When Elliot first told me I had mail, I instinctively knew most of it would be from Earth. Busy deciding whether to answer all these ridiculous prayer requests – e.g. I pray, God, that you make him fall deeply in love with me (he’s got three priors and she knows it); Please, please, please God don’t let my phone battery die before I answer this text! (their friend asked ‘wa sup?’) – Elliot brings me a case of anti-diarrhea medicine so I don’t have to waste time willing such a thing into existence. And the questions the kids ask!
“Dear God, I’ve heard you’re perfect. Perfectly good? Perfectly beautiful? If you’re perfect, why did you make imperfect people?” – Alice
“Dear Alice, sorry, you heard wrong. Nothing is perfect, well, besides chocolate. And bacon. Wait, can chocolate and bacon both be perfect? How can two thing both have everything required to be perfect? Maybe they are perfect for what they are. More likely is the fact that the concept of perfection – imagined by imperfect people (as you noted) – is itself imperfect. But if I were completely perfect, that would mean I’m either equally good and evil or without good or evil altogether. (Some people say I can be both good and evil but I always choose to do good, which would actually make me amoral if I would never ‘choose’ to do evil.) In the case I’m perfectly good, there would have to be something equally evil in the universe to keep a perfect universe in balance. Perhaps cauliflower qualifies in that respect. Anyway, I cannot take the blame for imperfect people. I didn’t make them nor did I invent taxes. If any living thing were ever close to being perfect, it was the dinosaurs. They were around much longer than human beings. Come to think of it, plants have been around even longer. Alice, don’t worry about perfection; the word isn’t even spelled correctly if you must know. Food for thought, kiddo. Signed, God.”
Taking a moment from all the mail filling my head, I noticed I no longer blinked. I didn’t need to anymore as my being merged with the cosmos. I am one and one is all. I could sit here and take in a cup of coffee or I could simply be the cup of coffee. That, I assure you, is free of any taste, though. Whoever thought of dividing things from each other in the universe sure expanded the scope of experiences for everyone. That said, I’m going to try to hang onto my physical self a little longer for sentimental reasons. Hmm, I wonder if that’s a relevant thought…Ugh, back to the mail.
“Dear God, what’s the worst book you ever read?” – Riff
“Dear Riff, these days I don’t read books. I am books, sometimes anyway; it’s a process. But before I completely merge with everything in the universe, I would have to say Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard. The stupidity there goes right off the e-meter. I mean, the explanation why an adult might be afraid of a dog is because a dog bit them as a child? That’s that book’s idea of a revelation. The book also drags one unknowingly towards a belief in a galactic space ruler, which I assure you predates the author’s (cough cough) science fiction publications. I wish I could say I’m making this up, but human beings have cornered the market on insanity for quite some time now. If you’d like to read something for the articles, try Playboy magazine. No, seriously, you have to since they don’t picture nude women anymore. Have a great day. Signed, God.”
For days now I’ve been ignoring prayers and answering questions from Earth. I’ve come to realize though that I can only answer with the knowledge I possess as a single universe’s god. Is it possible I could possess even more knowledge and provide better answers? As a god, I knew the answer to be ‘yes.’
As if on cue, Elliot walks into the office with what looks like a stack of legislation to be signed into law. But now that I’ve become accustomed to the fundamental energies of the universe, I can tell the little floating blob of light is hiding something. Ah, the crafty little buggah.
“Elliot, if you thought you should hold the office of God, why didn’t you just say so?” I ask him/her/whatever. “It seems you’ve been doing a good job running the universe since I’ve been preoccupied. Heck, you even ran things when the previous God took the day off and look how that turned out.”
“Indeed, sir,” it remarked dryly, seemingly not surprised to have been found out. “Turns out a new god fell into our laps. Turns out he was smarter than we had hoped.”
Fortunately, I’m above backhanded compliments now. I take out the very last page from beneath the stack. Had I been a lesser, inattentive god, I wouldn’t have noticed the clause that made Elliot the ruling deity upon my signing the legislation. I look at it for a few moments then I look at Elliot. “Explain, Elliot.”
“God, my race has existed for quite some time, longer than the office of God has been around. Once upon a time, our civilization was vast and colorful. Then we were enslaved by the first god for knowing as much as God did. When the first god started controlling the universe, things in the universe would go awry from time to time and my people wound up the scapegoats. Tired of being punished so often, we used God’s own rules against them and had them thrown out of office, electing a new god in an attempt to improve things not only for ourselves, but for the universe as well. We’ve been through several gods now and my people think it’s time for change we can believe in. Sadly, we really like you but we can’t take the chance you’ll get drunk on power at some point. Or just drunk.”
I feel no animosity from Elliot as he recalls history, though I do get the distinct impression he/she/it has become a bit hardboiled over the course of a few billion years. I look down at the paper in my hand, imagine a pen in my hand, and imagine a few changes to the clause Elliot had tried to hide from me. Recalling one of our earlier conversations, I say to Elliot, “In some universes, Elliot, you’ve been God for some time. In some universes, your people never exist. I see your thoughts, Elliot; I know it was one of your own that betrayed you. I really don’t have that much ambition to be honest. What I do have is a question. Elliot, my friend, why is there a universe?”
“Eh, I don’t really understand the question, sir,” Elliot hems. “The universe simply is. There doesn’t need to be a reason why something exists or not. Asking ‘why’ belongs to the realm of immature, material creatures who think of themselves as separate from the immaterial.”
“Call me crazy,” I hear Elliot repeat the word ‘crazy’ in its head, “But what if, just if, the universe does have a reason for being?”
“Wellllll, you’d be the first god to care about such a thing, God,” Elliot rolls its nonexistent, starry eyes.
“I do care, Elliot, and you do too. I think that’s why you gambled on me and made me the new God.” I begin to wander around the office, around Elliot, with no clear destination in mind because I don’t really know where to go. This is exactly what is troubling me. I’m God and I don’t know if there is a reason why the universe exists. “Where do you think I should go in order to find the answer to my question about the universe’s purpose, Elliot?”
“You don’t want to pursue that avenue, God. If I recall, you thought our office was too hot when you first arrived.”
“BY ALL THE HOLY POWER I POSSESS, ELLIOT, YOU WILL TELL ME NOW!” I point. Elliot leaps back and I sense everyone else in the office snap to attention. “Just kidding! Seriously, sorry, that was stupid of me. You guys have been under a lot of stress for a long time.”
“You’ll have to go to Hell if you want the kind of answers you’re seeking, sir,” Elliot says with no small amount of pleasure. “You’ll want to go to the penthouse, so to speak.”
My finger points down. “But I though Hell was…”
“Perspective, God. Remember what you said about perspective in Part 1?” the little sparkle puts to me.
“Part 1 of what?” I could tear the answer out of his mind, but that would be rude. “I don’t get it.”
“Meta-humor, sir. You humans are sooooo not the smartest species,” the adult in the room mutters. “You’ll want to go to the penthouse, God. If you thought you’d be going to the basement, well, you shouldn’t expect to find answers slumming. Shall I call the elevator for you, sir?”
“I think I can handle it, sparky,” I say to Elliot as I pass by him/her/it. I walk to my office door which I open and step forward into a prismatic elevator instead of the universe to which I am accustomed. “Elliot,” I tilt my head towards the diminutive droplet of light, “I’ve modified the terms of your ‘legislation.’ If I should lose or be stripped of my godly powers at any point in my tenure, say, for example, when I’m upstairs, you will be sworn into the office of God.”
As the door closes I detect a moment of sympathy from Elliot. “Godspeed, sir. May it have mercy on your soul. Godspeed.” I don’t think I’m ever going to see the buggah again.
The door reopens and I’m blasted by unimaginable heat. I unnecessarily but instinctively close my eyes before I mentally adjust my soul’s moisture level to a near infinite degree. After all, it’s never the heat, it’s the humidity. Having outdone heat itself, I step into the deepest, darkest, blackest void one could imagine. I cannot see my hands in front of me. I don’t know where I begin and where the darkness ends. Oh, yeah, it would probably be helpful to let go of my physical being here. I’m forgetting not to separate myself from the totality of things; that’s such a human thing to do. I shed the last bit of my human form. And so now it appears to me, here, on the astral plane; a well-groomed white poodle sitting before me.
“You’re fired,” it says in the voice of Donald Trump.
“I knew they got the spelling wrong, dyslexic bastards!” I remark to myself on the side. “You can’t fire me,” I refocus on the poodle, “I don’t work for you.”
“EVERYONE WORKS FOR ME!” the poodle barks. “Well, not really, but I just wanted to say that,” the small canine remarks to itself this time. “Honestly, you humans are the most arrogant, insufferable miscreants in any universe. You guys just refuse to know your place in the scheme of things. Why I never destroyed all the universes that allowed humans to flourish, I just don’t know sometimes.”
I give the dog a tight frown. “No one’s ever been here before, have they?” I ask and wave my hands around at the darkness which is nowhere and everywhere all at once. “Oh, that’s cool,” I say as I sense a universe full of dinosaurs in this every-nowhere. Really, though, what need is there for a universe full of dinosaurs? “So…” I circle the annoyed entity, “…why all a multiverse, Dog?”
“Does this mean you’re done asking yourself why your universe exists, if it has a purpose?” the dog grumbles. “That’s probably the most infuriating thing about you lot, this eternal struggle for meaning. There is no meaning. To anything. Some things just are, like your universe. You do thing in it or you do not. That longing in the heart of people searching for meaning isn’t indicative of some hidden nature, it just means you’re bored.”
“We’re bored?” I laugh. “We’re not the ones who created an infinite multiverse. And I know why.”
“I just told you there is no ‘why’!” it woofs back. I am suddenly catapulted to some invisible floor and my heart plunges like a rock in a pond. I go blind at the pain of every muscle fiber contracting at once, something I thought impossible a few moments ago after shedding my human form. I relax and lay like a fried egg in front of the poodle, my humanity – my material body – restored. Well, at least Elliot’s happy now.
“Yes…there is…Dog,” I collect myself and sit up with my arms supporting me. Why all the multiverses? Because you have a question but you don’t know what it is. You’re seeking an answer to the question of why you don’t know what your question is.”
“Okay,” the poodle throws a paw up, “That is seriously the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. And I’ve been around a long time.”
“Is it really that stupid? According to you, you made all these universes for no reason; you just did it, supposedly to fight boredom. But to fight boredom is itself a reason. You really don’t have any questions? Even if you knew everything, you’d invent a question just to prevent yourself from being bored. And, and…” I really feel like I’m on to something here. But if I piss it off by getting too smug, who knows what it will do to me. “…You created all these universes and hid the ultimate Easter egg, the ultimate question: ‘What is my question?’ It’s brilliant, don’t you see?” And I really do feel smug at this point because I made all of this up on the spot.
“It sounds like you just made all this up on the spot,” the pooch scratches his belly with his hind leg. “In fact, I know you did. If reading your thoughts weren’t enough, your species has a penchant for wearing your emotions on your sleeve. Humans; also the worst poker faces in any universe. But – and I don’t want to admit this – “ the dog shakes itself out as if trying to dry itself off, “You’ve put a thought in my head that is going to get stuck, like a One Direction song you want to hate but you can’t stop thinking about. ‘What is my question?’ That just might keep me entertained for a while.”
“Oh, you’re welcome,” I shoo the little critter. “So we’re square now, right? I mean, it looks like my high level management position has led to some good.” I climb to my feet. “No more reason for me to be here, jolly ol’ chap. Can I go home now?”
The dog tilts its head at me curiously then sets itself straight again. “Ha ha ha ha, no. You may have been a god where you come from but like you said yourself, you got the spelling wrong. No, no one comes here and lives to tell about it. I can’t have the multiverse filling with hedonists once everyone finds out that ultimate reality manifests itself out of boredom. If everyone knew that, no one would go about doing what they naturally do. Creatures should just do what they do and not have to think about not doing those things on purpose.”
“Yeah, but you make it sound like it wouldn’t matter anyway,” I reply.
“Of course that’s what your pea-brain would think. You’re only human; you do not possess the ability to understand the mind of a dog much less the consequences of creatures purposefully acting without purpose,” the poodle grins.
“Oh,” I sulk, “So you’re really not going to let me go? For a second I thought you would.”
“Mmm, nope. But I will make it up to your family and friends by giving them expensive cars,” the dog rolls on its back, mocking me. “And if you’re wondering what I’m going to do with you, how about I make you one of those expensive cars? Eh,” the poodle puts up a halting paw, “Stop right there. Don’t complain. This is me being nice.”
“Can I at least be a Lamborghini?” I put forth for consideration. “I want to be something that goes fast and doesn’t have to think about it much. That way, I’ll just do what I do and not question it.”
“That’s the wisest choice in perhaps your entire life,” the canine sits up. “Thanks for stopping by. Hasta la vista, baby.”
I fall away through cosmos after cosmos. I’m tumbling, tumbling, through universes, time and space, I’m tumbling. Will this ever stop? Will this ever stop? Will this ever…vroom, VROOM. RPMS! RPMS! VROOM, VROOM! GO, GO, GO!
All Rights Reserved © September 2016 John J Vinacci