The lights are bright over the stage; the main player is gearing up. The director is giving him his cues, telling him of the other player’s names in the performance that there will be some improvisation and crowd participation. They recite their lines over and over. His mind is calm. He is ready. He walks through the curtain with massive applause. They chant his name.
He comes out in a white suit, raising his hands in the air, he speaks into a microphone.
“Hallelujah, are you ready to see a miracle?”
The crowd screams and the actor performs. Reverend Benny throws up his arms and does a back flip to thunderous applause. A fiery hoop is set up in the middle of the stage, which he jumps through unscathed playing the air guitar. The audience goes wild, frothing at the mouth, passing out and wiggling on the floor, epileptic seizures left and right.
People are led to the stages by men in business suits wearing name tags. They’re all part of the show, extras to the movie. All trained rehearsed, memorized lines and directions. Reverend Benny walks up to a man in a bushy moustache.
“What’s your name sir?”
“What’s wrong with you Bob?”
“I can’t see Benny. I’m blind.”
“Do you think I can heal you?”
“Do you believe?”
Reverend Benny raises his hands; the tent becomes silent, closing his eyes reaching toward the heavens. He remains in an ecstatic state, he babbles something indeterminable. His arms shake and tremble, sweat pours down his face. He turns to Bob in one swift motion down his face. He turns to Bob in one swift motion with his hands, hits Bob on the Forehead.
“Heal!” Reverend Benny yells.
Bob falls to the floor caught from behind by a man in a name tag. He is brought to his feet.
“How do you feel Bob?”
Bob clutches his head, blinks a few times. His mouth agape, he raises his arms in the air.
“Hallelujah, I can see!”
The crowd goes berserk, mad like dogs crazy. Barking about on all fours, jumping like kangaroos, animals, bestial creatures forgoing rationality, all from the startling performances of the two great actors.
More and more extras walk on stage, wave after wave of them, disease riddled, broken bodied, psychologically disturbed, demon possessed. Naming their illness one after the other: exhema, arthritis, paralysis, deaf, mute, blind, diabetes, and on and on and on. Reverend Benny knocks them down. When they get back up they’re healed. Then Benny makes an announcement.
“If you want my ministry to keep on going please make a donation in the baskets in front of the stage.”
Everyone runs to throw everything they had in the baskets. Dollar bills, rubies, diamonds, gold, their firstborn sons, a man made panic to make sure that Reverend Benny’s traveling show kept on going.
When no one was looking a little girl crawled onto the stage. The official looking name tag people were trying to calm the frenzied crowd. Her legs dangled uselessly curled up black in a cruel atrophied state. She pulled on Reverend Benny’s pants. He looked down to see the child, shocked at her appearance.
‘Our boys in makeup did a great job.’ He thought.
“Reverend Benny. I heard you can heal people.” Said the little girl.
“Yes child I can.”
“You’re a good Christian man. Can you pray to Jesus to heal my legs.”
“Yes child I will.” Reverend Benny puts his hands on the child’s legs. Reverend Benny thinks this is going to be an amazing special effect. The name tag people turn around in horror.
“In the name of Jesus your legs are healed!”
The frenzy ceases. The black atrophied legs of the girl are straightening and the color returns back. She stands up. She wobbles a bit till she gets her balance. Benny realizes that she isn’t an extra. Tears fall from the girl’s face.
“Praise Jesus! God is good!” the crowd echoes the sentiment.
“Amen! Amen! Glory to God!”
Benny is petrified. There is no way that just happened. He sweats giant drops from his face, trembling at the thought that a miracle just occurred before him.
“It can’t be.” He whispers. His mind in another place he gets louder and louder. “It can’t be! Miracles aren’t real! God isn’t real! There is no possible way this happened! No way at all!”
Everyone with large wide eyes peers angrily at Benny. Benny becomes aware of the tense atmosphere around him. The crowd grinds its teeth.
“Reverend Benny’s a fraud!”
“False prophet! False prophet!”
“Don’t let him get away!”
The mob pushes down the name tag guard and swarms around Benny. Benny fights back like a cornered animal, but someone gets a rope around his neck and pulls tight till his strength leaves him. Benny falls limp to the ground. They pick him up and carry him far outside the tent to the edge of town.
“Stone him! Stone him!”
They throw him off like a rag doll. He plummets head first, cracking his skull. His arms and legs broken splayed about in crooked positions. Benny watches from the flat of his back as the crowd rolls a boulder off the edge of the cliff.
He thinks to himself before the boulder hits. “It couldn’t have happened.”