Christ v.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

DISTRICT OF SAN FRANCISCO

JESUS CHRIST,

Plaintiffv.

JOHN DOEs, JANE DOEs, and

THE HOLY SEE, THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF AMERICA, THE EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF AMERICA, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LAUGHING PANDA INDUSTRIES, et al
Defendants

 

Civil Action No.

COMPLAINT

Preliminary Statement

1. This is a suit for defamation, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, unlicensed use of likeness and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Summary of Plaintiff’s Claims

2. In or about September, in the year 5 B.C.E., Plaintiff Jesus Christ was born.

3. Subsequently, in or about November, 29 A.D., Mr. Christ was crucified by order of the Romans.

4. He suffered, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures.

5. Subsequently, in late November or early December 29 A.D., Mr. Christ ascended into heaven, where he was, among other things, seated at the right hand of his father.

6. Since that date, numerous individuals, groups, organized religions and nations have used the unauthorized likeness and endorsements of Mr. Christ without his express permission and without just compensation.

7. Mr. Christ seeks damages for the continued and rampant use of his likeness and name without his permission. Pursuant to federal and local statutes, it is also explicitly clear that related causes of action may be pursued under the federal Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125 (a), for example, for unauthorized use of a person’s identity in order to create a false endorsement. Mr. Christ is entitled to damages and pain and suffering after the continued use of his name in such a manner that it creates an implied and sometimes explicit endorsement which has been continually and intentionally used to recruit, retain and financially benefit the above-named organized religions and nations.

8. The California Civil Code – Section 3344 – 3344.1 [Astaire Celebrity Image Protection Act] permits the use of a person’s likeness once 70 years has passed since the time of death provided that heirs do not obtain a claim to continued exclusive use of that likeness (Mr. Christ has no heirs). However, we submit as evidence proof of Mr. Christ’s resurrection on Sunday, March 31, 2013. Because of this holy resurrection (“The Second Coming”), Mr. Christ is once again a living human being and as such entitled to all rights as they relate to his name and likeness. These rights revert immediately back to Mr. Christ upon his resurrection and he is entitled to just compensation for proceeds and licensing fees related to the use of his likeness in the intervening 1,984 years.

9. Mr. Christ is also seeking an injunction against the municipality of Corpus Christi, Texas for using his name without permission for financial gain. This has affected Mr. Christ financially, as this was the name of a proposed resort community on the shores of the Sea of Galilee that Mr. Christ was an investor in.

10. Mr. Christ would like back royalties and licensing fees from Laughing Panda Industries, the American importer of Chinese-made “What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)” wristbands and the “Jesus Bobblehead” and “Holy Action Figure” toy lines as well as other items fully catalogued in the addendum including but not limited to votive candles, prayer beads, rosaries, velvet paintings, crucifixes, breath mints, playing cards, poker chips, statues, garden gnomes, coloring books, flags, scarves, communion wafers and leather sandals.

11. Additionally, Mr. Christ is seeking an injunction against the Roman Catholic Church, the Pentecostal Church, New Life Urban Ministries, et al, for defamation and libel against his good name in portraying him and his beliefs as racist, nationalist, homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic (Mr. Christ is a practicing member of the Jewish faith), Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, prudish and intolerant.

Count I

Unfair Competition

12. Plaintiff incorporates herein by reference all of the averments of paragraphs 1 through 7 with like force and effect as though set forth in full herein.

13. The defendants intentionally infringed on the plaintiff’s rights to protect, defend and establish his likeness, endorsements and other trademarks in order to pursue monetary and other considerations and compensations for such endorsements.

14. The conduct of the defendants has been sufficiently outrageous as to entitle plaintiff an award of punitive damages.

Count II

Misappropriation of Name or Likeness

15. Plaintiff incorporates herein by reference all of the averments of paragraphs 1 through 9 with like force and effect as though set forth in full herein.

16. Defendants did knowingly and without remorse misappropriate the name and likeness of the defendant for their own material gain and without any consideration for compensation or redress of the plaintiff.

17. The aforementioned misappropriation was so rampant and unmitigated that the plaintiff’s likeness is now considered the 14th most recognizable brand on Earth, following such other noted marks and likenesses as the Nike “swoosh”, the McDonald’s arches and the name, voice and likeness of Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana.

Count III

Defamation

18. Plaintiff incorporates herein by reference all of the averments of paragraphs 1 through 10 with like force and effect as though set forth in full herein.

19. The defendants made outrageous, indefensible and untrue claims about the plaintiff including their continued insistence that he “hated homosexuals,” “hated Jews,” “damned fornicators,” and “wanted a Republican in the White House.”

20. The defendants’ conduct, as described above, was intentional and reckless.

21. The defendants’ conduct was extreme and outrageous. The defendants intended to harm plaintiff Jesus Christ and besmirch his personal beliefs.

22. The defendants’ conduct has caused severe emotional and physical distress to the plaintiff.

23. The conduct of the defendants has been sufficiently outrageous as to entitle plaintiff to an award of punitive damages. In addition, the plaintiff would like a notarized letter of apology, on official letterhead, from each of the parties named in the above complaints.

YAWEH, NINEVAH AND GREEN LLP

                                                            By: ________________________________

Harvey J. Green, Esq.
14 Temple Square
Suite 7777
San Francisco, CA 94102

Driving with Fire Sauce

[flash fiction]

The color red possesses terrific power. Take a pair of scissors and cut something open: a pillow. Even though pillow stuffing is usually white, if you cut with a certain style and vigor, you will see red. Put this into a political context. Assuming you’re dealing with people who aren’t color blind, senile, or impotent, you can make quite a statement simply by donning a ruby red tie. If you speak with the right amount of zest, any tie you like can turn red right before their eyes. Meanwhile, in the bedroom, everything is slightly tinged red during passionate moments, even in the dark.

Nicodemus K. Bhatt bought his first red car when he turned 18. This purchase was altogether innocent. It involved his parents’ money and he didn’t even want a red car. He just wanted a convertible. When he found a used Volkswagen Cabrio, it fit the bill: it was cheap. It was also dazzlingly, brilliantly, bloodily red. His mom was suspicious but his dad conceded approval, vaguely laying the matter to rest in stating that Volkswagens have good engines.

One day, while waiting at a red light, Nicodemus caught the eye of the driver in front of him when she glanced into her rear view mirror. Over the next fifteen seconds, he caught her eye three more times. At first, he wondered uncomfortably if he had instigated this little exchange. Thinking for a moment, he realized that, in fact, she had started it. Still, was he the perpetuator?—Again, no! Every time, her eyes jumped up first!

And so he decided to follow her. Why the hell not? Maybe that’s what she wanted. Alternatively, maybe it’s what he wanted. Even better!

For the rest of the afternoon, he dedicated himself to following anyone who looked at him funny. This turned out to be quite an extraordinary number of people. They weren’t just women, either. Queer looks came from everyone: men, children, whole families, police officers, dogs … and he followed all of them, one after the other until the chase became boring or unbearably awkward.

Calling it quits after a few hours, he was sitting in the drive-thru line at Taco Bell when the driver behind him caught his eye. This time, the role was reversed: he was the clear instigator. It took him three glances into his rear view mirror to realize and appreciate: the car behind him, a newer model Honda Civic … was red.

“Any sauce?” asked the girl at the fast-food window.

“Yes, please.”

“Mild, Hot, or Fire?”

“Fire, thank you.”

During his drive home, he couldn’t help checking his mirrors frequently and with unusual concern. Red cars kept appearing out of nowhere. He spilled hot sauce all over his jeans and wiped it up and down the steering wheel. Fully aware of the irony of the situation, and totally against his better judgment, he swore he was being followed at every turn.

Peter ClarkePeter Clarke studied psychology and philosophy at Western Washington University and recently completed his law degree at the University of the Pacific. He currently plays in rock bands and writes while trying to not be a lawyer. His short fiction has appeared in Pif Magazine, Curbside Splendor, Western Press Books, Hobart, Elimae, The Legendary, Zygote in My Coffee, and elsewhere. Native to Port Angeles, Washington, he presently resides in Sacramento, California.

Letter of Resignation

[flash fiction]

To:
Doctor Galen Alber
Dean of the Occupational Sciences Department
Ledford University

Doctor Alber—

I do not regret to inform you that I refuse to work with you any longer on your repulsive project. No need to lecture me about the consequences of this decision; I’m happy to withdraw from my research appointment in addition to the University. While my career prospects would be much better with a degree earned under your tutelage, you’ve crossed the line.

Doctor Alber, you have no conscience, so you won’t care about the reasons I’m quitting. I include them because I have a conscience.

  • It’s one thing to pump small quantities of mint aroma into an office building’s air supply. The research has concluded that it’s harmless. However, I can no longer fudge the numbers to justify our work on the development of airborne amphetamine.
  • Mass-producing a melanine-activated memory blocker to make people forget their children during daytime hours? That’s just evil.
  • I agree: computer solitaire is a time-drain. Shame on you, however, for using aversion therapy to force people to break the habit. The Taser-equipped laser mouse used to deliver the charge is a yoke that no worker should be forced to bear.

You’ve said so many times that the Project will change the world by increasing worker productivity, but I have my morals. I won’t take another dime of your dirty money. The worst part is that you think you’re such a good employer. Just because you make coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice every morning doesn’t make you our friend. You brag about your recipes, touting the benefits of the “secret ingredient,” but everyone agrees that they taste just like anything you can get at a Starbucks or a grocery store. None of us would even be able to tell the difference!

I QUIT.

Right after I spend the next few weeks finishing up the double-blind Loyaltrex® human trials.

Well, then I need to figure out what’s wrong with that bladder-strengthening enzyme that eliminates the need for employer-subsidized bathroom breaks. (After all, those mice really shouldn’t be dying; and the look of horror that distorts their faces as they expire could be a PR problem.)

Oh, and I’ll have to clean the laboratory bathrooms properly before I leave; I think I left a spot in the rightmost sink last time.

With anything but respect,

Jessica Rademacher

Kenneth Nichols earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Ohio State University.  He teaches writing at two colleges in Central New York and is the creator of the writing craft web site Great Writers Steal, accessible at www.greatwriterssteal.com.

Mad Dog

[flash fiction]

I believe God thinks in numbers. Most of what I know best can be described with an equation, numbers predicting an outcome, relating the position, velocity, acceleration and various forces acting on a body of mass, and state this relationship as a function of time. And isn’t that what we are, what everything is: accelerated particles in space time?

And this velocity of motion is what creates gravity and holds everything together. But what creates the motion? I think about this shit all the time. Until I feel like I only know one thing: nothing.

I sat out on the grass and opened a bottle of Mad Dog 20-20. Drank it to the bottom, sucked it in like a black hole swallowing light. Alcohol goes through the brain in stages, first the cerebral cortex, the thinking brain. A friendlier, more daring person emerges, and becomes ever more creative, imaginative, as the drug continues deeper into the brain. Last to go is the limbic brain. That’s when you go numb.

I got ultimate this night, left the past, present, and flew into my future. It was brilliant, until in the morning, when I stared into the eyes of a cop. I realized I had evolved, I was homeless. Passed out on the lawn, I had merged my present into my future and lost the past. I had become what I refused to change. There are no corners in a round expanding infinite universe. But I had turned one.

David SwykertDJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at www.magicmasterminds.com He is a wolf expert.

The Fur of My Insecurities

[flash fiction] 

It happened in a chocolatier in Barcelona called Xococ or a word equally as distressing on the jaw. We were selecting caramel squares like they were prayers or baby names. Glossy chocolate squares stuffed in a satin-lined box.

My mind draws a blank of the next four or five minutes. I know we were halfway to the register when our purchase was interrupted.  You wandered off, in search of a bathroom or a bottle of water, or to stretch your legs—I can’t recall which. It had to have been for water. We never left each other’s side during vacations, but I nodded okay.

Moments later, I found myself circling a plaza, killing time, stifling my panic. After eight empty minutes of skimming the crowd, my face started to tense, hot vulnerability pooling in my eyes. This was our last vacation, but it wasn’t in the cards for you to leave me so unceremoniously in Spain. Three years together could not end with almost chocolates—promises abandoned in a jewelry box. The names of our children rotted with sugar and our carelessness.

We didn’t carry phones abroad nor had we created an emergency plan. I didn’t have a hotel key on me and my fragmented mind could not recall our hotel name or the direction back. If you returned, I vowed to ask for a key, to never be this helpless again.

Four times I passed a bare flagpole, frowned at the green elephant graffiti marking a wall, and bargained with a fictitious deity. I was parched, too, but I would never have wandered off, alone.

I had time to purchase postcards but I feared you’d never find me if I ducked into a shop. Rectangular pictures depicting happiness could wait for another time. The bang of my loneliness echoed against the flagpole; my fraught face transposed itself onto a scribbled green elephant. The dyslexic sign of the chocolatier intimidated me—a word my tongue and brain could not team up to pronounce. The shopkeeper, her hand resting on our selections, peered at me through the window as I lapped around the pavement. We’ll be right back, I almost insisted to the wind. The word we mutating into warped jeers. I scanned the sparse crowd for your flyaway black hair, that outward gait of yours, but everyone’s legs excluded me, turned inward in their own monogamy.

Finally tired of pacing, I leaned against the flagpole. Cold metal greeted my spine. Teenagers in high-tops laughed at each other, jangling coins and belt chains. My breathing hopscotched with questions of how long I could stand here or stand still. From behind a nun’s habit, your carefree smile came into focus, your llama expression of ease. I told myself to stay quiet, not to call out to you in desperation, not to spill my soupy tears. You approached me nonchalantly and asked me where to next. I tilted my chin toward you and suggested the Picasso Museum. Chilled from the pole, I’m sure you noticed the quiver in my answer. Sure, you said. But first you suggested I pose by the elephant graffiti. You were new to me then, aiming a camera as I posed by the scrawled animal outline. My lipstick photographed as a berry, ghostly ring and I v-ed my fingers into the peace sign.

Almost immediately we slipped back into our normal selves in Picasso’s presence, discussing his pencil sketches and planning our evening meal: oysters and foreign soda. At nightfall we meandered back to our hotel, enjoying the air of a new city while ignoring the ominous echo of our boots on cobblestone.

In a month, I’d find you sleeping on the floor of our living room back in New York. Straddling your chest, I’d arc my face inches from yours and end our relationship. You’d refuse to believe me at first and later I’d refuse to accept how quickly you found my replacement. I had to break my own heart, arrange the words like impossible koans, because you had no idea my attachment to you. You regarded me loosely like a fleeting whim, but in Barcelona I could hardly wait out your brief intermission for water.

Ursula Villareal MouraUrsula Villarreal-Moura was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She is a graduate of Middlebury College and the MFA program at Sarah Lawrence College. Her fiction and nonfiction appear in CutBank, Emerson Review, NAP, Toska, Black Heart Magazine, Van Duzer, and elsewhere. She contributes book reviews to The Fiddleback, Necessary Fiction, and Nib Magazine and is an assistant editor for Cream City Review. Follow her on Twitter: @ursulaofthebook.