Sunday, July 12, 2009

Earth's End- Post 5

(You really need to start at the beginning. Click here to get there. Or click here to revisit Post 4)

God stepped off the subway and onto the platform. It reminded him of hell, it just smelled worse. He worked his way through the crowd, careful not to get any muck on his suit.
He went up the stairs and onto the streets of Manhattan. As He walked toward Central Park He noticed His reflection in a window. He admired himself in his fine gray suit, custom fitted and made from a material He just created. It resembled silk, but it was softer and stronger. Too bad the world would be gone before everyone had the chance to admire the genius of His latest creation.

The exhaust from a bus tried to muss his white hair but failed. God smiled, fascinated by the prefect form of his mustache and beard as his cheeks reached their peak.

Damn I look good, He thought. I am who AM!

God was going to go straight to the park and meet Joshua, but He passed a pizzeria and couldn’t resist going in for a couple slices and a beer. If the Earth was to be destroyed soon - and it was, He knew that because He was the destroyer - He thought it wise to take in one last gulp of all it had to offer.

The pizza was like manna from Heaven. Its crust was crisp, and the fluorescent lights made shiny rainbows appear in the grease on top of the pepperoni. For his second bite he sprinkled on some crushed red pepper and chewed slowly, letting the heat spread evenly across his tongue. Then he bit his tongue. Hard.

No one knows the mind of God but God. Whether or not he bit his tongue on purpose will remain forever a mystery. What is undisputed is that in his frustration from feeling the extra burn of pepper on his newly chewed tongue, God smote a bus full of nuns in Peru. Lightning hit the bus and it exploded as it tumbled down the mountainside. God loved a good explosion.

The nuns died instantly and were transported to heaven. God may have lost his temper and hurled brimstone once or twice when it really wasn’t called for, but at least those unfortunate victims got a free pass to Heaven.

He finished His pizza and beer and went back out toward the park. He saw Joshua with his shirt off, washing his armpits in a drinking fountain.

“You missed a spot,” He said.

Joshua didn’t look up. He just kept washing.

“You need some soap.”

Joshua stopped and gripped the basin at its sides, arms shaking. “You come down here in a suit, with money for food and drink, looking respectable, but You send me here like this?”

“Quite an experience, isn’t it?” God smiled.

“Not really, no. Want to trade places and see for Yourself?”

“Ha ha! No, that’s not necessary. I already know what it’s like. I’m God, remember? Whatever you know, I knew beforehand. That’s how you can know it in the first place.”

“Thanks for the reminder. Can You answer one question for me?”

“I can answer any question for anybody. Do you mean will I answer one question for you?”

“When are You going to pull the trigger?”

“Three-hundred and sixty-four days from today.”

“Earth Days or Creation Days?”

“That’s two questions.” God held two fingers up to illustrate his point.

“Humor me.”

“Earth Days.”

"How are you going to do it?”

“To be honest with you, I still don’t know. Got any ideas?”

“No, but I know someone who might.”

God sat down on the bench and Joshua finished washing his torso and face.

“Aren’t you going to tell me?” God asked.

“What about ‘whatever you know, I knew beforehand’?” Joshua said as he put his shirt back on.

“I can make your situation worse, you know.”

“Whatever,” Joshua scoffed. Then he went blind. “OK, you got me. His name is Greg Simon.
He’s a consultant. I read his mind this morning and he had some interesting ideas for a client, I think he may be able to help you brainstorm. Now give me my sight back.”

The world remained dark.

“Please,” he added.

Joshua’s vision returned. “Why did you do that? Do you have any idea what it’s like to be blind?”

God just stared at him.

“Oh yeah. ‘Whatever I know’…I get it.”

“Let’s go meet your friend Peter.”

"Greg, not Peter. Greg Simon.”

“Oh, right. Don’t know what I was thinking.”

“No, you just know what everyone else is thinking.”

“That’s odd, isn’t it? As self-absorbed as I am, you would think me to be completely narcissistic. Go figure.”

They started walking toward mid-town. “I went to Hell this morning. You’ll never guess who I saw there.”

Joshua raised his eyebrows. “Um, let me guess. Moses?”

“How did you know?” God asked.

“Who do you think told him how to get in?”

“You’ve been going down there, too? Son of a bitch.”

“My mother is not-"

“It’s a euphemism, God-damnit.”

“Stop taking your name in vain. It’s one of your commandments; you’re setting a bad example.”

“I’m God, I can take my own name in vain if I want to. And don’t change the subject. When did you start sneaking into Hell?”

“During the Dark Ages. You and Satan were battling over the souls of plague victims, so neither of you noticed. Finding the way in was easy. Getting back out was the tricky part.”

“So what did you do down there?”

“I did that which was denied to me in the life I sacrificed for all the world.”

“And that is…”

“I sinned. Like you wouldn’t believe. It doesn’t matter if you sin once you’re already in hell, you know.”

“Who told you that?”

“Who needed to? It’s simple logic. You sin, you go to Hell. Once in Hell, you cannot get out. Therefore, if you sin after going to hell there is no longer a negative consequence for the action, so the point is moot. Hell’s entire existence is just a sin-avoidance policy between You and humanity. And sinning is just a heaven-avoidance policy between You and Satan.”

God scratched His head. He hated loopholes. “You know, sinning isn’t the only way to get into Hell. Satan is a good salesman, and his uses the direct approach quite often. In fact, he has 490 million active contracts with humanity as we speak. They go void when I end the world. As you can probably guess, he’s pretty pissed at me right now.”

“When has he not been?”

“Point taken. Nevertheless, we can expect Satan to try to kill as many people as he can over the next year.”

“How do you think he’ll do it?”

“By mistake,” God smiled. “Like he always does.”

“Does it matter how many people he kills? Everyone’s going to die anyway. Why do you want to save the souls that are pledged to Satan all of a sudden? You never cared about them before.”

“It’s kind of a professional courtesy. I owe it to humanity to let them know I’m pulling the plug. I always had someone try to warn them before. But they never listen.”

“Tell me about it.”

“You’ll do better this time than any prophet that has come before you. Don’t worry.”

“God tells me ‘don’t worry’? Why does that worry me most…”

12 comments:

Scott said...

The smoting of the nuns had me laughing so hard.

Scott said...

One thing... I would toss in a little more attribution when God and Josh and going back and forth towards the end. I kind of got confused as to who was talking for a second, but did pick it up by the context.

I wouldn't take what was in Nathan's blog Friday as gospel. I just finished listening to Robert B. Parker's latest Jesse Stone novel. Parker goes overboard in the other direction... as in:

"My ass itches," Jesse said.
"Oh, really," Molly said.
"Really," Jesse said.
"Left cheek or right," Suitcase Simpson said.
"Right," Jesse said.

I'm not sure if you have read or listened to any of Parker's work, but that's literally how he writes it.

Rick Daley said...

"The smoting of the nuns had me laughing so hard."

I really do believe the God loves a good explosion.

I haven't read Parker's work. I've been back off the dialogue tags more and more. When I go back and edit / revise, I usually add a few back in, I get confused sometimes too ;-)

Anonymous said...

I had to go and cut and paste all the blogs #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5 all together so I could read them start to finish... once I get done... I will comment glowingly!

Rick Daley said...

Anon...Hope you enjoy it!

Laura Martone said...

Keep the funny coming, Rick!

P.S. I'm with Scott - the smoting of the nuns was priceless!

Rick Daley said...

Thanks Laura. I'm on page 30; 7,600 words in so far. At first I thought I would make it very short and stop around 45,000, but I've checked around and it seems that anything under 60k is an auto-reject for most agents...and even then, under 80k had better be damn good for it to be so short.

I'm pretty sure the outline I have for the story will support a full length novel. I won't reveal all of the details here, though. You'll have to wait.

Anonymous said...

Ok,,, I cut and pasted 1-2-3-4-5 together, printed it out and read it while waiting to get my hair cut.... The 1-2-3-4 was really good... but #5 just wasn't as edgy as the beginning.... it got sorta lame... maybe you are under too much stress to finish?

I still want more... but more of 1-2-3-4 and less of 5...

Get busy... no stress there...

Rick Daley said...

Anon,

Thanks for the feedback. This post is only half of the scene. The full scene has more edge to it. The next one is even sharper.

Edges in this post:
- God's conceit (I am who AM! very pleased with Himself)
- The smoting of the nuns. like Scott and Laura, I love that part ;-)
- Point of note that is clarified later in this scene: Joshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus; or rather, Jesus is the Greek name for Joshua. Jesus sneaking into Hell and sinning his ass off? I think that's pretty edgy...
- Minor edge...raising a question / distinction between Earth Days and Creation Days
- Underlying edge- God calls Greg Peter. Greg's last name is Simon. Simon was Jesus's first apostle, at which point he changed his name to Peter.
- The whole set up for Satan, he has just under a year to kill 490 million people. Don't worry. Shit will soon meet fan.

Laura Martone said...

Rick -

One thing I should say... Despite my limited knowledge of the Bible, the "Peter" joke flew right over my head.

Rick Daley said...

Laura,

My father-in-law was a Baptist minister and my wife went through more Bible study than almost anyone I know and it flew over her head, too. So did the correlation of his last name, Simon, to his being the first one to help Harold/Joshua/Jesus.

There will be many more subtle parallels to the Bible, and a few that will be very obvious.

Laura Martone said...

Oh, goody. Then, I feel better for being a dumb-dumb atheist.