Interview

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It wasn’t what you’d expect the home of a deity to look like. It wasn’t a cathedral, a temple or a chapel. There were no paintings or statues and the only thing that resembled an altar in the slightest was the humble coffee table situated between a thread-bare sofa and a wooden stool. It was on that stool I had perched myself; hands clasped together on my lap, staring intently at the sofa, my eyes boring holes into the reclining figure of God.
I had grown up in an Irish Catholic home. My image of God was this large, mighty white man with a long white beard and flowing white hair in a billowing robe with a look on his face that was an intimidating mixture of stern, calculating judgment. I remember thinking God must have blue eyes since I thought it made the most sense that those were the kind that could see into your soul.
This image, I soon discovered from this meeting, was incredibly false.
It was impossible to determine God’s gender, I realized. There was a definite masculinity to be had, but there was also an overpowering feminine beauty in God’s face (at least, in what I could discern of it) and gestures. Some may not like this, but I’m going to neither say he or she. I will instead refer to God as ‘it’ because, really, there is no way for me to talk about it otherwise. So, there it was (right, I’ll capitalize ‘it’ so this’ll be marginally respectful), lying on the sofa, It’s back to me. There was no flowing hair or billowing cloaks, just grey sweat pants and a navy blue hoodie: the hood up, covering It’s hair. God took a deep breath in, and let out an incredible sigh. It was not a large, mighty-looking being either. It had a slight frame somehow exaggerated by the bulky clothes It wore. God sniffed, and rolled over. It gazed at me (I supposed) through Its sunglasses. I noticed It was wearing a baseball cap, hiding most of Its face in shadow. I could only see Its lips, It’s jaw and the glint of light reflecting off Its sunglasses. After a pause, It opened Its mouth to speak.
“They’re Ray Bans,” It muttered. I responded with a blank stare. “The sunglasses. They’re Ray Bans. Well not really, they’re knock-offs. If you look closely you’ll see they are actually ‘Red Bins’, but that’s fine, I got 'em cos of that,” It explained in a monotone. I nodded slowly. God nodded back, Its mouth an expressionless thing, lying flat without any curve of emotion. A bit discouraging to a person, if I might be honest. God sighed. “You wanted to ask me stuff, right? (again I nodded mutely) Fire away, then, kiddo,” It rolled onto Its back, resting It’s head on one arm, the other arm lying motionless and folded on Its stomach.
“I don’t know where to begin,” I splutter out. God says nothing. “It’s kind of…intimidating…” I add in a half-whisper. God shrugs, and maintains Its silence. I stare at the coffee table. The lacquer is chipped and in some places worn away completely. I try again. “Why do we have so many conflicts?”
God inhaled deeply through Its nose. “Not my fault,” It stated. “Not my fault, nor my idea. You should understand that. Not. My. Fault. It was you who decided to find fault with each other and it was you who decided the most effective way to fix something is to eliminate it. The only role I have in that—maybe—is when I gave you guys free will, y’know, thinking for your selves, but that doesn’t put me in the blame. Not my fault.” Silence. I wait a bit before asking another question. I was afraid I would upset It.
I fidgeted. “Um…what about all the sickness?” I hold still now, and wait for my answer. For the longest time, God just stared at the ceiling, Its eyes shielded by the black Ray Ban knock-offs. Slowly, It opened Its mouth. “Now that…that one’s a bit tricky. You see, I’m an omniscient being, so it’s pretty damn fiddly to get me to miss something, y’know? But the whole Adam and Eve fiasco is a pretty good way to get me to ignore a few details or two. I didn’t actually cast them out of Eden, you know, I just rearranged the furniture, if you know what I mean. You know, the basics, animals stop being so cuddly, not every plant is going to be tasty and hello poison ivy, oak and all the rest. Though I sort of did like a—how do I put this—you know on your email, you have that forward all thing? (I nodded) I kind of did that. Like, all potentially malignant creatures shall reach said potential starting now!” God snapped Its fingers to punctuate the statement. “Unfortunately I had forgotten about viruses and such. Even when they were harmless they were still a piece of work, I must say. So that one is my fault, I will admit. But, uh, kudos to you guys for trying to beat ’em, you all are doing pretty good for a bunch of newbies.” I asked It what It meant by ‘newbies’ “Y’know, newbies. Rookies. You and your medicine may have come a long way, but it’s still pretty wet behind the ears. I mean listen, the guys I send to you all, the saints, the prophets and whatnot, all they gotta do is touch the boo-boo and tah-dah it’s all good in the ’hood. Every time that happens—y’see I can watch anything I want whenever I want, like the construction of the Great Wall of China and the 1996 Olympics at the same time, it’s pretty cool. You aren’t following. Sorry. Okay, so I’ll be sat here watching a neurosurgeon giving himself a stroke trying to save a patient while at the same time I’m watching one of my boys back in the day rub down someone critically ill. And who has the success? If you guessed my messenger boy, you are right. When I pat the newly passed-on on the back and welcome them with their ancestors, inside I’m going ‘tsk tsk tsk’ at the neurosurgeon. But yeah, still, kudos for trying.”
I nod. “And what about—” God cut me off.
“—actually, could you ask me about something nice?” It turned to look at me. I nod again.
“What about…how do you pick your prophets or saints?” I try shyly. God frowned in what I believed to be thought.
“About that…it’s a bit random selection usually. Sometimes I will go for a person for a specific reason but normally it’s just like ‘I need somebody to help me out. Ah, how about that guy?’ and boom done I got me a prophet. Or saint, not much difference, they’re both selected by me to do my bidding.” It nodded to no one in particular. I nodded in response.
We were quiet; it was awkward. Finally, God broke the silence once again.
“Maybe I should just talk, hey?” without waiting for my response, It dove right into a monologue. “The main complaint I get from you guys other than ‘why is this happening to me?’ is my silence. You guys don’t like it when I’m quiet; you think I’ve left you or given up on you. You all have some real abandonment issues, you know. I haven’t forgotten you guys, it’s kinda hard to—you make the most noise. But back in the day when I did talk to you all it was grand—you actually listened to me and we would have these really nice chats…though some people don’t like my whole Abraham thing. You know: the whole testing his faith by asking him to sacrifice his son. Even I was a bit taken aback by his quickness to oblige, truth be told. But then again, those were the early days when my existence was absolute and there was nothing to reduce the likelihood of me having actually spoken. Like drugs and such. No one had found anything yet. Well at least not there. Man, I had poppies and such everywhere but like nobody wondered about the sap in those suckers for ages. I thought I had made you all a little more inquisitive than that, but apparently not…it wasn’t too long before you all started wondering about your place in the universe. And then you all flipped when you found out it wasn’t just you guys out there. That was pretty funny, I’ll admit. You were all like ‘WHAT?! No way in hell! No! We are the centre of the universe! I swear we are! We’re not? You lie! I refuse to believe that!’ it was such a drama with you guys. And a little something you still can’t seem to grasp: you are not my favourite creations. I never said that. The guys who wrote the bible added that detail to make everyone feel special. I don’t have favourites. Everything I make I make equally and love equally. I don’t play favourites, because that just isn’t very good leadership, you know? And, ah, that whole stuff about sending bad experiences and what not to teach or test or whatever, that isn’t really my intent. Those things just happen, often without a purpose. Sometimes I just need to maintain a balance…and karma is funny. Especially when you use it on people that don’t believe in it. That is a classic,” I coughed uncomfortably, It continued: “And you know what else? I really don’t care if you worship me or not. Like, it annoys me a bit when you all are like ‘noooo God doesn’t exist, we were made by coincidence!’…What the hell, you guys. All this crap ain’t random, you know that, right? You got like, like, intense geometric patterns in flowers and crap like that. I did that, man, me! Seriously, you all just hate the idea that there is something out there more powerful than you. I’m getting off topic. So yeah, worship me, don’t worship me, I don’t really care. Just don’t deny me, okay? Basic manners, dude. Everyone hates rejection. Even the all-powerful. And, like, be nice to each other for once, alright? Geez, do you have any idea what a headache it is to wake up and hear about Muslims beating up Jews or Christians beating up Jews or, or, or atheists reducing believers to tears or believers hating on atheists? Yeah, it’s a flippin’ migraine, is what it is. Geez…” God let out an exasperated sigh. “And you know what else? I’m tired of people using me as an excuse for their actions. I have never once told somebody to hurt another. Not my thing. At all. I just…want you guys to chill out. That’s all I want. I’m tired of thinking that maybe creating you all was a mistake. It’s really painful to look down at my creations and then see you guys, killing and breaking and polluting your socks off. Like, I tried so hard to help you all out, you know? But the last time I tried to help you out, you nailed it to a cross. Seriously, what was that all about, hmm? I never got that…but really. I am so tired. So very, very tired. And you all being little psychos does not help me out. So please, just chill out. Relax. Next time something rubs you the wrong way, don’t shoot it, 'kay? That’s all I want right now. Chill, guys, chill…”It paused, and jerked It’s face toward me. “We cool?” It asked in a tired voice. I blinked, unsure of what It meant. Understanding my silence, It explained, “I mean are we done here? Can I go back to sleep now? S’alright for us to wrap this up, you got everything you wanted to know, yeah?” I nodded silently, not sure that there was much else to ask. God nodded It’s emotionless face. “Right, cool, later, then, kiddo. If you think up any more questions after you leave, tough luck, I’m afraid. Remember what I said bout chilling out, kiddo, tell your friends…if you have any…nah, I’m just messing I say that to everybody. But yeah, be chill, do your thing, don’t wear me out. ’Night.” God rolled over, placing It’s back to me, and a soft snoring drifted from the couch, slowly increasing in volume.
Then the snores became high-pitched, wailing sounds.
I snapped up from my sofa. I had fallen asleep. I squeezed my eyes shut a few times and rubbed their corners. What a trippy dream, I thought. I sniffed and tried to make sense of my dream. An interview with god? I sighed and looked around the room, trying to discern the wails piercing the air. The wail had devolved into a garble of honking and tweeting. I shuffled into the kitchen and poured myself a glass of water, gulped it down and wondered just what could have inspired something like that for a dream. The car alarm cut off.

And then it was silent.





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