After I shot Archibald for his supposed “dereliction of duty”, he managed to survive.
“Maybe we’ll just call it even,” the old butler said as he held his hand over the gushing shotgun wound. He placed his arm around my shoulder and I carried him back to the estate.
Darla regained consciousness after being choked out by her dying, naked father. “Is he finally dead?” she asked.
“About fucking time,” she replied, “let’s leave that crazy old bastard’s body out in the woods.”
We all returned to the estate and shared a bottle of brandy. Archibald was looking a little pale due to the massive blood loss. Darla was happy to be home. “What the fuck was up with that arctic fox?” she asked.
I swirled around my glass while I pondered. “I guess it symbolized Mr. Shitz’s soul,” I said. “At his moment of death, the fox took up his spirit. Now Mr. Shitz is truly free; free from man-made constraints, free to live the life he always wanted. And more importantly, he took up my spiritual burdens by becoming the Angel of Death, and bestowing up me full humanity; the greatest gift he ever gave anyone. Or some shit like that. I dunno.”
“Okay good. Glad I wasn’t the only one that saw it,” Darla replied. “Because I was REALLY tripping balls out there.”
We all had a good laugh, including Archibald who continued bleeding all over the couch. Then it occurred to me:
“Did we get Allen Funt out of that hole?”
Like what your read?
Well the other day, while I was harassing strangers at the airport, I saw a gentleman carrying around these books:
After pestering him for a few minutes, he asked me “are you some kind of fucking moron?” Then he told me where I can find them: Dead Star Press. Moreover, to get me to leave him alone, he said I can use the promo code ‘BM5’ to get 5% off when I checkout at the website. (Then the police escorted me out of the terminal)
And after reading Joseph D Newcomer’s ‘Darkest Day’ and the Press Anthology, it occurred to me: “I’m terrible at this writing business.” So now I leave all that nonsense to Newcomer and his stable of talented writers at Dead Star Press and I will never write another sentence again.
Plus they make really dope shirts:
So stop writing. And stop reading other writers for fuck’s sake! It’s over. And Dead Star Press won. So use the code ‘BM5’ to get 5% off your next purchase!
Alright, here’s the beginning of September’s story. Hopefully it will be tragic, heartwarming, thought-provoking, sappy, lovey-dovey, etc etc. Just like you’d find in any shitty Hallmark movie or 90’s Oscar-bait picture.
Don’t hold your breath though. I am pulling this story right out my ass. Maybe it’ll good though. I have a good feeling about this one.
William Shitz woke up the same time every morning: 4:30AM.
He’d look in the mirror, trim his mustache, and evacuate his bowels. He’d always use two squares of toilet paper. No more, no less.
His bowel movement was a little more painful than usual this particular morning. But he thought nothing of it. After wiping his ass, William departed to his study to read the morning newspaper.
“Can you believe this Archibald?” William asked the butler in his thick transatlantic accent.
“Belief what sir?” asked Archibald.
“The Dow 500 crashed 8 million points yesterday. We must be in a recession!”
“Nonsense, sir,” Archibald said, “you’re a billionaire. None of that will affect you.”
“Mmm, right you are,” William said as he sipped his Earl Grey. “Do tell me, have I missed any phone calls this morning?”
“It’s 5am, sir. It won’t be start of business for another couple of hours.”
“Right. Well I better get moving then, I don’t want to fall behind on the day’s schedule.”
William Shitz removed his smoking jacket, put on his business attire and ascot then climbed into the back of his Rolls-Royce Phantom III. As Archibald was driving the vehicle, he handed the gold-plated phone back to William. “Your daughter is on the line, sir,” he said.
“Darla Shitz,” William said into the phone, “how have you been my dear?”
“Dad, I’m ready to come home,” Darla replied.
“Now now, Darla, you know I wish to be called ‘father’.”
“Father, I’ve been in France for six years! I know that it was rough on you when mother passed, but I want to be back with my family!”
“Now’s not a good time, darling. I must be going, I have a busy day ahead of me. Goodbye.” William abruptly hung up the phone and handed it back to Archibald.
“How is Darla doing, Mr. Shitz?” Archibald asked. “I would love to see her again.”
“Oh fine, fine,” William replied, “but I’m afraid she wishes to stay in France a little longer.”
The Rolls pulled up to Shitz Factory, a large DoD contractor that develops and manufactures weapons used to drop on villages in the Middle East. It was personally owned by Mr. William Shitz himself.
“I haven’t had a day off in two years,” said Allan Funt, Vice-President of operations and William’s right-hand man. “I’m overworked, I’ve developed a drinking problem, and my wife is fucking the mailman. All I’m asking is a couple of days off.”
“I’m sorry Allen,” Mr. Shitz replied, “but I expect all of my employees to give the same dedication that I gave into building this company for a laughable fraction of what I make. That goes for you as well.”
Allan began to tear up. For a fleeting moment, William felt a degree of sympathy for him. “Now now, Allen,” William said, “you’re my most valuable employee. Keep up the good work and maybe I’ll give you a day off next year.”
Allan nodded, wiped away a tear, and diligently went back to work. As William was returning to his office, he felt a sharp pain in his stomach.
“Are you alright, sir?” Archibald asked.
“I don’t understand, Archibald,” William said, “I already had a bowel movement this morning.”
His stomach continued to cramp. He rushed into his private office and on into the bathroom then dropped his pants. He noticed that he already soiled his silk underwear.
William continued to spray shit out of his rectum and into his diamond-made toilet. After a violent two minutes, he grabbed his usual two squares of toilet paper and wiped his crack. When he looked back at the paper, he was appalled.
“Shit!” I yelled. “After killing those bald eagles, I’m all outta bullets!”
“Jack,” Pete replied, “if you can get us out of this, you might make me a believer after all.”
That was all the motivation I needed. So I said a prayer: “Lord, everything that’s happened so far has led me to this point. Give me the strength to kill Sally and lead Peter Tucker to Salvation in Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Right then, as the Goodyear Blimp hovered above, Sally, who was piloting the aircraft, released dozens of live hand grenades down onto Progressive Field. Pete and I weaved and bobbed our way through one explosion after the next but when the last grenade landed, it didn’t explode.
That’s when the Lord gave me a sign.
I saw Deshaun Watson, who was supposed to the throw the first pitch in the celebrity baseball game, cowering in the corner and pissing himself in the dugout. “Deshaun!” I yelled, “we need your arm strength! If you pick up this live hand grenade and hurl it back at the blimp before it detonates, you might be redeemed in the eyes of the public for all those disgusting sexual acts you did to those masseuses. Maybe not though. But what other choice you got?! Hurry before it explodes!”
Watson gathered up the courage, climbed out of the dugout, picked up the grenade, and with all of his strength he launched it towards the blimp.
He was right on the money. The grenade exploded, and the blimp came tumbling down onto the field.
Sally was in a daze when she climbed out of the wreckage. “Holt!” Pete ordered as he lifted his 9mm towards her. But Sally was too quick. She drew her weapon and shot Pete in the abdomen.
Then she turned her gun towards me and laughed maniacally. “I finally have you where I want you, Jack Hardcock!” Sally said, “Prepare to meet your maker, Cleveland scum!”
Sally then ripped an entire clip into my direction, but to her surprise, every bullet missed. I dodged my way over to Pete’s position. With one hand over the bullet wound, he tossed me his 9mm with the other. “Pete,” I said, “without my .38, I’m useless!”
“I believe in you, Jack,” he replied, “have faith!”
I lifted the 9mm and emptied five bullets into Sally. As she dropped to her knees, I walked towards her, still aiming the weapon. “But why, Jack?” she asked, “I was only trying to clean up the streets. Wouldn’t your God approve?”
“No Sally,” I said, “Vengeance is the Lord’s. And I am His instrument.”
I fired one more round into Sally’s skull and her body fell to the ground.
“What are you gonna do Jack?” Peter Tucker asked me at the FBI flophouse. I was washing local Cleveland gangster Gregg Poppovich’s blood off my hands.
“I’m gonna do what the Lord should have done a long time ago,” I said, “I’m gonna send her back to hell. Right where she belongs.”
“Say it ain’t so, Jack,” Pete replied, “are you actually losing your faith?”
I grabbed a cheap towel and began drying my hands. “I never question the ways of God,” I said, “but I sometimes wonder if He really has forsaken us. He’s certainly done so to Cleveland.”
Pete poured two glasses of whiskey and handed one to me. “We’ve always hated each other, Jack,” he said, “in fact I despise the ground you walk on. Someday I hope you die a slow agonizing death, preferably by fire or some means of disembowelment. You’re a piece of shit and I would love to grab this bottle of whiskey, shove it up your ass, and throw you out the window. However, unlike you, I have restraint. But goddamnit Jack, I’ve always respected your faith. And I’ll drink to that.”
“Thanks Pete,” I replied, “I needed that pep talk. It’s tough out here on the streets. It’s tough to make friends when they always end up dead. At least the Chief and Gregg found Salvation before their deaths. I do find consolation in that. I hope that someday you’ll find Peace through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Fuck that shit,” Pete said, “a lot of good that did to your friends. They found a guarantee into Heaven and next thing you know, they’re dead. That’s not for me Jack. I need the constant threat of Hell to keep me alive. That’s how you survive these streets.”
I shook my head. “You’re too short sided Pete.”
“No, dipshit. I just ain’t stupid.”
“Well, whatever,” I said as I downed the whiskey, “we’ve got a demon on the loose. And if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about the Lord is that He always vanquishes His enemies. Specifically through MY .38.”
“What a pussy ass weapon,” Pete replied.
As he raised the whiskey glass to his mouth, I fired a round right through the glass. Shards and liquid went everywhere.
“Alright, now I see what you mean,” Pete said as he wiped away whiskey that splashed on his face. “So what’s the plan? How are you gonna get to Sally?”
“Thankfully we cleaned up the blood and brains from that guy I shot at Progressive Field,” I replied. “Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have killed him, but what’s done is done. Hopefully she won’t notice he’s missing and she’ll move forward with her plan.”
There are few scenes in the history of film that hit me harder than the Super 8 sequence in Paris, Texas.
Rarely do films like this get made. Especially now. Not without a dose of heavy handed social commentary and violence.
That’s not the case with Paris, Texas. It’s subject is simple: one man’s inability to face his problems. All of this juxtaposed against the vast American landscape that’s both empty and crowded…dead and alive. Wim Wenders’ vision of America is embodied by the character Travis, played by the enigmatic Harry Dean Stanton.
The first time I watched this, it was almost like a religious experience. I was 10 or 11 years old and stayed up late while watching cable to see some tities. Fortunately, nothing was on Cinemax so I switched over to HBO. Paris, Texas was playing.
I don’t know why I kept watching it (probably because you see some Aurore Clement side boob), but next thing I know, I was fully engrossed in the story. It was the first movie where, when it ended, I didn’t know what hit me.
It was probably at that moment when it occurred to me: THIS is why people love movies.
Some people hate Paris, Texas. Some say it’s too slow. Some don’t like Travis because he abandoned his family.
I personally like movies that take their time. And if you don’t like Travis’ decisions, it’s not like the movie presents him as mensch.
In fact, Travis…along with his wife Jane…are presented as two VERY troubled people. From the perspective of Travis, he had to leave at the end because he was utterly broken. I would go as far as to say that Travis’ entire existence consists of (unintentionally) ruining people’s lives.
This film is not only about Travis trying to reunite his wife and child (Hunter), but it’s also about ruining the lives of his brother Walt and his wife Anne who took custody of Hunter during his disappearance.
Another heartbreaking scene is when Anne fails to convince Travis and Hunter to return home, and she goes to lie down in Hunter’s bed. Even though Hunter wasn’t her actual son, she was still attached to him. And that’s the last scene Anne is in, never to be mentioned again.
But Wenders’ direction mixes realism with a childlike perspective (which resembles Travis’ emotional state) quite well. So, I think, that permits me to have a pessimistic interpretation of the ending: there was no way that Jane would maintain custody of Hunter, and Hunter would return to Walt and Anne with a better sense of his “real” family, which would likely cause further damage to everyone involved. Meanwhile, Travis, once again, ran away from it all.
Is my interpretation correct? I dunno. But that’s how art works.
So do yourself a favor: stay up late one night and watch Paris, Texas.
I’ve had this story in my head for awhile and just now acted on it.
I originally wrote an introduction but then said fuck it. All you need to know is that this is historical fiction, perhaps my least favorite genre, but this blog is all about challenging myself as a writer. So I’m giving this a go.
Just imagine if you were some nobody that got caught up in an incident that you believed had little significance, but it was actually the most important event in all of Western Civilization. I want to explore how reality turns to myth. I guess that’s the impetus behind this story.
I dunno, we’ll see how this goes…
Ain’t promising nothing.
Jerusalem, Circa 30 CE
Roman Judea is under the governorship of Pontius Pilate. Yeshua from Galilee has amassed a small yet devoted number of followers as messianic fervor sweeps the region. After causing a ruckus at the Jerusalem Temple during Passover, Yeshua is tried and sentenced to death by crucifixion.
With their leader dead, the followers of Yeshua await their fates…
…one such follower, and childhood friend of Yeshua, is Simon, the fisherman of Bethesda…
Joseph (of Arimathea) knocked me on my ass. He continued to berate me as I laid out on the ground.
“Do you know how hard it was for me to not turn you over to the Romans?!” he screamed. “All of these young ones,” Joseph then pointed to Thomas, John, Andrew, Levi, Jacob, and Mary, “…you and that idiot friend of yours could have gotten them KILLED!”
I leaned up and wiped the blood from my lip. I couldn’t feel a thing. I was too drunk. “Don’t worry Joseph,” I said, “you’ll never see my face again.”
“You’re damn right I’ll never see your face again! You have until sun up to get out of Jerusalem. If you’re not gone by then, so help me God YOU’LL be crucified next!”
Jude spoke up. “What about Yeshua’s body? Surely you didn’t leave him at Golgotha. It’s the Passover.”
“Do you know what I had to do Jude?” Joseph asked. “I had to talk to Pilate. Yeah! Face to fucking face! Luckily for all of you, he barely remembered this morning’s fiasco so I was permitted to take him off the cross. As for the Sanhedrin…they’re PISSED and will probably be looking for you guys. Which is why you better get the fuck outta here!”
“Just tell me where he’s buried,” Jude replied.
“I’m not telling you!” Joseph said.
Levi spoke up. “Just tell him father.”
Joseph took a deep breath to cool himself. “Because my idiot son here was an admirer of Yeshua,” he said, “his body has been placed in my family tomb TEMPORARILY, at least until all of this shit blows over. Then I will remove his remains. Now: please leave the city.”
Joseph departed the tavern and took Levi with him. The rest of the group stood around aimlessly. Jacob helped me off the ground. “Do we go back to Galilee?” he asked.
“I sure as hell am!” I replied.
“What about what?!”
“The Kingdom of God?”
“The Kingdom of God? Jacob, your brother is DEAD! He’s not coming back! If you know what’s good for you, you will return to Galilee and kiss your mother and tell her how sorry you are for your older brother’s death.”
Jacob began to weep and I instantly regretted my words.
He was only a kid.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “this was all my fault. I shouldn’t have agreed to come to Jerusalem. All of this could have been avoided.”
“I can’t go back,” Jacob said. “I can’t face her.”
He told me that he was staying in Jerusalem. I didn’t know what else to say to him. So I patted him on the back and he departed the Cyrean’s tavern. I thought I’d ever see him again.
“I’m going to Damascus,” Jude said, “I’ve got some connections there. Maybe now just wasn’t the time. I….”
“Let it go Jude,” I interrupted.
“But Simon, maybe this was just the beginning of something big…perhaps the end for the Romans.”
I laughed. “Are we experiencing the same reality? We just got our asses handed to us. Do you really think we can bring down the Romans?”
“Why are you here?! Did you not see all of those followers in Capernaum? In Cana? In Caesarea?!”
“I was his friend, Jude. I knew all of this was getting to his head, but I said nothing. I let the rest of you talk him into coming to Jerusalem. I said nothing. I let him go to the temple. I knew what he was going to do. But I said nothing. Well now I’m telling YOU something: go back to Damascus or wherever you’re from, and forget all of this happened. And I will go back to Bethesda where I will regret for the rest of my life that I was never able to bring Yeshua’s body to his mother.”
“And what of the Romans? What will you do if they ever find out what you did here?”
I laughed again as I drank another cup of wine. “They don’t care enough about me,” I said, “but if they did ever find me, I will tell them to send me to Rome so that I can tell the Caesar to kiss my ass.”
Jude shook his head. “Goodbye Simon.”
“So long Jude!”
As I was filling the wine skins, Thomas approached me. “Should I go to Egypt?” he asked.
“The world is your oyster, Thomas,” I said, “I’m going home.”
The two of us embraced for the last time. I thanked the Cyrean for sheltering us then my brother Andrew and I left the tavern. Maybe it was the wine, but as we were leaving Jerusalem, I was seeing Yeshua’s face everywhere. The guilt was unbearable.
Andrew wasn’t at all affected by the day’s events. As we traveled the road back to Galilee under the cover of night, he was cackling. “Boy, Joseph licked you good,” he said.
Andrew was a simple man.
“That’s because he’s a member of the Sanhedrin,” I replied, “if they ever found out he provided aid and cover to us, they’ll stone him for sure.”
As we stopped along a creek bank for the night, I laid out my bed. As I walking away towards the tree line, Andrew asked where I was going.
“Gotta take a shit,” I said.
As I got out of earshot of him, I kneeled down behind a tree and vomited. I closed my eyes for a few moments. All I could envision was Yeshua’s smiling face. Then I wept uncontrollably.
Finally I stood up and walked back to the camp where I found Andrew picking his nose. “Boy I can’t wait get back to fishin,” he said.
I laid down on my bed, looking up to the sky. “We’re not going back to Bethesda,” I said. “We’re going back to Jerusalem.”
“It is the King’s wish that your three female crew members join his harem. In exchange, we will grant you land rights on Ishnar, allowing you to remain here permanently,” Hazov declared to me in front of the Royal Council.
“What if they deny the King’s wish?” I retorted.
“Then you and your crew will be asked to leave.”
“Hazov, I can’t make them do anything. Those three crew members are distinguished women in their own right. I do not own them.”
“Those are the conditions on which you may stay on Ishnar.”
“Unacceptable,” I said, “I am responsible for the safety and well-being of my crew. Under no conditions would they submit to this demand.”
Hazov then whispered to one of the advisers. They convened privately for a few moments. “Alright,” Hazov finally spoke up, “then the King will accept one of your female officers for his harem: Commander Mwangi.”
I tried to hide the anger boiling beneath. “Under Space Fleet guidelines,” I responded, “we are ordered to respect the customs of extraterrestrial cultures. But I cannot submit my crew these demands, not without discussing it with them first. Please allow me to return to the Sagan where I will meet with my crew.”
“Of course, Captain.”
I was bluffing. I knew the crew wouldn’t agree to these terms but I needed time to find other options.
When I returned to the Sagan, Dr. Jackass pulled me aside. “Valdez is indeed pregnant,” he said, “we ran a DNA test and the father is Smashhouse. Yah was correct.”
“Fuck me running!” I replied.
I went underground to meet with Yah again. The guards refused to let me through. “Look,” I told one of them, “Hazov has granted me unrestricted access to Yah.”
“We need an explanation for your visit,” the guard said.
“I just need to go over with Yah the court proceedings on Earth should he stand trial,” I replied. “That’s all.”
“I need to confirm this with Hazov.”
“Don’t waste your time, Hazov’s time, and my time. You’re being ridiculous.”
We had a stare down for a few moments before he let me through. Another guard escorted me to Yah’s chamber.
“Can we have some privacy please?” I asked the guard. When he was out of earshot, Yah spoke up.
“I knew you’d be back,” he said.
“Of course you did.”
“We got off on the wrong foot Captain. But I can help you with your problem.”
“What is my problem?”
“Your ship doesn’t work and you can’t stay on Ishnar.”
“So? Maybe I can find another corner of this planet for my crew to live on.”
“The King of Ishnar rules this entire planet. If he ever found you and your crew, he would kill all of you. Face it: the customs of Ishnar is incompatible with Earth’s. You know this to be true.”
“How can you help me then? Can you fix thrusters, hydrogen drives, and hibernation chambers?”
“Through me, all things are possible.”
“Do you agree to do this?”
“You have my word, Captain.”
“What about Earth? It’s gone. Can you help us rebuild the planet?”
“I’ve only ever wanted what’s best for humanity.”
“Okay then. If you go back on your word, I will not hesitate to eject you into outer space where you’ll spend eternity in your chamber.”
“My powers are limited in this chamber. The only way I can repair your ship is if you release me from it.”
Son of a bitch, he was right. I knew he was right. And he knew that I knew he was right. We were playing each other. I had to make a choice.
I called the guard over. “Bring Yah’s chamber to the surface,” I ordered. “We’re bringing him back to Earth.”
“Earth has been destroyed in a nuclear hellfire,” I informed the crew. “The Sagan’s communication beacon has been pinging mission control for the last 50 years, ever since we entered hibernation stasis. We haven’t received a response back. It is safe to assume that all nuclear powers on Earth have indeed initiated Mutually Assured Destruction, leaving the planet in a radiated mess, meaning it won’t be safe to return there for the next 250 years.”
“279 years to be precise,” Dr. Jackass interrupted.
“In all likelihood,” I continued, “we are the last remaining members of Space Fleet, and possibly the last Earthlings.”
The crew looked at one another.
“When did you learn about this?” Valdez asked.
“Not long after we departed Tranquility Bay,” I replied.
“So we could have aborted the mission, returned to Earth, and Smashhouse would still be alive,” Valdez retorted.
“My orders were to continue with the mission and initiate population measures on the planet orbiting Tau Ceti. We have a responsibility not only to Space Fleet, but to humanity as well, to maintain our race.”
Valdez threw up her hands in frustration. “What about our responsibilities to the people of Earth?!” she cried, then stormed out of the briefing room.
Patel spoke up. “What about that ‘God’ thing?” he asked.
“Patel, you don’t seem to be too disturbed about this news,” I said.
“Sir, I’m in Space Fleet. We all knew the risks when we signed up.”
I nodded. “Forget about the ‘God’ situation. The being they have captured underground is indeed an intelligent life form, but I believe its intentions are deceptive. In my assessment, it’s too dangerous to bring it on this ship and back to Earth. Therefore, that thing, whatever it is, is the Ishnarian’s problem. I believe our best course of action is to remain here, under the good will of the Ishnarians.”
“Sir,” Hanson interrupted. “I’m in agreement with Valdez. We must return to Earth and assist in recovery efforts.”
“Hanson,” I said, “there may be nothing to return to. And that’s to say nothing about surviving hibernation stasis.”
“Earth is our home sir! We must do something!”
“Now I am the captain! And my orders are to remain here. Is that clear?”
“How can you be a captain when there is no Space Fleet?!” Hanson said and left the room in protest.
“I guess the meeting’s adjourned then,” I said. As everyone left the room, I pulled the Doctor aside. “Check on Valdez,” I told him. “Confirm that she’s pregnant. Run a medical exam if need be. We need to investigate the veracity of Yah’s claims.”
I returned to my quarters and pulled out a bottle of bourbon. There was a knock on the door. “May I speak with you sir?” the voice asked.
It was Mwangi.
After my encounter with Yah, I had been reluctant to make eye contact with her. I took a big swig from the bottle and invited her in.
“What can I do for you Commander?” I asked.
“Sir, I didn’t want to bring this up in front of the crew,” Mwangi said, “but launch thrusters are blown in addition to the hydrogen drive being depleted. And with hibernation chambers being iffy at best, it appears that we’re stuck here.”
I started to rub my temples. “I can’t believe that Space Fleet sent us up in this piece of shit,” I said. “Is there anything you can do?”
“It’s normally a simple refueling process,” she replied, “but because we’re on a planet stuck in the 14th Century, it might take decades before I could develop the materials to even begin the process. I’m sorry Captain.”
I sighed. “It’s not your fault Commander,” I said.
“I guess you can call me Nia now.”
“Can I offer you a drink Nia?”
“I would love one sir.”
“Please, call me Bill,” I said as I poured her a glass. After I handed it to her, she stared at it for awhile in deep thought.
“I also want to tell you that even though you’re the captain and have to maintain a stoic distance away from the crew,” Nia said, “I have supported your decisions 100%. And I know these last few days have been difficult for you. But you don’t have to be a stranger. You have my support.”
“A captain is only as good as his crew, specifically his Chief Engineer,” I joked.
“Then you must not be a very good captain,” she laughed.
“Nonsense,” I said, “I’m thankful to have your support.”
There was an awkward silence for a few moments as we sipped our drinks. Finally, Nia smiled and spoke up. “So how are you going to spend the rest of your days on this planet?”
“Honestly, I haven’t thought about it,” I laughed. “I guess I’ll be a farmer. There’s nothing else to do on this forsaken planet.”
Nia leaned forward to touch my hand. “I could be a farmer’s wife,” she said.
I clasped onto her hand. “Now I just need to talk to the Ishnarians,” I replied.
“So you cast God into hell?” I asked Hazov as we were descending deep into the surface of Ishnar in an elevator.
“That’s one way of putting it,” he responded. “But be warned though: Yah can still read your thoughts. We have yet developed the technology to block that ability. Other than that, he is completely contained within the chamber.”
“How does this chamber work?” Dr. Jackass asked.
“The walls of the chamber itself is reinforced with titanium-like nano tubing. This prevents porous openings all the way down to the quantum foam level. Even God can’t penetrate past that micro surface,” Hazov said.
“Fascinating,” The Doctor replied. “How did you obtain this technology? Forgive me, but technology on Earth appears to be beyond that of Ishnar and yet we haven’t developed those capabilities.”
“This technology was given to us by the ‘God Species’, as your captain calls it. This is why our technological capabilities appear to be so uneven.”
“Indeed, your culture appears to be from the Middle Ages of Earth, yet you’re using interplanetary radios, plasma weapons, and advanced forms language translation.” the Doctor said.
“Doctor,” I interrupted, “you’re about to meet God…or the first CONFIRMED alien life…and this is what you’re interested in?”
“Captain, I understand that you’re nervous, but it is part of Space Fleet’s mission to study extraterrestrial cultures.”
I rolled my eyes.
Finally the elevator stopped roughly 8 km underground. As we walked through the corridor to Yah’s holding area, Hazov continued to brief us. “A transparent piece of aluminum will allow you to see into the chamber,” he said. “Yah can take any form he chooses, but it’s only a mirage. While he can read your thoughts, you cannot communicate telepathically. You will have to speak with him over the monitors, and he will do the same for you.”
When we reached the guards holding large plasma rifles, Hazov stopped us and pinned a device onto Dr. Jackass and me. “This is just a precaution,” he stated, “but Yah is highly radioactive. The chamber should contain the radiation, but should any leak, this device will absorb it.”
Hazov could see I was shaking nervously. “Captain, you’ll be fine,” he said to me, “sure Yah played a big part in our histories. But he’s not actually God. While his material is not fully understood, insofar as we can tell he is made of normal matter just like you and me. He can’t hurt you. So don’t let him get to you.”
Hazov smiled and patted me on the shoulder. Then the doctor and I proceeded past the guards. We were escorted down a long corridor, where there at the very end was a large square chamber with a medium-sized window revealing a radiant orange glow inside.
I walked up to the window. But I couldn’t tell anything discerning inside, other than the orange mist. “Can he hear me?” I asked one of the guards.
He nodded. Then I opened my mouth.
“I am Captain William Kananga of the USV Carl Sagan. My first officer here is Dr. Sergei Jackass. We are members of Space Fleet representing Earth: a planet that I believe you are familiar with.”
Moments went by and there was no response. I looked back to the guard. “Are you sure he can hear me?” I asked him.
Then a strange voice came over the monitor.
“I know who you are,” the voice said. It wasn’t a deep voice, certainly not one I would associate with God. But it had resonance.
“Of course,” I replied. “I understand that you wish to return to Earth. What is your past associations there?”
“Siddhartha Gautama, Moshes, Mohammed, Yeshua: the Carpenter of Nazareth,” the voice replied.
“I’m afraid that I’m unfamiliar with Moshes.”
“You know him as Moses. I gave him the Ten Commandments.”
“Right. That’s why he was glowing as he came down Mt. Sinai. He was exposed to high levels of radiation.”
“That’s why I said that no man can see my face and live. I gave mankind scriptures to protect them from themselves.”
“Unfortunately those scriptures have been used to justify hate, discrimination, and war for thousands of years.”
“Yes, but humankind were savages when I found them. I gave them the power of reasoning to help them grow. Evolve.”
“What good that did them. What about the Holocaust? Nuclear war?”
“I had nothing to do with that. If I was permitted to stay on Earth, I could have prevented all of that.”
“You seem to want to take credit for humanity’s successes but want to evade responsibility for all of its ills and your failure in preventing them. Even your own “scriptures” make you look like the bad guy.”
“Mistakes were made, of course. And I’m prepared to answer for those. But humanity needs me now, more than ever. Earth has been destroyed in a nuclear war, has it not?”
I looked over to a concerned Dr. Jackass and back to the chamber. “I know what you’re trying to do,” I said to Yah. “But you’re not God. You’re not an all powerful, all loving deity. You’re a charlatan that wonders from planet to planet, taking advantage of vulnerable species.”
“I know that you beat off to Commander Mwangi this morning,” Yah said.
“What’s that got to do with anything?”
“She’s going to have your child, ya know?” Yah continued. “You will be a better father to it than you ever were to the son you left behind on Earth to die in those nuclear bombs.”
“Commander Valdez is pregnant too. The late Commander Smashhouse is the father…”
“You’re not benevolent,” I interrupted. “You’re a sick, sad, and lonely being. Not worthy of our worship.”
“I am Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End. I shall have no other gods before me!” Yah declared as the orange glow morphed into a mirage of my late son.
“I’ve listened to enough of this hubris,” I said then stormed out of the corridor. As I walked passed the guards, I threw off the radiation device.
“Captain, are you all right?” the Doctor asked as he ran up behind me.
“What happened?” Hazov asked.
“Hazov, my recommendation is to sling that fucking thing in there right into the sun,” I said, then stormed into the elevator. Hazov and Jackass rushed in behind me. “Take me back to the surface!”
The two men were silent as I tried to cool down. As the elevator ascended, the doctor touched me on the arm.
Therefore I am holding you personally responsible for everything I write henceforth.
“You can’t use racial slurs in conference calls!” the Human Resource officer told me.
“Susan, stop,” I said, “you know how much you turn me on when you’re angry.”
“I’m afraid that you will be suspended without pay until the Board decides what to do with you,” she responded.
“I’m not racist!” I declared. “I was simply stating what the Papa John’s guy said in HIS racist phone call!”
“You are hereby suspended. Please vacate the premise.”
“Bitch,” I said as I stood up.
I was so upset that I got drunk and drove to a cockfight. As I was placing a bet, my friend Don noticed something was wrong.
“What’s on your mind Bill?” Don asked as we were sharing a crack pipe.
“I don’t know anymore Don,” I said. “I feel like I’m stalling. All I’m doing is filling my time with sex, drugs, and absurd behavior. It’s gotten me nowhere. I don’t ask for much. All I really want is a quiet life. Sounds simple enough but I can’t seem to get out of my own way. I’m lost and the walls are crumbling all around me. Is it possible Don? Is it possible that I am the problem?”
Don took a hit off the pipe and thought for a moment.