“Divine Beings” by Michelle Lawrence, page 3

        “Yeah! Those Buddha pears sold for seven bucks each. How much do you think I could charge for Jesus-shaped organic zucchinis?”
        “I think the plural of zucchini is zucchini. And don’t you think that would just piss people off? Do you remember what your cousin said when I told her I thought those Mary statues Catholics put in their yards look like vulvae?”
        Max smirked, and muttered something about what sounded like “Mary’s head was the…”
        He blinked and said, “Lara, I think it could work. We have so many churches around here, and so many people are into organic crap anymore. It’s like…the best of two worlds. How many zucchinis did Mom get from her couple of rows? A hundred, easy! Seven bucks each…if I planted ten rows, and if I could stagger when the zucchinis ripened…”
        “Zucchini,” I said again, but he wasn’t listening. He’d gone out to the garage, and I could hear him rustling around in his wood supply, probably looking for the right kind for the molds he clearly planned to carve. “I think I’d rather you watch porn clips,” I said, louder than I’d intended.
        Max came back to the office in a hurry, a piece of balsa wood in one hand and pine in the other, the paper crinkling from where he’d put it under his arm.
        “Lara, I get that you think this is crazy. ‘Another one of Max’s stupid hobbies.’ But I’ve been thinking about this on and off since last fall, and I really think it could work. You know I’m not having luck finding a job, but I can provide for us, and I can make people happy doing it. So just let me do it, would you? You didn’t marry an idiot. You know I can do this.”
        His color was high, and he was gesticulating with the wood pieces while he talked. He was serious about this. He was going to make zucchini Jesuses, whether I thought it was a good idea or not. “You know, I don’t have to ask you for your permission,” he added.
        “No, you don’t,” I said.
        The next afternoon I came home to find various sizes of yellow squash and zucchini on the kitchen table. A plastic grocery sack was on the floor by his feet. Max had a particularly thick squash in his right hand, a piece of balsa wood in the other. The room smelled like a lumber yard from the shavings covering the counter. I left my school bag on the floor by the fridge and picked up a block of wood that he’d already carved, and ran my finger along the indentations in the shape of a human being.
        “That one will fit a zucchini up to six inches,” he told me. “I just need to fit it with hinges and a clasp, and then attach a stake. Once the blossoms start to drop, I’ll fit the zucchinis into the empty molds, hook them shut, and plant the stakes. I think I’ll have to drill some holes or something, too, to let in the sunlight so they stay green, though maybe they’d keep white like those weird asparaguses that cost so much.”
        “Zucchini,” I stressed, but he ignored me. “And the plural of asparagus is still asparagus.”
        “Think they’d look more like Jesus if they were white?” he asked, turning his back to me as he cradled a mold he was working on close to his chest.
        “Jesus couldn’t have been white,” I told him. “The Romans just appropriated the images of pagan gods so that the heathens would accept Christianity. He didn’t really have a halo; that was Apollo.”

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