Vol. 1, No. 1: The First Pitch photo

Reggie Miller, Lord of Lords Jace Einfeldt

The second time I found Jesus my whole world had shrunk to the size of a porta potty—and I’m not talking about the shitty kind, the ones on the side of the road—I’m talking about the kind you find at the Boston Marathon, the kind that has several toilet holes lining the walls with washing stations nearby, and no, there wasn’t anyone else in there with me; I was alone, thank God, because if anyone had seen me in that state, wearing the Ben Wallace jersey Sarah got me for Christmas long ago when Wallace was still on the Wizards, back when Sarah could still bear to look at me, and a pair of tear away pants, sweating my balls off even though the sun was down and the wind had picked up blowing the late-winter chill off the mountain while I raked rows of abrasions down my arms and cultivated seeds of future pain all over my body, if anyone would’ve found me like that, I would’ve jumped in one of the holes and hoped to God Above I’d sink below the surface and return to the shit from whence my sorry life sprang—but part of me was so goddamned alone that I almost wished there was someone else there to fill the void, but there wasn’t a soul for miles because I’d already sold the last ounce of mine for a balloon of smack that shot me straight to the Pearly Gates; I’d gotten so close I could smell the manna, milk, honey, and even the salty scent of the left over loaves and fishes; I could taste the sweet salvation of God’s love on my tongue and it sent an army of goosebumps riding down my back on angels’ wings, but Old Saint Peter blocked me like Dikembe Mutombo and told me “Not in my house” before thrusting my sorry ass back to earth, and I watched as dope fiends and admitted addicts ascended on cherubic chariots, and even though that rejection was hard, I didn’t let that get my spirits down because I knew God could find it in His heart to love a sinner like me if I just said I was sorry, like cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die-level sorry, sorry for the time I used Sarah’s pearl earrings as collateral for a couple courtside Pistons tickets, or the time I missed the birth of my only son and woke up zonked in a Corolla down a backcountry road with Petey Grimes in the passenger seat, yet I knew that God could forgive me because He’d done it before, and He could do it again because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He’s not the kind of person to switch jerseys out of nowhere because when God’s on your team, He always comes in clutch—God is like the Reggie Miller of the pantheon of Divine Omnipotent Beings—and as I sat in that porta potty, shaking like it was 2OT with all Hell combined against me, like Lucifer himself was posting me up getting ready to obliterate me with an unrighteous hook shot with all his unholy legions weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth, I genuflected to my Creator and waited for a seraphim to drop a live coal in my mouth, to touch my lips and purge me of all iniquity, but before I supplicated to the Most High God, I cleared my throat and spat on the ground, and a moonbeam caught the spittle just right and I saw my God reflected in the phlegm—and before you call me crazy, if you can find Him in a bag of potato chips or in the curling clouds just before a summer storm, you can find Him anywhere—so, I shot my half-court buzzer beater and said, Dear God Above, I know I don’t deserve Your love, but oh please wilt Thou show mercy on my sorry ass and release me from the bonds of Beelzebub, and if You do, I promise to be a better husband, father, mortal, etc., and before I could utter the Amen, the door to my portable world, soaked in shit and piss, swung open to bright beams of heavenly rays illuminating every corner of that plastic hall, exposing every secret hiding place, and the voice of God boomed through the entrance declaring: “Come out with your hands up,” and I surrendered myself to my God, my Creator, the Alpha and Omega, the Author and Finisher of My Faith, and I raised my hands above my head where He could see them, and, with eyes downcast against the glare of His glory, I waited as the seconds dripped like cold sweat down the face of Dali clock and said “Here I am; send me.”