The internet home of Jason Mankey

I can’t even begin to tell you where this story originally came from, or even when I told it for the first time, because I don’t remember.  I’m rather sure it was something I made up on the spur of the moment, and that the reaction from my friends was good enough that I bothered to remember it.  They remembered it too, because they asked to hear it again, and again, and again.  The version on the website is the fourth or sixth version, I don’t know, everytime I tell this story it changes just a little bit.  I don’t think the text version is as good as the oral one, but I’ve had enough requests for it over the years that I thought I should make the story a part of   Enjoy!

A Tale of Dionysus

Dionysus leaned back in his chair and surveyed the realm of the gods.  It's a good day, he thought to himself, surveying the vast expanse of blue before him.  He was sitting in the “happy area” of deity, across the sky he could make out the solar war god Mithra.  The two gods were friends, but they didn't share homes in the neighborhood.  

Mithra resided in what Dionysus called “that less happy place.”  It was there that gods like Ares and Thor resided, and they were always fighting amongst themselves, and wrestling with each other like a gaggle of ten year old boys.  Sure Dionysus had to share his shangri-la of honeyed water and blue skies with other gods, but most of the gods on his side of the block had a sense of humor and a yearning for fun.  The wine always flowed freely on his side of the sky.

Dionysus was dressed in a simple toga, and due to a few glasses of wine he was not feeling very much like a phallic god at the moment.  He was a happy and content god, but not a horny one.  He looked down from his billowy throne of clouds bedecked in ivy, and gazed down below upon his followers.

“Damn I love them!” he chuckled to himself, and there were many to love.  He had followers all over the western world, from Europe to the Middle East, down into Africa, and east into India.  Dionysus was revered almost everywhere, and in the places he wasn't known by name, those who took solace in wine knew his spirit.  Dionysus had claimed wine, and every time a mortal was exposed to he was there in that moment.

Dionysus spotted the new guy waving at him across the way and groaned.  The “new guy” as they called the fellow was shimmery.  His followers hadn't really decided what he looked like yet so he was sort of translucent looking, unsolid, almost like a half painted ghost.  Dionysus waved back to the fellow also known as Jesus by his followers and groaned under his breath.  He's coming over here, Dionysus thought, and the god of the vine didn't relish the prospect.

For some odd reason Jesus had really taken a liking to Dionysus.  Many of the other gods thought it might be because Jesus also used wine in his rituals, and because he had stolen a great deal of Dionysus's act over the years.  Dionysus thought that Jesus was attracted to him simply because no one else was all that nice to him, and Dionysus was usually nice to everyone after a few cups.

Jesus was sort of a loner amongst the gods, even though he was known as a kind of suck up to Big D.  The young deity from Galilee had entered godland with all sorts of problems, the biggest one being he didn't get along very well with his dad.  Jesus was actually scared of the father his followers had given him.  On earth he had been pretty close with his dad Joseph, but when he entered the world of deity the thunder god Yahweh had become his pop, and things weren't going very well

Yahweh lived on what Dionysus called “the other side” of godland, and he had carved out his own spot there.  Yahweh had even gone so far as to put up a sign in his yard that read “no trespassing,” an unheard of step in a land full of family and friendships.  Jesus' mother was more shimmery than he was, and would sometimes leave the realm of the gods for days because no one had invoked her in awhile.  Mary and Yahweh's relationship was horrible too, and made the marriage of Zeus and Hera look perfect by comparasin.  Yahweh was still madly in love with the goddess Asherah and when their relationship ended he turned crusty and celibate.

Jesus has been sort of fun when he had first joined the other gods, and there were still days when his gnostic followers ran enough of the show that the old Jesus shined through, but his “orthodox” followers had turned him into a prude over the years.  Jesus wasn't much of an agricultural god, and didn't have the musical abilities of Apollo and Pan, so he pestered Dionysus more than the rest of the gods.

“How ya doing Big D?” Jesus asked with a large grin on his face.

“I'm all right,  young'en, just enjoying some wine.  Would you like a glass?”

“Sure, that would be nice,” replied Jesus.  “I think I can have one or two glasses before it becomes a sin, at least for now.”

“I take it you are still bitter about losing your wife huh?” asked Dionysus with all sincerity.

“Yeah, I am.  I never wanted to be known as a celibate god, but I seem to attract all the folks with weird sexual hang-ups.”

“That's the truth J,  you should hang out with Pan more, maybe it would rub off on your followers.”   Dionysus chuckled at that last comment.  Jesus and Pan had been on speaking terms for awhile, but it had all blown up when Pan convinced Jesus to throw a party at his dad's house one weekend when Yahweh had gone out of town.  Yahweh ended up returning early from the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem and had caught Pan in his bed with Aphrodite.  From that moment on Jesus had only been allowed to speak to “gentile” converts.

“You still haven't forgiven him for that whole Aphrodite thing have you?”

“No I haven't Dionysus, and I doubt I do for awhile, if ever.  I'm a Jew, and Dad forbid to me to speak to any other Jews for awhile, so I've got some crazy guy named Paul preaching to the Pagans now, and to think, I turned some water into wine for him that night.  I don't know what to do with all you weird gods anyways, I just don't fit in, and I'm not sure I could ever be the fornicating drunks most of you are.”

“I'm going to forget that last part Jesus.  We don't make judgement calls like that up here buddy.  It's not your place, nor is it mine, to decide what's divine and what's not.”

Dionysus looked at Jesus expecting an answer and instead saw a blank face with eyes glazed over and distant.  Then he saw Jesus shake his head and fall back into reality.  “Just a false alarm there,” Jesus said as he smiled softly.  “Someone was eating a cracker shaped deceptively like one of my communion wafers and I was drawn to it, ya know, since I had to claim bread and little square crackers as my earthly dominion.  I'm still drawn to the whole thing, and I share the moment, tasting the cracker with whoever is eating it, but it's kind of a let down.”

“That's about all you have too, isn't it Jesus?” asked Dionysus.

“Pretty much wine god, except for a few things I never asked for, like that weird code or morality Paul whipped up for me, and the whole perpetual virginity thing for me and my Mom,” Jesus sighed.

 After the sigh Jesus again got that vacant look in his eyes once again and reveled in the moment.  He was honestly sharing in a divine moment with one of his followers, every bite of the communion bread he could taste and feel in his mouth.  

Dionysus smiled to himself and was quiet.  D knew what it was like to spend time with a worshiper, it was a magickal moment between god and mortal.  At those times the gab between mortality and immortality was at its smallest.  Dionysus respected Jesus for at least taking the time to commune with his own followers, many of the older, lazier, gods didn't, and Dionysus knew that it would cost them down the road.

More minutes passed with Jesus looking content and satisfied, and then his face turned a pale green and his eyes bulged.  Then he spit up on the cloud he was sitting on while gagging loudly.  “What's wrong little buddy?” asked Dionysus.

“Someone put a piece of cheese on their communion wafer,” Jesus said as he shook his head.  “I hate cheese!” he roared, “makes me as sick as a dog, or as sick as you and Pan on a sunday morning!”

“Sorry about that Jesus, but it was kind of funny to watch you turn green though.  No harm no foul,” laughed Dionysus.

“I hardly think so!” snapped Jesus as he stood up, now looking down on Dionysus.  “I don't think friends should laugh at the discomfort of other friends, who knows when who will have the upperhand up here!” and with those words Jesus stormed off.

What a hothead thought Dionysus.  “Merriment and mirth are an honor to me,” he had given those words to the mortals of ancient Greece a millenia ago, and he still thought they rang true.  He laughed at others, and others laughed at him and with him.  If you can't laugh you shouldn't be a god the wine god mused to himself.  Now that he thought about it Dionysus couldn't remember one instance of Jesus laughing in the books called “the gospels.”  

Dionysus pondered what to do with all the new information he had received the last couple of hours, and whether or not to hatch some sort of wild scheme with it.  The temper and arrogance of the young Jesus had rather pissed Dionysus off and the wine god was determined to have a joke at Jesus' expense because of it.

A few days after the Jesus and cheese incident, Dionysus hatched a plan.  With some help from Pan he obtained a simple peasant robe from the village of Nazareth, died his black beard brown, and prepared to visit the bishop of Alexandria Egypt as Jesus.  Checking his mirror one last time, Dionysus hopped from the world of the gods into the dreams of the bishop.

“Greetings to you from the most high God all mighty, and from me his only begotten son,” began Dionysus.  “I give you one message tonight noble bishop, and it is simple.  I now require my communion wafers to be distributed with cheese in or upon them.  The cheese represents my covenant between you, me, and the Father.”  With those words Dionysus left the dreams of the surprised bishop and prepared to watch the fun unfold.

The following evening Dionysus noticed Jesus crawling on his hands and knees toward him.  The wine god let out a powerful laugh, because it was funny, and then went over to pick up the helpless Galilean.  

“You did this, didn't you?”  sneered Jesus as he puked up on his robe.  “I swear I will make you pay for this, oh you'll pay-”

“Jesus, it was just a joke, up here we have a sense of humor ya know.”

“Dionysus, I don't laugh, I ooooeewwww I don't laugh.  I send people down to the fiery depths of hell.  I came not to bring peace but to bring a sword, I sit in judgement and bleeee” moaned Jesus as he threw up again.

“Aren't you hostile my little green friend” said Dionysus, doing his best to make light of the situation.

“I swear that tonight when I get my followers to stop eating all of this cheese that you will pay.  I will put emperor's on the throne of Rome who will proclaim my name and I will . . “ Jesus threw up again during his rant, causing Dionysus to laugh even harder.

“I will put a stop to this this blasphemy!” cried Jesus, “and when that's done I wil eradicate your worship and that of the rest of the Pagans up here who have laughed at me!”  

With those words Jesus stormed off and Dionysus chuckled.  “Eradicate my worship” thought the wine god, there will always be drunks, no matter how many laws the foolish pass, and if there is wine there is Dionysus.  No Dionysus wasn't worried about his future, but he did worry about the threat from Jesus anyways.  Existence and revelry are two different things . . . .

The words of Jesus were as true as those from ancient Delphi, and Dionysus and the rest of the Pagan gods saw their followers dwindle and their temples close, but they didn't go away.  Their influence certainly waned, but it never ended.  As the years continue to roll by, Dionysus began to hatch a new plan.

In 1963 Dionysus assumed earthly form for only the second time in his life, and began working in the test kitchens at the Sunshine Biscuit Company.  After gaining the confidence of the entire company, and buying them many rounds of drinks, he unveiled his greatest creation, a small wafer with cheese baked into it.  One of his co-workers looked at it the first time and said “sort of looks like a communion wafer Don.” 

That statement made Dionysus smile and he said to himself “try this one on for size Nazarene.”  After testing the product and winning approval for it Dionysus decided to name his little wafer the “Cheez-It” because he had named cheese “it” in his battle with Jesus.

After its introduction the Cheez-It went on to be the flagship product of the Sunshine Biscuit Company.  After a few years with the band known as The Doors, Dionysus returned to the realm of the gods.  He went to visit the home of his old friend Jesus and saw the young god standing on the balcony of the grand palace he had bought from himself puking up a storm.  Dionysus delighted in the greenness of Jesus, and the messiah's torment brought Dionysus a great deal of happiness.

Sick as a dog from 1962 onward, Jesus saw the hippy movement gain full-steam, and he was powerless to stop it.  The world continued to change as Jesus was too sick to stop the tide rolling against him and his father, and the Pagan gods began to return as well.  Hercules stared in a few movies and even had a cartoon show.  Thor became a comic book icon, and Aphrodite splashed her image all over the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine.

His authority over millions of people waning, Jesus began to behave and act like one god among many.  With the release of the book and movie “The DaVinci Code” he and his wife Mary began to reconcile.  The first thing Jesus did was apologize for acting like a jerk the past 1800 years.

The Altar of Dionysus 2006