): Judas. Baby, I know we’ve kept our “relationship” quiet for years, but if you’re really the son of God, I think we might have a problem. Your “mother” is a controlling bitch and I’m not sure I can live with that. And your “father”, he sanctioned for me to burn at the stake at nineteen. Nineteen for fuck’s sake. I was just a child. How could any God do that? The pain and suffering he caused me….
Satan (Tig): Really, darlin’? Why are you not over that yet? It’s an honourable way to die, even got my own daughter the same way.
Joan of Arc (Tara): Look, I was noble. I was pure. It bloody hurt! And being dead obviously put paid to my career. But really Judas. Our boys, that we’ve kept secret from everyone, we can’t bring them up here, this place is toxic. Our Cain and Abel will end up killing themselves or each other.
Judas Iscariot (Jax): Joan darlin’, we can sort this out. I know you have that job offer from up North, but we can make this work. I will handle my mother, I promise. If it’s my destiny to sit at the head of this table, I won’t let it ruin us. Please, let me just stay until this place is back on its feet, then I promise you we’ll leave and start afresh. I’ve got so much more betraying to do, I have to stay for a while.
Mary (Gemma): Wait a minute. I have Grandbabies? God, we have grandbabies together. How old are they? Who looks after them when you’re at work? What are they like? When do I get to meet them?
Joan of Arc (Tara): Oh for fuck’s sake. Here we go already!
God (Clay): ENOUGH. QUIET. All of you. I’m still in charge here. We’re supposed to be trying to save money. All we’ve done is spend a shit load more on IT crap and then open the closet on all the office gossip and family skeletons. Let’s go see St Paddy and his Irish cronies, to see if we can’t do a deal on some AKs and rocket launchers. We should get a good family discount now we know he knew Jesus’ Mom. We can sell ‘em on for a massive profit to some unsuspecting disciples. All those in favour?
They all rise from the table and retire to the bar to turn water into tequila and whiskey.