A Short Story by William Hrdina
The first sign was very subtle and we should be forgiven for missing it.
Jeremy Riven and his wife Nancy slept soundly in their beds. On the mantle in the living room stood a small ceramic statue of Jesus, it was a family heirloom worth about $2.50. Their apartment was very close to railroad tracks- freighters, bound for Austin, came chugging by every couple of hours. After five years, the passing trains didn't cause husband or wife to wake up- they were immune. But the vibration disrupted the statue and eventually it fell over and cracked into 2 pieces. Because the mantle was mostly neglected, the accident wasn't discovered for almost 2 months.
When Nancy eventually found the statue, she tossed the broken pieces into the trash. She swatted her 5 year old son Jason on the butt for denying knowledge of how it got broken. He didn't break the statue- but he did break a lamp a few weeks earlier, so perhaps justice was served.
The second sign was a little more obvious- harder to ignore, but still editable. There was a church in Ohio with a 62 foot high and 40 foot wide statue of Jesus sitting on the shore of a small, man-made pond. It was known by the locals as "Touchdown Jesus" because it had both arms raised in a big U. The statue was considered a town monument. The massive religious icon stood in stark contrast to a deliberately placed ‘Hustler Store' billboard across the street.
One evening, lightning struck the statue. Because it was made of plastic foam and fiberglass, it went up like dry tinder. In less than 10 minutes, the 6 story statue was a cinder. The church's congregation mourned the loss of the statue- and the quarter of a million dollars it cost to build- and due to the weirdness of the event, it made the national news.
The Hustler billboard across the street was untouched, a fact commented on, but not seen as the warning it was meant to be.
The third sign was not so subtle. Everyone has seen a picture of the massive statue of Christ standing watch over the city of Rio de Janeiro- if nowhere else- in the Jason Bourne movies (Ironically, this giant statue of Jesus also cost a quarter of a million dollars back in the early 30's when it was built). On an otherwise sunny afternoon, with no warning, there was an earthquake- a 6.5 on the Richter scale located exclusively beneath the statue. Ten meters down, a couple of precariously balanced stones didn't fall over until the collapsing rubble took them out. Thankfully, no one, save the pile of stones, was hurt.
Sam Simon was the first to raise the obvious question on a Sunday Talk show.
"We have to face the possibility somebody somewhere is sending a sign." He said.
To which The Host quipped back, "Yeah, don't build gigantic statues on unstable ground."
Sam tried to reiterate his point- but Aaron Eckers babbled on about deficit spending on religious statues until the commercial break.
Despite the rocky start- the meme was picked up in the blogs and soon echoed back out onto all the 24 hour news shows.