Without saying a word Alexis handed the fishbowl to her husband and quickly dove into the front seat of the hearse. Kitten Kennedy was pushed against Dustin as the woman hastily scooted over, grabbed the fish from James and let him into the car. “Drive!” She shouted to Dustin as James slammed the door shut behind them both.
Instinctively Dustin jammed down the accelerator causing the massive engine of the vehicle to groan. While the hearse wasn’t exactly built for speed it did lurch forward with enough force to rattle the coffin around in the cargo area in back and send the birdcage crashing over. Somehow Alexis managed to favor her fishbowl enough to not spill any of the water.
All of them turned to watch the news men and women rushing forward at them from behind. The mass of reporters and technicians looked like a wild herd of cattle that had been swept up in the fervor of a stampede. They made headway on the hearse for a little while but soon began to recede.
After he’d become satisfied that they’d made their escape, Dustin refocused his attention back on the road. Absently he continued to watch the media running and panting in the frame of his rearview mirror. Several of those holding camera’s had stopped and begun to film the hearse’s retreat. Some of them even appeared to be rushing back in the direction of their vans as if intent on giving chase.
“Turn here please.” James said, pointing up an old side road.
Dustin did as he was told jerking the heavy vehicle onto the lane and making the coffin bump against the backdoor hatch with a heavy thud.
“What’s this about?” he asked.
“Sorry.” James smiled as they bolted down the cracked pavement of the highway. “Just give me a second. There’s another turn coming up.”
“Where?” Dustin snapped.
“Here please.” James answered gently pointing towards a fork in the road that was approaching on their left.
Kennedy rolled over almost into Dustin’s lap as he took the curve. “What’s going on?” She shouted. “Where are you taking us?”
James’ pleasant smile never disappeared. “We sort of need to just wind our way around the outskirts of town to avoid those news vans.”
“Why are they after you?” Dustin asked again.
It was Alexis who answered. “They think he’s Jesus.” She said looking ahead with a worried expression.
“It’s all a big misunderstanding.” James added calmly. “I’ll try to explain but first we need to get away from those guys.”
“Why do they think you’re Jesus?” Dustin asked.
“Turn here.” James replied pointing again.
They continued to follow his directions for what seemed like forever twisting and turning the hearse down rural paths that grew more and more roughshod and isolated. Together they drove until they were deep into the surrounding woods. Dustin slowed to a more normal speed as James’s navigation became less and less frequent. Looking down at the vehicles GPS, Dustin could see that they had somehow reached the coast.
James read the surprise that he felt at finding out their current location. “It’s a shortcut.” He said casually. “We found it one day when we were headed up to our land after visiting Alexis’s mother.”
Kitten Kennedy looked from Dustin to James. “What’s this about?’ She asked in dismay.
“He’s got land on the coast.” Dustin answered. “They’re building an aquarium.”
Alexis grinned wistfully down at her fish.
“Not that!’ Kennedy argued. “What’s with this guy and why does everyone think he’s Jesus.”
James shook his head. “Not everyone thinks I’m Jesus.”
Alexis gave a snort. “I don’t think you’re Jesus.”
“I’m not Jesus.” James continued letting off a good natured chuckle.
“Shut up!” Dustin shouted slamming down the brake peddle and stopping the hearse in the middle of the road. The car became filled with an unnatural silence. Only the birds in back dared to make a peep.
Putting the vehicle into park, Dustin sat his hands on the steering wheel and looked over at his neighbor. “Why were all those news people chasing after you James?”
“They think he’s Jesus.” Alexis repeated.
“I know that!” Dustin snapped.
James put a hand out as if he were trying to use magic in order to bring peace to the conversation. “Whoa there.” He laughed. “I’m not Jesus and I’m not even sure that those people think that I am.”
Dustin’s grip tightened on the steering wheel. “So why are they after you?” He growled.
James’ smile widened. “It’s my bank sculpture!” He said gleefully.
Kennedy looked to Dustin and shrugged helplessly. “What the hell is he talking about?”
“He’s the guy who did the Bay Bank sculpture.” Dustin answered shooting James with a glare.
Kennedy turned to face the artist furrowing her brow as she did. “Is that the one with all of the televisions and sounds?” She asked.
James beamed. “Yeah!” He answered proudly.
“I hate that creepy thing.” She said.
“Lots of people do.” James admitted. It was the second time that day that Dustin had heard him confess to that. “I guess it’s a little too in your face or something. I was trying to tackle something that was larger than I should have I guess.”
“Why would people think that makes you Jesus?” She asked.
“Well,” James began with a sighing kind of smile. “As of about 4:00pm today all of the televisions that are mounted on its arms came to life. No power is being supplied to the piece so people are wondering why they would suddenly start showing scenes of God’s grace as it is currently being perverted and ruined by mankind.”
“Half of them.” Alexis corrected.
“Yeah.” James shrugged absently. “I guess only half of them are showing scenes of the world’s nature that’s being destroyed. The other half just has images of me walking on water while the book of revelations scrolls past as subtitles.”
Both Dustin and Kitten Kennedy turned to face the man sitting next to them. “What?” They asked in simultaneous surprise.