awkwardly

Sunday

Yet Another Creation Myth as told to Emmanuel McGillicuddy

I guess what you'd call this here would be a "revelation." It was told to me over the course of something like thirty years by a thing who talked to me. I'm no kind of preacher, and I don't expect no money or nothing. I don't even care if you believe it. All I know is I was told to write this stuff down exactly how The Being thing said, and it's supposedly the truth about the world. It started out like this...
The Being sat in the nothingness, one hand propping up its cheek. With Its free hand, The Being swirled a finger around in the nothingness. The swirling void began to glow, and eventually became somethingness, little bits of stuff spinning and circling and flying away.
The Being sighed for eons. It noticed a speck buzzing away from the swirl in an awkward, loopy pattern. With a closer look, The Being saw that there were little things moving around inside the speck. The little things within the speck bumped around and chattered at each other and disappeared and formed new little things.
"Huh," The Being grunted, in honest surprise. "Neat." The Being held the speck and looked at it. After a short while (about nine thousand years), he understood what they were chattering about.
"Many of our young people now regard these ceremonies as futile," the Captain of the little things said from the Control Room of the speck. The speck was what we would consider to be twenty miles long and about half that wide and tall. The aged Captain continued his weekly sermon, "They say that our world will never move again. Some even say the legends are lies, that we never travelled through the stars and that we have always been stationary. But I derive some satisfaction, some sense of purpose from continuing this procedure. I have faith that one day our world will move again."
Then he recited the prayer to move the world: "Ensign, on my mark, all ahead full."
"Uh, 'full,' sir?" the ensign said.
"Yes, give it warp nine," the descendant of the original Captain specified. "Really push it this time. Doesn't quite seem worth the effort unless we get things shaking, does it?"
The ensign gulped and positioned her fingers over the controls. "Yes, sir."
The Captain allowed the moment to drag out, to test the youth's patience, before saying, "Engage."
The speck shuddered between The Being's gentle fingers and The Being let it go.
"Cool," said The Being, looking around for more specks with unnatural patterns of flight. The Being examined the ever-widening range of chunks and bits of stuff all around.
On one of the bits of stuff, a tiny ball 8,000 miles in diameter, The Being saw boiling juices that formed clouds and fell back to the ball's surface. Within the juices, The Being saw itty-bitty things, tiny even by our standards, bumping around and disappearing and forming new itty-bitty things.
When the juices evaporated more, some of the itty-bitty things decided to live more slowly. They would find dry spots on the ball, spurt up, and eventually wither and fall. These bits didn't seem as excited as the others; they were content to stay in one spot the whole time they lived. They usually came out green, or, if they were the sturdier variety, brown with green tips. Using Its fingernails, The Being carefully plucked a few of the bigger ones and tasted them.
They weren't enough to crunch, barely enough to taste, but The Being lingered over them, staring off into the nothingness. "Could use some salt, but I've tasted worse."
When The Being returned Its attention to the ball, the more excited itty-bitty things had grown a little. They had taken hundreds of shapes, but many had scales. Swarms of them crawled across the dry spots on the ball or slithered through the wet spots. Some of them even jumped into the clouds and waved their appendages until they could stay up longer than the others. The scaly things had lots of fun bumping around and forming new scaly things and devouring each other. In fact, they got quite good at devouring each other, growing just the right appendages and just the right guts for the job, even forming rows of hard, sharp points to tear into each other and break down their food instead of swallowing it whole. An objective observer would almost think they were "designed" for killing and eating each other. They were very sensitive to changes in temperature though, so most of them disappeared when the ball cooled off.
The Being felt an itch and turned Its head all the way around to see a couple pieces of stuff poking at Its back.
"We demand a dialog," one of the pieces communicated. The pieces were each about three light-years across, teeming with living things inside.
The Being shrugged (a strange gesture with Its head turned fully backwards). "Okay."
"How come you made us?" they shouted. "Who are we? What do you want? Is this all there is?"
The Being considered their questions. When The Being answered them hundreds of their generations later, there were more and bigger pieces of audience gathered behind It. "I dunno," The Being answered.
"Not good enough!" the pieces screamed, but The Being ignored them and turned back to the interesting ball.
By then, the squirmy little inhabitants of the ball had begun to assume different forms. One form in particular chattered more and conveyed more complex meanings when it did. The creatures of this form had developed enough that they could think about what they were doing before they did it.
The Being liked them. When they were far enough along to understand, The Being told them how they got there, and tried to tell them how they could be happy.
But by the way they retold the stories to each other, The Being could see that they didn't understand. They heard only what they liked from The Being's stories, and retold only what they wanted to believe.
"Oh well, not quite ready yet," The Being muttered. "Damn!" The Being smaked at the things poking into Its back and scratched the itchy spot back there.
On the ball, the things that still weren't quite smart enough were building elaborate rituals and societies around different distorted versions of The Being's stories. The Being noticed one of the little guys sitting under the green tips of a calm growth. The little guy was thinking about his life. He wanted to know the answers to the same questions those itchy pieces had bitched about (and still were bitching about).
The Being put some ideas in the little guy's head. The gist of the ideas was like this: you live, you die, you won't always be happy, just deal with it and try not to worry about it.
The guy did a fairly good job of conveying the ideas to others, codifying his ideas and adding his own touches to them. The other people called the guy "the Enlightened One," and stretched his ideas in other directions. Some of them inevitably got sidetracked and worshipped the Enlightened One instead of his message. Many of them still believed the distorted versions of the first stories The Being had told. Often people who believed similarly would hang out together, and beat up anyone who didn't believe their way. But the Enlightened One's ideas comforted some people, so it was mostly okay.
The Being noticed how any of the stories or ideas that It gave the people seemed to work the way a pool of liquid works when seeds or pebbles drop into it. The juice forms ripples around the foreign object, and the ripples dissipate in some directions, or react and rebound in other directions.
The Being started another ripple, but planned ahead this time, planting ideas in the mind of a baby. This time The Being's message was: quit fighting; be nice to others and maybe they'll be nice back. The people nicknamed the messenger "the Annointed." he got the idea around fairly well, but more of those same stupid people got involved with spreading his message. The idiots were more concerned about telling everyone "Our message is right and yours is wrong!" Their main message quickly became "worship the messenger," relegating that little detail about "being nice" to an afterthought, if it were mentioned at all. The messenger was shortly put to death, which event his P/R men worked into the story, so that it "proved" their side.
The Being noticed this right away and did something about it almost immediately (500 years later). This time The Being picked a guy named Muhammed. "Let's try this again," The Being thought. "Love, harmony, justice, all that stuff like I said before. Got it?"
More people heard Muhammed's ideas, more were comforted, and of course, some of them split into groups and started to fight with everyone else and each other.
The Being sat back and pondered the situation. Many of the fiesty, little inhabitants of the ball were happier because of the stories. The Being had contacted others besides Muhammed, the Annointed One and the Enlightened One, but none of the others had done much better. Kung-fu-tze, Zoroaster, that whole "Saint Joan" fiasco, hordes of other "saints" and cult leaders.
One thing The Being noticed, upon reflection, was that the contactees or their immediate followers almost always put their stories in writing. People saw the Written Word as more substantial and credible than the Spoken Word, maybe because only academic types wasted time writing things down. Half the time when people argued about it, they would refer to the written account of their faction for "proof" of whatever they believed. They rarely thought about how many hundreds of revisions their written account had gone through before they saw it.
"Maybe..." The Being thought, and sent some ideas to a guy in New York named Joseph Smith. This time, there were plates of gold with words already etched in them. All Joe had to do was translate them with the handy device provided.
Joseph toiled on the translation happily, adding "thee" and "thou" and "unto" to give it more of an ancient sounding pep like the King James Version of some other dramatic stories he had heard (even though Joe was working on it just after 1823).
The Being figured this ready-made story might work better, and would at least make some more people happy. It worked about as successfully as the previous experiments had.
The Being modified the Joe Smith method and enacted a toned-down policy of poking Its ideas into the imaginations of a lot of writers. I asked The Being to list some of them, and It just mumbled, "Oh, I dunno, Vonnegut, Roddenberry, Lennon, uh, Heinlein, that 'e.e. cummings' character, hundreds of 'em.
"Never mind that. The reason I'm telling you-" The Being was silent for half an hour. "Hold on, I gotta do something about this rash. I'll get back to you soon. Don't go dying on me now."
...And that was the last entry in my notebook. I was 28, so that must have been '64 or '65. Naturally The Silly Bugger waits 'til I have arthritis so bad I can hardly hold a pencil before bothering to come back.
You know, I'm really not the "writing" type anyway. I been a plumber for 30 years! But don't make a big deal about it. I mean, don't build any shrines filled with pipe-wrenches or porcelain altars just because of this.
My name is Manny, by the way. Emmanuel McGillicuddy.
Anyway, I never was any good at English back in high school. (The Being helped me with the spelling and grammar on all this. Says my "style" could stand to be improved. I say, "Style this!") That Joker must of known it though, and I still can't figure why It picked me.
But The Being came back finally. Apparently It spent all those years scratching and creating a race of super-duper anti-bodies, each one the size of a galaxy, to fight the infection in Its back.
"Where was I?" The Being asked me from out of nowhere. "Oh yeah. The reason I'm telling you this is that I wanted to get down one last direct revelation, in case this rash gets the better of me. Those pests just won't take 'I don't know' for an answer!"
At that point, I said, "I got a question. My wife wanted to know why you didn't have any women? I mean, why you only told your stories to men."
A few days later (pretty quick response, considering), The Being replied, "To be honest, the women didn't seem to need it as much. Plus, everyone tends to listen to men more, because of the way they've always bullied women. But, no, I've contacted women too, they just never got as much attention. Ever heard of Jennifer Abromowitz?"
"No," I said.
"See what I mean?"
The Being was silent for a few days after that. I got fed up and yelled, "If you're gonna make me wait forever, you could at least do something about this arthritis!" It was gone instantly and I've never had a flare-up since. The winning Lotto tickets I demanded the next day, however, didn't pan out as well.
Two weeks later, The Being spoke up again. "I guess that's about all there is.
"Now, I don't want another one of those circuses springing up around you, so here's what you do. Don't even bother to tell anyone that this is a revelation. With that thing down in Texas a few minutes ago, and that Jim Jones massacre the other day, no one would believe it. And the ones who would believe it are the ones you have to worry about the most.
"What you gotta do is make it all hypothetical somehow, so it might be true or might not, and the people have to figure it out for themselves. Hell, claim it's just a story! Tell 'em it's a piece of fiction, you know, something like that. I'm sure you can come up with something. Say it's a communication from your 'collective unconscious' or some 'Sixties crap like that."
"Uhhh," I stammered, trying to keep talking in the hopes that It wouldn't take another week-long break from the conversation, "I'll just write down what you said."
"Yeah, whatever," The Being replied that same day. "You can publish the whole thing as a short story. I'll try to pull some strings, but you know how editors are..."
"Anything else?" I asked after a while.
Four days later, The Being said, "What the hell. While I'm at it, I may as well set the records straight about Stonehenge and Atlantis and JFK. See, it was all-"
A thundering voice that was not The Being's resonated through everything in the world. It seemed to originate from up above, in the unattainable heavens where these voices always come from. "I don't find any of this amusing," God said.
So I stopped right there.


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