Divine Wine

Author : James Machell

Having sampled manna, which fell from Heaven and was enjoyed by Moses in the desert, picked dates from a batch given to the Prophet Mohammed, Derek Lockerby, restaurant critic, was determined to taste the wine, transformed after the wedding at Cana.

His time machine worked by Einstein’s principle of teleportation, whereby the fourth dimension could be crossed in a manner similar to making two dots on a sheet of paper, then folding it so they reach each other. It was also invisible, covered in malleable paint, and seeing as Jesus might have inherited his father’s all-seeing eyes, Lockerby parked half a mile away from the festivities. This allowed him to enjoy the summer, a sensation ruined by global warming in his own time. Many heads turned as the average height in the year 3000 was 6”6’, and though Lockerby was considered short in his own time, he was one of the tallest people among the ancients.

‘Come see the Messiah!’ yelled a crier, at the end of the street. ‘It’s the party of the decade!’ Lockerby, whose Aramaic was shaky, only understood the first part and was surprised when many people went in the same direction as him, most with their own cup or gourd.

Among the crowd, gathered around the largest synagogue in Galilee (illustrious white spires and the star of David above the door), was a woman dressed in blue, with the fairest skin of anybody there. She was speaking with another woman who was probably the bride, and afraid to interrupt the Virgin Mary’s conversation, Lockerby went to catch a glimpse of Jesus.

Everyone, he heard someone say, was centered around a large barrel, which Jesus dispensed wine from so people were joining the crowd at the same rate as others were leaving with their drinks. Lockerby only had a flask in his bag and having unscrewed the top, decided that if anyone asked, he would pretend it was a metal cup from Canaan.

Summer heat became uncomfortable when surrounded by the thirsty mass, who seemed more interested in free wine than seeing Jesus, and he wondered whether it was different seeing the son of God when you had the retrospect of history. His heart started to beat uncontrollably because Christianity was the religion he’d been raised in and after breaking a fast with Buddha, and feasting at Diwali with the Dalai Lama, Lockerby already knew the pleasures of dining with the enlightened figures of other cultures, and felt overwhelmed by the prospect of confronting the hero of his traditions.

Now sweaty, Lockerby was suddenly in front of the barrel with his flask ready. Dark, fruity liquid was being scooped into cups by a man, fair like Mary, who had long hair and a short beard.

‘Here you go Derek,’ he said, pouring some into his container, and noticing the Starbucks logo, smiled and added, ‘you won’t be getting that kind of coffee round here.’ Jesus continued serving and Lockerby stumbled back into the open, amazed. He must be the Messiah, Lockerby concluded. How else could he recognize the brands of the future? Feeling as though the greatest of all mysteries had been conquered, Lockerby took a celebratory sip and found it more brawny than elegant, reminding him of the cheap wine cordial, invented when he was a boy, and now available in all good 31st century stores.


  1. Jae

    Solid concept in need of a revision pass to join up the details.

  2. LukeSaysMoo

    The story did amuse me, but like SimonJM pointed out there’s some inconsistency there. But definitely a building block for a future story! Or even an expanded story.

  3. xdhz8

    After the buildup, I was expecting a bit more philosophical ending, but still enjoyed the story.

  4. Irene

    Time travel is always entertaining. Each person’s journey back in time speaks to their character. Many people wish to go back for a do-over or just be an enlightened tourist – I wonder how many would really want to go forward in time. Not sure I would.

    Anyway, the coffee cup comment amused me. Good story.

  5. SimonJM

    Interesting idea, dealt with a light touch.
    A few things did grate with me though – a flask was mentioned, but then it sounded like a takeaway coffee cup was handed over. Why did he bring ‘only a flask’ when he knew he was going to be served wine? The cup was branded with a name and/or logo and as his time machine was stealthed to avoid detection it seems strange he’d bring something like that.

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