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Church of Close Enoughism: The Great Acts of Mediocrity (4-7)

Extracts from the Tome of Divine Adequacy

By Laurence J. R. NixPublished 3 months ago 8 min read
Church of Close Enoughism: The Great Acts of Mediocrity (4-7)
Photo by Taylor Flowe on Unsplash

When not working on his day job, playing RPGs, or writing stories, Dr. Laurence J. R. Nix, works to compile and translate ancient texts with intent to reconstruct the fabled Tome of Divine Adequacy. Presented here are the 4th through 7th Great Acts of Mediocrity. The first three Acts can be found via Dr. Nix's author profile.

The Fourth Great Act: The Finding of the Jewels

Edgar, the Chicken, in All His Loyalty, at His side, He, the Mehssiah, in All His Adequacy, wandered aimlessly along the road, as dark clouds rolled in from the West. Soon, cold rains began to fall, and He made for shelter – there was no true shield from the rain, but the branches of an old oak were Close Enough. Beneath the grand branches, awaiting a lull in the downpour, He noticed a hollow in the tree. Within it sat a small sack of gemstones. Unaware of the habits of bandits leaving contraband in hidden collection points, the Mehssiah assumed someone had laid them down there while similarly sheltering like He was and then forgotten about them.

Being a kind and honest sort, He, the Mehssiah, in All His Adequacy, picked up the bag of gems, and braved the storm with Edgar. They returned to the town, and He inquired, “Hey, did anyone forget a bunch of little shiny rocks in a tree?”

It appeared that all folks within the town claimed to have lost some shiny rocks, for unknown to the Mehssiah, they were highly valuable.

“Um… well I didn’t know this town had such a tradition for putting shiny things in tree-holes, but I only found one bag… And if we can’t prove whose bag this was and you all have a claim to it, I suppose it’s one stone each?”

And so each person was in turn handed one gem, until the gems ran out – but it was Close Enough to one each, and everyone except those who missed out… and except those who got a smaller less precious gem than others… and except the bandits who likely received dire punishment for failing to secure the item at the hidden drop-off site… but other than those people, everyone felt that the Mehssiah, in All His Adequacy, had at least tried to do something right and it was Close Enough.

The Fifth Great Act: The Ringing of the Bell

The end of year was swiftly approaching the town. By chance, He, the Mehssiah, in All His Adequacy, was passing through, and thought it polite to ask before using one of the outhouses by the town hall. Unto the oaken-floored halls he wandered, unaware of the gathering within. A heated debate was underway. Townsfolk yelled at townsfolk and a look of dire woe had fallen upon the face of the hapless mayor. She had no power to quell the dispute. He, the Mehssiah, in All His Adequacy, made eye-contact, hoping only to get attention to ask His question, but the signal was misinterpreted as an offering of help, and the mayor hurried Him up to the stage. The gathered populace was intrigued and paused their yelling to stare expectantly.

“Um, Hello… What’s the issue here?” asked the Mehssiah

From the diverse array of angered cries, He deduced the problem. In honour of an old tradition there was to be a great party for the ringing of the New Year Bells. In this tradition, the Organiser of each year was named four years in advance. Death had sadly claimed the one whose turn was due, and all refused to take his place, for superstitions foretold foul luck upon anyone who tolled the new year bells in place of another. Yet they also foretold foul luck if the bells were not rung at all.

“Well I guess as a non-resident, I don’t have a right year to take my turn, and therefore I probably also don’t have a wrong year?” spoke the Mehssiah.

The crowd nodded in thoughtful acknowledge that his statement sort of made sense. The Mehssiah spent the next week or so getting to know the locals, and making arrangements. Many traditions were taught to Him, and in his adequacy he made gloriously mediocre attempts to fulfill expectations. In the chaos of party-planning, He and the townsfolk lost track of time and missed the right night. On the fourth of January, in a half-decorated hall, all the townsfolk gathered. The Mehssiah attempted to play the traditional New Year’s Melody on the trumpet and despite the many wrong notes, there was much rejoicing. Wine and ale flowed well, and happiness flowed over the town at the celebration that was not quite as tradition dictated, but was Close Enough. As the night grew late, at precisely 68 seconds past midnight, He, the Mehssiah, in All His Adequacy, declared, “Oh no! It’s past midnight, I should’ve rung the bell by now.”

And with those words, he stepped up to the rope and pulled. And on the 13th bong, He said, “I now proclaim the New Year Underway!”

The Sixth Great Act: The Sacrifice

Some weeks had passed since the new year, and it was longer still since the Fourth Great Act of Mediocrity, which now remained little more than a distant memory in His mind. The bandits, however, remembered all too well. Sunset was fast approaching, and the Mehssiah, travelling alone, whistled happily, having no idea that this was a dangerous region in which to wander alone at night. From the bushes, leaped several bandits, some brandishing scimitars and others pointing crossbows. One of them stepped forth, sword raised towards the Mehssiah.

The bandit said, “Your money or your life, traveller! Hey, wait a minute, you match the vague and unhelpful description we were given of the guy who stole our gems!”

“Oh,” said the Mehssiah, “I just have one of those faces, I suppose.”

“Yeah, that’s fair,” replied the bandit. “It would have been too much of a coincidence. Anyway, my original statement still applies - your money or your life, traveller!”

The Mehssiah knew not to get on the wrong side of bandits, and tossed a small coin purse to the leader. “Sorry, that’s all I’ve got - it turns out roaming the land aimlessly without a real job doesn’t pay well.”

The bandit leader examined the coins, and came to a decision. “Fine. This is not as much as we expected, but it’s Close Enough.”

Several hours later, the Mehssiah arrived at a town. His intention had been to make a gold offering to try to buy the freedom of the person who was to be sacrificed in the Appeasement Festival. Unfortunately, now having no money, He would have to find another way. Undeterred, He strode into the village green. On the bandstand, a vast cauldron sizzled with the malice of murderous sacrifice. The victim to be sacrificed was a young farmhand, with eyes full of terror at his impending oil-based death. The Mehssiah scanned the gathered villagers, and quickly identified the Chief of Sacrifices by noticing a person wearing a sash that read “Chief of Sacrifices”, and so He approached and said, “Excuse me, um, are you the chief of sacrifices? Sorry, stupid question, I can see the sash. I was going to buy this man’s freedom, only the thing is, I lost my coin purse. Is there any way I can do something else to win his freedom?”

“Unfortunately not, good sir. The God of Oils demands that we deep fry someone once per year so that our sunflower crops grow well enough to produce enough oil to fry someone next year.”

“Oh. I see. What if you picked someone who was already about to die instead of a healthy young man?”

The Chief of Sacrifices considered, but declined. It was decided that there was no alternative but someone young and healthy.

The Mehssiah said, “I’m young-ish, and I’m pretty healthy except for this weird rash.”

And He was immediately filled with regret and embarrassment, for He had not thought far enough ahead to think of a way out when the Chief of Sacrifices replied, “Fair enough. Hop on in, then.”

The Mehssiah backed away, now in a panic. The Sacrifice Committee all turned upon Him, and the former sacrifice victim quietly slunk away, nodding in gratitude to the Mehssiah. As the men approached, the Mehssiah inched another step back and caught his elbow on the hot cauldron. He yelped in pain and jumped away, colliding with one of the cauldrons supports. With a crash, the cauldron fell, sending a vast wave of boiling oil across the bandstand. No one was killed, but many suffered severe burns, including the Mehssiah Himself. The Chief of Sacrifices surveyed the screaming townsfolk, nodded, and said “That many badly burned people probably adds up to roughly one burned-to-death person. We’ll call it even.”

Voice strained from the agony of the oil upon Him, the Mehssiah said, “Thanks. Hey sorry I ruined the festival, but can you just tell any outsiders who come by that I was sacrificed because that would be less embarrassing”

And so over the following months, while the Mehssiah was out of action in the local burn ward far from the public eye, rumour spread. It became known across all the lands that He had died in a heroic sacrifice to save a lowly farmhand. Unaware of this development, the Mehssiah rested in the ward, hoping his reputation might have faded away by the time he could move again.

The Seventh Great Act: The Return

Many months later, the Mehssiah was dismissed from the care of the healer in the now wealthy burn ward. He felt relieved, thinking now that He could travel free of the burden of slightly helping some of the towns He passed through. The world He found however, was not one that had forgotten Him. Wherever he travelled, people in the streets and said, “Well done on saving that one bloke from the oil thing. Weren’t you dead though?”

And each time, the Mehssiah did not have the heart to crush the excitement in the voices of the people, and He said, “Yeah, certainly felt Close Enough to dying anyway.”

It turned out that word had spread far and wide, not only of His sacrifice, but of all the preceding Great Acts of Mediocrity. And so His Divine Adequacy shone like a beacon to guide the people. And now word began to spread of His resurrection, thus sealing his destiny to always be the Mehssiah and to always be Close Enough.


About the Creator

Laurence J. R. Nix

Sometimes I research particle acceleration and sometimes I do whatever it is you would call this.

The Charlotte Ransome Pottery Hour will also be available on RoyalRoad

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