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God Lay Dying

God Lay Dying
by Stewart Wilson

Before I tell you this, you have to know. I'm not a religious person. I was brought up Christian, but just about everyone I know was. Doesn't mean I believe any of it. It's just one of those things. I don't think I believe in Christianity or angels or any of that even now.I have to say this so you don't think I've had one of those Baptist conversions, "finding God". Not me, didn't happen. At least, not like that.

I found God. He was sat in the parking lot of a 7-11, looking for the world he'd lost. He looked like one of those movie stars, you know the ones. Tough-guys who've gone grey. Tommy Lee Jones, or Clint. Yeah, he looked a lot like Clint, now I think about it. I looked at him, and there was this sudden thought, right htere in my head. "Holy shit, that's God." Not scary, no thunder and lightning or choirs of angels. Just a guy who looks a lot like Clint, in jeans and a button-down shirt. I couldn't thikn of what else to do, so I sat next to him.

We talked. I can't remember what about. I do remember that he was kinda sad. He kept saying that he couldn't find something, so I asked him what. His spark, he said. The little bit of his self that he put into the world, the shard of divinity that he left here. But, he said, he couldn't find it any more. He didn't want to talk about it, so I asked him about the Red Sox, and he told me it was their own fault. They shouldn't have let the Babe go.

I didn't see God for a while, though I did go back to that 7-11 regularly. Pack of Marlboros each time, same as I got that day. it became a little ritual for me. I'd sit outside and smoke one, thinking about baseball and the state of the world.

The next time I saw God was three months later. He was older, his hair had almost all gone and his body was thinner. I had to ask him what'd happened. He told me how he couldn't find it. The spark had gone, people had taken the world he had made and put himself into, and they had made it theirs. None of it was his any more, just a world humans had made for themselves. The churches, temples, every religious institution in the world was just a vehicle for humans. The only thing that was keeping him going was the faith of the few people who cared for the whole world, but it couldn't keep him going for long.

He coughed as he spoke, like a sixty-a-day man with a tumour the size of a softball in each lung. I couldn't help feeling sorry for him, but he waved me away. Not my fault, he said. Not anybody's fault. Faith was and is a choice, after all. I said I was sorry, that I would try to find that spark of his, and I got up to leave. Tell the truth, I felt ashamed. Of myself, and of my race. We get this glorious planet, and we ruin it. We exploit a giant living organism for our own benefit. I had trouble sleeping for a week after that.

I stopped going back to that 7-11. Not all at once, but within a month I didn't see the place. I was scared of what I'd see. Then I found myself driving over to a friend's place, and I had to stop off for a pack of cigarettes. Feeling like an idiot, I pulled my car into the parking lot, went inside, bought the cigarettes and a cheap lighter, and left.

I was halfway to my car when I saw him. Sprawled on his back on the asphalt. God lay dying in the parking lot of the same 7-11 I'd first met him. I had to go see him, ask him what was wrong.

The planet was ours, he told me. He'd been living off the faith of people but that wasn't enough. He did tell me that he didn't blame us for it, and I knew that to be true in my heart, with the force of the Eleventh Commandment. He realy didn't blame us. We had done what he had wanted us to do. But, he said, that wasn't any reason for people with faith to give it up. They were doing good not just for him, but for everyone and everything on the planet.

I had a hard time taking that in. In the end, I stood and turned away, tears welling up in my eyes. I couldn't stand to see God die. When I turned back, he was gone. No note, no parting words I could share with the world to become a prophet, no last reason for me to forego my sinful ways and have faith. Just a cigarette lighter, a silver Zippo, with a cross embossed on it.

I can't say I have faith now, no more than I did before meeting him. But I go to that 7-11 every single chance I get, and I try not to be so much of an asshole. I like to think it means something. Maybe not to anyone up in Heaven, but maybe they don't matter so much as the guy down the hall, yanno?



( 9 informants — We want information! )
May. 16th, 2004 04:04 pm (UTC)
Wow. That was really something else, Stew. I definitely like it. Well done.
May. 16th, 2004 04:04 pm (UTC)
Very nice, love. A sad smile from me and then some.
May. 16th, 2004 06:46 pm (UTC)
You should submit that. Somewhere. Anywhere. It's a really poignant little piece that I'm enamored with after a single reading.
May. 16th, 2004 07:40 pm (UTC)
This is the best thing I've read since American Gods.


Send it somewhere and get it printed.

May. 16th, 2004 09:55 pm (UTC)
That was one of the most amazing things I've ever read in my life.
May. 17th, 2004 02:22 am (UTC)
I second (or third) the notion that you need to submit it. That was fucking amazing.
May. 17th, 2004 12:24 pm (UTC)
Everything everyone else said above. Especially, get it printed.

Stew, that really made my day. Talented? Very. Thank you so much, for that piece.
It's so different from your usual writing... and very poignant.
Please, do something with it. Get it printed. That was amazing.
May. 18th, 2004 01:12 am (UTC)
Wow. Just wow.
May. 24th, 2004 08:16 am (UTC)
faith is a powerful thing in the hands of a great writer
had a conversation about the state of the world and would we be here in another 3000 years some say no and had much evidence to prove it.... but reading this made me think. though we are ruining what we have of this beautiful planet, there are still people who have faith not in a god but themselves their ability and will that earth can be saved and with it human kind. i'm not sure but i think you are one of these people, you do not need to publish this piece but allow others to hear it and come here to read it. the setting of a personal journal makes it more poigiant for it is, though fiction, a glimpse of what we can feel and thats what makes us human to be moved by your words. and i was very moved. religion is about faith, to be religious is just a belief in yourself as part of a whole and using that belief to better the self; awareness, emotional and spiritual. thank you.
( 9 informants — We want information! )



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