It's a Good Life: The Infancy Gospel of Jerome Bixby

And when Jesus saw what was done, he was wroth and said unto him: O evil, ungodly, and foolish one, what hurt did the pools and the waters do thee? behold, now also thou shalt be withered like a tree, and shalt not bear leaves, neither root, nor fruit. And straightway that lad withered up wholly... After that again he went through the village, and a child ran and dashed against his shoulder. And Jesus was provoked and said unto him: Thou shalt not finish thy course. And immediately he fell down and died...

Jerome Bixby's famous story, It's a Good Life, adapted variously for The Twilight Zone and the Simpsons, always served me as a reminder of the possibilities of the infant Jesus. Consider a young boy with extraordinary powers whose role model is the vengeful God of the Old Testament: he thinks heretics into lonely graves, usually messing with their humanity in their process - anyone digging up this boy's victims in a couple of thousand years will find weirdly alien remains or ancient astronauts.

Little Anthony also appears to be the creator of the multiverse - having flung his rural community away from the earth upon his birth, it now exists in a limbo or void or purgatory. Upon re-reading I was rather surprised to find the story had no post-apocalypse setting, and no mutantcy to offer as reason for the boy's powers of behaviour. He is genuinely inexplicable. However, it is rather difficult to imagine little Anthony on the cross, rolling his eyes to heaven and saying, "Father, it's good that you made this awful thing happen."

A community of fixed grins and forced laughs is about as far as his power goes. Which is nowhere.

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