Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
 
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The Diary: Confessions of God's Shrink

by Richard Tornello


First Entry:

I am the shrink to the Gods, yes those GODS. Well five or six of them. Could you imagine the whole pantheon as clients? It's good money. They pay in gold and dispensations. But really now, five gods as clients are about the limit my sanity clause in my contract allows me. There is no sanity clause you say? You must believe, trust me.

Anyway, it's my job to listen to their stories. I secretly transcribe them. You think they would be so frank if I told them I was recording their most intimate thoughts? I save them for analysis at a later date of my choosing. It takes a bit of event-space to separate the story from the god in ones very presence.

By this action, I allow them to unburden their souls, if you will allow me to use that term, with their stories so they can return to the tasks to which they as Gods have self-ordained upon themselves. You know even shrinks need a shrink, and so do the Gods, what with all this creating and destroying and lifting up and damning. It wears on one's soul.

By-the-way, you ever wonder what happens to the last shrink in that shrink-for-a-shrink line up? He or she probably goes insane. I mean who you going to tell if you're the last one? Oh well.

Each story is unique to each god though you will find a common thread running through most of the stories. In fact some of the stories dovetail. One would almost suspect they were one and the same entity.

I think that the nature of the job only allows for so much diversity in a reality and universe like ours that there must be some overlap and some similarity in cause and effect.

With that introduction, I will relate my first story as was told to me by Him or Her. In case you didn't get it, the gods are not all male.

Entry II is a doozy. This God never asked for directions. No wonder he wandered for a long as he did. My wife would have killed me and my children would have revolted. Hmmmm?

####

Are We There Yet?


We are called wizards, witches, warlocks, magicians, priests, gods, scientists -- and frauds. Our titles equate to the level of development of the society in which we exist. We are trained in languages, current, ancient, and forgotten. We study the sciences and arts. We are caretakers and we are shape shifters molded to fit the given environment. We are dedicated to progress. Well, most of us anyway.

The caveat we accept upon taking The Path, not known by the populations we serve, is that we must have a following, a group that is dedicated to us. Without support we disappear and perish. Ignore us and we go away. Abandon us and we die. We need followers as much, no, more than they need us. They can continue on as they are until their sun collapses supernovas or burns out.

In a modern world, the scientist/polymath is the highest and most coveted status. As such he or she is supported by the society as a whole. Unfortunately some worlds sow the seeds of their own destruction through ignorance and pride. Most worlds are generally better for it; understanding the power and progress inherent in the technology.

In the Lesser Worlds, we are witches, magicians, wizards, and at the base of the pyramid, we are gods and devils, omnipotent, all knowing and feared. In reality we just are, and that's all. However societies must begin somewhere. Organization is the key. Fear is the carrot and stick that works most everywhere getting the cart of civilization to move.

####

I'm the youngest of them all. There were so many they ran out of names for me. I was called "Him". I am "Him" to most everyone. And that, folks, is how I introduce myself: "I am Him." Names are nothing but mental place holders. No big deal, you could call me Tim for all I care.

They all picked on me. "Your powers are weak, your physics are flawed, you don't know anything. Go away. You're such a loser. We have better things to do then let you hang out with us. We have real work. Go find some bugs to impress."

Being the youngest I got the dregs. Everyone else has the good planets. There was nothing left for me by the time I reached the age where I was supposed to, "go out unto the universes and make one world my own". Yeah, right. Critical to my existence and survival or any of our kind's existence and concomitant power is the fact that if we don't succeed in gathering a flock (I liked that term, "flock". No one else was using it. The "flock" idea and its defined implications came to me through an incident), We die! There are no second chances; no reappearing later. This is not a dress rehearsal existing in a god-eat-god universe. I needed to convince a group of people -- a few people -- two would do as a start! -- of my scientific/magical/wizardry skills. Hire Me! I will create for food.

What I was to discover over time was simple. I had to present a convincing reason for anyone to buy into my story and existence. Just being doesn't sell.

In the beginning...

Out of "kindness", I was given a shot. The world I was handed operated at a cultural level that was, to put it nicely, retarded. Even here the "best spots" were taken. Golden Calves, Bulls, Giants, Swans, and all manner of mental constructs "roamed" this planet of semi-civilized warlike apes.

To Expand:

One's career is one's pride. I don't care if one is a scientist, witch, or a god; one has to have a job in order to feel worthwhile. Without work -- and an appreciative audience -- our kind perishes, disappears, ceases to have ever been. What's worse, we're not even missed. There were so many others roaming the planets vying for supremacy, a totem, an award or a niche at a minimum.

I needed to eat, to work, make a living, and no one wanted duck decoys. I carved these for relaxation and possible profit. I couldn't even give them away. A duck god did not present a very strong picture either. I was a lousy carpenter too. That was something else I needed to work on later.

I hunted around, seeking, but no takers. All I could do was to keep knocking on door after door, or, in this case, scratching at tent flap after tent flap. What a way to gather a "flock". I displayed my skills all over this miserable little planet. I kept getting any one or more of the following rejections, "We've seen that. Nah, our guy does it better. We've taken up with someone else. No, not interested, maybe next solstice." Staff into snake and back again, big whoop. If it was possible to slam a tent flap, some of the people I tried to win over would have slammed their tents in my face. Sometimes I had to duck the occasionally thrown rotten fruit -- or worse. This went on for more mortal lifetimes than I cared to count.

The rejection really got to me. After a while, dispirited and wondering what was to become of me -- all that time without followers had drained me almost dry -- I spied this loner in a desert wasteland (don't ask which desert wasteland it was -- they all look alike). He was a miserable specimen, tending a bunch of ratty sheep. Smelled like them too. It appeared that personal hygiene was not a big priority out there.

Thinking that I hadn't tried any techie stuff in a while, I figured why not have some fun? Not nice, but what the hell, things were so bad it .... I dug my particle beamer out of a pocket dimension, torched a bush (too bad -- it was the only thing around that looked like it was thriving), and spoke to him in a booming, amplified voice. Old school, not likely to impress anybody with two camels to rub together.

He fell down trembling like fire of any kind was a miracle.

Whoooo, I am good, I thought. Or maybe sheep-boy is Not Too Bright.. Not Too Bright seemed like as appropriate a nickname as any for the guy, so I mentally labeled him NTB for short.

Finally, a potential follower! "What is your name?" I asked him, cranking the subsonics until the ground vibrated.

He told me, slobbering out a string of syllables that sounded like he was working up enough spit to put out the fire. Too glottal for me, linguist or not, so I called him Mike. It was easier on my ears.

I discovered he was in this wasteland, tending his sheep (this is where the flock idea begins to cross my mind) and hiding out from one of the biggies back in The City. Nice place. Expensive. Open all hours and you could get anything you wanted -- for a price. I knew the Big Guy he was talking about -- one of my Kind, from a few classes before my time. What a bully, and as usual picking on this regular sort of guy. He always was a bit of a scheiss kopf.

"Listen Mike," I said, "I know the guy who's busting your chops"

Mike looked confused. "Chops? What are chops?"

"Giving you a hard time, making your life miserable, that sort of thing"

"Yes, oh Great One!"

'Oh Great One'? I thought, Where has this guy been hiding all these centuries? With my luck, he's brain-addled from too much sun, and won't be any use in recruiting more followers. 'Oh Great One'... Still, he was the best thing I'd found since They dropped me on this planet. I was feeling better than I had in decades, soaking up his unsophisticated -- extremely unsophisticated -- awe.

After a decent amount of conversation -- and I had to keep telling him to get his face out of the dirt -- I presented this proposition, "Listen, tell you what. You have any friends? How about family? You want to get out of this dump? Exit this place? You want to move to a better zip code?"

All he picked up on is, "Code? What code? A secret ...."

"No! I mean -- do you want a better place to live?" I really had to match my vocabulary to local conditions if I wanted to get anywhere.

"Yes, Oh Great One!"

'Great One', I thought. I could get used to this.

To Mike, I said, "I have an idea. This is going to take some time. First, personal hygiene. You smell like your sheep. You have to clean up your act if you want to make something of yourself. Get your friends and family together. Please, for god's sake clean up. Get fresh clothes and meet me at that mountain."

I pointed to a large mountain close enough so as to keep him from being noticed by those idiots back in The City.

"I'll be back. I want to meet you on the top. There's a nice plateau. Just wait for me there. It gets foggy and damp, so bring warm clothes and firewood."

"Yes, Oh Great One. But why --?"

"Do it," I boomed, loud enough that the burning bush collapsed into a pile of smoldering embers. I don't know who bleated louder, Mike or his sheep.

####

I went back to The City to deal with the Big Guy, my older -- cousin. He had a group working under him. They formed a 'Magic Collective'. They denied the concept of peoples or nations to expand their strength -- accepting (or drafting) adherents regardless of race or former religion, and downplaying the importance of any relationship except membership in their group. While internally organized, it was an elite-based hodge-podge. What a bunch of wankers. Maybe they were afraid of what an organized people could accomplish? He and his buddies thought they owned the whole place (apparently They never mentioned to Him that I was being assigned to the same planet). What a limited perspective. This organizational stuff had me thinking... but first, I had a task to accomplish.

After attempting to convince Him to back off Mike and his friends, pleading his case to no effect, I went toe to toe with him and all of his. Me against them. He was good, but he hadn't gone to the upgrade classes in technology, arts and humanities. I had tech and techniques He'd never even heard of, so despite the odds, I figured I could put him away. It would be temporary at best, and it would take some work: see your snake and raise you a swarm, on and on. I was pissed and getting hungry -- the charge I'd received from Mike's boneheaded adulation was running dry. I wanted to get this over.

I played to his ego. Hubris usually gets His type -- but not this time. So I hit him with a quantum singularity that squirted him through to another universe and pureed his followers as they fell past its event horizon. Nasty. Didn't know I had it in me -- hunger and fatigue apparently brought out my mean side.

On my way to The Mountain:

I wondered if the Big Guy sent Mike out here so he and his ilk wouldn't wreck anything too decent. And me? Why me? Why here? Ho hum, make do with what's at hand. Work with the clay you've been given, as they said in ceramics class. One thing I learned out of all of this, be nice only once. If they don't listen to reason, fuck them. Let them have it. This is my new rule for dealing with like beings. However, regarding The Monkey Boys, you have to give a little. At this point in their evolution they head up the NTB department.

####

Back to Mike:

Mike was on the mountain top, as ordered. He was waiting for me, looking good, clean, tall and impressive. I appeared in a cloud and lots of smoke. If I was going to work at bringing these people up, I might as well have some fun too. I could see he wasn't sure of the situation. Imagine what his friends and family thought. I spent some time with him, hours, days, weeks. I don't keep track of that stuff. It is not of my concern. I filled him in on the situation. "Here's the deal. I need you and you really need me to survive in this place." I gave him a demonstration of some of my "real powers". Remembering too that I was dealing with primitive types here and quantum physics was beyond their ken, I tried to explain the universe in the simplest terms. I gave him a foundation, a beginning, from which to build. I prayed that it sank in with a broader weltanschuung and got those wheels in his head turning pointed toward those larger and greater things. Working through that was another long complicated effort. We must have been up there for better than a month.

It was physics and philosophy for sheep herders, intro class. (I do not want to explain all this again, please! Once was enough.) Maybe just pushing one leader out and taking His place, while simply substituting new names I liked for the old ones would be a whole lot easier. I would be able to relax and exist in a style to which I would have liked to become accustomed. I would think about that depending upon this adventure. It sure would make my business easier and more secure.

"Now back to realpolitik," I told myself and Mike. "I can supply you with protection. No one will bother you too much when I'm around. You, your family and friends and any that want to join our club, have to act like I'm It, the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega..."

Mike's eyes have that frightened-rodent look again, so I finish with, "To believe in Me would be better, but acting the part will do. Most people being sheep..."

He gave me a funny look and smiled as if he understood. If I hadn't seen exactly the same look on the face of a wolf cub, I would have felt confident that I was getting through to him.

"To reiterate, Mike, they must act like I am the Big Guy, your chief, wizard, boss..."

"Club?" Mike gargled. "Chief-Wizard-Boss?"

"Let's try this again."

"Club is what you would sort of call tribe except you gotta pay to get in. Give a little skin. You know what I mean?"

No answer. Only later I find out he took this literally.

"The Chief, the Wizard, Boss bit -- okay, you choose My name. Make it simple and easy to remember. You have free will. Pick a title which reflects, let's say, great reverence to Me. How's that?"

"'God'? Will that be okay?"

I was floored.

"WHAT? You want me to be your god?" (He was nuts! I had been hoping for something else, not sure what, but anything other than that. That's the bottom of the heap -- lots of obligations, not much reward.)

"If not 'God', then what should we call You?"

I sensed that Mike was taking a stronger stance here. This was good.

"'God' is a bit strong...but...if you think it will work....I am....Just--" Mike interrupted before I could get the 'Him' or the rest of the idea out.

"A God with a hidden name," Mike murmured.

It's never good when a follower gets too quiet like that.

"A just God, greater than any other!"

"Mike, you're quick!" I was beginning to like this guy more and more -- although the implications of that 'just' label could be tricky. "Okay, I am..."

"I Am," Mike says it over and over again, jumping up and down. "Yes, we'll call you I Am. No one will ever know your name. By that very reason alone You, I Am, will be protected and so will we through your miracles. All they will be able to say is "He Is."

"Right! I like it" This was better than anything I could have dreamed up.

Back to reality.

"Mike, let's move on. We need an org chart, rules, procedures, CMMI..."

"Please explain," Mike said. "'Org chart', 'CMMI'?"

"Laws," I said. "You understand 'laws'?"

"Yes, oh I Am, sure."

"Okay, this stuff has got to be written in stone, so no screwing around with what I say."

"Oh great one, I am not a stone carver."

"'Written in stone' is just an expression," I said, but Mike gives me the wolf-cub look again, so I said, "I'll do it myself."

I got him to describe their writing system in detail. Then I pulled a laser out of the air and burned the guidelines into a slab of rock. Then I did it again. And again. It took me a while and a ton of rocks to get the grammar correct along with the feeling I wanted to convey. Here were the basics from Positive Social Movement 101 in this his own language. I cut it into two easy-to-carry pieces -- easy for somebody used to hard labor, anyway.

"Mike, I forgot to mention it, when I was gone for that little while I scouted out some great real estate, nice river, good hunting, game, ducks. By the way, I carve duck decoys for relaxation. Want one?"

"Gladly," he said. "We'll dump the golden calf. It's too heavy anyway. We'll melt it down and distribute the gold among the tribe. We'll share the wealth to show we have some backing. This will be a positive incentive for people to join up. Money talks."

Mike had come a long way from kissing the ground because a shrub caught fire in front of him...

"But...not to be too rude," he said, "you mentioned -- something about land?"

"Right, the land: good views, and cheap, just for the taking. Did I mention cheap? You have warriors, yes? They might be needed to convince non-believers... Be prepared. Remember, political power grows from the point of a spear." Oh, I liked those lines, too. I should have added those to the stone tablets. Maybe in the Creator's Cut special edition.

"Yes," Mike said, "Many and brave. It's in their heritage."

"Many and brave what?"

"Warriors. You asked."

"Right, just checking," I said. It never hurt to be sure with Mike -- he could misinterpret the simplest things. "I will lend a hand in the armament arena if needed. You just follow my directions to the letter -- Got It?" This last part I said with Major Amplification to make sure Mike understood that it was an Important Point.

"You think there's a market for the duck decoys?" I asked. "I'd like to unload them. They are too nice for kindling and they don't go with nomadic tent interiors."

"Yes to both and all You say. You are The Great One. I think we can find a few buyers." Then the confused-puppy look returned. "I'm confused by one of Your Sacred Words, I Am -- armament?"

"Weapons, magic, spells, fire... You know."

"Yes, very well as a matter of fact. We have bows, arrows, spears, slings..."

"A good start," I said. Then I said, calmly and gently:

"Go down the mountain get a consensus so we can move as a cohesive unit with a purpose. It will make you stronger. Trust Me. I'll give you the directions. In fact I will lead you out of this wilderness."

"'Con-senseless?"

"Consensus. Agreement. Make them agree, however you want to do it. Just Do It!" Another good line. I wished I'd left more room on Mike's stone tablets -- or had wasted less material getting the wording right.

####

All in all, things were looking better. Even though the former Big Guy had found his way back from the other universe, and gathered a new Collective, I was prepared. I had a following, a flock. Survival was going to be a challenge, even so. It was likely that He had detoured Home and updated his tech, so this time, I might be the one using outdated weapons. If I made it, maybe I would get a promotion in the future. I could only hope and pray.

My thoughts were interrupted by Mike in a frenzy. "What if we're attacked?"

"You read my mind! But I will take care of it, not to worry. Trust Me. I'll supply the material and technology."

"The what?"

"Miracles, magic, armaments."

"Yes, magic, armaments, miracles, that I understand."

I felt I had to go over the importance of our organizational principles once more.

"Remember the rocks We wrote on? Those are my 10 Steps For Success. No one else has them. You listen and follow what I say, period. No ifs, ands, or buts. These rules will keep you safe from those other idiots for an eternity." Hyperbole could be effective and this was one time it was needed.

"An eternity?"

"Yes Mike, an eternity. Now let's get moving before we're boxed in and no amount of 'Magic' will save our butts."

"What?"

"Let's go, everyone, camels, sheep, tents up, move out!"

####

This was going to work I could feel it. If we got the business plan vertically and horizontally organized with a purpose that can be understood, the others in The City will be toast in the long run. They are so disorganized compared to my people.

"They thought my MBA minor was a waste of time," I muttered. "Well, I don't think so. 'Just study science,' They said. 'That's all You'll need.....if You can master it.'

"We'll see Who masters Whom."

####

"Hey Mike, you think that burning bush thing will work with all the folk down there?"

"No," he said. "That was great, but with a crowd that size, it would have to be more like a burning forest..."

"A little difficult in a scrub desert," I said. "Okay... let's try some lightning, thunder and some crustal movement and a few minor river flow changes."

A little fiddling with charged-particle projectors and gravity wave manipulators, and things outside our perimeter got really interesting.

"How's that?"

"You have their complete attention," Mike said, his eyes very wide. It had been a while since I put on a real show. "Now what?"

"Let's take a look at the real estate."

####

For what seems like years:

"Oh Great One, we've been at this for a long time. And, ah ...we seem to be...lost?"

"You believe that I Am lost? I Am supposed to ask directions? How would that look? Anyway, I have this map and....

Oh damn, it's for the wrong planet.

"And?"

"Listen between you and me, no mention of this. Just tell them the whole wandering-in-the-desert thing was a test. A really long test. The place I told you about is just over those mountains. I'll give you a hand if the squatters won't move."

####

"All of you, Trust Me. This is going to be a long term relationship for all of us. If we stick together, no problems. Just follow my Ten Steps. It's carved in stone, get it? Now let's go."

####

And my family thought I would amount to Nothing.

"You're doing this alone? No help?"

"You're going to fall on Your face."

"Everyone was right. You are an idiot!"

Ha, fooled them!

Almost everything worked out fine. There's only one thing left to do.

"So, you wanna buy-a-duck decoy? It's a fire sale and we're moving to a new and better location"

Entry III is a bit different. Herein this God wanted to relate a specific activity that he accomplished in Time-space that he was rather proud of. It seems the tenants of one of his rental properties were not following the lease agreement. The Home Owners Association gave them plenty of notices.

####
Final Notice


"Hon, we received another notice from the, as you call them, 'HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION' down the street about cleaning up the mess we keep making. It states that we are not in compliance and they will take major action against all of us that are in that situation. There is a part here that says we have been warned previously. Do you recall?"

From the shower, Dick replied, "Fran, Don't bother. It's our place and it's just fine. Who do they think they are? Where the hell do they get off? They are not even a constitutionally elected group at this point"

"Ahh, Dick dear, this looks a bit different, something about Eminent Domain, and I think..."

As he toweled himself dry, shaking his head, Dick said, "Ignore it damn it. Just because we don't behave in quite the same manner that has been 'ordained' and do as they want it doesn't mean they can do anything except send those stupid insipid messages. If we respond with nice words we can put them off and cool their jets. What a pain in the ass. I have more important things to attend to. I will never live in a place with covenants and restrictions again. Do this, don't do that, ask to place a bush there and wipe your ass just so, blah blah blah."

"Besides, I really don't have to pay attention to that stuff. I run the place. That shit is for the others. The nerve!"

"Dick dear, this is different. It states..."

Interrupting, toothpaste in his mouth, Dick spluttered, "Forget it! I'm going to go hunting tomorrow. I need to get my guns ready and call the boys."

####

A MONTH OR TWO LATER:

The VP snarled to his aide-de-camp, "What do you mean thrown out?" Why are you telling me about a joke those idiots sent?"

"Sir, what I said is, this notice came over the internet. We are being asked politely to vacate the premises within 30 days. The point is that they have access to our systems!"

The VP, ignoring the last statement, growled, "These people who ever they are, are going to remove us? By what authority?"

The aide stammered, "Eminent Domain is claimed, Sir".

"Excuse me?" Dick's face had turned a dangerous shade of red for a man with a history of cardiac problems. "There has been no hearing, no convening of the chambers...When did we get this notice? I don't remember any official letter, do you?"

Cringing, the aide said, "Well Sir, no, but...according to this we have been given notice a number of times. It appears as if we ignored them."

"I neverignorereallegalnotices," Dick hissed as fast as he could, his eyes now as red as his face. Then slowly, enunciating each word for emphasis, he concluded, "I. Squash. Them."

####

AT HOME THAT EVENING:

"Well dear, it seems that a good number of us have been given this notice. Look at today's news," Fran calmly stated.

"Are you on drugs?" Dick howled. "This is insane! How can you sit there like that?"

"Valium, 20 mg as a matter of fact, every 4 hours," Fran said serenely. "You should try it before you have another heart attack."

To himself, Dick muttered, "I hate it when she gets all reasonable like that..."

The VP stared at the screen, where the usual plastic-haired talking head anchors were sharing screen time with reporters in the field. The main story; the only story, concerned the eviction notices received by almost everyone in the country and beyond. Self-appointed experts were interviewed "live"; most claimed that the notices -- mailed, e-mailed, even text-messaged -- were part of a massive joke/hacker attack/denial of service all in one.

Representatives of government cyberwarfare divisions claimed that someone or some organization had hacked into the main USDA computer systems that handled most government based data outside the DoD and Intel agencies. The reports from Europe, Asia, and other regions indicated that the same kind of notices had been delivered in most other countries and systems throughout the planet. What made the joke -- or attack -- frightening was that each notice was addressed to a particular person or family, and contained detailed and supposedly confidential information.

Dick mused to himself, "Is this another government test that got out of hand? Are all our leaks and screw-ups coming home to roost?"

To his self-medicated wife, "You see this can't be real hon. You know I would have responded to any official notice of removal from this lovely place in my usual manner."

Drugged but intelligent she responds, "Yes dear I know you would have. Only, I seem to recall somewhere that there were some clauses in our association, oops, I mean our constitutional contract, that if I'm not mistaken, that we, as you are wont to put it, really fucked up!"

"What the hell are you talking about? I don't see anything wrong anywhere. The place looks good, things are in order, and we have maintained control. It's not like there is a by-pass coming through. As I read it, we were within our god-given rights to act as we did."

Sarcastically, Fran cooed, "You know, Dick dear, you are funny."

"This has to be a very elaborate joke. What's the date?"

"March 30th, why?"

"No reason..."

Fran laughed so hard, she started to cough and peed in her pants. "This has got to be Kim's idea. Oh my god, this is good."

But if it's just a joke, how did the jokers get everybody's personal and financial data? Dick wondered. And how did they pay for all those stamps?

####

The Secretary of State raised his arms in an exaggerated shrug. "Whether these eviction notices are real, or some new kind of terrorist attack, Mr. President, we can't track down the source. There are no known leads anywhere. The Russians, Chinese, United Europeans and others have no clue as to the origin of the letters and how they are so specific to each individual. Someone has breached all our systems. The Koreans and Japanese are quiet as usual -- except the Japanese have launched a large number of freighters to their moon base. There is some unusual activity there. They have been up to something for a few years now with deep space exploration and colonization. This can't have anything to do with the security breach. And we don't have the resources to deal with both things right now."

The Deputy to the Commerce Secretary said, "I think is a ploy to manipulate the markets. Or possibly to stir up the populace for the upcoming elections. The markets are beginning to show signs of panic."

The Secretary of State snorted. "Sheep, that's all they are, following the herd. Is anyone making large purchases?"

An aide consulted the screen of his tablet computer and said, "Only the usual buyers and short sellers -- mainly fund managers, pension plans, no new players."

The Director of Central Intelligence said, "Sir, we have no idea. There are no leads for the communication we've received. The whole planet, or at least the modern interconnected world has received this Eviction Notice, if you will.""

The VP slammed his fist down on the table. "It has to be a joke. Where is everybody supposed to go? To Mars? I mean we could, the essential members of government and associated support systems, but whole population? This is crazy."

"How do we keep everyone calm?" the Secretary of State asked. "Joke or not, enough people are taking it seriously to make mass protests -- riots -- very likely."

When no one else volunteered an answer, she said, "Mr. President, you and the other world leaders must go on screen together and inform the people that this is a very sophisticated cyber-attack. You shoot as straight as possible, lay it out and ask for time to locate and destroy the culprits. Ask them to please ignore it as much as possible and assure the people that their governments are doing everything possible to straighten things out."

####

The President's Chief of Staff handed a tablet-comp to his boss and said, "Sir, the other leaders are standing by for the joint broadcast. Each one has just been briefed like you."

The President glanced at the tablet screen, verifying that he had the main points of the joint address straight, and nodded.

"You are live in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 -- now! "

The leaders of the major powers began to speak in turn, as per the protocols each had agreed to. Their images were broadcast over all television channels and internet news feeds as a grid of squares surrounding a larger central square, with each man or woman displayed in that larger square as he or she spoke. In each country, a simultaneous translation into the local languages was provided, so that it would be clear that they all had the same message: the Notices are a hoax. Remain calm. We are working together to find the source of the Notices and deal with it.

That was the plan.

But instead of the expected calm series of reassuring messages, every screen on the planet was occupied by an abstract pattern of swirling colored light and shadows, and a voice that spoke every language at once (or at least was understood by all who heard it. "Why are you ignoring Our warning and commands to remove yourselves from Our place? You have fouled this beautiful nest and We are disgusted by your careless treatment of Our property and by your foolish refusal to comply with our Notices. You have the technology to leave, most of you anyhow, so go. You have 20 days to remove yourselves. You have been warned!"

####

"Sir, Mr. Vice President? I know you're busy but NASA has an urgent call to you."

Dick sighed. This sort of thing was seriously interfering with his insider trading of stocks in his blind trust accounts.

"Give it to the Cowboy. He handles that stuff. I have enough shit on my plate with all that stuff about getting off the planet."

"Yes sir. I will pass it on."

The President walked into the VP's room, the spurs on his cowboy boots jingling as they gouged the hundred-year-old hardwood floor. "Dick? What's this NASA message supposed to mean?"

Dick gave him a look of exasperation. "How am I supposed to know? Do I look like an astrophysicist? Go get someone at NASA to explain it to you and then you can tell me. We have a situation here."

The President frowned and pouted. "I did, but them NASA eggheads can't explain worth a damn. It still doesn't make sense."

The VP rolled his eyes. "Please, I'll call them later. I'm dealing with this hacker, and a crazy citizenry. This hacker's fucking up the whole communication grid. This has to be Kim in North Korea, or the Assatollah in Iran. They're still pissed at us for nuking them a ways back, but they brought it upon themselves. I warned them after the elections were postponed due to a "National Emergency" issued under Presidential Directive 51. If we can prove those idiots are behind this, maybe we'll nuke 'em again. Or maybe even if we can't prove it."

"Okay, okay. I'll get ready for our broadcast tonight. Daddy was right. I know you have things in control, as usual. I just love this stuff"

"Yes, you do that. Call the French, Russian and Chinese Ambassadors. Make sure they are here early for dinner and discussions. Remember to emphasize early."

"Will do."

No sooner had the President jingle-scraped his way out of the room than the VP's personal aide sidled back in.

"Sir, Mr. Vice President, we have a new communication coming through. It's addressed to all. All machines are coming on line. The electrical grid shouldn't be able to handle the load, but it is--"

A calm soft voice, one of authority, began to speak:

"We have sent messengers to you. You ignored them. We have sent you a good number of notices in various languages throughout the ages. This is not a joke, and we are not putting a bypass through you solar system either.

"Let us list some examples of messengers: Martin Luther King; Gandhi; Buddha; Jesus; Mohammed; Kung Fu-Tse, or Confucius; Chuang Tse; Lao Tse; Socrates; Plato; Spinoza; and dear Pythagoras.

"Did you listen? No. All Our guidance on how to live together and treat Our world with respect has been ignored.

"It's time to go. We will take action, since you will not."

####

The VP's aide stammered, "Sir, is this real?"

The VP paced around his office, swatting antique lamps and figurines off the desktops as he went, his face gray except for his cheeks (red) and his lips (alarmingly blue). "It can't be, it's too far out. I mean getting thrown off the planet, being evicted. What bullshit. And who the hell is 'We', anyway?"

####

At NSA headquarters, alarms sounded as the eavesdropping satellites in geosynchronous orbit went silent one by one. Cell phones and mobile communications devices squawked once as they received one last burst of random digital noise, then displayed "No signal" messages. Vidscreens and computer monitors flared briefly to life (even if they were turned off) with a swirling pattern of colored light and shadow, then faded to black.

But there was no one left to observe any of these things...

Entry IV is the transcript from a very verbose member of the GOD Team. And as he put it, he desired to relate to me and unburden the issues he was having keeping the problems with a start-up world all bottled up inside him. He welcomed my presence and he began. I did have to take a few bathroom breaks and even then He kept talking. You won't even notice the missing parts.

Once Upon Some Time


Prologue:

Once upon some time, billions and billions of years ago, (time described here is being based upon the earthnocentic interpretation of time), this universe popped into existence. Popped is the word I will use for lack of a more definite term. Uncompressed from the last cycle is another myth-idea that comes to the fore. No matter, here it was in all its cosmic gory glory. Matter annihilated matter, created new forms, expanded and did more of the same. Star systems ate star systems. Black holes consumed what they could. This is the very Way of Nature. This nature was passed on to the animate creatures that spawned at later dates as the system allowed for evolutionary biological growth. This universe was no heaven. That's how the universe has propagated itself up until the current time as of this writing, here and now. So Be It

We observe and delineate billions of years based upon our revolution about our star. From our planet centered view of the cosmos we perceive it to be X numbers of revolutions old. That's just our view and not one held by these others above that I am referring to. The Time Concept Delineator (TCD, pronounced tee-sed) days is a vernacular term understood by all allowing for a common basis of discussion. The "time relationship" is relative. The concept is catholic.

However, if the truth be known, though the physics are in order up to a point in scientific evolution, the origins are a little bit different than either science or the ancient myths may claim.

####

In the beginning there was almost No-Thing. From the almost No-Thing came a something that always was, and Not-was. For clarification see your Zen and Taoist texts. Not-was had a second. In order to be, anything or No-Thing required a not to be, some form of an opposite, or at least something to offset ones positive or negative nature. Two is a basic number in this universe. In this case the Not-was had a twin. This was an opposite twin encumbered by few flaws. The opposite twin was best characterized as a miss-wired, buggy software CPU, but workable. As I mentioned this is the best current description I am allowed to give. His name was/is Not-really-is. Not-really-is could also be described as Not-was' halfwit twin, handsome, and strong, with a slightly warped sense of humor. When all Not-was said and done, Not-really-is was not quite right in the CPU department. But we care for our family members. This is a law of the universe. Observe It!

Not-was had business to attend to. Let's say for sake of brevity, there were and are other universes that were and are of interest to Not-was. Not-really-is was left alone and was bored. We all know that boredom is the workshop for the troubled mind. Others may call it the devil. I will leave that up to you to define. Not-really-is looked around and said to itself, "I'm bored. I need something to do. Not-was can do all this stuff. He" (this pronoun, He, is used for lack of a better one until the situation and temporary clarification is required) "makes this, does that, fixes this, and modifies that. I am not supposed to touch any THING unless he's there. He says even though we are twins, No-Thing in the beginning, seemed to parse most of the thinking ability to him. Well I've been watching and studying. I sat in on a number of his planning meetings and I think I can do something that will make him less concerned about my doings. Since it's a 'Tabula Rasa Time' out there, why not? "

Not-really-is wanted some form of companionship. Having creative power, like that of a demented artist, he made a few playthings. Again the number is not of any consequence, the term few being subjective and relative to the observer. In our case multi-millions would suffice. These toys, a host as I put it, offered no contest to Not-really-is. The dictionary would define these toys as toadies and sycophants and boring. In the long run, they were not to be trusted. In the short run they not only knew who buttered their bread, but owned the cows that gave the milk and the land on which the grain grew.

####

"Eight days, nine days, two weeks, what does it matter? I leave you alone and I come back to... This? Look at this chaos. I mean, how could you?"

"It's not chaos now, it's..."

"Don't answer that. I know the answer. You're old enough to know better. You are my twin, albeit twisted in the head. Don't you realize your essence is now part of this whole thing? Anything you made has a part of you in it. From the smallest particle of matter to the whole shebang, you, you fuckin' moron. So this is a moron world. I should just end it, be done, No good can come of this. This I know. Your new creations have no idea of the inherent flaws. You do! Or you should..."

"Oh, it can't be that bad. I was bored. You left me alone with these idiots."

"You created 'these idiots', also from your essence, speaking of idiots!"

"They're no help or fun. 'Yes your greatness, whatever you say,' on and on. I know I'm not the brightest crayon in this box. Still, do I deserve them as my Host? Well, to hell with them. I was BORED. So I made a universe just like you do all the time."

"No, not like I do. You know what? This is your mess. You work it out. I'm tired of cleaning up after you. I have a headache. I'm going to have a few brownies and a mushroom pie. Go play with your creations. I'll see you later."

Not-really-is smiled as his twin shifted into another universe. Well, he said I could, so I will. I'll show him! I will keep an eye on this mess. I'm sure something good will develop. I'll let him figure it out. He'll realize this is a bit more than me going, "Hey, let's build a universe and see what happens!"

Okay, I may have screwed up a few details. It may take a few weeks to correct...

####

Not-really-is looked upon his Creation and thought Hey this isn't so bad. Look at the vegetation, all the food animals and wow, look at the women, the men, all tall handsome. My brother thinks I screwed up. Well I don't think so.

He saw two of his creatures in a grove of trees surrounding by remarkably well-behaved grasses and low bushes. I think I'll introduce myself. Forming a shell of flesh and bone based on the same pattern he had used to populate his world, he said aloud, "Yo, you. Look up a bit, yes hello."

The creatures -- a man and a woman, both remarkably beautiful, fell to their knees as they saw Not-really-is appear out of empty space.

"OH, GET UP. Oh, Please."

The man made some incomprehensible gobbling noise and a series of hand gestures that would, in the fullness of time, be considered extremely rude in certain countries. Not-really-is sighed and adjusted his creations to grant them something more worthy of the term 'language'.

"What -- you go by?"

"What do I go by? Oh you mean, MY Name? Hmmm, just call me The Creator. Yep, my idea. Thought it all up and seven TCDs later, alakazam, here you are."

"Tee-seds?"

"Units of time... you don't really have any, do you... A TCD is a cycle, a ... like a day, from one sunrise to the next. My seven days, I think the physics is beyond you at this juncture. Accept what I say as gospel. Just go with it."

The man raised and lowered his chin a few times, which Not-really-is interpreted as agreement.

"Okay," he said, "you know my name, what's yours?"

Blank looks. The man raised and lowered his shoulders and pointed to Not-really-is.

"You don't have one? I can call you whatever I like? How do you know when someone wants you? That doesn't make any sense." But then Not-really-is supposed that with a population this small, names weren't really necessary -- you just knew everybody's face, and could point out the one you meant if you were referring to someone other than the people you were -- grunting and gesturing with.

"Hmm. Well you're the first ones I have met, so -- you, with the male part, yes the one with the penis. PENIS, the hang down thing between your legs. It's called a penis. Your name is Adam. And you, what a sweetie, you I'll call Suzanna."

Suzanna looked down, then looked at Adam, and frowned.

"Oh, you're female," Not-really-is explained. "You're not supposed to have -- See, you are different physically. 'Male', 'female', they're names, for classifications instead of individuals. Your name is, uh -- Suzanna."

This time the woman raised and lowered her chin a few times.

"We're making great progress," Not-really-is said. "Let me tell you about this whole place..." He spread his arms wide.

Adam and Suzanna looked bored.

"You know a bunch already? Interesting. Okay, then, you tell me what you know, so I understand you better."

Adam made a sweeping gesture to indicate all the men and women in the area. "Good people. But afraid. Afraid of -- nasty types."

Not-really-is frowned. "What do you mean nasty types?" He couldn't recall including anything that could be considered 'nasty' in the mix. "Hmm... if I don't even know what's in my own Creation, maybe my brother has a point."

Adam and Suzanna exchanged wide-eyed looks. "What point?"

Not-really-is winced. Their vocabulary was limited, but their listening skills were better than he expected. "Oh, nothing, just speaking to myself." An idea came to him, a way to keep things from getting any worse than they were. "Listen, I have an idea. I'll fix it to let you all stay here if you just do what I say. What do you think about that?"

"Good."

"I'll keep the nasty boys and girls out of this garden as you call it. Only one thing. I have a brother. He's kinda pissed that I made all this. I sat in on all his builds..."

"Satan?" Adam said. "Your name Creator, but your name Satan?"

"No I'm not called Satan; I said I SAT IN on my brothers builds. I think I can handle this. SAT-IN SAT-IN, get it. To observe..." He thought, I'm dim? Not-was should meet these beings. They need a few years of education. Or maybe bigger brains. Oy.

"Listen, I'm going to go rest under that Bodi tree. I'll get back to you later." As an afterthought, he said, "Oh Suzanna, do me a favor; wake me up in 90 degrees."

Suzanna's face went blank. Again.

Not-really-is sighed. "Okay... here's a quick lesson in solar geometry and time calculation..."

####

Suzanna awoke Not-really-is some hours later. The angle of the sun was nowhere near what he had specified, but he supposed he should be happy that she had made the effort. "Ah, now I'm all rested."

His eyes drifted over to a nearby tree where another woman was standing on the tips of her toes to reach a ripe fig. "Well, well, well, lookie over there. Suzanna, are all of you this good looking? Wow, the daughters of this species are fair. The boys would be crazy not to come here."

Suzanna muttered something unintelligible, her new language skills apparently forgotten.

"Don't sulk, I'm simply looking," Not-really-is said.

"Why look at them like that if you are their Creator?" Suzanna said. For some reason her lower lip looked swollen -- at least it was protruding a good finger's breadth beyond her upper lip.

Is she jealous? Not-really-is wondered. I don't remember including that in the formula either. Aloud, he said, "Oh right. I made you all. Of course. Come here and sit by me for a while. I will attempt to explain this whole thing to you. You appear brighter than your opposite. He is kind of simple in thought."

"Nothing wrong with Adam," Suzanna said.

"OK, so he's nice and not like the others. Still, you should look for a better opportunity. I'll explain in detail." He tried to convey to her that she would be happier with a companion who was closer to her in ability, not just appearance.

Suzanna was overwhelmed yet managed to take it all in.

He noticed a gleam in her eyes, the realization that she couldn't possibly find a mate better than the Creator himself.

Seems it always works that way, he thought. In all my brother's Creations, power is an attractant. I should have known she might think like that, once I introduced the idea that one man might be preferable to another... Hmm, again my brother may have a point. I've never gone down to this level on his builds. There is more work here then I imagined -- and unexpected developments at every turn. Then he looked at Suzanna -- Damn, I did some things right! and decided that some unexpected developments were just fine.

"How about you hang with me. I'll get a new lady for big boy over there."

"Great!"

####

"Yo, Adam my good man. Yes M-A-N, man. That's what you are. I'm going to fix you up with a new squeeze. Me and Suzanna, well you get the picture. Power is an aphrodisiac. And I am the Creator. No hard feelings. Listen, just to make it up to you, you can run this place. Just no messing with my lady. Okay?"

Adam looked puzzled, then seemed to realize that his status had just been raised to Chief non-Creator, and grinned.

"Good. Me and Suz got some business to attend to." He paused. Adam was a decent sort, but he really wasn't as bright as Suzanna.

"You know what? I have a great idea. I am the Creator so all my ideas must be great. Go name all the things you can find."

Adam raised and lowered his head several times with so much enthusiasm that Not-really-is could hear the joints in his neck crackle. The man strode off into the distance, pointing at things and people and muttering under his breath.

Suzanna laughed. "Things will get stupid names this way."

Not-really-is raised and lowered his shoulders. "Yes, I know, he has no idea what to call them. I've just given him a job I would have to do anyway. This should make him feel important. I think he can use an assistant."

"What is ass-stamp? Ass-stamp? Ass-STANT."

"You see that female over there? Watch this. HEY YOU, come here."

The yellow haired long legged green eyed beauty approached. "Yes? And What and Who are you supposed to be?" she inquired with an attitude that would normally require smiting.

Presumptuous little thing, Not-really-is thought. But very, very decorative. Aloud, he said, "He needs a boss." He gestured in Adam's direction, although Adam was far enough away to make it far from clear which "he" needed a boss -- whatever a "boss" was.

Not-really-is looked closely at the blonde, noting the alert and suspicious light in her eyes. "You'll do"

"I'll do what? He who?"

"Listen sweetie, I made this place and you too. I brought you in, I can take you out. Got it?"

"I understand power."

"Good enough, realpolitik of the highest order."

"Real polly tick? Is that worse than a regular tick?"

"Er -- it's better. Don't worry, you have it. I think I'll call you Lilith. He needs...

"Who is this 'he' you keep mentioning? By the way, Lilith is a nice name. I'll keep it."

"Yes, you will! 'He' is Adam," he said, pointing directly at Adam, who had wandered back in their direction while attempting to figure out the taxonomy of his home.

Lilith winced. "The fellow pointing and talking to himself? You want me to be with him? Oh please..."

"Yes. Done is done. Got it?"

"Yeah, I guess so. But really now, do I have to..."

"Whatever he wants, got it? You're smart enough to work this. I can tell. Listen, Lilith you two can run this place. It's yours to do as you like. Just don't mess with my lady here. She's the apple of my eye. And, that prohibition goes for anything else I call out of bounds. Otherwise, this whole universe is yours to command as you two please, forever, or as long as physics allows." That will keep them busy and a while to figure out. Say, thirty thousand trips around the sun. "It's as simple as that."

"Physics?"

"Not to worry at this time."

"No catch?"

"Well, yes. If you screw up I just might cancel this existence."

Lilith snorted. "Sure you will. What about your girlfriend there? You're going to cashier her? I don't think so."

This one is maybe a little too bright. "Don't call my bluff. Just go. You can be replaced, outsourced if you will. This is the eve of a new beginning"

"I'll do my part. You just stick to yours." They both said this at the same time while each tried to stare the other down.

She's telling me? This is news. She's gotta go. He looked at Adam, whose pointing and muttering had almost started the first shoving match in this universe. Well, once she gets Adam in line. Soon enough, soon enough. I'm going to have to do something about her. She could be a thorn in my head, I mean my side. I have to get my allusions correct.

He raised his eyes to the sky and shouted "I'm DOING OKAY. HEY, BRO. I know you're watching. No problemo." Well, nothing I can't handle, anyway.

"Suzanna, come on over and make your Creator real happy."

####

Not-was let his consciousness sweep over the whole universe while contemplating his halfwit twin's work:

He has no idea. He can't seem to get his arms around time-space. All I foresee are problems. All he has his arms and head around is that girl of his. She sure is cute. I have to admit, all in all not too bad a job even with the inherent dysfunctional nature of his build.

I just might have to go visit. I can learn from all, including mistakes.

A thought, and it was so. He wrapped his essence in flesh and bone as his brother had done earlier. His shell was just a bit taller and better-looking, of course.

Well, well, well, a nice place he made here. Still I'm not sure. I mean he made it. It's pretty and all, but I wonder if the plumbing works? I just take a walk around the garden area.

Before long, Not-was encountered the woman his brother had chosen as his companion. "Yes? Hello, Suzanna, correct?"

Suzanna smiled coyly. "Funny game, pretending not to know me. I should call you Adam. He's still having trouble naming things."

Not-was frowned. "No, I AM NOT playing dumb. I'm..."

Suzanna tackled him, her hands tickling and probing under his clothes. He and his brother were the only ones who wore clothes, but Suzanna seemed to know her way around them. Or through them.

"Hey, get off me," Not-was said. With a gesture, he levitated the woman onto an overhanging branch. "Holy Me. What's got into you?"

Suzanna scrambled down from the tree and stalked over to him, obviously angry. "Creator! Why do you push me away?"

"You have me mistaken for Him. I'm his twin brother. No I'm not kidding. There are two of us. Everything comes in twos. Everything. I guess I made this body look too much like the one he chose. That, and wearing clothes... Now where is he?"

Suzanna's face crumpled and tears streamed down her cheeks. "You will tell him I tried to mate with you! Creator will be angry!"

"No, I won't mention it. It was an honest mistake. Don't worry. Trust me. Oh Me, Don't cry." He thought Crying, Another dysfunctional mental development that needs correction and modification, probably rooted in Not-really-is's essence. These poor creatures started with quite a handicap...

Suzanna had run off during his attempts to soothe her -- a pleasant sight, to be sure, but counterproductive. Not-was recognized the man she accosted to listen to her story. Adam, the not-so-bright. This will not go well.

"ADAM, ADAM, There are two of them! I just ran into the twin brother. Adam, this one is much brighter. One look, and his speech, and... well you can tell."

Adam took Suzanna into his arms and patted her on the back as she babbled. "I miss you, Suzanna --"

Suzanna paused and relocated Adam's comforting hand, which had drifted down to her hips. "Yes,I do miss you too. Adam, how's Lilith? You two doing okay?"

"Always telling me what to do," Adam said into her hair.

"Yeah, I know she is bossy. She's still thinks we're a thing, doesn't she?" Suzanna said. "I bet if she caught us talking she'd blacken both my eyes. How would that look? Creator would be pissed."

"Lilith would be pissed," Adam said, releasing her and backing away.

Suzanna smirked. "Yeah, see you later. I'm going to check the two of them out. This could be fun if...."

Lilith jumped both Adam and Suzanna. She flattened Adam with a roundhouse kick and double punched Suzanna knocking a tooth loose and bloodying her nose. Suzanna ran off crying and wailing into the arms of the Creator and his brother.

The Creator was mad as hell.

"What did I tell those two? 'Don't mess with the apple of my eye.' Now look what they've done. I'll fix you up honey, sweetie. Don't you worry. You'll be just fine. No marks or anything. Those two are out, evicted, see how they like it. Then me and you, Suz, we're out of here. Bro, this place can rot for all I care. What a bunch of malcontents, idiots and dim wits."

I quite agree, Not-was thought to himself. Now I'll have to intercede in this mess he just made while He's off with that bimbo. Cute -- but still animated mud. Oy again.

Let's see how he handles this.

The Creator turned slowly in place. The grass at his feet ignited and evaporated into wisps of smoke; the ground at his feet turned molten, then hardened into greenish-black glass as his anger cooled and he decided what to do.

"I'm going to separate those two. I will fix both their sorry butts. What Lilith deserves is somebody strong enough to stand up to her..." He surveyed the handful of males whose curiosity had outweighed their fear, and pointed to the biggest of the lot. "You," he said, "You are with her--" He paused to point at Lilith. "-- and you are both out of here. Now."

When neither Lilith nor her newly-assigned counterpart moved, the Creator gestured, and a gigantic, glowing creature appeared, a huge sword in one hand. In case that was not impressive enough, the Creator frowned and the sword burst into flames. And in case that wasn't impressive enough, more of the incandescent giants flickered into existence behind the first.

Oh shit, He's really doing it. He called down some of the Host -- not the brightest celestial beings themselves, the Creator's brother thought, but enough to scare this bunch.

Lilith and her ox-like partner exchanged looks of consternation. "I don't think he's kidding," Lilith said.

"Nuh-uh," the ox grunted in agreement.

Lilith rolled her eyes -- this one seemed even dimmer than Adam -- but raised one eyebrow when she grabbed the ox's tree-trunk-sized arm and tried unsuccessfully to make him move. "O--kay," she said. "Which way do you want to go?"

"West," the ox rumbled. "That's what Adam called the place the sun goes down." He trudged off with Lilith in tow.

Almost immediately, she began a long, colorful lecture about Adam's faults, occasionally pointing out that her new partner must be even worse -- unworthy of the Creator's attention until so late in the game. The ox's shoulders had begun to sag under the onslaught by the time they reached the next grove of trees.

Meanwhile, the Creator had looked over the assortment of females who were still in the vicinity. "Adam," he said, "you get this one over here, the bony one. Stop looking at the others, you get the one I say you get."

Adam and his designated partner approached each other without much enthusiasm.

"Adam, whatever-your-name-is -- wonderful, he hasn't given you a name yet, has he? I don't care. You two are out of here, too. You probably won't want to go in the same direction as Lilith and -- no name, yet, right, Adam? Oy." The Creator shook his head and signaled the creature with the flaming sword to herd Adam toward the boundary of the garden. Oh my, they are out of here, cursed to wonder, wander and work. W-O-R-K: now that's a real four letter word, the Creator's brother mused.

Adam's new mate was frightened at the prospect of leaving the only home she had ever known. But she was also apparently determined to tell Adam and everyone else in range that she was not to blame for the collapse of the Original World Order. She yelled, "None of this is my doing. It was all yellow-hair's fault!"

Adam meekly corrected her, "Her name is Lilith."

"I don't care what you call her, she's mud to me. So what's my name, huh? You got a name for me?" she demanded, pissed and close enough to count the pores in Adam's nose.

Adam, attempting to deflect the verbal attack, said softly and slowly, "Listen... it's... getting... to... be... eve..."

She tilted her head to one side. "Eve, that's pretty. Much better than those other names you tried to give me."

"Ning..." Adam's voice trailed off. He still hadn't figured out that a happy wife was a happy life. He never would. He was too busy feeling sorry for himself and bemoaning his fate, evicted from the garden where he was the Creator's right-hand Man.

Not-was said to himself, "Poor guy, I see nothing but trouble in his future. It's his lot. I hope he is able to cope. Not my world, not my problem." He shifted into one of his own universes, which was, of course, unfolding as it should.

"What a mess that place is," Not-was mused. "It's Not-really-is' world, he made it, and the rules are his until he completely abandons it. I wonder what will become of the four of them? Two pair doesn't beat a full house. I'll just hang around for a bit. I know he'll be back. I want to observe what happens, and study the overarching effects of Not-really-is' wonky essence on this universe. All is him, which means that it's also, in some respect, me. We are family. We don't get to pick that. That's one other unchangeable law of any universe."

Epilogue:

Not-was continued to ponder his brother's flawed Creation. "The women are really attractive. That's one thing he did right. I do like them, no joke. They are interesting, smart and easy on the Mind's Eye. I think I will make a world of them simply to observe what comes of it. It's got to be better than his latest screw-up."

A messenger from the Host Guard came rushing in. "Sir, Sire, SIR," the lesser celestial sputtered.

Not-was sighed. The messenger had a "Don't smite me, I just carry the news" look on his face.

"Okay, what has my brother done now? Oh no, damn it all!" The messenger turned to relay this latest commandment to the Host, but Not-was managed to stop him. "That's just an expression, relax, please no smiting, no brimstone. The real problem is, now where did he go? I told you lot to watch him and call me before he left. You let him escape? Do I have to pound it into you?"

In a far distant place, Not-really-is said to himself, "I think I have it this time. Won't he be surprised?"

To his soul mate, he said, "Suzanna, come watch this!"

In the beginning, there was light...

THE END?


Entry V is from The GODDESSES point of view and deals with a situation that the others may have encountered but didn't seem to faze them, or they are still dealing with it. I think that's really it but they can't seem to let go. I expect more of this as time goes on. This could be the beginning of a new syndrome, I'm sure of it. I might even be the next Freud.

She has a few things to relate about her staff and human interactions. It's pregnant with possibilities and it left me breathless and wanting to hear more. She said there was but that would be for another time. She had to run.

ELEGANT SLUMMING

Or

ON EARTH As It Is In HEAVEN


PREFACE:

She was and is The Obliterating, beyond oneness, and beyond names. She is the It-ness of it all, the mother of all things. She is before any name, any shape, thing, and time. She is sometimes called the encompassing and enveloping or by an acronym, GIA, goddess-in-all.

She knew that once something is, and has a name, its very existences gives rise to its correlative and then its dialectic. And that gives rise, eventually, to the myriad things and universes. That would be the cause of troubles.

She did it anyway.

CHAPTER I

A Monday, a mid spring day at what could be any shore town in New Jersey.

Underneath the 'Help Wanted' sign, Bailey Addy noticed HOSTESS in large block letters. Then below that was scrawled in red marker and barely legible, 'Inquire Within'. The thought, Twinkie, instantly ran through her mind. The five foot, five, athletic bodied, green-eyed, red-head took the sign in with her, placed it on the bar and looked at the only person sitting there. "Not anymore," she stated with authority. "I can start today,"

"And so you have experience, and some references?" He inquired, still looking at the screen, and not paying too much attention to the bothersome voice on his left. He wasn't impressed by her bravado. Why should he be? The turn-over in this business was incredible. She was just one other, here today gone tomorrow. The nature of the business was one factor. He was another.

"I can do anything you need, try me. I can cook better than anyone in the world, I even make the best pizza in the world, really," she said ignoring both the rudeness and the question.

Dominic Volente, known as Deno to everyone, the owner of DENO's, The Best Italian Restaurant in the Universe, or so the sign claimed, was sitting at the empty bar, nursing a glass of San Pellegrino, and watching a football game. "Best cook? Best pizza? I doubt that," he mumbled.

He was annoyed at being disturbed. He turned slowly to see who this pest was. When he looked at her he buckled at the knees just sitting there. Holy shit, he thought, what a package this chick is. You're hired. Best pizza? Who gives a fuck...?

"No, really I do make the best in the world. Why would I lie to you?" She asked in all sincerity. "I can back your cooks up if need be, and..."

Gathering himself and getting back in control, he interrupted her sales pitch with an, "Yes, I bet you can. You start this afternoon 4 PM. Fill out the paperwork." The fact there was no real interview was not like him. He liked to probe and see what weaknesses were apparent, for his own use, later on.

She stopped talking. "What?" she asked as her eyes darkened. "Oh yes." And she, without looking, reached in to her bag, and said, "ID, wet signed, and presented. Your government will be sure and pleased. And, I have given my consent to their fears. What do you pay?"

He wondered what the hell all that meant. "You get eight dollars an hour, you split the tips with the staff, and no bennies."

"Bailey Addy is my name. And Bailey is how I will be addressed. I can also back your cooks, their cooking pots, and your staff too. The heat of your ovens and your kitchen are no bother to me. I will make you happier than you ever imagined, now that you hired me. Oh, and I don't need any benefits," she said giggling. "I have my own. Thanks, I appreciate it." She shook his hand.

Deno just stared, nodded, and said, "I bet you can." He came to a conclusion, "She's batso crazy. I'm sure I'll have to let her go by the end of her shift. Why are all the good looking ones crazy?" He thought of his wife and shook his head in wonder. He felt great. Crazy or not, he felt it was the best thing he's done in a fortnight, ever for that matter.

"See you in a few hours," he said as the tension in his body released. He relaxed for the first time, in a long time. He hoped she'll show up for work. So many are 'no-shows'.

Then, after she left, he began to ponder the hire he just made. He wondered what his wife, Doris, would think about her. He knew. Fuck her he thought, and turned back to the screen and the game.

As Bailey left, a smile spread across her face. It was as big as the sun. Talking to herself she said, "This is the best of both worlds. Yes, this will be good. Besides I really like Italian food.

"I'm safe. I'm away from all those crazies. And now I have this piece of work as a boss." And, she laughed again, "He's their doing." She laughed even harder. Some people stared and shook their heads.

Bailey walked around looking at the sights, and at the ocean. She sat on the beach. It was calming. Nice job, they got something right, she thought

4 PM, on the dot, Bailey showed up. "I'm here," she said to Deno.

"Yes you are." He looked her up and down. "Yes you are," he said again.

CHAPTER II

A time-event in the past

Long after reality was established, She was approached by a contingent of her intimate creations. She was watching planets as they rotated away from the many suns over the many different horizons. Each sun planet combination held a different spectral dance. She held her breath in awe. "Beautiful," She whispered

"Ba'al Z?būl, (as she was addressed by those who served her needs), Madam, please this is important." Her meditation was interrupted. She turned to see the one who had her ear, and in so doing, noticed behind were many others, silent, staring and solemn. Some She knew, others recognized, and still myriad others, unknown faces stretching as far as the eye could normally view.

Ba'al Z?būl looked at them. "Yes, what is it?"

"You are being removed, and replaced. We have begged you countless times to lift the embargo on technology, and with it, the hold you placed upon the individual universes, thereby limiting the civilizations' development that it is our duty to cater to and protect, as you yourself demanded. It is our duty to do this."

It continued, "We know, and you know, were they to get a taste of the possible futures, they would want it too. Right now they are like simple beautiful pets, and we are tired of being zoo keepers. We are tired of this eternity as you have made it, and want to progress beyond all this "nice" simplicity. And with emphasis ads, "We are bored."

She rebutted, "But these worlds are ideal. What can be wrong? Everyone everywhere else is happy, and satisfied," looking about at the assembled masses, "more than less. There is very little strife. Lives are long and fruitful. I don't see any reason to alter the fabric of any of the universes."

"There is more from life, we desire more..."

"Ah yes desire. Desire the basis..." She stopped knowing any talk was useless.

It said, anticipating any questions, "Together we have more than enough energy. You are still required to be for balance, just not in control. It will be long, and some mistakes will be made, but with dedication and work we will get it right. After all we are not you, YET. Really now, what is the issue? Eternity is ours is it not? We have plenty of time, so to speak, to play and correct our mistakes."

Laughing at them, She said, "Now back to lesser things..."

It interrupted her, "Madam, this is real, not a laughing matter." It can't understand. It is shocked and feels a bit humiliated too. She gives it no respect. It expected a fight. It was looking for an acceptance of the situation as that of equals. It states indignantly, "We, all of us, we have agreed that it's been your way long enough. Now it's our turn. You will be placed in opposition to us as to maintain the universal balance and harmony."

"You will never be able to overcome all of us. As you said, from the one, many. You created us. Or your essence created us out of a necessary balance for these realities to exist. And now they exist and so do we."

She said dryly, "This is a warning and not a threat, your opposition to the one will now give rise as two, me and you as separate sources of whatever you may want to call it, but a new duality will arise. And from you, again," looking at all of them, "from the separate entities that you are and will have created, will come many more. And with that, many difficulties unfathomable."

It declared, "I, we all know you're wrong. We will be able to maintain, and the universes will be better off, you will see. Please your new location is ready."

"I didn't see this coming so soon. I'm amazed. It will be chaos, and I will be demonized," she stated.

It continues, "No madam, we respect you and all you have done. We are now in control. We are the new power."

She declared, "You will not be able to maintain without eventually relegating my being to a position that will allow you to focus any of the ill affects your actions will cause on to others. And over time, I will be the name of it. Not of my own choosing, but through the natural course of events from what you're doing. It must bring itself into its own life. And as a new life force, it will become your challenge to keep it in check."

"And then there is me. I exist. I may be more than you counted on. And no, I'm not going to start a war, I think you may have overlooked things that I'm only beginning to see."

She continued, "With regard to my not becoming The Demon, your subjects will believe it for now. But that too will change and I will suffer the situation. And because of that, so will you and your associates.' She thought of a name for them. They've fallen due to desire, Nepheliem; yes that's what they will become. "Unfortunately I will be the one to take the blame when your plans don't go as planned. The balance of the universes and eternity will forever be out of kilter and chaos will ensue. I will let you do this. I will see this played out."

Ignoring the warning from The One, It said with all sincerity, "You have no choice. You may take those that wish to go with you. We fear none of them, or you. We will alter the face of all the universes, for the better. We will make our own identity."

She said to no being in particular, "They seem to forget that this is all me and I allow it. Maybe I'm bored. A unique thought." Ba'al laughed to herself, "bored, I would never have imagined that. It took my creations to make me aware."

####

She along with her entourage were removed. A slight hiccup occurred in the fabric of eternity, a singularity, a fireball, and a new universe was brought into existence. This new universe became the unplanned testing station, the prototype for the future efforts of her usurpers. The affects and effects were felt down to the smallest level of reality, beyond the quark, to the soul.

They didn't expect that her essence would still have any affect. They had not planned for that. Yes the test bed was created. It naturally began as the One since She still held sway over all nature. She was still Herself when they began the transition, and as it was consummated. As a microcosmic shadow of the coup, She still existed in the recesses, held dear and stubborn in the myths.

They had to do something. They didn't plan for that. The struggle to efface Her existence from the minds of those they sought to control and advance, changed the nature of that very struggle. This was supposed to be a cake walk.

emoval, if only for a while. It was a new experience, something to be contemplated. But as time went on, she made her own plans. There was no rush. It could be a holiday. That would be fun, an adventure, sort of an elegant slumming adventure?

CHAPTER III

Doris Cetrullo

Doris was of North Italian heritage. She was a natural blonde, top and bottom. She stood 5'10, 38 years old, 125 lbs, and had some college training. She had a very close resemblance to the young woman, Cecilia Gallerani, as painted in Da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine.

Doris was born and lived in Northern New Jersey all her life. She, like many teenagers and young adults, migrated to the Jersey shore in the summers where parental supervision was nonexistent.

The cops always gave a pretty girl a pass when it came to borderline activity and besides, her daddy would take care of things if necessary. He was mayor of a city. They all recognized her Porsche. That said it all.

Doris had always been interested in astronomy and physics and had a great mind for abstract thought. At one point in her life she considered a possible academic-military track leading to astronaut training. But then she met Deno Volente. He was the manager of a pizza place she ate at. He was in the process of buying the owner out. She thought he was interesting, nothing long term, just something to play with until school started again.

He was shorter than she was by four inches, muscular, flexible, and compact. He had a very effusive personality, was funny and a good time in the sack. He was southern Italian. He was everything her father despised. She loved it. It was her major act of rebellion. "At least he's a Catholic and Italian," her dad would grumble at the dinner table.

Her father never fully supported her academic and career goals. He grudgingly existed in the modern era. For all intents, he still existed in the 1940's, especially when it came to women and their roles in society.

Doris loved her father and wanted his approval, as any child would from her parent, especially her dad. She managed to torpedo herself and her endeavors, not consciously though. She would take action or non-action, as the case was that summer, that ended any issue with career, and changed her life forever.

Dominic "Deno" DeFallo

The phone rang and rang. Deno finally got out of bed. He was hoping the call would just go away. "Don't say anything, please," he said to the girl in his bed.

"What do you mean pregnant? You're on the pill. Is this some sort of joke or another one of your tests that you seem to enjoy playing?

"Yeah I know you had some sort of infection and were on antibiotics, so what? It wasn't an STD, so big deal.

"The pill and antibiotics don't mix, great time to find out. The doctor didn't tell you? He didn't ask if you were taking anything? And how about the pharmacist? No one asked about possible affects? And now you're pregnant. Is it mine?"

He pulled the phone away from his ear. Anyone in rock throwing distance could hear the voice screaming through the receiver. After a bit, the voice became normal. Deno put the receiver to his head and said, "Sorry, Doris back off, slow down. I had to ask. I mean how do I know?

"So, I'm the only one. Thanks that make me feel so much better," he said with sarcasm. "So now what?" He hoped she'd say abortion.

"Married? You have to be shitting me. I'm not ready to get married. What's with this Catholic crap? You..." and he decided to drop that line of attack. "I'm just getting ready to buy Philippo out. Sweetie, Doris, don't start crying. Can you get here soon? About an hour and a half. It's a weekday and the Parkway is clear. Okay I'll meet you at the shop."

He hung up the phone and turned to the girl in his bed. She heard everything. She knows all his lovers. She takes him when she can. She's a good friend and lover. She's steady, and always there.

"Kathy you gotta go. Doris is coming here. Get your stuff and help me change the sheets."

"Okay Deno. When will I see you again?"

"As soon as she goes back home or when I can get some time away from the store. How about your day off, at your place?"

"Sure Deno. So, you going to marry her, Mr. Big Shots daughter?" She knew it was over. No married men for her.

"No, I don't know, Shit, this wasn't supposed to happen. She was supposed to be gone by summer's end. That would be that."

"I'll be here for you, remember that." She gave him a good-bye kiss. They both know the score.

"Thanks, Kath, see you later," he said as he watched her leave. "Oh man, this complicates everything," he muttered. And then it hit him. "I am dead, I am so dead."

Doris Cetrullo

When she was in her early twenties, she got pregnant and in her book, that ended the one life of a student. She began a new role as a mother. And if Deno had other ideas, he was shown the light by her father.

Deno was only expecting her to show up after her annunciation phone call. Instead the two of them showed up. The limo sat outside.

She stomped in. "Daddy wants to talk to you. Go," she commanded and pointed to the door.

The chauffeur opened the door for Deno, and stepped away. Rocco Cetrullo said nothing for a while. He looked out the front through the thick Plexiglas privacy window. Then after about ten minutes, as Deno sweat in the air conditioned car, Rocco turned to Dominic. "Dominic," Rocco never called him Deno, "I can't say it's nice to see you, so I'll get to the point. You can wear your tux to your funeral or your wedding. It's your choice. What's it going to be?"

"Wedding?" Deno gulped a replied.

Rocco nodded and didn't say a thing for a while. "Nice choice, but not the one I was hoping for," said Rocco Cetrullo. He could read Deno like an open book. He didn't say anything for a while letting Deno sweat some more. Then he said, "Okay, but you hurt my little girl, and, well do I have to spell it out?"

"NO sir." He had met Rocco at dinner but it was always polite conversation. Doris had instructed him on the limits of acceptable subjects at the dinner table. Deno complied.

"By the way don't worry about that loan from the bank. You won't need it. It's a wedding gift from the family. Welcome to our family, son. Now get out, and get back to work. You have a wife and child to support. No son-in-law of mine is going to be a bum."

####

"Well, what did he say?" Doris questioned?

"Welcome to the family." Deno thought it best to leave some of the details out.

"You were in the car for a fucking hour, and all he said was welcome to the family? Bullshit! He threatened you, didn't he?"

"No he didn't He gave me a wedding present too. I don't need a loan from the bank."

"He bribed you? That bastard."

"Doris please. He didn't bribe me. After I said I would marry you, he said welcome to the family and then, only then did he mention the gift. Christ Doris, back off already."

She was upset. This was not supposed to happen. Deno, her husband? My god! But this is what you did when you fucked up. You accepted your responsibility and moved on. In this case school was over. She was going to be a mother. She really looked at Deno for the first time, and thought, what a piece of shit. "Drive me home," she commanded.

####

The child died five years later from a brain tumor. Doris was totally in the dumps. The black inky cloud of depression would flood her being for weeks at a time. It took years, with some professional help.

But no matter about the personnel situation, business was good. Deno expanded his pizza shop into a restaurant and then opened up another pizza shop in Rehoboth DE. He always liked it there. It was his getaway business. It wasn't like the crazy Jersey shore or Ocean City in Maryland. But New Jersey was where the money was, so that was his life. Doris didn't complain. The money was good. Pizza alone brought in $750,000 a year, net. She did the books.

####

Doris was in the office doing payroll. Deno came in and said to Doris, "summer is coming and we need more help."

"You gotta stop fucking the help away," she said not even looking up.

"What do you mean?" He asked defensively. His father-in-law was still very much alive.

"You'll fuck anything in a skirt if she'll let you. Don't lie to me. Just keep your mouth shut. You think I'm blind? You think I can't smell their perfume, their smell, their scent on you when you come home? Don't answer. Get the fuck out of my office. Go!"

"Busted." He thought he had been sliding under the radar all these years. So why didn't she leave him?

As if she could read his mind, she hollered out to him, "Hey Deno, you fucker, remember our vows? Better or worse? My word is my bond. I swore before the crowd, the priest and God. I'm stuck with your cheating ass." Until you're dead, she thought.

Until one of us is dead, Deno thought. Still, he said nothing. Better not to fight and to let the fire die out rather than pour gasoline on it trying to put it out. Deno made his mind up to be a good boy for a while.

Then Bailey showed up.

CHAPTER IV

A Wednesday evening after Bailey's start:

Bailey greeted them at the door. They felt as if they were the most important people on the planet. And that was just for pizza, or for takeout, or the cheap Italian dinner at this run of the mill restaurant. When she escorted them to a table, a calm regal air surrounds them, as if this is what they were supposed to have all their lives. It was intoxicating. They ordered, and ordered, and drank the wine.

She knew right away if a taxi was required. Even before the patrons reached the door, it was there, "complements of the house." She added, "We want you to come back in one piece."

That happened a few times. Deno was going to ask her where she got off doing that without his approval. When they came back with friends, they all told Deno that this was the best restaurant they have ever been to; the food, the service, yes, especially the service is out of this world. And the friends brought friends and family. He wanted to say something because he was the boss, but before he could. "Better to ask forgiveness than permission," she said to him that one evening with a wink. "Ask any Jesuit."

One day the cook was sick, and true to her word, Bailey stepped into his place. She whipped out the orders like magic. The food preparation and presentation were heavenly. It's as if the chef of the gods, or the chef from the Inn in Little Washington just walked in and took over.

This job was a relief compared to her previous work. A sigh, a smile, and, "pepperoni pizza with mushrooms? Coming right up. Chicken parm, extra cheese, the best in the universe." It was too. The rest of the cooking staff was impressed. She helped out, gave ideas on how to improve their art, and took no credit. She has their instant respect. The word spreads to other kitchens. They all want to work at Deno's.

In the recent past, where there may have been a short wait in the 6 to 8pm time slots on the weekends, it was backed up around the block all the time, from opening to closing, Wednesday through Sunday. And still, with all that work, she managed to come out and greet the people. Deno can't believe it. It's like she owned the place. He kept his mouth shut. He wasn't stupid.

Monday and Tuesday it's "no reservations; first come, first served." It was her idea. People loved it. Otherwise, reservations have to be made way in advance. Only the oldest, longest serving customers get bumped ahead. Otherwise, it's "sorry, gumba, you gotta wait." Her smile said it all. There is rarely a complaint. Besides, the appetizers that got passed around to the waiting crowd were heavenly.

Deno realized there was something about Bailey's cooking. It was better than anything he could dish up, or his wife, or, God forgive him for even thinking this, his mother, a saint.

Deno realized this was a double gift. He had a great cook locally and now he could move the returning cook to his other shop. It was just a pizza place at the Delaware shore. The cook had wanted a transfer there anyway. Now Deno had good reason. Everybody was happy.

Well, almost everyone. Deno's wife Doris was worried about this bimbo. Bailey was incredibly attractive, she was smart and she could cook. One day, Doris was sitting on a stool staring at Bailey. When everyone was out and they were both alone in the kitchen, she said to Bailey, "What's the matter with my husband? You don't like the boss? Every girl comes on to the boss. You don't even give him a second glance. I've been watching you. You're not married, so what's up, you like women?" This was followed quickly by, "Oh my god! Where did that come from, I'm sorry that was rude, Christ..."

"Don't worry Doris. It's okay. He's married and I do not go after married men. And yes, I like women. I like men too. I can take my pick. It gives me a bigger pool to swim in."

Doris nodded, "Okay girl, I get it. But no hanky-panky with my old man, or me, and you have a job for as long as you choose." Doris knew a good thing, especially when she carried the receipts to the bank.

Bailey stopped and looked straight into Doris's eyes and said in a matter of fact tone, "Bailey Addy. My name is Bailey Addy. Not girl, or girlie, it's Bailey. Doris, use it. And yes I get it. You don't have to worry. I am not interested in your "old man." She looked Doris up and down and smiled. Doris's eyes lit up a bit.

The feeling Doris got from Bailey was almost predatory. She sort of liked it. Doris was about to say something, but turned red from head to toe.

Bailey pivoted and stepped into Doris's personal space. She placed a long slender finger to Doris's lips and said, "Shush, not nice thoughts." And then stepped back to the pot where she was making a fresh batch of pasta fazool.

A chill ran through Doris. It was warm and yet it was like an electric current. That's the only thing she could equate it with. It wasn't a bad feeling. It was just different. It was new to her. It was as if her eyes opened for the first time. Doris looked at Bailey differently, and thought for a bit, just staring. It was nothing she could put into words. It just was.

Doris was about to turn and head for the bar. She changed her mind, walked up to Bailey and said, "Yes, Bailey, I am sorry. And if you do want to talk some time, let me know. I think I would enjoy that." There is something refreshing about Bailey, she thought. She inhaled deeply. It might be her perfume too. What's wrong with Deno, he should be hitting on her. I know if I liked women, I would be.

Bailey smiled and said, "Sure thing, on my day off?"

Doris said, "You have it, but not here. There's a nice little Jewish deli down the road and..."

Bailey interrupted, she had work to do. "Yes, I know where it is. I pass it every day. Never been there. Meet you there Thursday, 11:30 before the lunch crowed gets in there?

On the video entertainment/news they both overheard the announcer mentioning that scientists are not sure why, but the last 10,000 years or so, they've discovered that the universe has been going through a period of rapid inflation. They say it may be attributed to Dark Matter.

Bailey muttered, "Yes, dark matter it is. They have no idea how dark. So that's how they show Itself. How interesting."

Doris caught a few words and stared at Bailey. Doris is not a scientist but she follows the latest news about physics and astronomy. Still, she kept up with some of the journals, Scientific American and Science News in particular. So when Bailey said what she said about dark matter, Doris had an understanding, but not of anything she could name, or put her finger on. Yes, Thursday will be interesting.

Bailey looked at her and just shook her head, as if something was said. "Yes it will be interesting, see you Thursday."

"I never said anything," Doris whispered to herself. This one is strange she thinks as she walks to the bar where Deno is serving drinks to the waiting patrons. Doris asks for a gin and tonic. "Two shots, please."

ing? Please, you never say please!"

"I said please. Big fucking deal. Now get over it, and give me my fucking drink...

P-L-E-A-S-E," as she spelled it out.

CHAPTER V

Later on, a THURSDAY just before noon at the deli:

At Micha's Deli, Bailey looked around and noshed on samples Micha offered her. Micha liked her immediately. He didn't know why. There's an affinity he felt toward her. He said, "you know girlie there's something about you, I just can't put my finger on." He paused thinking about that statement, and continued, "Let me rephrase that, there's a certain, I know you from somewhere, but just where, I don't recall."

Bailey never let anyone call her anything but Bailey. She let this one slide. She instantly and instinctively liked him a lot, gave him a light kiss on the cheek, and said, "That's for you Micha honey. Enjoy it." They both stared at each other. A flicker of recognition flashed in the deepest recesses of both their minds.

He's floored, he can't speak, and Micha not speaking is a miracle or he's got to be sick. He knows this beauty is not what she appears to be. But then again neither is he. Mental probes go out and are blocked. He stops, he looks around to see who is there, and said, "It's You. You left? That explains the unbalance in nature."

This time it's her turn to be speechless. She looks at him deeply but he is good. He can block the probes too. And she knows. He gives her a light salute just as Doris walks in.

"You two know each other?" She can sense familiarity. "You're Jewish?"

Bailey looked at her, looked at Micha, and said, "I am all things. Let's sit and talk. Remember this was your choice. I had no idea he was here." She pointed to Micha.

"He is who? He is what to you?" Doris was totally confused.

"We have known each other forev..., for a very long, long time." She has to remember to put things in terms of the finite. "I'm just surprised to meet him here. Micha, come here and meet..."

He finished her sentence, "Doris Volente, yes I know, the pizza king's wife. I have no idea what's going on there, but his food, your food has become the talk of the city, and it's getting a national reputation."

Doris smiled and said "I think it's because of our new cook." She points to Bailey.

Micha nodded, "Yes that could be it. She can cook up most anything you want; from dirt I once heard," spreading his arms wide. Then he added, "And as long as the odds are on her side."

Bailey kicked him.

He walked away limping, shook his head and muttered, "Who would have guessed it, the devil herself just walked in." A piercing pain hit the back of his skull. It's the dish that the pickles were in. It made ballistic contact. No damage was reported at the impact zone.

Doris looked up and asked, "Were you two married to each other at one point? Nobody acts like that unless they were married ... or lovers," she adds as an afterthought. "You have a good arm and good aim. I could use some training." Doris laughed at the mental picture.

Bailey gave Doris a hug. "You're a dear. Oh no never married, but we did work very closely for the longest of times. Let's talk shall we?"

"Micha, two soups, slaw, pickles and egg salad. Doris and you?"

"Whatever you're having will be just fine Bailey." Doris thinks there's a lot more going on here than meets the eye. This could be interesting.

They eat, talk about work, the weather, and then out of the blue, between slurps of chicken noodle soup, Doris asked her, "What was that stuff you mentioned about dark matter? What were you referring to? Astronomy has always been an interest of mine."

Bailey asked her, "Do you believe in a God?"

Doris stopped, spoon midair, soup dripping back into the bowl, and looked at her, "I'm Italian. I'm Catholic. What do you think? Really now, what has God got to do with astronomy?!"

Bailey said, "EXACTLY"

"Exactly? What do you mean?" Doris is confused. "What the hell does that mean? How does that relate to my question?"

"Reality. That's what I meant. What if I were to tell you that all you've been taught is upside down and inside out?"

"I'd say you were probably going to hell." Doris answered automatically, years of catechism kicking in. She had another bite of egg salad sandwich.

Bailey started again, "Suppose that your God was really first called by a different name. Then imagine that a number of lesser gods and their retainers conducted a coup? One difference being the lesser gods cannot kill off the more powerful one, but can relegate her to a prison or banish her, or..."

"What do you mean HER," Doris interrupted. "I understand the argument, but some of this is ridiculous. God is a man."

"Well what if it isn't? What if the ultimate power is female and not male? What if, and think about this, every person, everything is nothing but a hologram of a greater existence? And add to that, if you don't know, all conceived beings start off as female, and female is the basis for all existence."

Doris never thought about it. "This is blasphemy, isn't it?"

"Is it?"

"What if the term god is really the term for the devil as you currently define it, and the devil is really what you all call the gods?"

"Now that's insane. And that is blasphemy."

"Again I ask, is it? And why is it?"

"Because, because, well that's the way it's always been."

"Says who? Try this one on for size. Listen to me. Over the last 10 millennia, I have been lost to the world except in myth and lore. And your current civilizations? Now given the keys to the physics of the universe, the basic laws, you do not, as had hoped for, and as had had been expected, worship the Founders in a manner they felt fitting. Those that started this experiment are at a loss in more ways than one about this outcome."

Doris said, "This sounds like a lot of bullshit. I need another drink. How about you?"

"Sure," said Bailey.

They both said nothing thinking about what had just transpired.

The drinks arrived. Doris took a sip and Doris said, "Go on with this theological nonsense. And no, in case you were wondering, I'm not getting religion. I have one. I'm Catholic, remember?"

Bailey let out a sigh and continued, "Humans and other being can exist as they are without us. That is a power you have. It's an awareness of self as self, and as that, you can rise above the basic animal. However you are but holograms of this universe and as such reflect its basic nature too. So your seeming cruelty to each other is nothing more than displaced misdirected energy."

Doris asked, "Misdirected? And what's with this us crap?"

Bailey answered, "Cruelty is misdirected energy because you can reason and think. You have a choice of how to use your powers. A star bursts, and wipes out life. There is no thought there, that's just physics. On the other hand, if you drop a nuclear bomb on a population, that's premeditated, and can be avoided. The star will seed more life, eventually. Your action just kills and distorts it."

"But aren't the Gods, as you call them, the basis of our existence?" asked Doris

Bailey continued, "As you must know from your mythology, which is closer to the truth than you realize, the gods, US, have their likes and dislikes, petty jealousies and internal struggles. We cannot kill each other off, to use your definition of life but we can supplant, overwhelm, and force a coup, if you will. And your reality reflects, as a hologram, our reality. Change in one dimension reflects and alter other dimensions, other realities."

"The new Quantum Religion," said Doris. "So where's the cat?"

"Cat?" Bailey stopped; a confused look appears on her face, and then, "Schrödinger, very funny. In a pet stores everywhere. I couldn't take it with me, too many litter boxes."

As the last customer left Micha put a closed sign on the door and locked it before anyone else came in.

Doris considered all that had been laid on her table. This data led her to rethink everything she knew. The data created a paradigm shift, to an epiphany.

She looked at Bailey. "Bailey is not your name is it?" she said quietly.

"No, it is, well not exactly. It's short for the female form of Beelzebub. It's been corrupted by those in power and reflects the upside-down-ness I mentioned. It goes back even further from a language you could never utter. It could also mean a higher being, or great mother, or GIA which is an acronym. It's now a derogatory corruption of Ba'al Z?būl, "Lord of the High Place" or "High Lord". Look it up in GOOGLE. Let's leave it at that."

"And Micha," she asked?

"My faithful field general, my number one, Michael." He bowed. Bailey said, "Don't worry. It's not important to you. But, if it ever comes to it, you can trust him with your life. And, I had no idea he was here," Bailey added. "You picked this place out, not me, remember."

Doris was very familiar with those who protect. She looks a Micha. Yeah, she surmised, he looks like he could possibly take someone apart. I wonder how he is with a Beretta.

Bailey began to tell Doris the story.

A smile crossed Doris's face as she asked, "Have you ever thought about writing a book, fantasy or science fiction? This is good. Okay, go on I'm listening. I swear I almost believe you."

Bailey gave her a dirty look and said, "About 14 billion of your years ago I was dethroned, displaced, but not killed. The universal balance must be maintained. The balance just reversed itself, but it is, or was balanced. Up became down and down. I was placed in what you would call house arrest."

At that Doris almost spit her drink as she laughed and declared, "Omnipotent God? In house arrest? Not happening. Oh Please, give me a break!" Doris pointed to Bailey as she said that.

Bailey gave her a look and asked, "Are you finished?"

Micha shook his head in wonder. He thought to himself, were this were the old days, this woman wouldn't be talking to her like that, that's for damned sure.

Bailey continued, "I escaped. And because of that escape the balance of heaven and in the universe is upset.

Bailey thought before she began her next statement. Then said, "Ponder one more thing. Ponder the phrase, 'on earth as it is in heaven'. Think about what that means in the total sense. Here is a direct acknowledgement of the situation in the cosmos. It has intimate relevance to the hiccup I mentioned that upset that relationship."

"The events in this universe and in a more visible fashion, this planet, now and have always reflected the chaos GIA's removal caused. The hologram was flawed to begin with. Instead of a neat birth, the universe was hampered by incomplete data, if you will, and discord. That discord permeated the who, how, and why of your existence as we know it. And so, repeating the phrase, 'on earth as it is in heaven', is a truism. This planet, your home, how you live as a people, actually reflects what is missing as well as the discord. The trickle-down theory is correct when it comes to this."

Doris was shocked. The story made sense, but it turned her mind upside-down. This was going to take a while to digest.

Micha looked on nodding.

"I selected your restaurant because it was out of the way, safe, and I like Italian food. The heat from your ovens is nothing to me. And I just realized, today, the sweat from my body has been falling into the food I have been cooking. You can figure the rest. I don't have to spell it out."

"No you don't. Are you going to leave?" Doris asked. Her eyes were getting red and beginning to tear. Her makeup began to run.

"I'm not sure. I'm not strong enough yet to take back control. It will be a while or maybe even a few big bangs as your scientists call them. Maybe I'll stay on for a while. It's nice. I like to cook. Italian food is my favorite. Micha is running a good place to hang out and nosh, so." She looked up at Micha who was crying, and said, "Get over it!"

Doris was crying too. Bailey held her.

Doris looked up and wiped her eyes. "You're for real. You're not kidding."

"No I'm not kidding and yes I am for real. Now let's have another drink, or two, or even three."

Doris started to giggle, "How about some wine?" And she broke out into hysterics as she pushed a glass of water toward Bailey.

Bailey started laughing too. "Yeah right. By-the-way, none of this to your husband."

"That pig, I wouldn't tell him shit. He wouldn't understand three words of this conversation. Besides, what would I say? I met God? He would have me committed. Then he'd own the whole thing."

"That I do understand," said Bailey.

Later that afternoon:

Bailey and Doris left together. Bailey faced Doris and said, "It only takes love to make a world. Come with me?"

Doris thought, Goddess or not, I love her. Doris grabbed Bailey's hand, turned to face her, wrapped her arms around Bailey, and kissed her long and deeply.

IT all dropped away, this reality broke down, the two became one, dissolved, and became no thing, if only for an instant.

"Your place please. I can't imagine us at mine," Doris whispered.

Bailey scooped her up, and they were there. That was probably a mistake. The energy jolt will be a giveaway. Screw it, and She abandoned herself to the time and place. They made love like never before. Something awakened in Doris that she had never felt. The passion, the love, and the love making brought something to Doris. It was a different feeling. Doris was not embarrassed as she initially imagined. She was free for the first time in her life. The baggage was jettisoned. She became free from her past, her family, all social constraints and, her husband.

Doris looked at Bailey's perfect body and started touching again. She started on her legs and ran her hand up between them. She bent over her and kissed her. And the electricity passed between them again. "Multi orgasms are great she says. You get on top."

Lying there together Bailey rolled to her side and looked at Doris. She got up on her elbows and looked down at her. Bailey touched Doris's lips with her lips, a light brush, a flick of her tongue and then caressed her from head to her toes and back again.

Many hours later Doris said, "I really must to be going home if only for a while. I'll get my things and be back. I will be with you always." Doris felt something deep inside her like never before.

"Me too," whispered Bailey as she kissed Doris. Bailey has loved, and loved everything in the universes, but this was different and unexplainable. She looked at Doris. Love? Does love like this come with the body and this mind? I never knew THIS. She wondered. The love making brought something else to Bailey too. She felt something deep inside her like never before.

####

One thing Bailey did not take into consideration and that had come as a complete surprise, as she assumed a human shape she acquired human emotions and bodily functions too. She thought, what a mess this model is. This design is somewhat defective. Desires, feelings, emotions, and all the other encumbrances that humanness meant were there, in her face so to speak, riding on top of her essence, her being. And, in some respect were cause for much internal conflict.

She made a note to herself, when I get out of this situation, next time around, I'll make some mods to this model. Maybe I should have become a cat. She laughed to herself.

Then she had a revelation. She wondered if she could get knocked-up? Any act like that would be a beacon. The balance of the universes would be thrown out of kilter. It would have to be righted. And any action like birth would have huge ramifications and send ripples of energy throughout the many dimensions. What am I thinking? This is impossible. I'm thinking like a human. Now that's scary.

CHAPTER VI

SATURDAY morning, Bailey was in the kitchen prepping for the day's service:

Deno looked at Bailey's well framed body. He wanted her since the first time he met her. He wondered and ponders what she must be like in the sack. I could teach her a thing or two, he mused.

Little does he know that Doris has moved in with Bailey. He thinks she's at one of her family's places in Long Island. She's out of his hair, and he doesn't really care.

Bailey knows, and is sorry about what will happen.

She at him, and knows all within,

shakes her head, stirs and said,

"Boil, boil deep within, don't even go there.

It's toil and trouble,

a price you're not willing to pay."

And she turned away from him hoping he would not continue.

Deno thought She's crazy. He looked. "What can she do to me, no one is here yet. God knows where the hell Doris is, or has been. Fuck her. It's just me and Bailey," he thought. He began walking toward her drawn by a blinding lust and desire he never knew. He slowly reached toward her.

Upset at this reality, Bailey faced him and said, "It's the same as before, only played out on a human scale."

He stopped dead in his tracks as she stared at him. He'd never seen this in his life. "What the fu..." he started to say, and never finished.

Her power began to surge. A cold shiver ran through his blood. Her green eyes turned red. It was too late. A putrid puddle, down the drain in the floor, seen never more, washed away, erased.

"I guess my time here is done," she said to no one. She folded her apron and places it neatly on the table before her. She patted her stomach and said, "Vacations, like parties, have to end. We must be gone."

CHAPTER VII

SUNDAY, THE END

She called Micha. "Be seeing you. We're on the run again. Don't give yourself away. I'll let you know where we land. Take care of Doris. Do you understand? You will take care of Doris. We'll will be back for both of you, soon." 'We?' is all She heard in the receiver. She cut the connection before Micha could utter another word. She vaporized the phone.

"On earth as it is in heaven,"
How could we not know?
How could I not realize until now?
Staring, the mirror back, we are
in the face of it;
uttered every day of our young lives.
Harmony
reflect, holographically,
the mirror of a greater struggle
born out of a glitch,
a power struggle
from desire's itch.
And the need to scratch so great
we are no more than puppets,
skin sloughed off,
claiming free will,
within the limits borne, all, within each.

THE END

Entry VI is my newest client and may be one of the more unique Gods. He has a pantheon of lesser god-like retainers that answer to him and his wife, who is really the boss.

This one is married and has been married for ages. He has a superiority complex. But at the same time has an entourage that manifests his desires while feeding his ego.

He is old school as you will soon see. Here is his current conundrum.

DEUS ex MACHINA

Or

A LOVE MANUFACTURED IN HEAVEN


The Deity had seen her from afar. Where she came from he knew not, but he was smitten. He watched her as she grew into the woman and champion athlete he presently admired. He more than admired her; he was totally in love with this mortal and would do most anything to win her affection. It was irrational, that he knew. She was human; he was a deity. "I am The Deity," he reminded himself one day. "I've been through affairs so many times before, but I never ever in all eternity felt like this." He fretted and paced. He didn't want to drink, he wanted to drink and it was the same for eating and sleeping. He was beside himself and confused by these feelings. This was not like him. What was it about her that made him insane with love? She was just a human female, a smart one, a skilled one, a cute one, but human, right?

He looked to his aide-de-camp, "Hermes, what is my problem? You've always helped me out before. This is totally new. I can't get her out of my head. You must help me," he almost begged, pleading for advice.

Hermes gave it some thought. In actuality he had been thinking about the Deity's love break-down for some time. He came to one conclusion, love brings even the great to their knees. Hermes was aware all was not right with the world and he knew that something must be done to correct it. He had even considered going to the Deity's wife as a last resort. A plan came to him based upon a few ancient incidents. He knew it would be a difficult sell.

"I have an outline of an idea. It will be rather different than anything we've done before," Hermes said. And, whispering in his ear, just in case the walls had ears, he gave The Deity his suggestion.

"That's outrageous," The Deity thundered.

Hermes stepped back and said, "It's just an idea. You are the final arbiter of everything. You decide. Think about it, consider all I said."

The more The Deity thought about, it the more he liked it. A smile crossed his face and he said to no one and everyone "Yes, let Us do that," he proclaimed. The Deity bellowed, "Hermes where are you? There is no need to hide." Laughing at his aide's fear, and the thrill of the quest he said, "A lot of good hiding will do you. Come out and Let US Begin."

The expression, 'On Earth as it is in Heaven' is a truism. The earth and the universe are but a hologram of The One. In this case they reflected his disturbed unbalanced countenance with nasty weather, climate alterations, earthquakes, and dormant volcanoes suddenly coming alive. It was also shown in all manners of really weird animal behaviors, like whales beaching themselves, birds falling out of the sky, and humans getting along. One could add a laundry list of truly unexplainable things.

He had yet to physically approach the object of his insane, blinding desire and announce his intentions. However, before he could accomplish his goal, he had one other very big issue to attend to, his wife, Hera.

Hera was the Jealous Queen-goddess. She had a right to that title. She was not pleased about his many peccadilloes. That's what she called them. She could accept his human affairs, though not happily. Hera knew human life spans were not eternal, and he was not in love with another goddesses, this time. There could be no attempt to usurp her rightful place. She put up with it. As she stroked her pet peacock she thought, a bother yes, of any consequence, no and he'll be out of my hair for a while.

She too noticed the changes on earth and was quite annoyed. "The universe is not right. He should just go down and get this affair started, over and done with. All this fuss and bother about some little human girl. At this pace, by the time he gets moving, she'll be an old hag and we'll all have to go through this again without a respite. Does anyone know of this girl?" she said to her servant girl who knew better than to say anything when her master was annoyed, and most especially when it concerned Him.

Gossip in the palace had it that the Deity's new love was of Celtic heritage. That was the one family group Hera could not abide. Celtics were of ancient family lines sharing the throne. They had been a threat to Hera's family, though a minor one since most had been killed over the millenniums. No one mentioned Celtic to Hera. She would have flown into a rage. Human or non-human, in that case it didn't matter. And if both the heads of the gods were at each other's throats, none could foretell the outcome. It was better to let that fact remain under the sheets and let life proceed in a "normal" fashion.

The Deity was unaware of his wife's understanding of his habits and would have been quite surprised. He felt he had to uncover a secret way he could be with this earthly "goddess", in a manner fitting her environment, and in a manner that she would find acceptable. He was also cognizant that he need not bring the wrath of heaven down upon his latest love. It was not as if she, whoever she happened to be this time, could fight back as an equal.

Not only did he not realize that Hera knew, he never realized that Hera didn't really care a whit about his human lovers. She just wanted her universe to work well, her palace to be maintained in the manner to which she desired, and her life to be pleasant as due her. And when He was not there, it usually was rather pleasant. "Please, don't embarrass me," is all she requested of him.

He thought she meant show up sober at royal functions where he was to officiate.

####

Francine Debranua was a top seeded road-racer. She was at the track preparing for a national race. She preferred "rice burners" as the boys derogatorily called them. No matter what they would say, it was the straight 4's that never let her down and crossed the finish line. She could care less about the American or other V-twins. The twins were all show, and at most were no-go or DNFs. Well, maybe not the Italian machinery. The Italians were different. They made beautiful, fast, and winning machines. But she had a falling out with them. They were just too much a pain in the ass to deal with.

The pits were full. Trucks and tents of all colors and banners were spread out everywhere. It looked like an ancient tournament. A few rigs and camps stood out, especially one huge black and gold trimmed vehicle. The logo on the Kenworth tractor was a golden swan. There no team name and no ICC designations either. The tractor was so visibly expensive that everyone thought it had to belong to a promoter or rock star. The odd thing about it was there were no bikes or people huddling around it, nor were there any visible signs typical of race day preparation. People wondered who it belonged to. It just sat there with the air conditioning humming.

The head mechanic from the black and gold swan emblazoned Kenworth tractor trailer parked down pit row, emerged out from the back of the trailer. You could tell he was the head mechanic because that's what the patch stated on his shirt along with his name, Hermes. It was embroidered in gold thread. He appeared to be alone as pushed a bike over to Francine's pit area. He wore gloves of fine cotton so as not to scratch the paint or mar the finish. He was dressed in black, and like the rig he drove, and the bike he pushed, he was spotless.

Dust did not appear to settle on him or the bike.

He pushed, what any knowledgeable passer-by could tell you instantly, was a unique one-off, American made, German designed, water cooled V-Twin that was engineered to fit into a custom race frame. The radiator was tucked under the seat, Brittan style. The motor and frame were black. The other metals on the bike were polished to radiate their natural colors. Very little nickel chrome was used except where needed. Elsewhere, coatings were applied sparingly. There was no manufacturer's name, just a small golden swan insignia, on either side of the fuel tank and the crankcase of the motor. It was safety wired throughout.

He spoke to no one. He smiled as he stopped in front of her pit and her motor home. One of the crew looked at him, and then at the bike and said, "She doesn't ride twins." The man in black nodded. He knew that. Another crewman knocked on her door and said, "Francine, I think you had better come out."

A grin broke out on his face when she finally came out of her motor home. He pushed the bike toward her.

Francine Debranua was a marketer's dream. She was a petite red head, and as cute as could be in her racing leathers. She was smart, and articulate. She could talk to anyone, and had a way of charming even the biggest MCP's in this business. And best of all, she was a winner.

She stopped to take a closer look at the bike. "That your trailer?" She asked pointing to the immaculate monster rig while thinking of some manner of being polite and asking him to please leave. They had a race to prepare for. Her helmet was in her hand; her gauntlets were lying on the tank of her race bike. She picked them up and was about to simply ask him to please leave and take the bike with him. She looked at it again. It did look interesting she thought. Another time, maybe, after qualifications, maybe.

"In a manner of speaking it is mine," he replied pointing to the trailer. "And this is a gift for you if you would do HIM the honor." He pointed to the bike and pointed to the black and gold rig.

"Him? Him who?" she demanded to know. "And why should I care about this black V-twin?" Then, after a brief pause said, "It is unique... I'll admit that."

He smiled at her admission and thought beach head secured, but only said, "I cannot answer either of your two questions at this point. My name is Hermes and I am just the messenger and head mechanic. But if you have any qualms about this, the transaction, it is 100% legal. Here are the papers. Look them over. And please, before you make your decision, please take it for a test ride," he begged. Hermes handed her an envelope with her name embossed on it. The lettering was done in pure gold.

She opened the envelope and reviewed the documentation. It was in order as far as she could tell. The signature of the seller was only a gold swan stamp. It was notarized. She looked at the man in black and asked, "Okay, what's the game. And what is your name, if you would at least tell me that?"

"No game. He wants you to have it. He's watched you come up through the years and He wants this for you. Look him over. Ride him. You can have him if you like him." Hermes waited a while as she began to really look at the bike. "And my name is Hermes," he reiterated as he pointed to his name tag and title Head Mechanic.

Mechanic, you're as much a mechanic as I am a brain surgeon, she thought. Francine started her walk-around. "Him? Who is this Him" she asked again? She was getting lost in the engineering of this machine and didn't hear the answer if there was one. "My god, this a beautiful piece of workmanship," she said in true awe. She was kneeling, looking at the fine detail work, her face pressed up close to the motor plumbing. Not a cap screw or bolt was bunged up.

He nodded smiling, and then said, "Use 105 to120 octane fuels only. You can mix some nitro for an added push. He also likes alcohol. The tank is full. Please, get on, see how he fits."

Francine thought for a second or two. "Why the hell not," she said and then straddled the bike. Her tush slipped right into the seat pocket. It seemed to envelop her. She smiled and giggled just a bit while she flat footed the asphalt. She leaned forward, her arms extended, her chest just touching the tank. The clip-ons were at the exact length for her petite body. It was a perfect fit.

She put her earplugs in.

Hermes threw her the key. The key had the swan design like the gold lettered certificate and insignia on the truck. He bowed and made a motion, clearly stating without words, please go ahead, pointing to the track.

Her crew just watched not saying a word.

Francine pushed the bike a little, just to make sure it was in neutral, and then hit the starter. The bike fired up. The lights came on. The gauges came alive and were all clear and readable even in the bright sun light. It was like nothing she ever heard or felt. Something filled her being, was it adrenalin? She tucked her hair up into her helmet as she slipped it on, pulled her gauntlets over her slender fingers and with one booted foot on the ground the other on the right peg and brake pedal, pulled the clutch lever. "Butter," she said to herself. The bike throbbed as if in response. She switched feet, clicked it up into gear and slowly let the clutch out.

Heading onto the track, she raised her arm to indicate a "slow bike entering." Francine began her warm up laps, heating the tires, and becoming familiar with the bike. She knew the track. After two laps Francine felt comfortable enough to begin her race routine. She pushed her pelvis as deeply as she could into the seat back, wrapped her legs around the frame while pressing her torso down onto the tank. Her arms relaxed so as not to transmit possible head shake to the frame; her fingers twisted the throttle and griped it a bit tighter as she opened him up. The bike responded instantly pushing her harder into the seat back with unexpected power.

The pitch/wail of the exhaust was heavenly to the ears of the cognoscenti.

"Oh my god," she screamed in her helmet. Turn one was coming up faster than she had ever taken it. In her head she heard a voice. It said "just ride Francine, just ride." A slight touch of the clutch lever, a blip of the throttle, the shifter smoothly clicked down from 6, to 5, 4, and finally into 3rd gear as the engine and transmission meshed perfectly. A light two fingered pull of the front brake, and the bike took the turn as if it read her mind. It saw and felt the track through the suspension as she saw it and felt it. She lay across the tank, her head tucked down behind the steering head, with her left thigh grabbing the tank/frame, her right leg spread out open and wide, and hung-off.

Around the turn she arched wide, and with a throttle twisted keeping RPM's up in the power band, the bike straightened up and front wheel came off ground a bit as it leapt forward to and through turns two and three to the top of the hill and down at turn four. The downhill at four was one of the fasted parts of the track to the slowest; turn number five, a dog-leg left. Over she leaned, sliders scraping the apex and not even a slip. The tires were glued to the asphalt. She made the hard left then a quick right to turn six. The machine just went around the turn as if it were on rails. Turns six through turn eight to the uphill nine, were no different. Turn nine was a fast downward incline to turn ten and on to the back straight. Turn ten was approaching at lightning speed. Something again spoke to her. The voice said, "Go with it. It will be just fine. Trust me." She did. She laid it over, her right knee and elbow sliders kissing the asphalt almost brushing the dragon teeth, momentum carrying her to the outside edge of the track, then up, straight, front wheel off the ground, and moving faster than she had ever driven before in her entire life. She was one with the machine. She screamed with delight.

The front wheel lifted and the bike carried her down the straight, coming down and loading the suspension at the precise moment for turn one.

The bike felt and moved like a handmade and fitted set of racing leathers. It was as if it had been built exclusively for her and her body.

The pits were silent except for the growl and the roar of this beast. No other bikes were on the track. People were at the rails waiting for her next pass. Timing machines were turned on. It was ungodly how fast she was traveling. And the exhaust pitch was music.

Hermes, the man in black, stood there, observing.

Francine felt that this machine was alive. It had to be another living being beneath her. A question ran through her mind. Was she driving the bike or was the bike riding her. Francine smiled to herself as she squeezed the bike with both her legs and thighs, and pushed herself as tightly against every part of it as she could, tucking in tighter behind the front faring. She wanted to be in the machine. The racing machine was certainly in her blood. Her fingers gripped the right clip-on and opened him up again. The bike responded by going even faster. It knew what she wanted. She never feared for her life.

Francine came into the pits sweating and exhausted. Her leathers were drenched. She slammed to a stop in front of the man in black who did not move. She shut the motor off. The brakes were red hot. The metal began to tick as it cooled and the fans came on. Her crew just watched. Taking her helmet off, red hair falling, she demanded, "Okay Hermes, if that's your real name. This is no normal machine is it? What's the story?"

He smiled and said, "Look closely. The answers are all there." He turned and walked away without saying another word. As he was walking to the rig, Hermes thought to himself, another little affair, the life of these mortal creatures is but an eye blink. Why all this fuss? Look at her. Then Hermes turned and really looked at her. He realized something both he and the Deity had missed. He had to smile. This is a two way street. This will be interesting.

of His rig, fired up the sweetest, mellowest sounding Kenworth Francine ever heard, gave a hit on the tuned horns, put it in gear, and slowly motored out of the track.

As Hermes drove off he remembered what he suggested to Him. "You'll be not of a living thing. Your wife will never think to look there. And the object of your love will love you for you as you are. What can be truer?" Hermes shook his head and smiled. He said to himself, "Yes, this one will be interesting and not like the rest." And then he thought about the implications and his face clouded over thinking, and Heaven to pay.

####

Francine Debranua raced her rice burners. They were tools of her trade and of her being. She was unbeatable and became known as the 'goddess of speed'.

The Black Bike was always with her. The Black Bike was created ex nihilo for Francine Debranua. She rode it, loving it with her whole being for all eternity.

Engraved into the polished valve covers were the words:

Deus ex Machina,

For My Goddess of Speed.


ENTRY VII

Well, that's all for now, diary. I have another session scheduled with them in about a millennium. I would assume that most things will take care of themselves. Think Napoleon.

As soon as I have the new reports transcribed, I will forward the records to a publisher. Then all of fine folks who have an interest in these sorts of thing will have access to the inner workings of the deity. It certainly is not the type of inside information one is going to get on a Sunday or Sabbath readings, that's for sure. And most of the human participants are no longer with us, so I have a pretty good feeling we are not revealing any secrets that could embarrass anyone.

If I'm wrong, my apologies to all those affected, and I will get in touch with my lawyers. I'm sure I can work this out. I have enough gold stored away and I have many dispensations I can call in for any transgressions I may be convicted of.

Fin for now.


Small Print:

First off, these are all works of TOTAL fiction. Any resemblance to a live breathing, human, entity or deity is purely (ha, purely, get it?) coincidental. Names and places are fabrications of my own reality and have no basis in anything relating to this universe or planet, trust me on that.

Most of these stories have appeared in APHELION-WEBZINE over the last few years along with others you can look up at your pleasure on www.aphelion-webzine.com .

A Note to the author:

We have discovered you have been telling our stories to the universes.

For that transgression you will be turned into a human, a politican, a politician who is one of the most despised type, a lawyer.

So it is commanded, and so it will be.

Signed,

The group of 5

Hey, guys, do I still have the movie rights?

A toad!

He's kinda cute, how about a cat?

What do you think fellas?

Bailey, damnit, only for you.

THE END


© 2011 Richard Tornello

Bio: Richard Tornello is a business owner/consultant/technical recruiter with 28+ years experience, married and kept by one very neurotic cat, Stella. He has a degree from Rutgers University in Asian Studies. Richard's poetry and fiction has appeared a number of times in Aphelion (with one or more poems almost every month!); his most recent fiction contribution was Protect And Serve in the November 2011 edition. Richard has also won the Forum Flash Challenge twice in the past few months...As noted in "Small Print", above, "Confessions" combines elements from a number of Richard's stories, including both Flash Challenge entries and regular short stories.

E-mail: Richard Tornello

Website: Non-Official Rhymes

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