Jesus felt a little down the other night so he picked up the telephone and told his trouble to the FBI.

The messiah misses his muscle car. It’s got a big engine with a bunch of carburetors. He loves that car and wants it back.

He told the FBI the other kids picked on him when he was little. Evidently they called little Vernon Howell “Vernie” or some such rather than a nice name like Messiah, Jesus Christ, Lamb of God or David Koresh. No respect. They also picked on him due to his learning disability. He dropped out in the ninth grade. Not even a high school diploma. Yes, yes. Kids can be so cruel.

Jesus told the FBI that he now doesn’t have much to do with relatives and acquaintances from the bad old days. Some people say Koresh even holds a grudge against his mother, which was why he called her right after the Feb. 28 raid on his compound by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents. He told her he was dying just to mess with her mind. A little divinely inspired payback.

Jesus also told the FBI how life had dealt him a bad hand. There he was stuck in a stinking compound with about 100 faithful followers, including a dozen or more of his own kids, and with no indoor plumbing. Life is not fair, he said. He should know.

After getting all that off his chest, the self-anointed messiah felt better. He told the FBI that the other stuff didn’t matter because he was following God’s orders and fulfilling the Bible’s prophecies.

Nice-looking car flattened

It just sounds strange to hear FBI officials telling about someone who claims to be Jesus reminiscing about his stud street machine. FBI agent Bob Ricks didn’t tell assembled reporters Tuesday the location of Koresh’s beloved set of wheels. A week or so ago, however, reporters saw a tank flatten a nice looking muscle car parked next to the Branch Davidian compound. FBI officials said their tank driver was trying to push some debris away from the compound and must have accidently smashed the car.

Earlier, a Tribune-Herald vehicle was flattened by a tank driven by an FBI agent. FBI officials said the tank driver was trying to push the vehicle to the side of the road. They said their agents aren’t experienced tank drivers. That statement prompted reporters holed up in their compound near the cult compound to take up a collection to establish a tank driving scholarship for FBI agents.

Tanks into compound

Some reporters see possibilities in the FBI’s “oops” excuse for tank mishaps. FBI officials could order several of their bad tank drivers up to the compound where their feet would simultaneously slip off the clutches causing their tanks to roar through the compound scattering Koreshians like startled quail over the Central Texas prairie.

Other reporters think the FBI should exploit the fact that Koresh occasionally gets down in the dumps over his lost car and the stinking compound by racing around the place in shiny muscle cars while tossing the occasional skunk or polecat through compound windows.

This protracted standoff at the cult’s Mount Carmel, or Ranch Apocalypse, compound outside Waco is becoming more and more bizarre. On Monday, FBI officials reported that they just learned that another young woman inside the compound is pregnant. They don’t know who the mother is, but they have a good idea who the father is. Koresh, of course, has claimed exclusive sexual rights of all his female followers.

FBI officials said Tuesday that their nightly noise assault on the compound has included the sounds of thundering locomotives, dentist drills and rabbits being slaughtered. Is it just me, or does that last one start to push the envelope of weirdness?

An even more worrisome thought is that this standoff will continue for so long that it all starts to seem normal. Then we’ll all be crazy.

Rowland Nethaway’s column appears Wednesdays and Fridays.

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part 2 appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

In 1994, the surviving Davidians went on trial in San Antonio. Over six weeks, more than 140 witnesses testified, with the verdict coming just two days prior to the anniversary of the ATF raid.

The Rodenville shootout and the 1988 trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more stories from deep in the Trib archives.