Eva and me used
to share this place with God. Needless to say he was a bit
of an insidious presence, always sticking his nose into our
business, demanding this and that, never taking no for answer.
Even so, I still sometimes get these real horrible pangs of
guilt. When that happens, I have to remind myself it was my
way or the highway, and that was only ever going to be a one-way
street to mad central.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’ve got nothing against this place. It’s comfortable. Everything
works. I have a swimming pool and Eva’s here. She’s beautiful
too, and not in plastic, shiny pop doll way. No, she’s like
a fresh faced woodland nymph, an Elven princess. She has this
habit of squeezing her lower lips when something is troubling
her. Sometimes I say things just to see her do it. I love her
lower lip. In fact I love every bit of her.
When I first arrived
here and God introduced himself, I cracked right up. You don’t
often meet dumpy little kids with such impressive delusions
of grandeur. Congratulations, I said, and sat on the garden
bench waiting to wake up or for my mind to finish its wacky
trip. When after a few days, I didn’t wake up or find a way
back, I thought okay maybe he’s right. What the heck, I’ll
give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Who knows it might
be cool to hang out with him. Go swimming, play football, maybe
do some art together, finger paintings, that sort of stuff.
It might even be a good laugh. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Nothing
was fun with him. Ever.
“Where do you think
you’re going Josh?” he’d say, sucking on a lollipop. “Entertain
“I’m busy. Why don’t
you go play with Eva?”
“I don’t want to
play her, I want to play with you.”
On and on he’d go,
always with the same smirk. So I’d sigh and wonder what it
was that I’ve done to deserve this and let him sit on my back
and play gee, gee, while he shouted about Indians and whooped
so loud the cottage walls shook and my head felt like it was
being bashed between two cymbals.
When I moaned to
Eva she always stuck up for him. “Imagine if you had a whole
universe to look after.”
“Are you mad, do
you really think he looks after anything?” I nodded in his
direction. He was sitting on the fence lobbing stones at birds.
She pulled her lip. “Well,
that’s what he says. And we are in this place.”
“I’m sorry Eva,
but that’s rubbish. For a start, how do we know this place
has anything to do with him? As for the universe, think about
it. The sun is only one of two hundred billion stars in the
galaxy. And in the whole universe there are at least 200 billion
galaxies! Do you really think he created all that?”
We looked at him,
sitting with a pile of dead birds at his feet.
“Well, if it’s not
him who’s sorted all this out for us, how come were are here?”
“I don’t know Eva,
I don’t even know where here is. One minute, I’m driving down
the high street, listening to the radio wondering whether to
get a pizza or a Chinese, next thing I know I’m here with you.
For all I know, you’re just a figment of my imagination.”
She giggled. “That
sounds kinda kinky.”
She nodded and took
a step closer. Sensing this could be the moment, I did the
“Eva! Eva. I want
“I’m coming God.”
I swallowed a curse
and watched as he made her do first star jumps, then forward
rolls, then cartwheels. He clapped his hands together and chuckled.
I cracked my knuckles wishing more than ever that I could smash
his stupid smirking face in.
One day I asked
him straight. “If you are really God. Haven’t you got more
important things to do? Like sorting out poverty, war, oppression
that sort of thing.”
“Boring,” he said. “I
want to play football and you’re in goal.”
That evening after
supper, when God was wallowing in the sandpit, I took Eva’s
hand in mine and told her I couldn’t take it any longer. I
pointed at the bruises on her arms where he’d nipped her and
the scratches on her face where he’d hit her with mud pies
“Can you imagine
if we had to live like this forever? I can’t handle it anymore.
I’m going to see if he really is as godly as he makes out.”
“I’m going to see
if he can breath under water.”
“But what if he
“Do you really think
the creator of the universe can drown?”
She let go of my
hand and stared at the floor. “I’m scared.”
I really wanted
to hug her, to hold her tight and tell her everything was going
to be all right, but my courage failed me again and instead
I made her a cup of tea. We sat next to the fire, drinking,
not saying a word until God waddled in and demanded we all
play blind man’s buff. Eva said yes God, whatever you say God.
I didn’t reply but took the blindfold he offered me and tried
to stop myself vomiting, while he spun me around faster than
a figure skater.
It was difficult
to sleep that night. Fear is a real nasty bedfellow and when
the sunshine woke me I decided that I’d have to do it that
day or I might never have the guts to try again. I wrote a
note to Eva, telling her that if anything went wrong and the
little dumpling threw a thunderbolt at me that I loved her
and, even if she was only a creation of my unconscious, she
was the best companion a man could ever wish for. I tried to
sign my name, but my hand was trembling too badly.
God was sitting
on the lawn ripping fat clumps of grass up and throwing them
in the air. I asked him if he wanted to go swimming.
He clapped his hands
together. “Great idea, first one there gets the inflatable
“Fair enough,” I
said and took off.
He was behind me
all the way, and just when I thought that he might be generous
enough to let me win, he shot past me like a sprinter out of
the block and dived into the pool. I gritted my teeth and followed
him. The water was wonderful. Not too hot and not too cold.
God laid on the inflatable flicking water into my face, telling
me to spin him around. I asked if he could stick his feet out
so I could make him go faster.
“Yeah, spin me.
Fast as you can,” he shouted.
I got hold of his
chubby ankles and did as he said. He started giggling and I
started thinking what a stupid, stupid idea it was to imagine
I could get rid of him. You’re so weak and so scared and so
damn rubbish, the voice in my head said, and I knew it was
right and I’d never do anything. Then Eva appeared at the backdoor
and God started yelling.
“Hey Eva, you dumbo,
what do you think you’re doing? You should be here helping
him. I want to spin faster. Do you hear me?”
Seeing the way her
shoulders slumped, I yanked God as hard as I could into the
water. Grabbing his tubby little body, I pushed him under.
He started squirming and Eva started screaming, but I ignored
her and pressed down harder still. He flipped and flapped and
churned the pool up into a fizzling, sizzling froth. I never
relented even when my breath came in short sharp bursts and
my heart banged like a jackhammer. After what felt like hours,
God finally stopped moving.
I collapsed into
the water and stared at him floating face down. Certain that
at any moment he’d spring back into action, I clambered to
the side of the pool and dragged myself out. Eva stood there
clasping my note to her chest. I opened my arms and pulled
her close. We both looked around waiting for the end of everything,
for the universe to shatter and die and for us to implode into
a pinprick of nothingness. But the birds carried on singing
and the sun carried on shining and we still held each other
in our arms.
“Maybe it’s not
the end of everything after all,” she whispered.
“I think you’re
right,” I said, stroking her face. “And who knows, it might
even be the beginning.”
# # #
Not The End of Everything by
published September 24, 2008