It Showed Up ~ fiction by Russ Bickerstaff

We’d found god. It was a little strange running across it like that. It was right there. But I think just suddenly having its presence thrust in front of you like that … y’know … it’s kind of staggering and I don’t know that any of us really felt like we were there at that moment. It’s like … when you see someone doing something really weird or surreal for no reason at all you don’t feel like you’re really there. That’s kind of like what it was to us to suddenly see god there.

I guess we weren’t even looking for it. It just sort of … showed up like that. Just right there in front of us. And I think we all looked around at each other and then back at god and then back at each other. And there was no mistaking it. It was right there in front of us. I guess you kind of pay lip service to the idea that you’re looking for truth and meaning and all of that, but you’re never like … actually actively looking for it. Not as a normal intellectual human being or anything like that. It’s more of an abstract that you hope to gain wisdom over and understand in time. You don’t expect it to just sort of … show up like that. It’s a bit weird.

So we found god even though we weren’t like … actively looking for it or anything like that and I think we all realized that we were totally unequipped to handle its presence at that moment. I mean … you’re just sort of hanging out with a few other people in an idle moment and there’s god just sort of hanging out with you and you look over and just sort of … nod hello. It nods back and maybe you try to get back to your conversation or whatever, but you know everyone involved is thinking about only one thing: that weird, little interloper who only happens to be god is just sort of … hanging out with you and you don’t know how to act, react or even stand in its presence.

So it just felt really, really awkward having it there. It wasn’t like … the elephant in the room. It was more like having god there eating your chips and swigging a beer and just being all … godlike in your presence and you have no idea what the fuck to do about it, but you don’t want to tell it you feel uncomfortable because it’s god and you don’t want to like … upset it or whatever. So we just sort of stood there trying to talk about whatever the hell it was that we had been talking about, but we all knew that it was right there and that we were going to need to address it in some way regardless. So we did. We just sort of looked over and verbally said hello to god.

God looked around a bit and then back at us and shrugged another hello. We didn’t want to seem rude or anything so we asked it … y’know … what it was doing there. It shrugged again and told us that it was just hanging out … y’know … if we didn’t mind. How does ANYONE react to that? All we could do was nod and try to be casual about it. It’s just sort of standing there swigging a beer all deific with the light of infinity pouring out of it … but in a really down-to-earth way that felt almost bored with its own omnipotence.

I felt the need to ask it what it had been up to lately. It gave a noncommittal answer. I guess I felt the need to engage god’s enthusiasm, so I tried to encourage it … y’know … I’m sure you’ve got big things coming up what with being god and all. All it could do was shrug and say that it didn’t really want to talk about it. No big deal and all of that. And so I told it that I could understand…that it must have a really heavy weight on its shoulders what with all those responsibilities and everything.

“Not really,” it said taking another swig of beer. I guess there might have been some level of concern at that stage. I mean … it’s cool that god’s laid-back and everything, but you kinda want to think that it’s on top of everything. It just … didn’t seem to have any sense of urgency or anything like that.

“No,” I said. “It’s cool and everything. You don’t have to undersell it. It’s a big deal and it’s a huge honor to be hanging out with you. I mean you’re like … only the biggest thing ever, right?”

“Don’t … y’know … it’s really not that big a deal. I mean … who do you think I am?” I guess I felt myself getting a little bit upset with it by this time I mean … I want to feel like it’s in control and everything and it’s just … slouching. You don’t want to see that. You don’t want to see god just sort of … slouching with a beer in its almighty hand. You want to be more reassured than that.

“You’re like … GOD … y’know … the all-powerful. The one who created it all.  Right?  I mean …” But all it could really do in response was look at me blankly with glazed-over all-seeing eyes. I tried to explain to it its importance and its significance and what a big deal it was being in charge of everything. I think I might have been starting to harsh its mellow or whatever … it was starting to look a bit … uncomfortable.

“Okay,” it said. “Cool. I gotta get going, though … I’ve got a … thing …” And with that it said goodbye and walked on. Not sure what the hell was going on there, but I really sincerely hope that was just god in a slacker moment. Deep in my heart, though, I know better. I’ve seen god. And … it actually explains a lot.

Russ Bickerstaff is a professional theatre critic and aspiring author living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with his wife and two daughters. His short fictions have appeared in over thirty different publications including Hypertext Magazine, Pulp Metal Magazine, Sein und Werden, and Theme of Absence.

Show Russ some love via PayPal at russ.bickerstaff(at)yahoo(dot)com.