“You know,” he said, as he sat in the old wooden rocker, watching the fire. “People talk about the perseverance of the Saints as if it’s a good thing. I’m not so sure it is.” The old man stared at the flames as they danced around the logs. “I mean, sure. ‘Once saved always saved,’ and all that jazz, but wouldn’t it be better if we could lose our salvation?”
“How are we even certain of our salvation in the first place, Jim? We’re told that good fruit comes from good trees, but then at other times we’re told that all the trees are rotten, and only one thing can rid the rot. Where’s that magical tipping point?” Jim didn’t answer.
“‘Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart,’ Jim! That’s what they used to say. They also told me that I couldn’t do anything. ‘Not by works, old boy.’ ‘God is love, son;’ that’s why He burns the rotten trees that couldn’t grow anew. I mean, you can’t allow the infection to fester. What about when God plants the trees, Jim? What then? What if the infection is sown by the Doctor? The Doctor sure doesn’t like to see His patients suffer. That much is clear. What Doctor would? At what point do the sick become the condemned, though? I just don’t know, Jim.” Jim just sat there.
A fiery avalanche in miniature tumbled into the ashes. Sparks cartwheeled and floated, seemingly of their own volition. The air expanded and exploded, and Jim just sat there.
“I really want to believe in a loving God, you know? I can’t believe that there is no God. Sure, perhaps our idea of God is wrong. I could be a deist, but then there’s all those stories. God is love. Jesus loves the little children. He healed that woman who bled; He deigned to touch the lepers. Love your enemies and, bless those who curse you. The peace that would result from such an attitude, Jim! But I suppose that forgiveness requires wrongs, and wrongs require a Right. Malice needs an object, Jim. How do we get around that?” Jim looked over for a minute, but he didn’t say.
“An all-powerful God is a terrible idea, Jim. A loving, all-powerful God is a thing of beauty. A just, loving, all-powerful God is what they posit, Jim. The justice supersedes our idea of love! God’s justice requires Him to destroy evil, and we are evil! I didn’t want to be evil, though, Jim. I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I want to be saved; who doesn’t? I want to do good; only the truly sick don’t want that. Only those in need of a Doctor, Jim, not a Binary Judge. Why would the Doctor-Judge make His patients his defendants, and then try them before treating them? Jim, I don’t mean to be blasphemous, but the idea of a loving Father does not mesh with the idea of a fickle King who casts his subjects into a fire. The judgement is always the same. ‘You are sick. You shall die.’ How do we know when we’ve won the cosmic lottery, Jim? Do we want to?” Jim stood up and began to pace.
“Come on Jim. Let’s go for a walk.”
Jim wagged his tail.
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This is a preview of something I’ve been working on for a while. It’s going to be a story of some length, probably a novella. I’m just curious as to how the writing style will be received. Let me know what you think, and keep in mind, this is a bit lengthy. The plot will eventually turn into a sci-fi story…
Meredith was sitting by herself in a large room with a cup of un-fizzy root beer and a deflated bag of off-brand potato chips. She was wearing a red t-shirt and black blue jeans. (An internal debate raged for some period of seconds in the author’s head on whether the word “blue” should be included; the decision was reached after the brain cells who loved spontaneity, smart cars, and abstract art defeated the ones who valued rationality.) The girl was sitting on a couch, and the matching floral pattern that covered the floor must have caused nightmares in many small children, but Meredith didn’t care about floral patterns or small children right now. The TV was blaring in the other room, but she didn’t really notice that either. All she paid attention to was the light bulb hanging from the ceiling. A fly eyed the root beer with considerable envy.
She watched the light bulb and expected something great to happen. Why she expected this, she didn’t really know; she just liked the shape. The lightbulb was one of the new curly contraptions that the government had recently promoted on account of the old round ones being “too boring.” Some people are entertained very easily, and politicians love those people.
She sat on the couch and watched the lightbulb and sipped her root beer. The question briefly crossed her mind as to why the drink had a slight insect-y crunch to it, but she didn’t look down to find out. She was mesmerized by the bright spirals, and she imagined herself sliding down a glowing slide with lots of liquid mercury splashing around her as she descended. Root beer fountains surrounded the slide and potato chips comprised the skies. Large, headless flies buzzed around her head as she landed on a huge carpet of ’80s-styled flowers. She was dreaming.
This rest of this story has nothing to do with Meredith, liquid mercury, or lightbulbs. In fact, this short story has nothing to do with the rest of the story. If you are one to be entertained by curly lightbulbs, liquid mercury, or floral patterns, you may be entertained by the rest of this story. If not, you should read it anyway. Maybe you’ll learn something about everyone else.
The documents that lived on Kenneth’s computer were all very bland ones. All the compatible files would sit in their directories and talk to each other about the desktop wallpaper. (As every geek knows, that’s a computer file’s equivalent of talking about the weather.) Invariably, the conversation would go something like this:
History_Paper1: “That’s nice collection of blue pixels, isn’t it?”
History_Revised: Indeed, a most fine compilation.
“I wonder what it is.”
“I would imagine it’s something magnificent.”
At some point, a know-it-all photo-editing or encyclopedia program would butt in on the conversation and start talking about file compression and fancy internet stuff, then Kenneth would realize that the old file wasn’t needed anymore, and the trash bin would claim another victim.
Kenneth Anderson was a manager at a local barbecue restaurant in a very small town. It wasn’t an exciting job, although every once in a while somebody would choke on a bone and file a complaint. Sometimes, on rare occasions, the leaky faucet in the back would start dripping faster than normal. Then the plumber would have to be called. That was a change in routine, too.
The most exciting thing, as far as Kenneth could remember, was when Al let his apron fall in the oven. The greasy fringe ignited brilliantly, and Al went running through the kitchen, yelling about the Creator and everlasting punishment. The apron smoked so badly that the smoke alarm went off and half the town fire department (which consisted of two pickup trucks, one tractor, and a bicycle) showed up. The fire chief lectured Al on the dangers of men wearing aprons, and Kenneth had to fill out a few forms saying that he wouldn’t hold anyone responsible for anything and that the company would pay for the firemen’s time.
After the excitement from that event died down, life settled back into its well-worn path. The mailman continued to drop the mail in paper box, and the paper delivery boy kept throwing the newspapers into the driveway.
“Well George, I think the days are getting longer.”
The little bulldog watched Kenneth in some manner of anticipation, for dinner time was coming up pretty soon, and Kenneth had a bag of barbecue scraps in his hand.
“Nothing exciting happened today,” Kenneth continued, “I unlocked the building and gave Jeffery yesterday’s meat.” (Jeffery was a homeless man whose history nobody really knew. He showed up in town one day with a banjo sporting two broken strings, an old army rucksack containing seventeen potatoes, and a cat that had only three legs.)
“Then I mixed the sauce, turned down the smoker, filled the….” His voiced droned on into the seemingly interested ears of George, and the faithful little dog thought about food.
They grew old and died of almost completely natural causes, and the restaurant was bulldozed to create a skyscraper that served 72 different types of waffles. Waffles were a very sought after commodity in those days.
Not far away, but quite a long time later, in an equally quaint (quaint is a polite way of saying small and uninteresting) little town, a new guy had walked into Wilson’s Cafe. Wilson’s was one of those places that’s been around since the beginning of time. When God created Adam and Eve and finished the business with the snake, He came on over to what would eventually be Cornersville in Southern Virginia and made Horace J. Wilson Sr.
Mr. Wilson, seeing the need for a cafe, started a small venison stand. Native Americans frequented his restaurant, and everyone exchanged recipes and told fish tales. It is usually taught that the Indians supplied Plymouth Rock with a lot of the food for the first Thanksgiving dinner, but what isn’t commonly known is that the tribe had Wilson’s cater the meal. At risk of starting a cliché mob, Wilson’s Diner really is older than the hills.
But anyway, a new guy walked in. For an old restaurant, Wilson’s really doesn’t have too many visitors, so any new faces are always a welcome change. He walked up to the counter and ordered a coffee and omelet. The coffee maker whirred its response and the robot grumbled something about bore of working in a restaurant. Oh, yes, in case you were wondering, almost everything is run by robots now (except for the Amish colonies in Pennsylvania, they’re still using computers, electric cars, and other archaic instruments). The year is three-thousand, five hundred and thirty-two.
That’s all I’ll post for now, folks. Hit the share button if you think you know someone who’d like to give feedback. =)