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Like a Firefly in a Mason Jar by Richard Mandrachio


Caleb lives alone but praises the Lord every day via his 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV, as he listens to hymns thru quadraphonic speakers, which he can blast without concern for complaining neighbors. Caleb does indeed worship the Lord, and he does so from the cramped cylindrical comfort of his 14' x 40' mobile home, nestled somewhere in the woods outside I Don't Know, Idaho—far from crowds, away from urban curiosity, up in the hills, high above any town. From here, he has the ability to choose his company or simply reject it altogether. What's more, he can eradicate the presence of heathens—even when they manifest within his own family. Could there be anything more worthwhile in life?

TruMotion technology allows Caleb to freeze-frame the high-speed action of lightning strikes cast down from Heaven by the Savior Himself, with virtually no motion blur. What better method to preserve evidence of the Mighty Hand or to pass that proof on to doubting sinners? If Caleb could use his remote to freeze his 55 years of age so that he'd never reach 60 and turn decrepit like his late folks, well, he would do that too. In lieu of such non-existent technology, he'll just recall the days of his childhood when he searched the woods for fireflies and played God, deciding which ones to keep in airless jars and which ones to release. The power he derived from his final judgment would always make him feel like one with the Almighty.

Ultra High-Definition offers Caleb four times the resolution of full HD televisions—a worthy investment, if for no reason other than having the ability to bear witness, with utmost clarity, to exceptionally detailed words of Scripture, even when the viewer is seated at an angle. Now, if Caleb could manage to clear out some of his junk, he would invite over his many cousins, aunts and uncles without embarrassment and, quite possibly, they would see him in a different light—one in which they'd be blinded to any previously made connection to the untimely demise of his loving parents. And if they choose not to change their conclusions about what happened, then Caleb would not be as conflicted as he was about the removal of his mother and father. No.

Instead, he would feel justified in taking any action needed to rid the world of sinners. After all, isn't that what the television said Scripture condones?

In-plane switching delivers rich colors and strong contrast ratio that remain consistent at wide viewing angles, thus allowing Caleb the often-craved-for, uncompromising distinction between the dazzling Day-Glo tones of the Angels of the Lord and the somber, dark hues of the Demons from Hell. No longer will he need to worry about the latter leading him astray, away from the path of righteousness. In fact, he will never again make the mistake of indulging in sinful compassion or refraining from the physical elimination of unbelievers—even in his own family. Only when he's met those standards will Caleb allow himself the rewards offered by Color Prime Pro which produces a wider range of colors, resulting in a more accurate, more lifelike representation of the Saints in all their multi-color glory.

Visions of salvation can now reveal themselves in even more cinematic detail from High Dynamic Range (HDR) content, thus permitting any sinner to have a taste of the Heavenly bounty that awaits, without having to shield their eyes from the radiance of His Being. Caleb revels in this knowledge and vows to spend less time snacking and more time basking in the brightness of every sacred aspect enhanced by Ultra Luminance. Through this technological marvel he will feel imbued with the infinite Spiritual Light.

All of the aforementioned features can only be topped by the fact that Caleb's entire mobile home entertainment system is Energy Star® Qualified, meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines. This frees his guilty conscience from the weight of environmental injustices and leaves it receptive to any messages emitted from the spiritual plane. Not only does this make his system over twenty-five percent more energy efficient than conventional models—saving energy in all usage modes—sleep, idle, and on. It also puts its user in excellent standing with the Lord Almighty and His Heavenly Hosts by upholding the bargain of the preservation of all that is holy in the earthly realm. Thus, can Caleb compensate for his previous ecological mistakes, like dumping his sewage into a fresh-water stream—and perhaps, even for any impending familial atrocities.

When, finally, the Rapture arrives, Caleb will be able to see it approaching from his hoard-laden home and prepare himself for release from the suffocating mason jar of his material existence. He will shed his worn-out filthy clothing and bathe in the sanctity of his own blood, then set fire to his mold-ridden furniture, its resident vermin, and all of the dilapidated older contrivances of his physical plane. Unlike the brutally mutilated corpses of people who never deserved to experience the Rapture, Caleb might truly attain his long-deserved salvation.

Like a firefly at dusk, his soul will illuminate, rising forever upward.


RICHARD MANDRACHIO's paranormal thriller, The Nexus, and its sequel, The Abraxas Stone, were both published under a pseudonym by JMS Books LLC. His short fiction has appeared in webzines such as Aurora Wolf, Alien Skin Magazine, Lame Goat Press and First Contact: A Science Fiction Anthology. Richard lives and works in San Francisco, California.

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