by Arnold Snyder
“Not a bad start, Don,” he said, pulling a seat from another table to sit with us at our table for two.
“Not a bad start?” I said. “I’ve already solved the world hunger problem. There’s no more famine.”
Lulu’s hand was resting on top of my thigh beneath the table and every once in a while, she’d give me a squeeze. Not hard, just enough to let me know she was thinking about my dick.
“I’ve been watching your progress,” Flash said, “and I admit you’re becoming a decent God.”
“Decent? I put an end to death! And sickness! And war! What the fuck do you want? I hope you told the last guy what a shitty job he did.”
Lulu had a look of confusion on her face. It struck me that she couldn’t see Flash. He was my hallucination. This was getting too complicated. My hallucinations couldn’t see each other.
“Look, Flash,” I said, lowering my tone and facing him directly. “Don’t get your hopes up. I’m sure none of these latest miracles will ever happen. This is just silliness now. I’m making things up as I go along. None of it’s possible. I’m entertaining Lulu.”
“Not possible?” he said. “Those two words shouldn’t even be in your vocabulary. Half the Bay Area is talking about the magic giraffe in Oakland. The other half is talking about two Oakland cops who drove their squad cars to Kauai.”
I turned to Lulu. “I’m sorry about this,” I said. “I know you can’t see who I’m talking to. Forgive me. Some hallucinations are just so real I have to deal with them.”
She scrunched up her face and drew back. “What are you talking about? I see your brother clear as day. He’s not a hallucination.”
“But you look so confused,” I said.
“I’m confused because I didn’t know you had a twin brother, and it’s very impolite of you not to introduce me to him. Are you guys like the Trinity, except there’s only two of you and you’re both God at the same time?”
Flash reached his hand across the table. “Forgive me for not introducing myself,” he said, taking Lulu’s hand. “I’m … well, Don calls me ‘Flash,’ so you can do the same. I’m very glad to meet you. And, no, I’m not like Don here. I can’t do miracles or anything like that. I’m just acting as a temporary consultant to him, you might say. And I know you two are going to accomplish great things together.”
“We are!” she said. “You wouldn’t even believe all the stuff we’ve done already.”
“I know all about it,” Flash said. “But you’ve barely got a start.”
“Barely a start?” I said. “I’ve put an end to war!”
“We’ve put an end to war,” Lulu corrected me. Her hand under the table gave me a quick squeeze, then slowly moved to my crotch. My dick was not adjusted well for any attention, kind of twisted and rolled downward. Now I could feel her fingers slowly walking up what must be the fly of my jeans, looking for the zipper pull.
“The immediate and very successful end to war is only temporary,” Flash said. “I commend you on that. But look at the lead story on NBC News one year from today.”
As her fingers continued to work beneath the table, Lulu pulled out her phone with her free hand and looked at the screen. “How do I see the news in a year?” she said. “Can you show it to me, Don?”
“One year from now?” I said. “Well, I can turn the clock ahead 365 days. That’s not difficult.” I didn’t have to say any magic words. I didn’t have to wave my hand or create a puff of smoke. All I had to do was think it. “Okay,” I said. “It’s now next year.”
The lights in the restaurant were out. It was obviously closed. We were sitting in a cold dark room. There were boards on the windows. Other than for our table and three chairs, there was no other furniture in the room.
“This place is out of business,” I said. Though I’d spoken softly, the hollow space echoed my voice.
“Most businesses are out of business,” Flash said.
I knew that. I knew everything, but it was hard to keep it all in mind. It was just too much shit to know.
“NBC News,” Lulu said, staring at her phone.
I looked at her. She had humungous breasts and appeared to be about twenty. Her hand had found the zipper and she was pulling it down one notch at a time.
She read the headline aloud:
Israelis and Palestinians
with Ham Sandwiches
“What kind of a war is that?” I said. “How do you fight with ham sandwiches? They should be having a picnic!”
“Don, it’s the Jews versus the Muslims,” she said. “They can’t eat pork. And there’s mustard all over the Gaza Strip. You should see these pictures. Do you know what that place is going to smell like a week from now?”
I did know. Jesus Christ.
“That’s not my fault,” I said. “I didn’t create their conflict. That was the guy before me. I inherited his problems. I’ll fix it somehow. I can do anything. At least it’s a small area.”
“Small?” Flash said. “Don, the Gaza Strip is now the size of … well it’s three times the size of what China was before you created the all-new and improved expandable Planet Earth. Do you have any idea how big the planet is now?”
I knew exactly how big it was and the exact rate at which it was expanding. In fact I had to continually increase the size of the sun and the entire solar system just to keep the whole thing running smoothly.
“Pretty fucking big,” I said. “But no one’s hungry and everyone has a place to live, and there’s no more disease or any kind of physical disability or ailment. And nobody worries about dying.”
“And almost no one’s working because nobody has to work,” said Flash.
“And that’s a bad thing?” I said.
“Just sayin’. You won’t find many restaurants around anymore. Or supermarkets. Most people have no money, and don’t need it.”
“There’s no more money?” Lulu said.
“Oh, there’s a money cult that a small percentage of the population belongs to,” Flash said, “mostly for diversion and entertainment. They keep the communications media alive, and still indulge in eating, but not much else.”
“Maybe I’ll like this world better,” I said. I turned to Lulu. “What does it say about the ham sandwich war?”
“I stopped reading about it after it mentioned the smell. I’m looking at what’s trending online.”
“Lots of crazy stuff. Satellite pics of unknown oceans and uncharted continents. Napoleon is demanding the return of his empire. Hitler has returned to his first love—painting. JFK was spotted with Marilyn. And Jackie’s fuming. Neanderthals are petitioning the U.N. for recognition. The United States now has more than eighty presidents, all claiming to be the one true president. And no one cares.”
“Nothing ever changes,” I said, looking around at the dismal and dirty room. “This is depressing.”
“Are you kidding?” Lulu said. “Sandwich fights are way better than gun and bomb fights. You’ve made a real improvement to the planet, Don. I’ll bet people love you like never before.”
“Love me? Nobody knows I exist. You’re the only person who knows I’m God, and you do not have my permission to tell anyone else.”
“After we’re married,” she said, “we’ll get you a publicist.”
“I don’t want publicity. I’m trying to stay under the radar.”
“People should know about you. Do you realize how famous you could be?”
“I don’t want to be famous. I don’t want people to know anything about me. I wish I was invisible.”
I could see wheels turning in her head at this idea. “Could we be invisible?” she asked.
“Sure,” I said.
“That could be interesting,” she said, apparently no longer interested in doing PR for me. “We could go anywhere and nobody would see us.”
“Easy as pie,” I said. “Where do you want to go?”
“I’ll have to think about it … We could crash Hollywood parties and no one would be the wiser.”
“Why would we want to do that?”
“Think of how interesting it would be. And we could listen to private conversations between politicians and world leaders.”
“I can’t think of anything more boring. I hate politicians. They’re all scumbags.”
“We have to get you a website,” she said with a conniving glint in her eye.
“No we don’t.”
“Yes. Someplace where people could ask you questions.”
“I’m not answering any questions. I really don’t want any interaction with people. People are dangerous. I don’t want to get locked up.”
“They can’t lock you up. You can just make yourself invisible.”
“And then I’ll come down from this trip—or flashback, or whatever the hell it is—and I’ll be locked in a room with rubber walls and a man with a monocle will be peering at me through a little hole in the door. Been there. Done that.”
“Don, you keep thinking you’ve gone crazy, but you haven’t. You’re more sane than you’ve ever been. Except that now you’re God. You should be thrilled about it, not paranoid. Most people would give anything to be in your shoes.”
I turned to Flash. “Is it a good idea for God to be famous?” I asked him. “Or is it better to keep a low profile?”
“Don,” he said with a bored yawn, “you’re all-knowing. You know the answer to every question before you even ask it. You have no need for me anymore. I’ve steered you in the right direction and my job is done.”
“Thanks for nothing,” I said. I really was tired of seeing Flash. I hated him. “So hit the road already. Lulu and I have some personal business to attend to.”
And like that, he was gone.
By this point, Lulu had gotten the zipper down and had inserted her hand into my pants, beneath my underwear, and was trying to figure out how to yank my dick to straighten it out. She kept leaning into me and inconspicuously purring into my ear.
In the most suggestive voice I could muster, a voice that said I want your body now, I said, “Your place or mine, Lu?”
The look in her eyes said she’d heard me loud and clear. “What about your wife?” she said.
“Did you forget? It’s a year later. My divorce decree was finalized months ago. I’m a free man. You are really looking great. I love your new boobs. Can I play with them tonight?”
“Don, you’re so unromantic. I already told you no sex till we’re married.”
“I’m so horny for you I can’t help myself. You’re the one who told me about your crazy fantasies.”
“But we’re not married.”
“But we’ve got it all planned out. We’re heading for Vegas tomorrow.”
“Really? There’s no prenup, is there?”
“Prenups don’t exist anymore. There are no more lawyers. No more courts. No more laws. We’ll go to Vegas tomorrow and get married and have a honeymoon in Hawaii and a wonderful life. And absolutely no prenup or anything to do with lawyers. Just me and you.”
“But if there’s no more legal system, how can we get married?”
“Weddings are still performed in Las Vegas. As entertainments.”
“Wow, everything’s so different … I think you might have made a really wonderful world. I’m proud of you, Don, I really am. But if we go back to your place right now, do you want to do … what I’m thinking you want to do? Because we’re not doing anything with maraschino cherries until we’re married.”
“But I’m God!” I said. “I can do anything I want!”
“Not with me.” She pulled her hand out from under the table, abandoning my dick that was now outside my pants, and she held up her hand and looked at it.
I looked at it.
She looked at me looking at it.
“Why don’t I see an engagement ring?” she said.
“Lulu, you’re really pushing it.”
“But, Don, you asked me to marry you, so you’re supposed to have a ring for me! It’s tradition. You don’t want me to feel slighted, do you? You don’t want me to think you’re cheap …”
“Would you like the Hope Diamond? It’s big and blue and very pretty.”
“Yes! Isn’t that the biggest diamond in the world?”
“No. Far from it. The biggest diamonds haven’t been discovered yet. But I can get you the absolute biggest if you’d prefer that one.”
“You realize it won’t fit on your finger. It’ll be beautifully cut but so large you’ll have to wear it on your wrist like a bracelet, or maybe around your neck.”
“Look in that box on the table,” I said, nodding toward an ornately carved wooden box in front of her on the table.
She looked surprised to see a box sitting there she hadn’t even noticed before. She picked it up. “It’s heavy,” she said. “Oh, my god, I can hardly believe this is happening. You did remember the ring! I’m so sorry I misjudged you, Don.”
I hadn’t actually thought about the ring until she brought it up. But why should I burst her bubble?
She lifted the box lid and gasped. She removed the engagement bracelet. It was woven 24K gold and set with a diamond the size of a softball.
She was beaming but I was becoming less enamored of her. She was so damn high-maintenance. Never satisfied no matter what I did for her.
“Now, Don,” she said, not looking at me but still staring at the diamond, her diamond, enthralled, “I can’t sleep with you tonight. It would be bad luck for the bride to sleep with the groom the night before the wedding.”
I was about to protest that there was no such thing as bad luck for God, when I stopped myself because I really wanted a few hours to myself. Her insistence that we couldn’t sleep together was perfect. I could do anything I wanted with her. I could turn her into my 24/7 maraschino cherry slave girl if I wanted … but that would take all the fun out of it. I didn’t want to make her obey me or even love me. I wanted her to have her own mind and opinions and crazy ideas. I was going to fuck her. I knew that. It was just a matter of time.
Right now, I needed time to think. I managed to tuck my dick back into my pants and get the zipper up.
“We’ll go to my place,” I said. “You can have the bedroom. I’ll sleep on the foldaway in the living room.”
Go to Chapter Twelve