The Punch Bishop stood center-stage swaying side to side as he spoke while his contents swirled inside, saying, “O Fruit God in the Golden Garden, nectar be thy name.” But the Punch Bishop hadn’t been himself lately. Even as he said the fruity prayer, he hardly looked juicy.
Three days ago, there was a great schism at the Church of Punch Planet. The schism was the effect of a heated fruitology debate concerning the Oranges and the Lemons. The Lemons claimed that the Oranges were being disobedient to the Fruit God because of their pulpy presence in the Punch. For as the book says, the Lemons reminded the congregation of Fruit Punch, “No pulp shall be used in the making of Punch.” Some of the congregants took the side of the Lemons. They’d been feeling sick lately and thought that pulp was as good a cause as any. Other Fruit Punches sympathized with the Oranges because they couldn’t do anything about their pulp—the Fruit God planted them that way. Ultimately, the Punch Bishop decided that nothing was to be done about the pulp in the Punch. This pissed off the Lemons. The leader of the Lemons declared that none of his kind would ever be a part of the Church of Punch Planet again. Immediately following this claim, the Lemons removed themselves from every Fruit Punch throughout the entire congregation and then walked out the front of the church into the Unholy Garden.
The Lemons constructed a yellow, pulpless place next door to the Church of Punch Planet. They called their small chapel the Church of Lemon Land. The Lemons learned a lot from the Punch Bishop and implemented many of his teachings into their own fruitology. However, they also differed on a few major doctrines. The pulp in the Punch acted as the most significant disagreement between the two churches. But there were smaller issues, too. Like whether or not Fruit Punches with more Passion Fruit or Pineapples should be bishops. Or whether or not there should be a Punch Bishop or many Punch Bishops. The Church of Lemon Land believed that only Pineapple dominant Punches should be allowed to be bishops. The Church of Lemon Land also believed that an army of bishops should lead the church. Giving up these doctrines for the good of the Punch was too catastrophic for the Lemon leaders. And even though their new congregation was small, and their land even smaller, they convinced themselves that they had never been happier.
The Church of Punch Planet essentially stayed the same. Sure, the congregation shrank slightly and the Punch Bishop seemed sadder as of late. But those were minor setbacks. Nothing the good Fruit God couldn’t fix if the Holy Fruit wanted to. “Give us this day our daily fruit, and forgive us our premature juicing,” the Punch Bishop recited to his church.
The next couple days the congregants of the Church of Lemon Land noticed negativity. The Lemon Bishops’ sermons kept focusing on how good it felt to no longer be Punch, opposed to how good it felt to be Lemon. Their services felt more smoothied than fresh to the congregants, and hearing never-ending sermons of Lemon smoothie left a sour taste in their mouths.
During the third day of sour sermons, one of the Lemons left the Church of Lemon Land halfway through the service. As the door swung open and the sunshine filtered in, many of the Lemons missed being part of the Church of Punch Planet. And before the day was up, the only Lemons left in the chapel were bishops.
It had been three days since the great schism and night was coming to the Church of Punch Planet. The Punch Bishop was about to finish the Fruit God’s fruity prayer when the doors at the front of the cathedral opened. A parade of Lemons walked into the chapel, painted with pulp. “Forgive us,” one of the Lemons said. “We’re sorry for being bigots, for being antipulp,” another said. The Punch Bishop spilled some Punch on the floor as he heard the words leaving the Lemons’ lips.
The Punch Bishop stood center stage as the Lemons slid back into the Fruit Punch. Without the Lemon Bishops, the Punch was even pulpier than before. “Your juiciness come, your will be done, in the Church of Punch Planet as it is in the Garden of Gold,” The Punch Bishop said, fruitier and juicier than ever.
J. Stone was a planned miscarriage. Unfortunately, the plan didn't work
out. Now he's here to drink any alcohol in sight and root on the
the way. His work has appeared in Hobart, Gutter
Eloquence, The Molotov Cocktail,
and DOGZPLOT, among other places.
He's currently a student at Seattle Pacific University and maintains a graveyard at http://andrewjstone.blogspot.com/