“I’m going to wipe them out for good. I’m God and my will will be done.”
“Your will will be done?”
“Oh, okay, I am God, and I will do what I like. Is that any better?”
Sat on my sofa, God had poured Himself a glass of expensive whiskey I’d been saving and started rolling a cigarette using my tobacco.
“So, let me check I have this right, you’re going to kill all the evil people all over the world?”
“Remove,” He corrected me, “or move, if you prefer. It amounts to the same.”
“Move? Where are you going to put them?”
God winked at me, to indicate a need for patience. I sat still and watched as He ran his tongue along the gum on the cigarette paper and finished off making a pretty decent roll-up. “Where do you think? Hell of course.”
“Isn’t that a bit drastic? What about the case for rehabilitation?”
“Rehabilitation? Are you joking me?” God held the rolled cigarette upright between His thumb and index finger. Admiring the workmanship, His face beamed with satisfaction.
“Look,” I said, “I am trying to get my head around this. Let me see if I can get this straight. You, are proposing to simply click your fingers and remove all the evil people, transferring them down to hell.”
“I could do it like that,” God replied, “if you’d like a bit of theatre.”
“But why don’t you make all the evil people good, instead? Surely you have the power to do that?”
“Haven’t you heard of free will? They’d have to want to change and I can’t make them do that, but I can remove them.”
“Okay God, but what about the people living their lives close to the evil ones, like wives, mothers, children, neighbours and employees. Surely their absence will be noticed, how does that all get explained?”
“Angels take their places.”
“There are lots in heaven, believe it or not.” God gave me a wink and took a sip of whiskey. “They’re often sent down, to help deal with situations, you’ll have met one or two in the past for sure. Only this time, I’m talking about a mass deployment on a scale not seen before.”
“And they’ll come down, to get rid of the evil people?”
“No, I’ll take care of that by clicking my fingers together – remember? The angels’ role in this is to descend from heaven and replace the evil people. They’ll mostly look the same as the individuals they’ve replaced, perhaps smiling a bit more often than previously. They might even have a more healthy glow about them and of course, not be evil. No one will know what’s happened, but things will be different. Very different.”
“God, there have been evil people around for thousands of years, why have you waited until now?”
“Well, the answer is twofold.” God blew a grey coloured ring of smoke into the air, “Firstly, I’ve been busy,” a smaller smoke ring followed, like a ghostly jellyfish propelled forward piercing through the original, “and secondly, I wanted to see if you’d sort things out yourselves, without any need for my intervention.”
“But God!” I could feel a righteous anger rising in my chest, but remembered not to swear. “Look at how much misery there has been over countless millennia. If you could have stopped evil happening whenever you wanted, at the flick of a switch,”
“Click of the fingers.” God interjected.
“Yes, click of the fingers then, well – for mercy’s sake why didn’t you do so before now?”
Resembling two hairy caterpillars involved in a nasty head-on collision, God’s eyebrows ran into each other. His expression suggested He wasn’t too impressed with the line of questioning I’d taken.
“Look, you need to understand, a few thousand years or so of human history amounts to a bucket full of gnat’s piss, in evolutionary terms.”
Concerned I was risking His wrath, I assumed a more philosophical stance. “Sure, I understand, I understand. It’s just – when I think of all the cruelty dealt out, the suffering, the pain,”
“I know, I know, believe me, I know.” Sipping at the whiskey, God gently shook His head and for a moment He looked tired, frail and a little vulnerable. “You realise young man, that without evil there would be no poverty, no inequality, no prejudice, no enslavement, no war.”
“It sounds idyllic.”
“It is. It’s meant to be idyllic.” We both sat and stared into a big, fat silence.
“God?” I asked, after a few minutes.
“Can I watch you snap your fingers to make it work?”
“Click my fingers you mean?” God gave me a gentle smile, “Yes, of course.”
“What’s it going to be like, afterwards?”
“Well, it won’t be perfect, you’ll still need to work at things. But I suppose you could say I’m giving you a clean slate, a second chance.”
“I’ll never doubt you again, God.”
“Hah-harr!” God grabbed at my nose affectionately, pretending He’d whipped it off and then showed it to me, poking through two fingers of His fist.”
“Hey, that’s your thumb!” I shouted, smiling so much my cheeks immediately began to ache.
“Thank you for the roll-up, the whiskey and fine conversation.” As we both rose to stand, I wondered if God looked a little tipsy, but imagined He could probably handle His drink.
“My pleasure God, I’m really pleased we met.”
“Yes, me too. I would like to say people will believe you when you tell them this story, but I am afraid to say, they most certainly will not.”
“Well, that’s ok, I know.”
“That’s the spirit!” He said, before following up with a playful punch aimed at my ribs. It was a tad too hard for my liking, but drawing upon my inner resources, I maintained a pleasant smile.
Call me a people pleaser, but I reckoned I owed God that one.