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Jesus Swept by James Alexander Protzman


Midwest Book Review
Jesus Swept is an entertaining story filled with enthralling characters ranging from stereotypical hippies, would be messiahs, and even Jesus himself. Spiritual, philosophical, witty, entertaining, yet respectful, "Jesus Swept" takes the world of Christianity and turns it upside down in the most entertaining way possible.


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From Chapter Two

When a back-sliding Baptist sees a sign from god wash up on the beach in front of her, she should know enough to worry. But with her passport to paradise having long since expired, this Sunday stroller wouldn’t know a sign from god if it bit her on the butt. Which explains why she doesn’t so much as flinch when the cold Atlantic brine crashes hard around her ankles. Doesn’t see the troubled twins who watch her from the dunes. Doesn’t stop to think. Doesn’t think to pray. Moving fast to break a sweat, moving slow to comb for shells, she tracks the scalloped driftline with abandon. She angles past a willet standing one-legged in the sand, its head tucked onto its back like a spoon. The whisk of her walking springs the bird to life. It skitters away with her thoughts.

She spies a gleaming glimmer in a swirling tidal pool. She stops and stoops and reaches. She falls face first in the foam.

In the time they can say, “Holy shit, that lady’s in trouble,” the twins rush down to save her from the surf. Smelling of shrimp and pot and booze and beer after a rough night on the beach, they collect the fallen woman, her bag and her baseball hat, and the heavy silver bracelet lying by her side. They drag her over the storm-carved scarp and dump her on a prickly bed of broken shells and seaweed.

The twin named Hook struggles as the glow of too much hooch leaks from her eyes like acid from a battery. She settles on her knees to check the woman for signs of life. Wipes a crust of sand from the woman’s languid lips. Tries on the woman’s hat. It fits.

She rifles through the woman’s bag. Washed-up Twinkie wrappers. A tangle of fishing line. Broken sand dollars. An iPod. Score. Hook drops the bracelet in the bag and sits back on her happy heels, taking in the woman like a breath she can’t quite hold. Big eyes. Big bones. Big boobs. Short skirt. No make up. No shoes.

The woman’s not so lucky with her second savior though, Hook’s twin brother Sinker, who’s set on sneaking a peek up under that skirt.

He cracks his knuckles. The woman’s mind restarts with sharp alarm. He slides his eager fingers through the gap between her knees. The woman’s strong right hand slams across the side of his head, ripping out his fourteen-carat gold earring, and knocking him senseless to the sand beside her.

“God damn, lady. What you done to Sinker?” Hook scrambles to resurrect her brother, but not before the woman finds balance on her shaky legs, grabs her bag and her senses, and leaves the startled twins beside themselves.