The role of god is a maddening twenty four hour experience complete with overtime and few rewards. A job where there is no clocking out, no in house psychiatric care and no chance of early retirement. When the thing in the big chair loses the plot, whose job is it to save the world?
had a wild-eyed talent, such a fantasy world far more involving than her own.
She felt her mind open, his words snuggling into the crevice her subconscious
provided. Her eyelids became heavy, absentmindedly pretending that her
son's figurine would slice the bad writing out of her. Leave it to
Danger-Man, thought Steph, lazily, reaching out to stroke
the smooth existence of the Plasticine watchman. Her eyelids closed
before rapidly opening. Closed, then open. Closing … a slight opening … then … closed ... firmly shut, her awareness trundling down, down, down into a strange,
Steph blinked, sitting, at the back of a bus.
She could hear no engine sound, and could feel no juddering movement
beneath her, though it became clear from the changing scenery that the vehicle
was in motion.
violet – the bus – both inside and out, and the benches were yellow sofas
stretching the full length of the carriage. White and black fur littered
every seat, whilst thick clumps of the coarse hair smattered the floor beneath
her wellington boots. Has some poor panda bear met a terrible
death?And why, thought Steph, why am I wearing
wellington boots? The bus climbed over hilltops, scaling
monolithic mountainsides, splashing silently through forded rivers. It
sped across rocky valleys, through peculiar blue vegetation. And all the
while, Steph could see the shadow of a great dark creature, stalking them
through the velvet night. The bus driver up front engaged Steph in
conversation. The fire in his hair billowed a sweet Jasmine fume, whilst
each dreadlock of flame obscured his face as he spoke. A question Steph
couldn’t remember asking received an answer from an excited voice which leapt
excitedly in tone. A Ruthless dialogue. Sparkling.
Did I train myself to my physical peak, using my
grand inheritance to become the saviour of a corrupt city? Say no.
Thank you. I don’t have strict moral
codes that stop me abusing my powers for personal gain, cos I didn’t get to
grow up with wholesome Midwest values, and I haven’t got a guilt complex after
witnessing my uncle’s death.
Can I fly? Not anymore. I did once,
perhaps. Maybe. I don’t know. Sometimes the
past is a page full of wrong words, waiting to be re-written by someone coming
at it from a fresh perspective.
Why wear this? Matter of survival
really. You sit outside your local supermarket with a sign that says
“Fruit if you can, no money! I’m watching my figure”, and people give up the
silver coins. Doing that act in a Superman hoodie and long red coat?
Out flow the gold ones. The community adopts you as its totem of
charity. Much more trustworthy than any of those N.G.O’s they’ve
lost faith in. Best to stage your show in your Herne Hill’s, your
Richmond’s, gentrified places like that – they’re best.
Oh yeah, I see him.
Sure, but don’t worry – he’s only a little terrier,
and he won’t bite you. If for some insane reason he did attack – I’d
protect you. I’m not as strong or as fast as seven years ago, but I
can still hold my own. Hey, how’s the kiddie anyway?
Nothing wrong with that. And don’t
forget, Gideon has two parents. I’m sure you’ve more of an
influence than you suspect.
No, me and responsibility being the main
reason. I’m the kind of idiot that will chain himself up to save a
few innocents when really, me being free to defend myself means the world gets
Don’t worry, I’m the lucky idiot who comes to his
senses in the nick of time. That’s what us antiheroes do.
her eyes, to a cloudless evening, fully aware of the dream in which she was
told a story. Laying there, Dictaphone in hand, she felt giddy.
Special. Last month’s dream of reading Why is Wigloo? to
her class was surreal, but only on a structural level. Waking up in her
room and having her face disappear whilst washing it in a mirror had been fun,
however, that dream within a dream paled next to the story Spiderfingers shared
on his purple bus. Rummaging through her bedside cabinet, movement
sending Gideon’s Play-Doh Danger-Man to the floor, she
eventually found a fresh cassette. Her heart raced. She switched
off her mobile and changed the tape in her silver chrome machine. Steph cleared
her throat and tightly embraced the performer in her soul:
Man is the Meal, By
Stephanie P Tent
The bible – being the weightiest of brochures –
fails to mention the reality of the resort it advertises. The one place
we’d all like to go, but only if we’re good and do not disobey.
Oh, Heaven! It exists, but it is empty.
Miss, no mortal has ever walked through its gates,
which aren’t – I may add – tall and pearly. Heaven is quite desolate.
No, don’t interrupt. You promised me.
The deal was this: you talk, hand me your pamphlet
and tell me of God’s Kingdom and I say NOTHING until you’re done. Now it’s
So, are you ready for the truth?
Heaven is a ghost town. It’s empty, because
no one believes they have enough moral credit to get in. I’ve heard
legends of those very few – pure of heart – who woke up there.
They open their eyes, realise where they are, that
place full of white light and marble furniture. In that very small gap in
time, where the spiritual orgasm is indescribable, these newly arrived guests
of the heavenly host look up and see the beating of wings, scabby great big
beaters that belong to giant grotesques, swooping down, out of unseen sky
cages. They descend on the new arrivals, those unsuspecting
mortals. Such pious and faithful beings. They’ve spent their lives
dreaming of paradise and its eternal gift to find out the rib shattering,
cranial haemorrhaging, belly-piercing, God-is-so-fucking-awful truth. The
angels have been waiting for so long between feasts. And they’re
starving. They chow down on the spiralling concoctions of pure white
light that their tenants spew. Love feeds the lord. Indeed.
Hey don’t look at me like that.
But it’s my belief...
Ah, Ah, Ah! Now you listen to me! If you can hand
out your version of reality on those cheaply-printed-badly-photo-acted
pamphlets, then surely I can share the director’s cut? Dems da rules, Miss.
I said that the bible is like a brochure for a
resort, but maybe I got that wrong. Maybe the bible is a menu that we –
the food – are sadistically allowed to read? The reading-and-believing bit is
all part of the Head Chef's seasoning. Our faith, it’s like a marinade.
We spend a lifetime in preparation. Love is the garnish; man is the meal.
How do I know? Gaia told me.
You know, Mother Nature? Get close to the earth and
she’ll let you see and hear black truths. Mother Nature – Gaia – she
reveals narratives that are several scenes shy of Parental Guidance.
Definitely not the kind you’d wanna print up and hand out on a crowded street
on a Saturday.
Happy with this promising first draft, Steph
reached for her phone, mentally arming herself with enough tact and guile to
evade conversation traps. There was no way she would ever get back
together with Howard. She only had time for the little man. Steph
would tell a fairy-tale to little Gideon.
N E X T T I M E I N S P I D E R F I N G E R S
we really ought to get you back to Bellevue.”