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 me.”

“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.”

“Does it?”

She nodded and took a step closer. Sensing this could be the moment, I did the same.

“Eva! Eva. I want attention.”

“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 drowns?”

“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 bed.”

“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 Joel Willans
originally published September 24, 2008



Joel Willans is British-born and has lived in Canada, Finland and Peru. He currently works as a copywriter for a Helsinki ad agency. When not writing slogans, he writes fiction. His work has been published in many magazines such as Brand, Southword and Penumbra as well as half a dozen anthologies, including The Remarkable Everyday by Legend Press and Route Compendium by ID Publishing. This year he also won the Yeovil Literary Prize and the Global Short Story competition.

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Not The End of Everything


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