10/31/11

New ideas for Halloween 2012!



Left: The Tobias Fünke bleeding botched hairplug look will make you stand out on Halloween

It's that baffling time of the year when it's somehow totally ok for little children to approach complete strangers and ask them for candy. It sounds like the totally wrong thing to do on paper, but it's not so bad when you compare it to other holidays that celebrate crucified space gods, chocolate rabbits, and the beginning of the genocide of Native Americans. And that's not even including holidays from other parts of the world that involve self-mutilation and the mass slaughter of animals. So when you think about it, Halloween isn't so bad as far as festive occasions go.

That having been said, most of us are pretty bored with all the usual vampire, ghost, werewolf or superhero costumes we see every year. So here are some alternative suggestions for out-of-the-ordinary characters that will make you stand out from all the other kids on Halloween while still faithfully contributing to this lucrative annual billion-dollar industry.

Babar the Incontinent Elephant
I know, nobody wants to hear "incontinent" and "elephant" in the same sentence, but hear me out. You will need a long hose, a paper mache trunk and one other person. Fix the hose to your garden tap, bring the hose up through the back of your elephant suit, up the neck and through the paper mache proboscis you have fixed to your face. When your neighbor opens the door, you say "Trick or Treat!" and your neighbor laughs and says "What are you, an anteater?" and you say "No asshole, I'm Babar the Incontinent Elephant!" which is your friend's cue to turn the water on as you spray your neighbor's shoes, pants and floor, crying "HUNTERS KILLED MY MOTHER!"

TIPS: Paper mache is the best choice for material because it's not only cheap and pliable, but the glue will get you high. Also, cover tip of hose with finger for extra spray.


Deformed Olsen Triplet (Who Has Just Escaped From Attic of Evil Twin Sisters)
You will need long blond hair and a deformed female munchkin face (buy a mask if you don't already have a deformed female munchkin face). Bang on the door repeatedly with both fists until opened, then pant and blabber in a panicked voice "HELP ME, PLEASE, MARY KATE AND ASHLEY ARE LOOKING FOR ME, PLEASE I BEG YOU, DON'T LET MY SISTERS TAKE ME ALIVE!"

TIPS: Starve yourself for a week and throw a spoilt tantrum if denied help so as to convince people that you are indeed an Olsen triplet.


Monty Python's Ethel the Aardvaark
You will need long ears and an extended pig-like snout, and you will also have to be highly argumentative. When asked what you are, you will say "I'm Ethel the Aardvaark, from the book Ethel the Aardvaark Goes Quantity Surveying by Charles Dikkens, the famous Dutch author, with two K's", after which there will be an extended back-and-forth in which you will exchange accusations of mistakenness as to the provenance and spelling of said author's name and authenticity of said book, accompanied by exponentially increasing levels of annoyance and confusion. Eventually you will be offered candy by the irritated adult, to whom you will say "Aardvaarks don't eat candy, they eat termites", to which they will answer "Well I don't have termites", to which you say "How can you be sure? Can I dig around in your basement?" to which they reply "No", to which you say "Why? What are you hiding in your basement?" after which they get defensive and angry, upon which you take out a bowl of Tic Tacs, say they're termite eggs, place it on the ground, get down on your hands and knees, and proceed to eat the entire bowl of Tic Tacs with barking and grunting noises. When finished, scream "ARE YOU SATISFIED NOW, YOU ANTI-TUBULIDENTATITE?!"

TIPS: Grow your fingernails a year beforehand for extra aardvaarky looking claws.


Halloween Industry Association PR Executive
Put on a business suit and a big holiday smile as you go door to door merrily stating that the Halloween Industry Association was formally incorporated in 2005 as a 501(c)(6) trade organization to promote and build the celebration of Halloween in the United States, representing businesses involved in the manufacture, importation or distribution of Halloween products including costumes, décor, novelty items and party supplies, and that HIA has grown to become the premier authority on Halloween and serves as a non-profit voice of the industry. Present your card, and wish each household consumer a Happy Halloween.

TIPS: In between houses, rob and steal candy from other kids which you can then redistribute to the children of wealthy Halloween Industry Association executives.


Arrested Development's Tobias Fünke
Go trick or treating as both an analyst and therapist combined, the world's first trick or treat analrapist. Bleeding hair plugs are A MUST. Make sure to use lots of unintentionally homosexual innuendo like "I've been dying to put some of that sweet stuff in my mouth all day, so dump that load right in my hands mister!"

TIPS: When pronouncing "analrapist", emphasis should be on the second syllable. Be sure to work on pronunciation.


The Love Child of Kim Kardashian and Charlie Sheen
You will need a ton of mascara, a big round ass, false teeth and madness. You will also need four other friends, three of whom will follow you with cameras, while the other follows you around dressed like a porn star/prostitute. When people open the door turn your ass to them, look back over your shoulder, bend knees slightly and say "Tricks and treats are like tiger teets filled with manna I suck from the earth bosom mother warlord spirit because I'm FUCKING WINNING!"

TIPS: Down a few cans of energy drink beforehand to simulate a genuine cocaine high. Stop once you achieve appropriate rate of heart palpitations.


Flatulator, The Wrath of Ass
To dress up as this alternative superhero, you'll need a body suit, boots, and cape, with a big F sown into your shirt. Declare yourself "FLATULATOR! THE WRATH OF ASS!" and then proceed to make assorted fart noises until you get your candy. Example: "Who are you supposed to be young man?" Answer: "ppfth"

TIPS: Keep lips tightly pursed and push air through forcefully.


Jack Sparrow, the Management Speak Pirate of the Caribbean
Dress up in a Jack Sparrow costume and say "Shiver me timbers matey, let's touch base later in the week to see if we can't go ahead and synergize an aggressive growth strategy that should expand our portfolio while positioning us competitively on the boarding and plunder segments vis-a-vis the Caribbean market, ARR."

TIPS: When you get your candy, look at your watch and say "I have an 8 o'clock scheduled, I'll slot you in for a follow-up at 7 o'clock on October 31, 2013, ye scurvy dog."


Russel, the Sausage-Loving Gorilla
Wear a gorilla suit, refuse all offers of candy with a violent swing of the arm, and repeatedly say "SAUSAGES" in your best gorilla voice. For extra effect, break a large branch off a tree and drag it behind you as you run in circles, shouting "SAUSAGES" at the top of your lungs while beating your chest with the other hand.

TIPS: I have a feeling this would also work with a Darth Vader outfit, for some reason.


Amy Winehouse, the Semi-Decomposed Zombie
By 2012, the decomposition should have really kicked into full-on skeletal mode, but that's no reason to deny yourself and others a little suspension of disbelief for some zany holiday fun!

TIPS: Stagger around like a deranged zombie and mutter like a crazy person to reproduce Amy's unforgettable Belgrade concert.


Pedro the Llama
You'll need a decent llama outfit and lots of expectorate. People will answer the door and say "Hi there, what are you?" upon which you act skittish and spit in their eye.

TIPS: Nervous kicking is also a fun option.


Train wreck
Dress up as Courtney Love.

TIPS: For extra effect, have make-up running down your face, wear ripped fishnet stockings, and stumble around babbling incoherently in a drug-induced daze. See Amy Winehouse above for tips.


Pirate
I know dressing up as a pirate sounds a little hackneyed, but imagine the surprise on people's faces when they see a Somali militiaman with an AK-47 on their doorstep!

TIPS: Don't just ask for some candy, take hostages until your demand for all the candy is met.


Enjoy Halloween, only 12 months to go!

10/10/11

story - Waiting for God



(The Hypothetical Afterlife of a Suicide Bomber)

Gabriel passed Azrail through the smoldering wreckage in which the torn ligaments of human bodies were strewn amid the blood-spattered remnants of shattered windows, ripped seats and twisted railings which, only moments before, had almost ensured the safety of the passengers of bus 412. The hideous remains of the 26 people who had been making their way to work, school, hospital, the beach, a shopping mall, and (in one case) martyrdom, lay there eerily still, despite the violent horror of their grotesque visage, and despite the wailing of ambulance and police sirens that were fast descending upon them, to remove them, bury them, and cast them back into oblivion.

The angels would not speak when they crossed paths, but they would sometimes exchange glances. Gabriel always noticed the look of calm indifference on the face of Azrail, and always thought he could sense a slight, almost inconspicuous smirk every time he passed him by, whereas Azrail never failed to capture a glimpse of pity on the face of Gabriel, which he always preferred to mistake for wasteful sentimentality. But these creatures of divine light that were the most beloved of God’s creations knew their respective tasks and adhered solemnly to their own boundless destinies with a loyalty and purpose reminiscent of the constancy of the rays of light that emanated from a distant star over billions of years.

26 flashes of light sped through the smoldering wreckage and emerged as streaks of brilliance ascending up toward the heavens from which they were born. The angels took no notice. They too sped away and disappeared quietly, invisibly into the primordial ether that was their divine essence. The scene of carnage left behind in their wake was now filled with the sounds of human voices, of sirens, radios, chatter, wailing, crying, screaming, and, finally, silence.

--------------------------------------------------------------

The radiance in which he was ensconced forced Yakub to adjust his sight, even while he was amazed he was still not only conscious, but seemed to have eyes as well. When he had become accustomed to the light, he started to notice his surroundings. He looked down at himself and at his hands and found that he was all intact, standing there like nothing had happened at all. He thought “this then must be Heaven,” but when he looked a little closer around him he found that it wasn’t what he had expected, not by a long shot. There were no bucolic landscapes awash in rivers of milk and honey, no beautiful virgins frolicking around him, no semblance of an idyllic Paradise as the just reward for the newly martyred, the man of unswerving faith, who had died in the name of the Almighty, who had taken the lives of infidels (“Praise God!” he said out loud) in the name of the All Merciful, and who had sought his eternal salvation as a loyal servant of the one true God.

In fact, to his utter confusion, Yakub was standing in what seemed rather like a grimy ramshackle office, in which there was nothing but an old wooden table, two wooden chairs, and a rusty spotlight dangling from the ceiling. The walls were a dirty grey color, and there was neither a window, nor a door, nor anything else in the room. Nothing hung from the walls, nothing lay on the table. The room was absolutely bereft of even the simplest aesthetics. The floor was hard, cold, grey and concrete. Was this for real? Was he dead and in the afterlife, or had something else happened? He suddenly felt a sense of utter dread, loneliness and despair at the situation he had found himself in.

He decided to sit down. “Strange,” he thought to himself, “Does a dead man need to sit down? Can a dead man be tired of standing up?” But he sat down nevertheless, feeling annoyed by the logical dilemma that this seemingly simple act seemed to pose. Just as he put his head in his hands wondering what was happening to him, he felt a chill, and heard a faint sound. The hairs at the back of his neck stiffened, and he felt there was a presence standing directly behind him. He turned and saw an amazing sight.

There were two angels – or what he immediately assumed were angels – standing there all aglow, in flowing white, diaphanous robes, with the most beatific faces, compassionate yet firm, beautiful and pious, yet, even though they had the bodies of men, their faces seemed like those of children. They were young, innocent, pristine, and glowing. Yakub immediately fell off his chair and went down on his knees as he laid his forehead on the cold concrete floor and said “Oh faces of wisdom and everlasting sanctity, I kneel before you, a humble…” But before he could finish his obsequies, he heard the divine ones speak in voices at once mellifluous and stentorian. “Rise to your feet Yakub,” they said in unison. “Our Father will be with you shortly.”

Tears welled in Yakub’s eyes as he bowed his head and crawled slowly toward the angels that stood before him, to touch and kiss their hallowed feet. So it was true! He was in the presence of angels! What bliss awaited him, he thought! He rejoiced that despite this initial state of unsavory limbo, he would soon take his place among the faithful who dwell in eternal bliss and enjoy the rewards duly granted those who have followed the righteous path as he has done. The road to salvation, he thought, is never easy, and he must be patient, he must surrender his doubts and trust in the all-encompassing mercy, love and compassion of the omnipotent one, of the all-seeing and all-knowing one, of the one true God for whom he had dedicated his life – and his death. “God is truly merciful,” he thought, and a teardrop ran down his face and fell on the concrete floor, leaving a tiny moist spot on an otherwise desolate, ugly, barren surface, as if it were – he imagined – a puddle on the moon.

He reached for the feet of his beloved angels, and he touched them. What soft, gentle, beautiful feet are those of angels, he thought, like those of a child’s. He kissed them and ran his fingers all over one, and then the other. His eyes were closed as he was in the height of pious bliss, savoring this moment that he had longed for all his life. When he opened his eyes and looked up, he saw, however, that the angels were no longer there, having been replaced instead by a child.

He stood up and looked around him, amazed that these beings could come in and out of this room when there was no discernible entrance or exit. “Where did Gabriel and Azrail go?” asked Yakub, but it was more a case of thinking out loud than it was of asking the child. Nevertheless, the child answered.

“Don’t worry, they are always with you. Are you afraid?”

Yakub was taken aback by the child’s precocious question. And then he realized who he was talking to… Could it be? Was it true, could God truly be just an innocent child? Somehow, he thought, that makes sense. He felt tears rise within him once more. He didn’t know what to say. How could you address the almighty? How could you ever conceive of the moment when you would behold true perfection, when the whole universe would seem to coalesce at this very moment in time and in space, right before your eyes, oh joyous…

“HEY ASSHOLE, OVER HERE!”

Yakub jumped to his feet in panic. He turned around and found an unpleasant musty old bureaucrat with a cheap suit carrying a bunch of papers and dossiers in his hand as he noisily took a seat on one of the chairs behind the desk, coughing horribly, and pounding the stack of paperwork onto the wooden table. Suddenly an unpleasant feeling welled in Yakub.

“Sit down, sit down, I haven’t got all eternity… Hey kid, you get out of here, run along now!” Yakub was completely confused. “What do I have angels for if they can’t keep track of these fucking kids everywhere?” the irritated old man mumbled audibly to himself as he started digging officiously through his stack of crumpled pages, coughing up expectorate with a revolting heave of his entire body. “I’m surprised you didn’t recognize the kid from that pleasant bus ride you just took…” the old man said with a sarcastic laugh added at the end. Then he looked up at Yakub, squinting with his beady little eyes.

“What the fuck are you looking at?” the old man barked. “And wipe that stupid, stunned expression off your face, I’m sick of seeing it. Everyone has the same look, like they’re about to cry because they found out there’s no fucking Santa Claus.”

Yakub was sitting there stunned and queasy. Eventually he gathered his wits, and enough courage, to ask the obvious question…

“Who… who are you?” he said with a cracking voice and the expression of someone who’s 99 percent certain what the answer would be and really didn’t want to hear it.

“Who the hell do you think I am, fuckface? I’m GOD!”

--------------------------------------------------------------

“Ok, now, let’s see…” said God, sifting through some pieces of ink-blotted and yellow-stained paper before grabbing one out of the stack and putting it up to his face. “Says here you’re another one of thooose… suicide bombers? Is that right?”

“Well… yes, but…” Yakub wanted to say “I am a Martyr for the Glory of God,” but he couldn’t bring himself around to it, suddenly wondering if he should refer to God as God in the third person or if he should just use the second person singular. At the same time he felt a strange, noxious feeling in his stomach, like there was a sick joke being played on him.

“But what?” God said impatiently. “But ‘not technically’? But ‘it was an accident’? But ‘I blew up before I could know if I was a suicide bomber or not’? What?”

“But, I did it… well I did it for…”

“Oh let me guess, for glorious almighty ME?! Aw, how sweeeet!” God said in a raspy falsetto tone as he sarcastically tilted his head to the side and pouted his lips.

Yakub really wanted to get out of that horrible room, away, anywhere, he was decidedly sick now and felt his stomach churning.

“Gee thanks,” God went on. “Do you know how many of you dickwipes I get here every fucking month? Do you? A LOT!” God laid the paper down on top of the stack, crossed his arms, sat back and looked at Yakub. His eyes were watery, his skin was sallow and sickly, his ears and nose were large and out of proportion. In fact, his face generally lacked symmetry, as if all his features had been carelessly plastered on by a blind eight-year-old.

“Let me ask you a question Yakub. Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to create life? Hm? Any clue there, Einstein?”

Yakub just sat with his mouth agape, unable to answer.

“Well let me tell you sunshine… IT’S FUCKING DIFFICULT! I spent what seemed like an eternity on all that fucking mitachondria alone. In fact, fuck the mitachondria, do you know how long it took me to get a decent protein going? Can you imagine the tangled nightmare that DNA caused me? And don’t even get me started on those viruses…”

“Viruses?”

“I think it’s viruses, or is it virii? I dunno, thank me I didn’t invent Latin… Anyway, I said don’t get me started, okay, I screwed up, I APOLOGIZE, now let’s just learn to live with them… My point is, Yakub, and I say this to all you butthole murderers who come this way, LIFE IS PRECIOUS SO DON’T FUCK WITH IT!”

“But, my Lord, I was only…”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, ‘I was only doing it for your greater glory’ bleh bleh bleh, hey I don’t need it, ok? If it took me that much time and effort to create it, what makes you think I don’t mind when you morons – who, by the way, are supposed to be my smartest creation – go around shooting and killing and butchering each other? What am I, an idiot? Why the fuck did I go to all the trouble if you shitferbrains thought I’d think it’s ok for you to go blow each other up?”

Yakub was feeling more depressed than he’d ever felt in life. The thought that his afterlife – this situation he was in, and even this feeling he felt – might be eternal, sent a shiver up and down his spine. At least in life there was the escape offered by death, but there would be no such escape in the afterlife…

“HEY BOMB-BOY, YOU LISTENING? HEL-LOOO, GOD TALKING!”

“Yes, yes, sorry…”

“I mean look at dolphins, you don’t see them acting like a bunch of idiots; and if they are you can be pretty sure that it’s because humans are making them act like idiots for their own stupid amusement, making them jump through hoops and shit… I should have known it would turn out like this when those chimpanzees came down off the trees and started roaming around and evolving… But no, ‘Let’s not mess with the delicate tapestry that is life’ says Gabriel, and now look at the mess we’re in: we have a bunch of overachieving chimpanzees that call themselves Homo Sapiens going all ape shit over a million pointless things as they turn the entire earth – which is undoubtedly my greatest work yet – into a fucking toilet. And then you all come up here looking for a pat on the back and a lollipop, oh and just a little thing called Eternal Bliss! Gee that sounds like a fair trade doesn’t it, Yakub? You go and murder some women and children, I give you an eternity in heaven surrounded by beautiful virgins! What do you think I am, a schmuck?”

God continued mumbling and ranting away as he looked at the sheets of paper and scribbled things here and there, going through them one by one, only pausing every now and again to look up at Yakub and give him a menacing glare before burying his head back in the documents.

Yakub tried desperately to summon the courage to speak his mind, to get his thoughts off his chest once and for all, hoping that any misunderstandings could be cleared up and his virtuous act of martyrdom finally recognized.

“Your graciousness…” he started, but was quickly interrupted.

“Just God will do, thanks, now what are you trying to babble?”

“Well… uh… God…”

“Just God.‘Uh God’ won’t do…”

“I feel… I feel I have to say something otherwise I feel I’m going to…”

“Feel for some touchy feely feelings with your feelers? What?”

“It’s just that, I am a loyal and devout follower of the… I mean of your Holy Book…”

“Which holy book?”

Yakub was mortified at such a question.

“The Holy Book, your holi-…”

“Oh, and what would that be, wait let me guess, The Absolute and Completely Definitive Last Word of God Ever? The TACDLWGE?” said God facetiously, pronouncing the acronym “tackdilwiggy”.

Yakub felt offended, as if God were blaspheming against the Holy Book, HIS Holy Book, the one he himself, the almighty, the all-merciful had written! He felt the ridiculous sense of being offended by God for blaspheming against God.

“Yes, well, God, the Holy Book, your Holy Book states, as you know…”

“Wait a minute, how do you know it’s my holy book?”

“What?” Yakub was shocked.

“Oh I’m sorry, let me rephrase that and put it in simpler terms. What I meant to ask was HOW DO YOU KNOW IT’S MY HOLY BOOK?”

“Are you kidding? Are you testing me? You’re testing me, aren’t you?”

“I asked YOU a question now didn’t I? I said, how do you know it’s my book? Don’t you think an answer is due when… say… GOD ASKS A QUESTION?!”

Yakub didn’t quite know how to answer. He had never really thought about it, he just always knew it was the Holy Book handed down by God to mankind. It was always sort of a thing you just know.

“Well,” he ventured cautiously, slightly annoyed that he had to answer such a question, but believing it was a test, and thus wanting to answer it as best he could. “Well, you say yourself that you wrote it.”

“Where?”

“In the book.”

“How do you know that’s me saying it? Anyone could have written it.”

“No they couldn’t.”

“Why not? If anyone can read and understand it, then couldn’t anyone also write it?”

Yakub was again searching for an answer, and he knew there must be an answer, a perfect, rational, all-explaining answer, but, he thought, he was no theologian. He regretted at that moment that he hadn’t read the Holy Book more often, and learned more of it, otherwise he was sure he would be able to answer the question.

“Hey dipshit, I asked you a question, why don’t you think anybody could have written that and not me?”

“Well… I’m no theologian, I am not a scholar of the Holy Book, and so…”

“You don’t need to be a theoscholarologian or whatever, surely. If you have taken upon yourself the responsibility and, what you will no doubt admit, is the serious duty of belief and faith, then you obviously will know at least why you believe in what you do, why you believe it to be the Truth, and finally why the truth of it is beyond all reproach, or am I wrong?”

“No, you’re not wrong, of course…”

“Of course I’m not, because if I were wrong I wouldn’t be God would I, fuck knuckle?”

“Yes, of course.” Yakub felt beads of sweat running down his forehead. His hands were clammy. He thought back to the question but his mind was getting slightly addled, not only by the weightiness of the questions posed to him, but his own emotional state and the feeling of panic which he still had not been able to shake off. “Well, to come to the point, it would have been impossible for any human being to write the Holy Book. The words, the insights into the past and the future, the prophesies, the compassion, the mercy, the depictions of heaven and hell, the beauty of the language…”

Yakub was now feeling more at ease, he believed in what he was saying and he believed he was finally affirming his faith and giving God exactly what he wanted to hear.

“… and the wisdom of millennia would be as if a grain of sand in comparison to just one single letter in the Holy Book of Books, the oceans would be akin to but one drop in the majestic spirit of the all-seeing and the all-powerful, the stars in the universe would be as if…”

“AH, SHUT UP!”

Yakup jumped back.

“You’re just quoting lines from the TACDLWGE! Anyone can do that. It’s like using a prophet’s prophesy as proof he’s a prophet.”

Yakub couldn’t believe his ears. This was getting too much for him. He felt his muscles tensing, he felt his nerves tightening and straining, he felt his head throbbing. His violently beating heart felt like a derailed locomotive heading for a precipice, as if aware of its own impending doom.

Finally, Yakub gathered himself together. He felt a reckless courage welling up within him, and for the first time he felt his fear receding and giving way to something that resembled anger… even, he thought, defiance.

“I do not have to know, I believe in the Holy Book, I believe in you, and that is all I need to know,” said Yakub, immediately realizing that he was in the unenviable situation of actually trying to defend his faith in something which was questioning its faith in itself.

Yakub felt something new surge within him, something he had never felt before. It was a strange, foreign feeling. All his life he had lived for an ideal, and ultimately his ideal was God. He had served God in life, he had prayed, he had tried to be a good man, to live by the word of the Holy Book, to follow the example of his prophet… and, ultimately, he had given his life – and taken the lives of others, of infidels – for the sake of his ideal. But although this commitment of his, this belief, had inspired within him a sense of power and a sense of virtue, and a belief in his own unerring moral fortitude, he had all his life never felt that he was anything other than a submissive servant, as if he were always in the shadows of something bigger, as a mere subservient pawn, albeit the most happy, fortunate and blessed of pawns.

But now he felt something far beyond what he felt as a pawn, as a mere believer, as one who has submitted to a power far greater than him. He felt, instead, something else, a sense of exhilaration. Now, standing defiantly before God, his chest protruding, his arms hanging – as if prepared to carry out any task that might be asked of them – Yakub felt that he could hold his own against the blasphemy of God upon himself, that he could – and would – defy him, even though he knew this made little sense. At that moment he felt that he was even more upright, devout and righteous than even God himself. In short, he felt a sense of rebellion, and it felt good.

“Do you think I am a blasphemer, Yakub?” It was as if God had read his mind.

“I think you are testing me, and I will stand firm to my belief in you.”

“Perhaps I am testing you, but we will find out soon enough…” God paused for a moment, never taking his eyes off of Yakub. The documents he had before him were now completely discarded, shoved to the side of the table behind which God sat.

“Tell me this Yakub, do you think a mere belief justifies the killing of others and yourself?”

Yakub did not immediately answer. He thought of the question, unflinchingly, unhesitatingly. He looked down at his feet for a moment, and then he looked back up and gazed directly and defiantly into God’s eyes and said, “Yes. If it serves your interests, then yes I do.”

“And you don’t think that the taking of a life is the most serious crime of all, almost as if you yourself were acting like God, as if you yourself… were me? How can you take it upon yourself to be judge and arbiter of right and wrong, good and evil, and take people’s lives with such blithe indifference, when I, God, am the creator, the giver and taker and Supreme Judge of all life? Who are you, that upon a mere belief decide it is your right to kill another human being? Do you think you are greater than me?”

“I do not believe it is my right, my Lord,” interrupted Yakub. “I believe only that it is my duty. Thus I do not act in your stead, thus I do not act as if I were God, for it is only the right of God to take life. For me it is rather a duty, and this duty has been charged upon me by you, my Lord...”

“It has been charged upon you not by me, but by your belief in me,” said God.

“It is the same thing,” answered Yakub with an unflinching glare.

“Ha! And yet you cannot prove to me that what you believe is not the mere babble of men, is not some politically motivated scheme meant to hold sway over mankind by taking advantage of their ignorance, by preying on their fears, and by coddling to their hopes, so that men may satisfy their lust to dominate fellow men and profit from their dominance over them. You can offer no proof that what you consider a ‘Holy Book’, the TACDLWGE, is not just another device in the spiritual and moral enslavement of those who are made to submit to its laws, its codes and its demands, all offered them with the reward of some ludicrous heaven that contrasts with the threat of punishment in some ridiculous hell!”

“And can you prove to me, my Lord, that you did not write the Holy Book? Can you give me evidence that my belief is false? If indeed you say you did not write the Holy Book, I will assume that you are saying that as part of your test of my faith, and I will thus not believe you, and I will thus stay true to my faith. So tell me, can you ever prove that you did not write the Holy Book? Can you ever prove that my faith is wrong? Can you even prove that you are God, and not Satan?”

God was clearly taken aback by this question. Now Yakub’s voice was raised.

“No, my faith, my devotion, my belief is too precious, too important even to let You question my faith in you. If I have to, I will oppose you as I have opposed all blasphemers and all infidels for your sake. You are too important, and do you know why? Not because you are perfect, but precisely because you are not, precisely because of one great error in your entire creation. No matter what you have done, no matter what the magnificence of your deeds, there is one thing and one thing only which tarnishes it all, which casts a great shadow over everything you have done.”

“And what is this?” God asked with captivated attention.

“Doubt. And that is why I say that you are not perfect, for in a perfect universe there can be no Doubt. But sure enough, in yours there is. If the entire universe were your creation, if everything had emanated from you, then everything is you, because something cannot be created from nothing, and since you existed before all things, before all matter, then all matter must have come from you. And if, furthermore, you, God, are One and Indivisible, then it stands to bear that You are All and All is You. And so if this were the case, then you, God, would be self-evident in nature. You, the hallowed progenitor and origin of everything, from the tiniest atom to the greatest galaxy, You, in a word, would be without doubt. You would be self-evident. There would be no need for prophets, for books, even for belief or faith on the part of men. All would simply be God, and God would simply be, without any more need for belief. But as it is, your universe is faulty, your universe includes Doubt, and therefore we – I – must continue to believe that you are perfect, precisely because of your imperfection.”

“You dare blaspheme against your God!?”

“You dare let blaspheme your believer?”

“In this holy book, I, God, am infallible and good, in fact, I am the supreme embodiment of Good, of course, because I am the source of all creation. But you have just now said that I am not who I am, for an imperfect God is no God! You are blaspheming against your religion, your belief, your faith, your God!”

“And by sowing Doubt into your universe, you are blaspheming against your creation, against your own existence, against your Truth. By asking for proof you are annihilating your right as God, as the supreme judge and the supreme Father. Perhaps what I believe is, as you said, like using the prophet’s prophecy as the proof of the prophet, but that is all I have to hold on to, that is all I have to believe in, otherwise the world, life, the universe would be pointless, meaningless, void… But you, by letting Doubt reside like a weed in your creation, and then by asking for proof of something which is forever under the shadow of this overbearing doubt, you are blaspheming against yourself. You see, our belief and faith can only exist where there is Doubt. You see that the Truth we seek, the Truth we believe in, can only be True because of Doubt. In other words, my Lord, our belief and faith is too important to be spoiled even by You. Because we lack perfection, that is why we must believe in it, imagine it, and hope for it.”

“And would you kill and die for that belief even though you now understand the Doubt?”

“All the more so. For without belief, without the belief in the prophet, the Holy Book, and in you, God, without all that, then what would it matter anyway if all men died, and if I were to die with them, indeed if the entire universe were to simply disappear? Nothing. All killing and all death would be meaningless, and purposeless, and all of equal indifference if one should live or die. But with belief, our killing and our deaths have purpose, they have aim, they have a goal, and they will take us to that goal.”

“Which is?”

“Your greater glory,” said Yakub with pride.

“And why do you believe you must kill for your belief?”

“How couldn’t we? If the Holy Book, your book, is the final word, if our religion is the one true religion, our faith the one true faith, how could we let those of false faiths exist side by side with us? Would we not be blaspheming in the eyes of God if we turned a blind eye and let the infidels continue to ignorantly tarnish your creation with their continued existence? By condoning them, by letting them believe in their false beliefs, are we not ourselves guilty and complicit in the continuation of falsity, evil and ungodliness in the world? Can we just sit back and not do everything in our power to spread your word? No, if this is our Book, if this is our Prophet, if this is our Belief, if this is our only answer to the ubiquity of Doubt, then all else must perish, either by force or by persuasion, otherwise we – your true believers – must perish, and so must You.”

Yakub paused briefly, looked down at his hands, and then looked up again at God, but no longer like a servant, but a master. He noticed the look in God’s eyes. They seemed feeble now, tired, almost pathetic. His figure seemed even older than before, slumping there over the desk, a miserable old man. His face was blank, listless, expressionless, even meaningless.

“And you know what, my Lord? If you do not like this, if you consider our killing to be indecent, then you, and only you, are to blame. Not because of what we believe you have taught us through the Holy Book, not because of the religion and the prophet you have handed to us… No not for any of these reasons, but for one reason and one reason alone: Doubt. Thus, you, God, are beside the point. You, God, through your malice or your mistake, have given us our need for faith, our need for belief, and we will stick to them despite you. For all I care, you may or may not be good, you even may or may not exist, but I will always believe you are good, and I will always believe you exist, and I and others like me, will always give, take and dedicate life to the one True Way.”

“Which is born of a blemish, an imperfection?”

“Yes.”

“In other words, your belief is a contradiction?”

“Yes, but our belief is too important to be sacrificed even to a contradiction.”

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Complete silence descended on the office as God and Yakub sat there looking at each other, both of them now disdainful of the other, both of them sickened by the other’s presence. They found each other’s company to be burdensome, weighty, even shameful. God quietly collected up his documents and started thumbing through them again. Then, when he had gone through the very last sheet, he bunched them up in his hands, threw them in the desk drawer, and rose to his feet, although with a little difficulty, considering how frail he was. Yakub felt he should rise too, but didn’t.

“Well Yakub, I’ll be leaving now, and I don’t know if I’ll be back. I might and I might not. In the meantime, this is your office, you have everything you need. Your desk, a couple of chairs. In the top drawer here you have a record of all your days and deeds, everything you’ve ever done, everything that has led you here. That’ll be your only pastime here, your only diversion, your only reading material. But don’t look sad, I find everyone soon becomes engrossed and can never stop reading and rereading about themselves, so at least you’ll have something to pass the timelessness.”

“Will you return?” Yakub asked the question in a haughty and rebellious manner as God began moving toward the wall. God turned around with an indifferent expression.

“Maybe.”

Yakub took the documentation of his entire life out of the top drawer and laid it on the table in front of him. The stack of papers felt heavy in his hands, heavier than he expected it would be. He looked back at God.

“I have one more question,” he said.

“Go ahead,” offered God.

“Is this heaven or hell?”

God paused for a second before answering. “That’s for you to decide.”

God disappeared through the wall. Yakub sat back and waited for God to return.

10/8/11