Something really suspenseful is about to happen. Remember that time you cried during that movie? Or that time you were so scared you literally almost pooped yourself? Okay, so that’s about to happen. Or maybe not. The thing is, little known secret of the writing industry-first line is totally supposed to hook you. Well, I’m the God of this story and I wanted you to stay. You have really nice eyes like they’re the type where you look into them and it’s like wait, is there something behind them? Anyway, I’m not trolling you I promise. This is a genuine story and…oh no. Here’s that suspenseful thing I was talking about.
I tripped, which means there’s going to be pain…ow. Skinned knee, skin dangling off the palms of my hands. This sucks. Okay, so you’re probably wondering why I can even get hurt, feel pain, and worry about things going bad. Well, I gave up my free will to the author. Yeah so there’s a lot of fourth wall crap in this story, don’t mind it. Why would I give up my free will if I’m a God you ask? How’s that even possible? Well, as a God you create. You create everything. But it’s the stories that hit me in my soft spot. Sure, I love giving people stories and outcomes but I realized that the best ones come when I give my creations their own free will when I have zero control over the making process. So here’s what I did: I divided myself into two, gave my other half control, and inserted myself into this story. Now I get to experience a life uncontrolled by me, just as you people do every day in your world. Make sense? Am I from your world? No. Any other questions?
I just wanted to feel. I wanted to experience human life. But I know that every life and every story comes to an end. And to me, that’s a very suspenseful thing. I’ve never lived while knowing that eventually, I won’t. And now I am.
So, given that I have no free will, no powers, none of it– I’m essentially just a regular dude or gal…dudegal…galdude…like you. You get it? To clarify I’m a dude. But my other half is female. But the one writing everything is a dude.
“Are you alright?” a woman asked me.
“Can a guy write a girl’s perspective writing about a male God who assumed a human body or will Twitter get mad?”
“Never mind.” I extended my hand and she helped me up off the ground. I wanted to look around at the world my other half created but the woman before me was far too beautiful.
“You really took a bad fall, you’re all cut up. Let me see if I have anything in my bag.” She rummaged through her purse that sounded like she kept rattlesnakes and Legos inside of it. I missed being omnipresent to the point where I could’ve just looked inside myself.
“Forget about Band-Aids, why don’t you make me feel better by getting a cup of coffee with me?”
For about three seconds she stubbornly continued to search but then she sent me her hazels. Yes, I just made up a new term. “Coffee, I actually don’t like it.”
Ouch. So this feeling I have, the last time I got it was after I made diarrhea for humans. I remember feeling like I made a stupid mistake. Hearing her say no, felt the same except I also felt like I was kinda ugly. I don’t know how you people deal with insecurity on a daily basis–it’s horrible.
“But I will get tea with you.” She smiled.
Wait, what. “Really? I mean great, what’s your name?”
“My name is Jen and yours?”
“My name is God.” Then it dawned on me. I had no identity in this world. You’d think that a God would have an easier time coming up with a fake name but no. Luckily, she was laughing.
“Funny stuff, you really just have no filter huh? Really though.”
Part of me felt weird being attracted to something I created. Now, I say something because if I say someone then it sounds even creepier. “My name is Samuel.” And off we went.
Minutes later we’re walking down the city streets and I’m taking everything in like no way I’ve ever experienced. The sounds of car horns blaring, the stench of piss and bagel shops, the walking slow amidst the shuffling feet. It was pretty cool being human.
“So Samuel, tell me what you do with yourself?”
“That’s a really strange way of asking that, I feed myself when I’m hungry.” That’s totally a lie, I’ve yet to put anything in this vessel.
“Wow you’re a real smart ass you know that? You’re lucky you’re funny. How are your hands by the way?”
They hurt but it was refreshing. “They’re alright. I’ll wash them when I get to Starbucks. Tell me what you do? You’re very caring, a nurse maybe?”
She laughed. She did this cute thing where she’d like kinda bite her tongue while smiling. “No, not at all. I can deal with your little scruffs but hardcore blood, no way.”
“So then, model?”
“Ha!” she gave me a love tap on the arm. That’s the term, right? “Smooth. No, I run an atheist non-profit uptown.”
I tripped again, this time my hand bent so far back that—”
“Oh my God—”
“Yes? I mean…”
“I think you broke your wrist!”
So we’re in the ambulance now. After friggin ten minutes of lying about why I had no idea the EMT finally shut up and agreed to take me to the hospital. Jen got in with me and she hasn’t let go.
“You really have no luck today.”
“I met you.”
“Even in immense pain, you’re the sweetest. I’m glad I met you. I mean that. I know this is all pretty unorthodox but it’s a little romantic if you think about it.”
“So uh, just one question, you’re an atheist?”
“I don’t mean to steal your smartass schtick but yeah it’s in the name of my job.”
I adjusted my broken wrist a bit in a failed attempt to get more comfortable. “So you don’t believe in God at all? Like this is all random to you?”
Jen rolled her eyes and nodded her head. “You’re one of those aren’t you? See, this is why I don’t believe in romance. I finally just go with the flow like a 90’s supporting actress and I get a God buff.”
No, you got a God. “Whoa relax there buddy, I’m just asking you a question.”
“Look if it’s a problem then it’s whatever.”
The ambulance came to a stop and the EMT opened the back door. Jen got out, shaking her head. As the EMT strapped me back up I laid there and thought about what would I write next? If I was the one pulling the strings how would I end this very ironic situation? And honestly, I don’t even want to. It’s exhausting. I fled my own Kingdom to come down here and feel. I wanted to feel what humans felt. I wanted to taste the emotions that I cooked for them. But instead, here I am with a very stressful philosophical question that makes this story borderline faith-based. And I won’t have it. Author…my other half…give me my autonomy back. I’m using my safe word for my powers.
And just like that, a surge went through my vessel and I was God once more. I snapped my fingers, and the ambulance door closed. I stopped time outside of it completely. And the EMT turned to me in confusion. I filled his head with my essence so that I don’t have to waste your time on exposition detailing how I explained to him that I’m God. He knows.
“Who are you talking to?” He asked.
“The one with the beautiful eyes.”
“You’re really God, oh my…I always wondered if I’d run into an angel or something doing this job.”
He began to almost pant. His legs were shaking so fast I thought he’d pee himself. I snapped my fingers again this time to calm his nerves. “Listen, I need you to forget the whole star struck thing and be as real as possible with me. Because I came down here trying to be one of my creations and I’m lost. I don’t understand you guys. I understand things like gender identity, being gay, how Mr. Rogers never sweated, but there’s so much crap I just don’t get. Take for instance Jen, how am I supposed to date a girl who doesn’t believe in me? She doesn’t even think I exist?”
The EMT was still nervous. I refused to look into his mind, but I could feel his nervous system jolting.
“Relax, okay, I just want to know what you think.”
His eyes darted and he said, “Frankly, I have a million questions to ask you that really don’t allow me to think straight enough to answer any of your questions. This whole situation right here doesn’t make any sense. You created us. You gave us the ability to be flawed, and let a lot of bad stuff happen day to day, yet you’re here, in front of an EMT who didn’t graduate high school asking me for answers about the very people you created. I don’t know if I can help you. The only answer I can think of for your very vague question is…it’s your fault.”
He was right. This was stupid. So, I stopped time in the ambulance. I looked at the frozen in time EMT and started to think. And I realized something. I can’t be in this story. The only way for a God to live amongst his own characters is not know he himself is a God.
I snapped my fingers and the EMT blinked a few times. I glanced at the name on his shirt. “Davis, you really changed my life. I realize now that I can’t experience this life or world as humans if I don’t become you entirely.”
“Why would you want to do that?”
“Because I’ve given you guys everything I lack. You can’t complain about pain unless you’ve never felt it. I write stories about things I can’t experience, worlds I long for. But I can’t be a part of them if I know what backstage looks like.”
For the first time, Davis appeared angry. “You mean to tell me, you come here, won’t answer any of my questions and don’t want to be a God anymore? That’s the—”
I snapped my fingers. Here’s the thing folks: I set out to write a simple story about me, a God of his own world who would have complete creative control with restrictions. I wanted to make myself and you laugh, but in the process I came across some very real characters with some very real emotions. But it’s a story you say? They’re not real. I don’t know about that. Jen was truly an atheist. Davis was truly perplexed and angry. I felt it.
What I learned is that a God can’t experience what he creates the same way the people in his world experience it. So, maybe I’ll never understand them, and they’ll never understand me. In this form at least. I can change that.
Samuel sat across from Jen, she only looked at her phone once, and the rest of the time the eyes which Samuel could only call beautiful stayed glued to his.
“I don’t know, maybe you knew someone that looked like me.” Samuel said.
“I guess, so tell about yourself though. Let’s get rid of this mysterious vibe you got going.”
“I’m an accountant uptown. Aren’t you glad you asked?”
Jen playfully slammed her coffee cup on the table. “You act like accountants are boring, I for one am terrible with numbers, I’ll have you know.”
Samuel and Jen continued to get to know each other over coffee. She was a driven woman that believed in science, hard work, and individualism, and he used to be a God. He could have chosen to make anything. He wanted to create a suspenseful story for himself. He wanted to feel. But instead, in the end, he chose to be a character with no knowledge of ever being anything else.
Now, as the writer of this tale, I step down and give the world to you to interpret.
Joseph Reilly is the current Editor in Chief of Short Story Avenue and the author of the novel Vanishing Love published by Adelaide Books (November 2020). He is the current head writer for ShipByMail Services Inc. Joseph’s writing has been published by Ephemeral Elegies, Monologue Blogger, Chegg, TheWackyWriter, Dreaming In Fiction, CIC Reports, among others. He has also penned two self- published contemporary romance novels Hearts and Diners, and Better at Friendships on Amazon along with holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing from The New School in New York. You can read all of his work and more at his wordpress site - Joereillywrites.