Welcome to heaven 

In search of Hey Zeus on a Mexican isle

Grant has found God, which is funny because I always thought he was God. But Grant's version is a 19-year-old Mexican sailor boy named Jesus, and to pronounce his name correctly you have to bark out the first syllable like you're trying to stop a purse snatcher: "Hey!" And then directly following that you say "Zeus," which is a different God altogether. But Hey Zeus is how you say Jesus in Spanish. "I have seen the coming of the Lord," Grant laughs, knowing that I know that, for Grant, the Lord came and went a long time ago.

So today I'm on my way to an island in Mexico (which my friend Michael calls "Sexico") so Grant can introduce me to Jesus. I begged Daniel to come with me, and I can't believe he turned me down, because I feel it's pretty essential that the three of us get together again. I worry that our bond is slipping from the days when we used to sit on top of the Telephone Factory Lofts in Poncey-Highland and belt back wine. It was the perfect place to watch the sunset. We toasted the mirrored buildings of downtown, which reflected the light and looked like big beaded evening gowns in the distance. "It is our duty," Grant would say, "to catapult each other into greatness." Now Grant is gone and Daniel and I aren't great yet. Daniel is getting there, though, now that his art is selling at a hearty pace. "Daniel's got a new car," I e-mail Grant, "and this morning he bought my breakfast! You've got to see this!"

But Grant stays put in paradise. And to think I thought Grant would only last a few months in Mexico, figuring he'd miss his group gropes at the Heretic too much to stay gone for good. So I didn't worry all that much. He'd been saying he was going since I met him, not to Mexico exactly, he simply said one day he was gonna take off his shoes and "just walk." Daniel and I knew that meant Grant was leaving. We should have known it would be the day after his daughter graduated from high school. That day Grant boarded a plane with nothing but a backpack containing little more than eight pairs of prescription sunglasses and a small fortune accessible by an international ATM card. The next time I heard his voice I was in labor.

"Where the fuck are you? Jesus!" I screamed into the phone. "It's pronounced Hey Zeus," he laughed. "Name your baby Hey Zeus."

That was months ago. I've seen pictures of him since. Like those taken the time he and Daniel sailed toward Cuba on a catamaran, an adventure that was supposed to include me. They never made it. Instead they were sidelined by a storm, and I have to laugh now that I know they survived. I can just see their sissy asses clinging to the yardarm or whatever, completely useless in case the captain had the ludicrous hope these two could help keep the boat afloat. If that was the case -- if Daniel and Grant were expected to help pilot the boat like on one of those "barefoot" cruises -- I would have simply flown straight to Miami and waited for them to waft ashore on a piece of flotsam like two big gay Elians. But thank God the crew was competent and all Grant suffered was a badly chapped chest, or at least it looked that way in the picture. "In the future," I e-mailed him, "please try not to die." He said he couldn't make any promises.

"Come with me," I implored Daniel. "The three of us need to be together again." But for Daniel, now is not the time. Next spring is better, when the three of us plan to go to Peru to climb a mountain. I have never climbed a mountain before. People say you can find God at the top, and if Grant makes it there, they'll be right. For now, though, they'll have to go to a tiny island off the coast of Cancun to find him. He'll be as brown as an over-roasted peanut, with a new tattoo on his arm and hibiscus behind his ear. He'll throw his big head back and laugh. "Welcome to heaven," he'll say.


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