God’s TED Talk

ted's_god

As God, I try to create things–new and wonderful things that fit together in ways you can’t imagine. But first, I’d like to talk to you about something we all understand very well, failure. Failure and the power of mistakes.

I’m going to start off by telling you a little story about the first time I created life. You see–I always wanted to create something new. I wanted to find what I called The Factor. That aspect of life that made it more than just entertainment.

My first attempt at this was hunger.

(Laughter)

I know, it seems simple now, silly even–it gets worse. I created a species of life I called Migs. Migs were these small, rather adorable, creatures you can see here:

(Laughter)

Yes, I was not much on an artist in those days–but these adorable creatures didn’t last very long because I forgot one crucial piece of the puzzle. I didn’t create them with the knowledge of their own hunger, or how to satiate it. So, of course, they began eating the only thing they could think to eat–themselves. Don’t worry, I didn’t bring pictures of that.

(Laughter)

Needless to say, they didn’t last long and I was forced to start over. I refined hunger, directed it best I could and came out with the first human beings, as you can see here.

(Laughter)

Well, everything seemed okay, they lived, they ate. Then– nothing. And I mean nothing, they just sat around. Occasionally a clever one would take a bite out of another or someone would hit someone with a rock, but it was dull. So, I got back to thinking about that factor. I was sitting there watching one human hit another with a rock, over and over, and over. What started off as a promising–and I’ll admit, humorous endeavor suddenly became very bland. I was losing my funding, I was as low as I’ve been. Here, I made my second mistake. I reached down and crushed the rock-beater into nothing, right there in front of my other creations.

(Laughter)

What happened next astonished me. The other human beings gathered around. They looked up and down, they acted in all sorts of strange ways I’d never seen before. Before I could finish my research, funding was pulled and my project was scrapped. But it was from that mistake that I realized the factor, as you know it now; death.

So, I started over. I put together a proposal, got the funding and started again. I looked long and hard at my failures, my mistakes. I not only implemented an end to life but also gave my creations knowledge of their imminent end. The result, as you well know, produced the longest lasting single most entertaining project in history.

(Applause)

Last thing I’d like to leave you with is a message from my creations themselves: “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet.”

 

A Slippery Slope

anarchy

D and I sat on the couch binge-watching Sons of Anarchy. I looked over at the fridge. It sat, mocking.

“Mehh!” I groaned, longingly, fingers outstretched toward the refrigerator.

D nodded, sleepily. He batted the air in the direction of the fridge.

“I think we deserve superpowers,” D decided.

I curled up further into the corner of the couch. “Mhm.”

“Because,” he continued, “we wouldn’t abuse it, you know.”

I nodded.

He flicked his finger at the refrigerator. “You know, I’d just open that fridge and make a beer come to me, that’s it. I wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

The thought of beer made my stomach turn on itself.

“I’m too hungover for beer.”

D sighed. “Well, we could use it for water too, that wouldn’t be an abuse of power?”

Someone just shot someone in Sons of Anarchy. I watched, unblinking. “Mhm, but it’s a slippery slope. First water, then” I waved at the TV, “murder and stuff.”

D groaned, lit a cigarette.

“Well,” he said, “what about just liquids?”

For some reason the word liquid made my hangover hate itself even more. I closed my eyes.

“Even blood?”

“Hm,” D thought for a moment. “Okay, well I wouldn’t use it for blood.”

“Me either,” I agreed, almost asleep.

The episode ended. The screen went black, a message appeared: PLAY NEXT EPISODE?

I looked around. The remote sat beside the TV. I waved my hand at it. I looked over at D, he was nodding slowly.

“A slippery slope,” he mumbled. We both closed our eyes, resigned.

The Worst Art Teacher in Hell

devil's_santa

I got a job working in Hell.

Lucifer doesn’t speak English, so that’s something.

“He understands a bit, so be careful,” the math teacher tells me. We work at the school for kids of wealthier residents. I teach art. There isn’t a Staples in Hell, but there is a printer.

I hand out the worksheet; a color by numbers. Lucifer’s son sits in the front right corner, as always. He’s a sweet kid. I think the other teachers baby him too much. When I hand him the printout, Santa with Rudolph and a bag of toys, he colors the whole thing purple. I give him a high five. He smiles, his teeth are razor sharp, but white. At the end of my hour, the math teacher comes to collect the kids.

She goes pale. I follow her gaze. The purple Santa looks up at her.

“Oh no!”

Lucifer’s son looks at his drawing, then up at the math teacher.

“You have to fix this,” she says, in a panic.

I frown. “He’s four,” I remind her.

She shakes her head. “No–no.”

She walks over to the desk and pulls a fresh Santa from my pile.

“Here, you have to fix it.”

Lucifer’s son looks about to cry. I cross my arms.

“No.”

She turns to Lucifer’s son. She picks up his drawing and crumples it into a ball.

“Again,” she growls at him, in Latin. She turns back to me.

“You help him.”

She walks out before I can protest, taking all of the other students with her. I sigh and sit down.

“Come on.”

I pat him on the head, he manages not to cry. Together, we color in Santa. It is pristine, red. I write his name at the top, a little askew to make it look as a child might have done it.

Lucifer’s son looks at his own name, he nods, knowingly.

“Go to math,” I tell him, in Latin.

Before he goes, he hugs me. I can’t help smiling even though his teeth cut my leg a bit.

Once he is gone I flip over his drawing. On the back I start writing:

2+3=7

5+2=9

1+6=3

There is No Such Thing as a Grown Up

herpis

We stop in Ohio at what claims to be the largest antique mall in America. Though, in America, anything claiming to be the largest of anything should be taken with the largest grain of salt.

My brother and I finish perusing and loiter around the check-out counter while the woman wraps up a deck of cards for me. There are two big-old buffalo heads mounted to the wall above.

My brother looks up at one of the buffalo, it is a serious looking buffalo–grim, even.

“I–uh, I am sorry sir,” he says in a deep doctoral tone, “you have herpes.”

I look up at the other buffalo, it’s mouth wide open. I gasp, “Oh no!” Then I look to the deer head hanging beside him, she looks stunned, horrified, for some reason. In a girly voice I add, “It was your secretary!”

I gasp, my brother gasps.

The woman behind the counter finishes wrapping up my cards.

“Thank you very much,” I tell her.

She looks from me to my brother. “Mhm,” she says, toneless, limp-eyed. Our mother comes up behind us.

“What’d you get?” she asks.

I hope up my package. “cards.”

My brother points up at Doctor Buffalo, “Look, Ma, Doctor Buffalo just told gasping Buffalo that he has herpes.”

“And Deer-wife is surprised,” I point.

“It was the secretary,” my brother adds. Our mother looks from buffalo, to buffalo, to deer. She bursts out laughing, catching her breath as she places some antique sign onto the counter.

The limp-eyed check-out girl looks at the sign. She looks from my brother, to me, and finally back at our mother.

“Mhm,” she says.

I look over my Mother’s shoulder at the sign she bought. It is yellow.

“There is no such thing as a grown-up,” it says.

Man, did we get a kick out of that. The limp-eyed check-out girl was not impressed.

 

**Just for laughs:

IMG_3262

“Sir, you have herpes.”

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*GASP!*

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“It was your secretary!”

IMG_3265

Photo Credit: MOREBLUEBERRIES (My brother)

Check out more of his photography by clicking HERE

The Meaning of Life on the Inside of a Dark Chocolate Wrapper

 

erotic

**A friend asked me if I ever write erotica. I said no, but decided to give it my best shot anyways…

Samantha sat over a cup of soft coffee, pondering the meaning of life; there were charts, tables, graphs, quotes, poems, and even the wrapper for a bar of dark chocolate.

Samantha sighed. She turned. A man stood in her door. Half of her breath took a walk.

He was big in every way you want a man to be big, and not in any way you don’t. His name was Steve, because sometimes big guys are named Steve.

“I’m Steve,” Steve said, his voice sounding and resounding as the Liberty Bell might have.

“…” Samantha said.

Steve smiled; it was the first and last smile ever created by God–the rest were made in China. Steve stepped forward, he wore only pants and oil. Samantha could feel his heat before he was half-way to her.

“Wha–” she began. But Steve’s smile ate the rest of her words. He bent down and picked her up in one arm. Samantha pressed a hand into his chest; it reminded her of the first time she touched a horse. His heart beat–hers ran.

“Wait,” she whispered.

Steve kissed her neck.

“For what,” he whispered to every cell in her body. Samantha took a breath. “I need to know the meaning of life first,” she managed. Steve understood, because just as some men named Steve are big, some big men are understanding.

Steve placed Samantha down.

They both turned to the charts, tables, poems and quotes. Steve reached out and ran his finger over the wrapper of dark chocolate. Then, from somewhere Samantha would find out about later, Steve pulled a pair of glasses.

As it turned out, Steve was a genius, because just as some men are understanding, some understanding men are also geniuses.

Within ten-minutes Samantha and Steve discovered the meaning of life. Then, without waiting to say it aloud, Samantha took off Steve’s pants. When she did, she was startled by a childhood memory; her and her friend Helen had found a thick log by the river. They had dragged it out into the current and laid on it, drifting along with the sun; it was big enough to keep them both afloat.

Samantha smiled, it was a good memory.

Then, with one small finger, two teeth and a tongue, Steve removed Samantha’s clothes. He held her close.

“Put your sexy mouth on my mouth,” he cooed–the most manly of coos.

And, of course, Samantha did.

 

John Had a Headache

golf

Some days, the smell of fresh-cut grass is the best smell in the world. It is better than every inch of a candle wall, better than night-washed sand, than the ocean after–and before–a storm; thanksgiving dinner, even when you’re really hungry.

I sat in my driveway, on a day like this. I was reading H.G. Wells, The Time Machine; listening to Alanis Morrissett. I looked up from my book, down the driveway.

If time travel is ever invented, I thought, I’ll come back to this moment right here, just at the end of the driveway and wave.

I waited.

“IT’S NOTHING LIKE GOLF!” My Mother’s voice.

The front door slammed. I turned. My step-father, grumbling, strode past. He was big, smelled like pancakes. He stopped and frowned down at me. His face went a little softer.

“What’re you reading?” he asked. I held up my book. He shrugged. He began to pace.

I put the book down, paused my music.

“Everything all right John?”

“It’s not appropriate,” he said, still pacing.

I waited.

“It’s just–your mother.”

“What about her?”

John put one big pancake smelling hand over his mouth, “nothing, nothing,” he mumbled.

I peered around him at the end of the driveway; nothing. I picked up my book.

“It’s like, you know how much I like to play golf?” he said, stopping.

I put my book down.

“Yeah, John.”

“Well–you know, now. I mean, I love golf. But sometimes, I just don’t want to play. Or sometimes my head hurts or, well, you know?”

“Ye–”

“And, well, should I have to play golf if I am not feeling like playing golf? I am old. I mean, how old are you now?”

“Thirteen.”

“Thirteen! See, you could play golf all day if you wanted, twice a day. All night!”

I stared down the driveway, waiting. Someone passed, but they had a dog, they didn’t wave.

“Kid, you listening?”

I looked up. He was looking down at me, his eyes; a sad sort of wild. He sighed. “Forget it.”

He walked away, back moments later carrying his golf bag. He tossed it into his trunk, slammed it. At that moment my mother came out in a towel.

“Where the hell are you going?” she accused John.

John opened the door to his car. “I’m going to play fu–I’m going to play some damn golf!”

Mom flipped him off as he drove away. I looked up at her. She put her finger away guiltily.

“Sorry Sweetie,” she said.

I wasn’t bothered.

“I’m not bothered,” I told her. “Is everything alright?”

She watched John go.

“Oh–nothing. John just can’t–” she frowned, “play golf, with me, anymore,” she finished, weakly. I rolled my eyes.

“You hate golf, Ma,” I reminded her. She started to look sad, a confused sort of sad. I stood up and walked over. I was taller than her by then. I hugged her.

“Maybe John just wants to play golf with his friends,” I said, consoling. She stepped back. Her face took a dark turn. I felt a guilt–an adult sort of guilt. She shook her head.

“Sorry,” she said, looking over at the neighbor’s lawn, “enjoy your day Sweetie.”

She turned and went back in the house. I checked the end of the driveway one last time, nothing.

I sat back and picked up my book, feeling for some reason, as though I owed John an apology.

Some Days, the Shoe Fits

ben_dress

N and I sit on the couch. He is skyping V. I am smoking. He says something in Russian, I catch all but a word.

“Poetry?” I ask.

He shakes his head. “Dress.”

“You’re telling people I like wearing dresses?”

He nods.

“Hey. Dresses are comfortable and everyone looks good in a dress,” I say, defensively.

“I know,” he says, patting my shoulder. “I know.”

I grumble over a few drags of my cigarette. “Everyone is a bunch of prudes,” I mumble to myself. I can here V giggling.

My phone rings. It is my boss. N takes his skype to the other side of the room.

“Hey boss, what’s up?”

“Hey, got a minute?”

I step out of the room, into the kitchen.

“Yeah, yeah. What’s up?”

“Hey, so do you have a picture? I have this company that might want you to work for them and they want to see your picture.”

I try to think.

“Yeah, I should.”

“Okay, good. Cause the only picture I have of you is on WhatsApp.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, I don’t think it’s one they’d like to see.”

I set up WhatsApp years ago. I’ve been using it a lot lately for professional contacts. I try to think.

“It’s a bad one, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” he says.

“Is it me in a dress?”

“It’s you in a dress.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“Shit.”

“Yeah, so maybe you should think about changing that?”

I sigh. “Uh, yeah. Sorry, I was young. It was just a joke.”

“Right, well, I’ve got to get these guys a picture so?”

“Yeah, I’ll send you a decent picture.”

“Good. And uh–”

“Yeah boss, I’ll change the WhatsApp photo, too.”

“Yeah. Good. Send me a picture okay?”

“Mhm.”

“Not in a–”

“Yeah, got it.”

“Alright.”

He hangs up. I finish my cigarette in the kitchen window, trying to count the number of clients I communicate with solely through WhatsApp. I walk back into my room. N has finished skype, he sits there, sipping away at a cup of tea.

“What was that about?” he asks.

“Nothing,” I say, taking off my dress.

Intrusive Thoughts

thoughts

I reach for a cigarette, almost burning myself on my already lit cigarette. I am bored. With murderous frustration, I snuff out the lit one and stand up.

“I’m going to get a coffee!” I call to N.

“You just got back from getting a coffee,” he reminds me.

I pretend not to hear him. The shop isn’t far. I smoke half a cigarette on the way. The sun is bitchy today. I forgot my sunglasses. The shop is small. A woman–no, girl–is the only one in line. I wait. The barista chats away to her as she swirls cappuccino foam artfully atop a bit of harsh coffee.

I scratch one finger with another.

Finally, the coffee is placed in front of the not-woman. She says thank you. I open my mouth in preparation. Only to find, they are still chatting. The not-woman is opening a packet of sugar with sloth-like determination. An image flashes in my mind. I reach up, grab her head and snap it quickly to the left, in Van Damme style.

I shake my head, cowering from the thought. Yet, again I watch her open a second packet of sugar, like a scientist, underwater.

I picture taking a match to the back of her skirt. Then ordering my coffee as she runs, screaming, aflame, into the road where a bus runs her down; sticky with melted sugar.

“Ah–” I find myself crying out. The barista frowns at me. I shake my head apologetically. The not-woman doesn’t notice. She is saying something about her dog, hand sighing gently toward the bowl of sugar packets.

Unable to stop it, my mind starts playing a movie, she is the star. There is a bear, a number of weapons. I shut my eyes, hard.

“I’m a terrible person,” I whisper. “What is wrong with me!”

The not-woman turns now. Both her and the barista are staring at me, annoyed looks across their faces.

“Sorry,” I mutter, then flee. The sun heats the back of my neck. I make it back home, lock the door. N is in his room, drawing.

“Hey,” I say, flopping down on the couch. “You know, you’re the best friend in the world. And really an amazing artist.”

He turns, frowning. “Had thoughts about irrationally murdering someone over something petty?”

I look at him, wide eyed. “How’d you know?”

He turns back to drawing. “You always say things like that just before trying to have a conversation about intrusive thoughts. So, you know, two and two.”

I sigh. “Ah, right. Well, do you have intrusive thoughts?”

N shrugs. “I, well, some–”

My phone rings. I hold up a hand.

“It’s my mother.”

N nods. I pick up my phone and head into the other room.

“Hey Ma, what’s up?”

“Oh,” she says, “nothing really. Just wanted to call and say you’re such a good son and I really miss you.”