Fortuna Merlot
James Turgenine
October 6, 1988

"Fortuna Merlot" is a short story by James Turgenine, written in 1988. In the story, Turgenine rewrites the Biblical resurrection myth in modern form. The story is reprinted under the Creative Commons license.


Fortuna Merlot was born in a gutter, because there was no room at the stable. No three wise men brought him gifts.

Upon hearing that Merlot was born, King Reagan saw to it that all male children in the United States were killed. Then he saw to it that the females were killed too, just to be sure. But Merlot did not die. Not yet.

He grew up with the love of whiskey that his drunken whore of a mother had given him, and it is said he was a prodigious drinker even in his formative years. When Merlot began his first pilgrimage to the bar to make his first offering to the porcelain god, he began speaking with the barflies in a most lofty and educated manner. And they marvelled at his ability to hold his liquor, evem as a young boy. They began saying, "Who is this boy, that he should outdrink us upon his first trip to a bar?" And they were astonished.

Instead of just lying low for the next 18 years, Merlot began his ministry at age 12, subconsciously knowing that only old, stodgy preachers waited until they were 30.

And Merlot performed many miracles right away instead of bullshitting around and laying low. One time he cured the Earth and made everything beautiful with only the alcohol fumes which streamed forth from his mouth. Another time he stumbled home after a late one at the same bar he grew up in and made love to a prostitute. He didn't even preach to her, and she still worshipped him, wiping his feet with her tears after he came all over hers.

Then some men didn't like Merlot because he killed a ruthless old man in self defense, and they decided to put him in a cage. They put poison in his blood. But Merlot had the strongest liver of any man.

As they took Merlot to be buried when his pulse stopped after the injection, he surprised everyone. Merlot resurrected.