Georgia walks into the living room. She cannot believe her ears because she finds Tawny watching a superhero based on religion. At first, the mother chuckles; she chuckles because the subject seems so unreal. Furthermore…the actor behind the suit has a familiar voice, posts well-known facial expressions behind the mask, and professes Jesus Christ as his savior.
“I’m watching Bible Defender!” Tawny says, proudly.
Georgia sits with her daughter and watches an episode, while she wonders how much of the show to believe.
“This on regular TV?”
“No…Mommy. It’s Michael’s DVD.”
I’m beginning to like that child more and more. Georgia thinks.
“Ohm…That bad guy looks nasty!”
“He won’t be a match for Bible Defender.”
The mother watches as good overcomes evil. She is glad Cledus told her to keep the Bible, because she has grown fond of it, being as it remains one of the few tangible connections to Jeremiah. KC no longer barks at the tome’s body. Georgia doesn’t know whether this is a good or bad sign. Bible Defender. Georgia thinks.
“Mommy, can I look at the old bible?”
“Sure. Remember it is not a toy!”
At the last minute, Georgia thinks about the book marker and crosses her fingers her child doesn’t find it. She finds assurance in the fact the child will lose interest, quickly. After all, Tawny watches pyrotechnic smoke, fancy costumes, and a superhero named Bible Defender.
“You promise to be careful with anything you find inside?”
The little girl offers a serious face, before she professes, “I promise!”
The child’s eyes are filled with excitement and wonder. Georgia holds her emotions in check as best as she can, unaware that Bible Defender will soon pay her a visit in a romance novel of her dreams.
“Bible Defender is my favorite,” Tawny says as the credits roll up the screen.
“What about Batman?”
“Do I have to choose?”
“No. You just mentioned your favorite, anyway.”
Georgia walks over and picks up the tape, then asks, “Who is Bible Defender?”
She turns the DVD case over, and a name strikes her. “Sparky?”
“Who's Sparky, mother?”
Georgia gets the tome. “Sit down, Tawny!”
Both mother and daughter hold the bible between them. The little girl’s eyes grow bigger. “This looks ancient!”
“It is. It is part of Beaumont History.”
“Is daddy in here?”
“A matter of fact…he is.”
“I don’t know—exactly. You’ll have to find him yourself.”
The mother cannot help but think, If that penis appears, I will just have to snatch it out.
But Tawny does not find it. In no time at all…the child is off somewhere else.
Several minutes later, Georgia hears the child’s voice.
“Can I put something in the family bible?”
“Perhaps…when you’re a little older.”
Tawny is satisfied with the answer, and never asks her mother about it again. Instead, she imitates Bible Defender with a pair of old gloves, a whisk broom, and a stocking cap. This time when Georgia touches the bible, she swears it warms to her touch, swears she hears some distant hum. But she passes it all off as her imagination—in the end.
Georgia puts away the bible. Hidden invigoration of exercise beckons her to move her body. Georgia hops on a treadmill with the capacity to go eight mph. Diamond Rio plays on a boom boxy, nearby. Within minutes, her legs are pistons and her heart rate elevates. I feel like a million bucks! “Bible Defender,” she smirks. Yet she can’t help but think there’s no better role model for her Tawny, especially in a world of excess. Georgia feels her heart beat, intensely, inside of her chest—as she reaches up and checks the pulse below her jaw. Twenty-five-minutes fly by, with very little effort.
A scale tells the woman she has lost another six pounds. Georgia always loved the feeling of air flowing through her lungs, and exercise making her feel chemically alive. She finds a pleasant surprise in how fast her heart rate lowers, after intense workouts. She instantly feels better about herself, her life, and in building more strength. After each work-out, there is always a cooling time, when Georgia sits back and uses relaxed breathing techniques.
This time her mind discovers relevant questions. How does the gate work? Why did it take my fiancée? And where did Jeremiah go? As she flips channels, she comes across an old Street Posse video on True Tube. She sees the real Sammy Moore. What happened to the man? On second thought, maybe I do not want to know. It is strange, to her, how much the differences bleed across the screen the moment she realizes Cledus took the singer’s place. She realizes the band has songs topping the charts, they often sell out major concert venues, and even have had to add new tour dates to preexisting concert gaps. SP always seems to pick up a new generation of rockers. T-shirt sales reach an all-time high, as well as their prices, and the band cannot ask for anything more. Even Sammy’s manager is amazed how the name cliché feeds the phenomenon so easily.
The young mother keeps Tawny out of the complicated goings on, other than humoring a fantasy of thinking about her dead father. It is a natural thing for a child to want to have her daddy. Georgia cannot come up with a better role model than Bible Defender, although the mere thought of the character makes her want to burst out laughing. She thinks of him as Billy or Sparky, fictional characters she used to see on re-runs of Fighting Henrys or Darrel’s at Large. The prophetess gets a good chuckle out of the absurdity of the glamorous life. Sometimes, the Hollywood Reality proves itself way too bizarre to ever take seriously.
Georgia finally gets up the courage to wave goodbye to her ex, Joe. She uses psychology to help change her mental perception of the relationship. She tells herself, The last thing I need in my life is a player. Besides, when all things come together, I don’t need a jealous boyfriend getting in the way!
Tawny has dreams filled with Bible Defender. “Will you help me find my daddy?” She often asks, within each dream. Some overpowering voice always returns, “If he is to be found, our child.”
Bible Defender often takes a hold of the girl’s small hand, as if he is a parent taking his child for a simple stroll. It is not long before some evil naysayer descends on them from above.
“You’re safe with Bible Defender, Tawny!”
Tawny grows fearful, anyway. The villain appears within seconds and shows ugliness by baring a mouth with several missing front teeth. The girl notices the guy holds a laser pistol too shiny to be a toy. Tawny’s age prevents her from knowing the powers the mask man once assumed in the rated R-movie Claw Trap!
“Who are you?”
The villain grins through a few missing teeth, and replies, “Smooth Talking Joe.” The grin widens, and he continues, “Or, your worst nightmare!” When the child hears the name, she knows it is her mommy’s boyfriend dressed in some sort of disguise. She wipes at her disbelieving eyes.
Joe fires several laser shots that ricochet off Bible Defender’s colorful body armor.
“Huh?” Joe professes.
Tawny hides behind Bible Defender. Bible Defender recites a favorite bible verse, which causes Smooth Talking Joe’s mouth to close over with skin. Joe attempts to talk. What comes out of his mouth are like low, muffled, truncated hums. The villain’s eyes reflect their own terror. Tawny covers her eyes, not wishing to see a man with no mouth. To do this, she lets go of Bible Defender’s hand.
The girl finds herself plummeting through the air, like a medicine ball under the laws of gravity. Screams come from the child’s mouth, as her mind closes in on the hardness of a ground landing.
Instantly, a couple of strong arms break her fall, in one swift—collective swoop.
Bible Defender! Tawny opens her eyes, turns her head, and sees she is held by her daddy or what her imagination conjures up of the image.
“Thank you, Bible Defender!”
The fill-in Jesus can only look at Tawny with a costume inspired grin.
Tawny looks down at her father, who goes through physical metamorphosis in order to become a human gargoyle. Seconds later, the girl fully awakens to find her daddy is gone. She had always questioned if he had existed, outside of being told he was her daddy. She often asked Bible Defender the same questions. Why does God need my daddy? Why has he been taken from my arms? Bible Defender never answers her queries. He can only hide the human pain and suffering behind a costume designer’s mask. His abilities are scripted, he fights within well-choreographed scenes involving living beings, and Bible Defender uses his knowledge of the bible to bring others to Christ.
For days after the dream, Tawny prays to Bible Defender for help, unaware that Bible Defender has Christ’s multitude on his mind.