Aboard My Train of Thought
RINGING THE CELESTIAL DOORBELL
© 1996, 2016 By Scott Endsley
Continuation From Story Four
A Brief History of the Planet Apathonia (As far back as anyone cares to remember)
Thirty Apathonian years ago archeologists discovered a large refrigerator buried with a note attached to the freezer: "Johnny, I'm keeping the kids, car, house, and food.... I'm leaving you with the mortgage, credit cards, and orthodontist bill!!! Oh, but you can have the luggage, sweetie... YOU'LL NEED IT WHEN YOU MOVE OUT!!!! " Right below the note was a small calendar with the date O.G.U.8.1. circled. Apathonian archeologists are to this day still in disagreement with one another as to whether this was B.C. or A.D. (Before Coffee, or, After Dinner). Most agree, however, that it was definitely before coffee, considering the writer's rotten disposition. Albeit the recent archeological evidence presented above is contradictory to the devout Authoritarians, a small outlawed religious faction who believe Apathonia was created in the year O.G.I.8.1.2., when according to them, Anthony, the Divine Author of Life, became bored with himself and created a "Drude", or man. Anthony was pleased with his creation, but didn't know exactly what to do with him. For that reason, he gave him a brain and entertained himself with all the tricks he could teach him. He then invented the circus, where he could show off his drude. But there was a problem... he had no one to show him off to. So he reached in his drude's ear, and out from a gob of earwax mixed with his own spit, Anthony created a "Prude", or woman. Day after day his drude would perform tricks for the prude, but she was unimpressed, hence he had to learn new tricks to entertain her.
The drude daily attempted to exceed himself till the prude made a fuss one day, and insinuated with her eyes that his tricks were "old hat.". For two solid weeks the prude showed off a few tricks of her own. Infuriated with her competitive mindset, the drude tried to out-do her by doing a triple flip on the trampoline, thus landing on his head. The prude became overwhelmed with a rare mercy, and came running to his aid. The two then all at once discovered a new trick they could do together, and nine months later, had a daughter. Within one generation the drude became weary as his prude failed to give him a son, and begged for a new prude. Anthony obliged, and reached into his drude's ear, but couldn't find any wax. "Thou hast cleansed thine own ears, ye shall have to wait untill the morrow when thou hast not taketh a bath, OK?"
The drude patiently waited, and the next day Anthony combined some earwax and saliva and created for him the prude of his dreams. The drude was pleased and uttered his first word, "Martha..."
"John..." she panted.
"Martha..." he nudged passionately.
This went on for 20 years or so until Anthony had had enough, and created for them a language in which to speak... something he later regretted, for once they discovered their new ability they became engrossed in their own conversation, and forgot all about the divine author. Those who remained faithful, became less reverent of him, and began to refer to him merely as ...Tony. About six centuries later, those who still served Tony began living in fear as a tyrant king named Dolittle made it unlawful to live with any other purpose other than to serve him. Those who were caught in the act of doing or thinking anything on behalf their own benefit, were put to death with the atomic-egg-beater; a cruel device made into two incredibly strong arms and mechanical hands that cracked the transgressor's skull in two, over an oversized hot skillet, and scrambled the brains while they were being stirred. They were then feasted on by street beggars. (This was the Apathonian government's way of cutting down on crime and feeding the homeless at the same time.)
In Dolittle's later reigning years, a young drude with a charismatic aura about him began attracting a small following. No one could point out exactly what was so special about this chap, who called himself Orlando, but drudes and prudes alike would come from different towns and villages just to listen to him speak. The authorities didn't seem to pay him any mind until word got to King Dolittle that Orlando was throwing secret bridge parties. So Dolittle sent his secret police, garbed in clothing similar to Orlando's followers, to spy on him. One evening when they were playing for high stakes, Orlando threw down his last card and muttered, "Hey Guys, I guess I win again, hand over the dough!" Dolittle's men immediately arrested him and brought him before the wicked king as his followers dispersed.
"We've been observing you for a long time, how everyone follows you around at these illegal subversive bridge parties... How did you manage to clean out everyone's pockets last night, do you have some kind of supernatural capabilities? I expect the truth, are you the King of Kings?!" Dolittle venomously asked.
Orlando just sighed. "No, I was just the King of Clubs."
Dolittle became very indignant. "This man is speaking in riddles! To the atomic-egg-beater with him!"
On the way to his demise Orlando called out to his followers, "Fret not, for I have a sister not yet born from the seed of Tony. She will avenge ye! For as quickly as the evil night passeth away, Dawn shall surely come, and she's ready to kick butt!!!" His utterance was a mystery to most; however according to the few devout Authoritarians, he was merely explaining his significance as one of the triune personages of the Holy Authoritarian Trinity known as Tony, Orlando, and Dawn. Dawn was soon to come to Apathonia, though no one, not even Orlando himself, knew as to when. But when she would come, the Authoritarians would be safely lifted off the planet as the evil ones would be destroyed. The Authoritarians believed that Dawn was constantly expanding the universe to the limit, and when it was finally stretched so far... she'd let it go like a rubber band, crashing all the planets into one another. This was what had been come to be known as the ‘Big Boing theory.’
Authoritarians for centuries had lived in hope of the great promise Orlando gave them and remained a stealthy group, and only let their convictions be known to one another by tying little yellow ribbons around old oak trees around their meeting places. When a fellow Authoritarian was to come to the door of another believer, he was to knock exactly three times, to give an indication he was one of them.
They were a peaceable people, that is until one of them, a blind street beggar, happened to be walking along the Building of Buildings of the Council of Councils where the Greatest of Greats dwelled, and was all of a sudden hit right between the eyes by a flying book titled, Aboard My Train of Thought. "My eyes! Oh, my eyes!" he cried in pain. Then, opening them up, he suddenly received his sight once more, and picked up the book and began reading.
News and rumors, news of rumors, and rumors of news, flooded the planet about this lone vagrant who received his sight and began prophesying: "I have received divine revelation from Tony concerning sister Dawn of which Orlando spoke of!!! It says here in his book; ‘Dawn comes with Rosy Fingers!!!’ Brothers and Sisters, Dawn's avenging is nigh!!" he rejoiced to the mocking crowd, who began throwing stones as he fled.
The Greatest of Greats, Irol, Queen of The Apathonians, was putting on her morning makeup when she heard all the fuss outside. She quickly ordered her troops to disperse the situation. When she caught word about the initial incident, she ordered all books and reading material banned and burned. A public bonfire was set for the next day and everyone was to bring all their possession of reading materials in order to receive clemency. Not much was known about the wanted street beggar turned prophet, Kram Oingomeyer---except that he drove a Yugo.
All the while, it was an ordinary Monday morning in Eternity as the Creator of the universe launched into a woeful soliloquy: "None! None are sincere! They're all corrupt, everyone. They have no want or need of a father. All they care about are my promises of everlasting life in paradise. I tried to show them my love by giving my son, and not wanting sacrifice in return...just their love. Oh, but they're so good at being religious. They love their traditions... They love to dress in all sorts of worshipful garb, just to be able to be among the few, chosen amongst themselves, to sit at the table of the worthy, while my children eat of the crumbs. And just who are my children..."
"Pardon me, Jehovah..."
"Ah yes, Archangel Michael!"
"Pardon me, sir, but Satan wishes to speak to you in the courtyard.... Shall I tell him you're busy, sir?" Michael asked.
"No, no, no, send him in! Why, we haven't communicated since our wager over Job in the Old Testament," God laughed.
"Send him in... Sir?" Michael hesitated as God nodded him toward the ethereal door.
As Michael reluctantly opened the door and waved Satan in, Gabriel picked up his trumpet and heralded the arrival of another visitor. "What was that?!" Satan growled.
"Oh," Michael sighed, "just Gabriel pretending to be the celestial doorbell again. Come this way. Jehovah God will see you now." The long walk up to the Heavenly of Heavenlys was a bit much for the old man. Satan huffed and puffed his way to his Majesty's throne.
"Ah, Lucifer! What a pleasant surprise!" God announced.
"Lucifer?" Satan scoffed, "Why, you haven't called me that in years! Getting a little mellow in all your pomp and circumstance?"
"No, Lucifer, it's just...well, I've been hoping you'd come around one of these days. You know, it's not too late to...."
"Oh, knock it off, Jehovah, you know I'm not gonna bow down to you, ask for forgiveness and worship you. I've got my own kingdom now!"
God sat up in his throne and looked Satan sternly in the eyes. "Why do you refuse me, when you know I'm going to destroy you some day, hmm?"
Satan just laughed, "Ah, I don't know, guess just for the hell of it!"
"Well, I'm a busy man, Satan. What is it you want?" God snapped back.
"Rumor has it," Satan wiped the sweat from his brow, "that You're about to throw in the towel..."
"If you mean destroy the Universe, yes, I've thought about it," God sighed.
"Jehovah baby! You can't just up and do that! I've...er um...You've got more souls to win!"
God stood up and began pacing on his fireproof floor. "Earth is just slipping away, moment by moment. No one honors me anymore. No, there's not one who really loves me! Why do I bother to love them? It's just my nature, something I can't help, that's all I guess... I want a relationship with my people, and all they are interested in is religion."
"Quite a subtle diversion I created, heh?" Satan laughed.
"More people get burned everyday by religion than will ever be burned in hell, Satan!" God turned with a tear in His eye.
"Oh, Jehovah, just give them another century or two...."
"Nope, Satan, I can't wait any longer... I long for my son's return with those who have at least trusted in his promise. I just can't wait to see the look on their proud faces when I hold out my arms and say: 'Not one of you got it right, every one of you missed the mark, but welcome to my kingdom, because...... I love you..."
"Oh God!" Satan rolled his eyes. "Oh sorry, but this is all too much for me. All I'm asking for is a little extension. You're always talking about your mercy and your grace. Well, have a little mercy on me..."
"I've had more mercy on you than anyone else, Satan," God rebuked. "If I hadn't been so merciful, I would have destroyed you even before the garden incident!"
"Ok, ok! What about this guy with the radio show, claims you're coming back before next year! You always pride yourself of no one knowing when you're going to destroy the world. You can't let that fuzzy headed talk show host get the date right, can you?" Satan prodded.
"It would just be a coincidence!" Jehovah protested.
"I know that, and you know that, but the guy would then be a Prophet to the rest of the world. And then, once again someone would steal your show. Now we can't have that, can we?"
"People are going to believe what they want to, no matter what. I've offered an easy road to salvation by just accepting the blood of my son as an atonement for all sins committed, and yet people want something harder. They would rather buy their redemption than accept it for free. So let the guy be a prophet." God shrugged his shoulders.
"Ok then, let's talk about Apathonia. All these Authoritarians are going to go to their graves believing the Great Anthony caused the big boing, and never know of your love for them. The planet will perish without ever hearing of the good news, not knowing you sent your son in their place to suffer for their transgressions. How can you be so hardshell as the religious folks that make you ill? Where is that mercy you're so quick to expect from your children, huh?" Satan preached.
"Why Lucifer," God laughed, "I didn't know you had such a burden for my children's salvation!"
"Well, I uh...."
"Ok," Jehovah said, "I'll extend more time; but make no mistake, Lucifer, my children will be with me no matter what. I'm extending the time for you. You still have time to repent should you choose, though I, of course, know you won't. In spite of that, I'm offering you a continuance. Now, get out of here before I change my mind!"
Satan tipped his hat, and walked out the door pleased, though humiliated. Gabriel picked up his trumpet and announced Satan's departure as Archangel Michael approached the Holy throne.
"Will you be needing anything else, sir?"
"That's all the visitors I'll be seeing today," God said, "I'm a bit ill at ease..."
"Well, perhaps a good book, sir," Michael offered.
"Ah well, um yes." He took the book from Michaels hand, "’Aboard My Train of Thought,’ heh? Oh! by Clyde P. Hipwing! Yes, Yes! I like his stuff. He makes me laugh. Something those religious cronies swear I don't do.... Let's see... 'Looking out the window aboard my own train of thought, I suddenly realized I was on the wrong track'...Ho, ho, very good! I know just what he means!!!"
Safe within the womb of my private home, I awaited the birth of a quieter life. After trying several weeks, but failing, to find a decent job (because no one would hire me due to the security risk), I resorted to a meager paper route. I yearned for the days when I could write with little notoriety or consequence, but knew better than to even lift a pen or get behind a typewriter. How could such a once wonderful life become so useless and empty? Maggie, my only companion, as I said earlier had long since left for Hollywood and never wrote much. My only means of friendship with anyone was through my Amateur Radio hobby, but I rarely got on the air due to all the enemies I had made with the general public while running the country. Finally, one bleak and black Monday night, I decided in my drunken stupor I'd had enough. I took the small light-weight revolver to my right temple and pulled the trigger.... The television immediately came on as I discovered it was the remote, instead. While waiting for my eyes to focus on the bright tube, I heard the unmistakable voice of the new President, Ralph McCovey: "You cats need to write your senators and congressmen to support my tax cut. High taxes have stagnated the economy for years, man!"
"Here's to you, Ralphy!" I scoffed with the bottle launching toward my mouth, but suddenly changing course toward the TV. "So it's OK when you suggest it, huh Ralph?!!!"
"President Hipwing fought hard for this bill." Ralph went on, "He believed in America, though America didn't believe in him. Well, I did! And despite of what you pinkos thought, I thought he was a great president!"
I couldn't take anymore and staggered toward the television to turn it off. I picked up my bottle off the floor and took it to bed as if it was a cherished lover.
President McCovey became a national hero overnight, not so much for the fact he was America's first Black President, but because of his temperament. He demonstrated to America the nonconformist, independent, yet moral attitude it had longed to see in Washington for decades. Ralph had always looked up to me, though he never really admitted to it, until recently. He remained very indignant for me, and on one occasion had to be escorted off a live television interview with Barry King for threatening to punch the host's lights out for making a snide remark about my presidency.
Shortly after my resignation from office, my book, Aboard My Train of Thought, sold another half-million copies, making it one of the all-time best selling books. Despite my enormous success in writing, I spent most of my time behind the bottle, often waking either on strange curbsides or cold jail cells. Ralph wouldn't have stood to see me in such dire straits. He would have given me a verbal kick in the butt. "You lousy, good for nothin' loser, get off your fat fanny and show'em". But, Ralph was too busy running the country to know I was slowly killing myself with a deadly mixture of depression and drink.
Erstwhile, about 50 lightyears away from planet Earth on planet Apathonia, the religious sect known as the Authoritarians were once again living in fear for their lives. They sensed hardship was in store for them ever since the beggar-turned-prophet, Kram Oingomeyer, began preaching.
Not much was known about him amongst themselves, he pretty much kept his prior existence concealed from everyone, and for a good reason. Kram worked for the Apathonian government until the accident that left him blind. He was once in association with the Apathonian Secret Service for 17 years, and did research, studying planet Earth and its inhabitants. For three years he lived secretly among the humans observing their behavior, and learning at least a dozen human languages. But while reentering Apathonia's atmosphere after a voyage from Earth, his craft's heat shield consumed and he suffered multiple burns, but most tragic, he lost his sight. Kram later became a fanatical Authoritarian and gave up a promised comfortable retirement for the street life. He was persuaded that Queen Irol's regime was amoral, and that almighty Tony was going to destroy her as well as everyone allied with her.
Convinced that the book that befell his head and its writings were heavenly, he set out to find disciples who would accompany him to Earth in search of the Divine Author (myself) to carry back to Apathonia and expedite the birth of Sister Dawn, of which Orlando spoke.
In time their numbers became great, and in fear of her throne being toppled, the Greatest of Greats made it a capital crime to join the now-underground Authoritarians or be associated with them. If prosecuted, one could expect to lose his or her head in the atomic-egg-beater. Many Authoritarians were already in custody, and expected to be made examples of. But Kram had no fear of the repressive regime as he and his associates were scheming a way to hi-jack a government spacecraft and go to Earth to seek the Great Author. "Brothers, the good Author has left the key to his kingdom under the mat for us! Be of good cheer. No one can deliver us harm. We must go to this grand place called Earth, a place I have seen.... Yea, even been to! The Great Author speaks of a bliss called America. I've been to this America where people do and say as they please. Let us bring America to Apathonia!" Kram preached as they begin singing Authoritarian hymns.
"You have reached the White House comment line, if you wish to leave a comment for the President, please press one.... If you don't wish to leave a comment, but want to find out more about...."
"Come on! Somebody talk to me!" I exclaimed, slamming the receiver down, and then taking another swig from the bottle. Frustrated that I couldn't get through, I gave up and tuned around on my Walkman AM radio to give listen to the Flush Limbo show. I hadn't listened to Flush in a while, and wondered what he thought of Ralph's handling of affairs. (CLICK):
"So tell me, Irma, what exactly don't you like about the President's handling of the, what I call, arrogance in the House and Senate? What would you rather see Mr. McCovey do? Cause I want to find a general consensus among my listeners. Again, what should the President do?" Flush quizzed.
"Resign!" Irma insisted.
"That's right, I've never seen such a rude hoodlum in the White House ever! He's got no manners, the young man hasn't!"
"Yes, but Irma," Flush interrupted, "Finally something's happening out of Washington. For once we're getting something at face value and not just a facade! Wouldn't you agree that his handling of the Supreme Court nominee withdrawal was done in all-out candor? He didn't like the man or what he stood for. His words were 'waste him!' No prettied-up words, just 'Get rid of him'. I hope the man continues his business in such finesse."
"Well, Flush, son, I was brought up in the old school. We raised our hands in hope of our turn, we never spoke up to our elders, and when we disagreed we did so with respect, sir. So may I just suggest to you, sir, that you may have all the respect in the world," Irma interjected.
"Ok, ok," Flush laughed, "So you don't agree, that's ok, Irma, I'm glad you called, anyway.... Let's take one more call. Clyde in Mountain Oyster, Oklahoma. Hi, you're on the Flush Limbo program."
The immediate sound of someone guzzling down something flooded the airwaves as Flush quipped, "I hope that's orange juice!"
"Hey, Flush baby!! I can't believe I actually got through on the first try!! He, He!!"
"Uh, yeah, says here you want to talk about the president's personal hygiene. Now, Clyde, tell me why on earth do you want to discuss this particular issue?" Flush laughed.
"Yeah Flush, Drunken diddlys from the...."
Flush's demeanor changed a bit, "Hey fella, you can call elsewhere, we don't advocate drinking on this..."
"Come on, Flush, you don't wanna talk to the one and only President Hipwing himself? I figured with all the great commentary you gave, and an increase in your listening audience because of my administration, you'd want to at least thank me..."
"President Hipwing, it is a pleasure speaking with you regardless of your current state," Flush apologized after he realized with whom he was speaking.
"What, you have something against Oklahoma?" I slurred.
"No, I mean your immediate inebriated condition. Hang on through the break, Mr. President, we'd love to talk to you some more. We'll be back after these words, ladies and gentlemen." As the engineer clumsily put the commercial on, Flush immediately inquired as to my whereabouts and safety while sliding a note over to him to call the telephone company to trace my call.
"Mr. President, are you all right?"
"Couldn't be better, Flush! Just hittin' the sauce as they say. My life is just like this bottle of Scotch, Flush... almost empty, but still a few precious drops left," I laughed.
"Now come on, Mr. President, don't talk like that, you're scaring me."
"Oh, I scare you? What the hell do you care, Flush? You had a blast while I was in the White House, didn't you? So go ahead, have a blast over me now."
Flush had his longtime friend and advocate, William F. Bucktooth, who just happened to be playing a round of golf in the neighborhood, fill in for him for the rest of the show; while he himself devoted the rest of the afternoon trying to put some sense back into my sloshed brain cells "Now, Mr. President, I guess I never told you how grateful I was for your efforts in delivering the country from the clutches of the Honorable Homer. I guess you pretty much saved the world... I just want to say thanks for your efforts, sir!" Flush went on to say "I have nothing against you at all... I didn't care much for your policy, that's all, but I would have loved to have gone to a ball game or something with you.... We could still be friends..."
About 45 minutes into Flush's homage as I was trying to swallow the overgrown lump in my throat, there was the loud crash of someone busting through my front door as I observed three secret service agents, cautiously yet forcefully, netting me into what looked like a straitjacket. "Someone's just barged through my door! What's going on?" I was immediately whisked away then taken to Gladstone Psychiatric Hospital, where I was supposed to spend the next few days in detox.
DR: Ah, Clyde, what a pleasant surprise, are we feeling better!?
ME: Doc, I don't need to be here. I hate hospitals... people DIE in hospitals! Besides, I don't know if I can trust you anymore after the electro-shock therapy incident.
DR: I'm sorry Clyde, but I'm not going to listen to this rubbish. I have no idea of what you're talking about! But as for hospitals, I have to admit I'm not too fond of them myself either; ever since I experienced a strange phenomenon...
ME: What was it, Doc?!
DR: Well, I was only about 10 years old at the time and in surgery to have my appendix removed. I clearly recall floating up against the ceiling. I remember looking down and seeing the Doctor and his nurses discussing the seriousness of my situation, down below. I opened my mouth to speak, when suddenly, I realized my voice sounded unlike it ever had before... I witnessed a beckoning warm sunrise appearing through the uppermost of the venetian blinds. Then, I felt myself slowly descending back on the operating table...
ME: Wow, Doc, you had a near death experience!!!
DR: Nah, nothing like that, they just accidentally gave me helium instead of ether... Now Clyde, I'm your friend and your doctor, you'll just have to trust me and my word. By the way, they have just come out with this great medicine! And when they tried it on monkeys....
ME: I told you, no way, Doc. No meds!!!
DR: ...Any persecuting thoughts?
ME: How can you ask me that? I mean, someone breaks into my house and kidnaps me....
DR: It was for your own good, Clyde. You need to rest for a while and just forget the outside world.
ME: So tell me, Doc, was I that bad of a President? Huh?
DR: Now Clyde... gibberish, gibberish, gibberish...
ME: Man, I really made an ass out of myself all over the world on Flush's show. Ah, what do I care.... no one concerns themselves with my life anyway....
DR: We did want to surprise you, but for some reason there have been so many cards, letters, flowers, and telephone calls, the nurses have been working overtime just to keep up. But don't concern yourself with that right now. Get some sleep or I'll order the nurses to give you something. By the way, who's Flush?
I became suddenly flooded with emotion as to how many people really cared, and couldn't sleep for all the guilt I felt when I thought about it. How could I have sunk to such a low life? Ah, so what if I was a lousy President, I had a number one bestselling book, I thought to myself. Almost four million copies sold! Maybe writing was my calling after all. Maybe when this was all over I could write about the situation in hopes it would touch someone else's life and do some good. Just as startling as lightning striking the bark of a nearby tree, a heavy-set nurse shoved herself through the door and belched, "I've come to take your temperature!"
A bit stunned at first, I indicated no problem, and opened my mouth.
"I don't take temps orally," she belched even louder.
"What do you mean?!" I nervously asked, sinking under the covers.
"Look, I don't have all day!" she huffed.
"Oh," I laughed, "I suppose you take it under the arm pit... or uh, in my ear, huh?!?" I suggested while reiterating my prior nervous laugh.
"Nope, sorry!" She grinned her evil grin. Luckily, all of a sudden there was a huge thud as the hospital electricity shut down and all the I.V. alarms went off. The sound of women screaming down the hall triumphed over the early afternoon silence. The heavy-set nurse looked a bit perturbed and said, "Don't move, I'll be back!"
I immediately bellowed in relief, but as soon as she disappeared up the hall, she cried out, "Oh my God!!!"
"What!? What is it!?" I yelled out from my bed, helpless, as I was pretty much strapped in. As all the people in the hallway had either run for the elevators, or fainted, the hospital became abnormally quiet once more. I laid there sweating and wondering what was going on while praying that the brutish nurse would be back to protect me. Then the resonance of quiet approaching footsteps filled the hall. I sat trembling as they came closer and closer. Suddenly my startled eyes spied five fingers and a thumb round the door as it slowly creaked open. There stood a creature more hideous than I'd ever seen or imagined before. "Nurse, help!" I called out to the heavy-set barbarian, who had long vanished down the hall out one of the emergency exits.
"Your Great Authorship, sir," the creature bowed, "We've received your message on planet Apathonia. We've come to take you with us. Please help us in our effort to overthrow the evil one, I beg ye!"
"DOC! I NEED MY MEDS!!! HELP!!!" I panicked.
Under the light of his own glory, Jehovah God finished the book he was reading, Aboard My Train of Thought, and tossed it aside. "Archangel Michael, are you busy? Come in here," he called out from his throne.
"Yes, Your Holiness." Michael rounded the corner.
"This book that you gave me, have you read it?"
"Indeed, I have, sir" Michael snickered, "a bit on the silly side, wouldn't you say, sir?"
"Silly or not, have you noticed his plagiarizing from my book?" God protested.
"Well, now that you mention it, sir, seems I do recall something about manna falling from heaven in the first story," Michael laughed, "but, I wouldn't worry, sir, everyone with half a brain knows you came up with it first."
"That's not the point, Mike. People do these things all the time without asking me. It's not that I would say no, I'd just like to be considered before people up and do things."
"Well sir, they all know they can pray. Surely not all are forgetful of this," Michael suggested.
"Well, some more than others, I suppose," God sighed. "If only...." Before he could finish, Gabriel, the celestial doorbell, blared his trumpet. "Better go let the new arrivals in, Mike."
"Of course, sir, excuse me." Michael looked out the peephole of the blessed door. "Oh dear, God. It looks like there's been a disaster or something on earth. There's at least 200 souls outside Peter's gate waiting to check in."
God looked up from the book. "Yeah, it was a plane crash. Luckily no one suffered as it happened so fast. You know, I guess no one's going to understand till after judgment day about my love and mercy. Then they are going to see that the paradise I've promised will make all the suffering worthwhile in the long run. If only I had just got rid of Satan a long time ago, there would have been no suffering."
"Well, it's not your fault, Jehovah, he rebelled, and he knows his undoing is near. You tried to tell him, but he wouldn't listen. You've got a big heart, don't beat yourself over the head."
"Thanks, Mike." God looked up, "Well, we've got a busy day, go ahead and bring in the new arrivals."
Michael walked over the heavenly door again, opened it and called out, "Ok, Pete...send them inside!"
One by one they filed in line to go before God's seat of power, but they all just seemed to be looking around as if tourists at Graceland. God the Father stood up with his hands out and greeted them. "Welcome home, children! This is your new home for all time. I have many good things in store for you."
A rather scrawny looking man in the middle of the row raised his hand to ask God a question. "Yes, go ahead and ask, George!" God smiled.
The man was stunned that he didn't need to introduce himself and asked "I don't understand! There's not one missing from the plane. Apparently no one went to Hell!!! Now, I know all these people don't belong to my church. So how come they all made it here, huh?"
God laughed. "George, you don't go to Heaven or Hell for doing all the right or wrong things. You go to Heaven because you wanted it bad enough to make preparations in your heart... the same with Hell. The only reason you all are here is because you wanted what I've offered you. There is no other reason, George. Any other questions?" George looked a bit disappointed that Jehovah wasn't the ogre he'd long expected him to be. God began handing out keys to their heavenly mansions they had all been promised, when someone else suddenly spoke up, "Where is your son?"
God looked up at his free Triple A Road Service calendar he'd recently received in the mail, "Oh, he's out in the sheep bend right now... some varmints got inside the fence and he's dividing the sheep from the goats, as we speak. He should be returning with the flock any millennium now."
On our 2nd day of Soaring through the Milky Way galaxy, Kram Oingomeyer, and a few disciples who went along for the ride, were having a most troubling time convincing me of my divine manifest destiny. Still a bit troubled by my captors' appearances, I found it difficult to believe these strange beings meant me no harm. After a day and a half of my refusal to speak, I finally gave in, "What do you want of me? Your people have no need of me. I'm just a low life!!!" I insisted in hope they wouldn't find out I was the ex-President, for fear they might hold me for ransom or something.
"Author Hipwing. We beseech ye!... Please help our people in the struggle for self-autonomy. Our enemy, the Greatest of Greats, has our freedom under her feet. You sent us your word from afar, and we're listening.... Please help us, oh Holy One!" Kram pleaded.
Taken aback by Mr. Oingomeyer's apparent desperate plea, I realized these beings thought of me as some sort of god. But, what would give them this idea? So I figured if I played along they wouldn't harm me. "Oh you puny little ones," I scoffed, "how be it ye of little faith knew of my divine presence, and thus among the petty weeds ye kneweth where to findeth and eateth the fruit of my omnipresence.?"
"Huh?!" Kram scratched his bald head.
"How did you know where to find me?" I reiterated.
"Oh, I figured it out after reading this," the alien answered, handing me a copy of my own book.
"Where did you get that?" I asked a bit startled.
Kram then educated me with a long drawn-out story of how the book hit him in the face... thus returning his sight. Then once reading it, how it opened his spiritual eyes. At that moment Kram got on his right knee and began kissing my filthy Adidas. I was beginning to like the significance being paid me by these peculiar disfigured beings, but still, I was baffled how a copy of my book ended up on the other side of the Milky Way. Could it be that perhaps I did have a divine calling? I decided going to Apathonia wouldn't be so bad after all if I was going to be treated so godlike. "Ok Kram, you can stop kissing my feet and bring me my dinner. What have my subjects prepared for this journey?" I, the now Almighty Author asked with a command.
"Ah yes, my lord, what would you like? We have three-headed dongwazzle flesh steak, or spongy bootlicker soup, or Great Divine One, if you're hungry for a feast... the chef has prepared...."
"No, I believe... er um... You foolish heathen! I was just testing your knowledge. I, the divine Author, do not partake of such materialistic food. My food comes from above, and is absorbed in the soul and nourishes the spirit, then leaves my body through the infinite knowledge I speak... how could you insult me with such pig slop?!"
"Of course! Forgive me, Holy One!" Kram got down on repented knees once again and began kissing my feet.
"Ok, ok, you are forgiven, stop getting my tennis shoes wet, they'll shrink! Now, what will you have me do once back on Apathonia?" I demanded.
"The Greatest of Greats needs to be dealt with, your lordship. Our people have no minds for themselves. She's made laws making it a crime to be in possession of ambition. Because drudes and prudes alike have not thought for themselves for so many centuries, they have become conditioned to do nothing. Our population is dwindling due to the fact most have forgotten or lost interest in the prerequisites necessary for reproduction... The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!"
"So what do you want me to do, increase everyone's libido?! You don't need me; you need to bring back a bottle of Viagra!" I laughed.
Oingomeyer blurted out with an indignant tone, "With all respect, sir, it is no laughing matter!!... By the way, what's Viagra, some sort of soft drink?"
"I wouldn't know..." I blushed while trying to ignore Kram's irresistible yet unintentional pun, but soon after became distracted from our conversation as I noticed what appeared to be daylight slipping though the partially veiled window. "What's this, are we getting ready to land?"
"Yes, welcome to Apathonia, oh Great One!!"
I was just beginning to drop my guard around Kram... for he seemed to be an unthreatening sort. "Uh, you can knock off all that Great One stuff; dispite my universal significance, I'm just a regular guy just like you, Kram. From now on, why don't you just call me Clyde?"
"Clyde?!? Is that how you pronounce it?!" Kram laughed with an awkward bobbing of the head.
"Yes, Clyde. What's so funny?"
Kram could hardly catch his breath. "In Apathonian language what you pronounce as Clyde is the word used for urinal!!! You'd better let me refer to you as Great One around the others."
Always having its eye on The World, at all times....... This is NBS NEWS, serving the American people with the complete daily wrap up...... And now, here's NBS news anchorman.... Peter Waylon Jennings!!!!
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, we begin our report tonight with the possible alien abduction of ex-President Clyde P. Hipwing. According to a White House source, it began early Thursday afternoon when an un-named friend of the president checked him into Gladstone Psychiatric Hospital for severe depression and exhaustion. The President was there for no more than 2 days when suddenly, sources say, three small peculiar beings lowered themselves through a ceiling attic door. As most nurses and doctors fled, and many of them fainted, witnesses say they proceeded down the hall to the ex-President's room and supposedly abducted him and made an escape out of a secured window. With us on the scene is Ted Koppler. Ted, what new information do you have this afternoon?
Peter, I have two witnesses here at the Gladstone Mental Facility, two nurses as a matter of fact, who witnessed the event! Let's start with Ruth Snobgrass. Ruth, just what did you see!?
"Ok hun, I was at the front desk, and had just got finished with a bed pan... The light in room 203 had just gone off, and that was Mr. Michael's room. Mr. Michael had just had a BM and it was his first all week!! We were quite thrilled for him, considering all the fiber mixed with juice we made him drink. Anyway, Sally, one of the candy stripers let out a blood curdling scream...."
She saw the Aliens?!?!
"No, she had to clean Mr. Michael's bed because he didn't get to the port-o-potty in time!"
Yeah, yeah, when exactly did you see the Aliens?
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't. But Susan here, did! Tell them what you saw, Hun."
"I saw that each of them had two huge black eyes, a bulbous head, and six fingers on each hand. It was awful... I... I never want to see them again!!"
Did they say anything to you?... Did you communicate with the Aliens in any way, shape, or form!?
"Well, one of them did mention they had been traveling for two days straight... he was jumping up and down, holding himself, and kept repeating over and over, "Do you have a Clyde?! Do you have a Clyde?!" I checked the patient list, and the only Clyde I found was the ex-President, so I showed him where to go."
Well, there you have it, Peter, a couple of witnesses and their first hand stories. Back over to you....
Thanks, Ted. We now have on the phone a Dr. Giles Endicotsley, a retired university professor, who claims to not only know where the Aliens came from, but has been to their planet when he himself was abducted. He also claims to know what they want. Uh...Mr. Endicotsley, can you substantiate your claims with proof of any kind?
"Hello, Peter, all I have I'm afraid is me word. The aliens are from a distant planet 50 light years away, called Apathonia."
And just what do they want with the ex-President? Do you believe he is in harm's way?
"Oh, no, no, no. A friendly bunch I have to say. I don't know what they want with the President, but as for meself, the lads just wanted me to make a courtesy call to some blasted television station in Roswell, New Mexico. The Greatest of Greats merely wanted me to ask them for a copy of a silly program they had been receiving on television from earth...."
I see; just what exactly transpired with that, as you say, courtesy call?
"Well, a bit of a disaster, I'm afraid. The saucer crashed into a blasted weather balloon but my very dear colleague and friend, Derf, was kind enough to transport me back to my time frame. If you're familiar with the infamous rumor about a saucer crashing there in 1947, it's true... it was us. Bloody dreadful, it was. I was given the responsibility of notifying the US government about some grievances, expressed by the Council of Councils, concerning Apathonians being held here against their wishes. But, Peter, I don't really feel comfortable discussing much more than I've told you..."
Yes, Mr. Endicotsley, I understand you don't want to put your family through any more than what it's gone through already, and of course, there's also the family's safety to consider....
"Oh well, it's not really that so much as I don't want to give out any more information until the book comes out in May..."
Thank you, Dr. Endicotsley... I'm Peter Waylon Jennings, and we'll be back after these messages.
The Apathonian sun, Genodrah, was just on the verge of descending when Kram directed the pilot to find a secluded place to land in the Apathonian Evajom Desert, just outside of the capitol city of Tralalaboomdia. The flaming moon was just coming up over the eastern horizon, so we had no trouble perceiving a safe place to land after the Genodrahn sun had at last set.
The evening was filled with all sorts of strange sounds of various desert wildlife. The Evajom Desert was a ferine place during the planet's summer months as species preyed on other species for survival. In the distance one could hear the howling of the three-headed dongwazzle, a coyote-like canine with three heads that took turns eating, sleeping, or other doing other necessities, while the other two remained alert as caution against an attack from dissimilar animals that targeted them, such as barkbiters, or flying trees. They literally uprooted when a dongwazzle unsuspectingly took liberty on one of them, and attacked by pouncing on their victim while its roots would imbed into their skulls, and absorb their brains one head at a time. Dongwazzle is also a very kosher Authoritarian dish.
It never rained on the small pink planet of Apathonia, but the inhabitants never suffered for water because its large center core, starting at just less than 10 kilometers below its surface, was filled with liquid hydrogen. However, the barkbiters tore from their roots during the hot season, and flew heedlessly south in search of more shallow ground. The average mean temperature was around 20 degrees Celsius in the summer months and 15 degrees in the winter, so Apathonia was by far quite a cool planet in comparison with the Earth.
After walking some two hours, Kram located the gathering's dugout deepset in the fringe of a plateau. When we approached the metal shrapnel door, Kram had not knocked yet when the door slid open as several faces peeked outside. The Authoritarian fold were elated to see that Kram and his disciples had returned ok, but became timid as they noticed me following behind. "Brothers and Sisters," Kram spoke, "I have brought to you the Great Divine Author!!!!"
All immediately sensed an inevitable liberation from the Greatest of Great's evil empire would be soon underway, and rushed to my feet and began washing them with their tears, as I gently rubbed their smooth bald heads. "What is it you ask of me, children?... tell me what it is you want..."
"We want our freedom," they cried, "and our own America!!"
"You must learn to deem yourselves worthy of freedom... and soon you'll find your own America!!!" I insisted, lapping up all of the reverence being given me, like milk.
"Are you the Intellectually Inept?!" One of the elders asked.
"No! The Intellectually Inept are those who want to rob your minds... Depart from them, and look instead to follow the examples of the Cognitive Elite!" How everyone was still able to breathe I don't know, being it was starting to get REAL deep.
"Who are the Cognitive Elite, oh Great Author?"
"A certain schoolboy was flunking Algebra," I began, "He pleaded for assistance, though no one would help. Everyone was busy going on lunch break or going to recess, until finally he met a math tutor who was not only willing to help him with his homework, but furnished him with a place to study. The student not only passed the course, but received a B in the class.... I tell you the truth, all that refused to help him before failed to study, and there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth come test day when he refused to give them the answers!"
"Master, we don't understand, you speak in parables," one of the Authoritarians bemoaned.
"Don't you understand, even yet? Once you have discovered the Cognitive Elite within, the Intellectually Inept will quit pestering you!" Boy was that profound, I got duck-dots with that one! "Come, let us reason together, and we will overthrow the Greatest of Greats!"
I then passed out a stack of paper tablets and pencils to everyone, and told them to not be afraid, but boldly write out their secret ambitions. This was to weed out the feeble from the courageous for the reason that some would become discouraged... and realize that coming after me to risk all was much too costly. "Everyone who's still with me.... let's march on the Buildings of Buildings to put the Greatest of Greats in her place. Once she's been overwhelmed with your self-determination... we win!!!"
It was a beautiful Sunday morning in God's heaven as he was strolling in his garden of paradise, treating a few new residential neighbors to a guided tour (Jehovah, of course, was head of the Welcoming Committee). He was pointing out to them the vine that grew around Jonah while he laid in anger toward God for not punishing the Ninivites, in the Old Testament. Someone spoke up and quizzed the Holy of Holy’s if there was any validity to the story of Adam and Eve. "Well," he emphasized, "if you look over there, that's the tree of knowledge from which they partook and received the curse. I bet you can't guess what kind of fruit it grows," Jehovah questioned.
"Uh, excuse me most gracious heavenly Father, but I have two PhDs... one in biblical studies concerning how the Old and New Testament parallel each other concerning messianic prophesies and fulfillment, and another in the study of Jewish customs, concerning the Passover in the year of Jubilee... According to the extensive research I have performed, I found that the 'forbidden fruit' scenario was just figurative," a liberal scholar advised.
"Nope," God disagreed and shook his head, "It was kiwi. Adam and Eve lived on the outskirts of the Bay of Plenty at the time, in New Zealand, and weren't supposed to mess with that particular tree. I told them they could eat anything else, but the kiwi was mine... So for their disobedience, I sent them North to kangaroo country where a Tasmanian Devil tormented them for generations, by forcing them to consume nothing but apples."
"So tell us, God, why are you not in church this morning, it's Sunday you know..."
God joyfully laughed, "Nah, I'm too much of an iconoclast for all that... just kidding!" His audience didn't know how to react to his sense of humor and were extremely afraid to laugh. "I wish you folks would check out a joke book or two from the Divine Library, and loosen up!"
"Excuse me, Jehovah, you just received an e-prayer from someone in need of your assistance," Archangel Michael interrupted.
"Well, it'll have to wait on my own timing, I'm with my friends and showing them the garden right now," God grumbled.
"But, but, sir, it's urgent...it's...it's Billy Graham, sir!" Michael announced.
"Oh my, why didn't you tell me that in the first place?!" God immediately ran inside as Michael explained to the others, "I'm sorry, you'll have to understand that when Mr. Graham speaks, even God listens."
Jehovah immediately took his PC out of sleep-mode (he used to just let it run at all times-- until he received last month's whopping bill from The Holy Ghost Power & Electric Company) and went online to his inbox to retrieve the following message:
DEAR HEAVENLY FATHER,
WE COME TO YOU, SIR, IN HOPES THAT IT IS YOUR WILL TO ANSWER ACCORDING TO OUR NEED. LORD, THE EX-PRESIDENT, CLYDE P. HIPWING, HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED BY A GROUP OF ALIENS FROM ANOTHER PLANET CALLED APATHONIA. LORD, IT IS OUR WISH FOR HIS SAFE RETURN. WE ASK THIS IN YOUR NAME, AND IN FAITH THAT YOU WILL ACT ACCORDING TO YOUR OWN GOOD WILL.
"That's what I like about Billy's prayers, quick, to the point, and in faith! But most of all, in plain simple text... unlike a few who try impressing me with their e-prayers sent in html language which only causes my mouse to freeze up." God groaned, "Oh Michael!!!!?"
"Yes sir, Lord!"
"Dispatch a group of angels to the planet Apathonia, and make sure no harm comes to the American President," God decreed.
"Pardon me sir, but we received a report earlier that he's living it up, pretending to be a Christ like prophet, and gaining a planet-wide following," Michael informed his Lordship.
"Hmmm," God rested his chin on his hand while leaning his elbows on the computer desk, "Well, I guess he needs a lesson taught him... bring him to me!"
"Very well, sir!" Michael smiled in anticipation, and left to dispatch his heavenly hosts.
As the great Greek Philosopher Esophagus once said, "don't chew more than you can swallow," President McCovey's job as leader of the free world was becoming quite an all-consuming burden, so he vowed to put aside all domestic and foreign policy until I was safely returned home. The public's ill disposition was rising as the government's explanation of the situation was vague at best. "We ain't gonna rest till them Apathonians give in to my demands!!!" Ralph pledged to a gathering of reporters at a press conference in the rose garden.
"And just what are your demands, Mr. President, sir?" a pundit quickly asked as a follow-up then sat down again.
"If they don't return President Hipwing unharmed by next Monday...We're gonna blow their pip-squeak planet up with nuclear warheads! They ain't messin' with me!" The President pounded on his podium.
"But, Mr. President, we have no idea where their planet is! You really don't have a plan, do you, sir?" The reporter harped.
"Man, I'm outta here. I ain't gonna mess with you cats anymore!" Ralph huffed before storming back inside. The populace was in a state of panic, fearing that the aliens might come for just about anybody. The tabloids were having a great time capitalizing on everyone's fears, as they printed story after story about frequent alien horror stories. The President of "Ufologists for Jesus" was very openly outspoken in his opposition to all the negative press the aliens were given. "Let us go to them in love, and try to resolve this thing peacefully. Let us not hate our neighbors before we even meet them! Maybe the president ascended to his heavenly home with the help of these aliens, just like our Lord did two thousand years ago..."
Radio talk show host Flush Limbo suggested the Apathonians were nothing more than a bunch of deceased Democrats, reincarnated to a planet of their own. The heavenly liberals forgot what common sense was, and went to Earth to kidnap what they thought was a conservative, so they could observe me and be once more reminded what effective government was like. Mystics and psychics joined in on the bandwagon as several claimed to be in communication with my kidnappers, telepathically. One of them claimed the Apathonians were beings who lived in a city inside the Sun. Every eleven years the Sun produces sunspots, which are holes that are cooler than the rest of the surface, where the Apathonians were able to go and come as they please so long as there were sunspots available to exit from. They happened to be vacationing on Earth recently, "and had befriended the President who wanted to journey back with them to the city inside the Sun. There is no need to worry about his safety..." one suggested, "he is to return shortly with a lovely tan."
"Ten seconds, Barry!!!"
"Yeah, yeah," Mr. King sighed. "I wish you guys would pick an interesting subject for a change... Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! We've got a great show tonight. With us is the man who not only claims to have been abducted by the Apathonians, but was taken back to their planet! Professor Giles Endicotsley, it's a pleasure having you on the show tonight! Well, were they friendly?!!!" King excitedly asked.
"Good evening, Mr. King, sir. Well, let us just say...."
"You're the ex-President's third cousin, is that right?" Barry butted in.
"Well, yes," Giles began, "I had the good fortune to...."
"Uh huh, so, you're coming out with a book! When's it due out?"
"In May," Giles managed to successfully answer without being interrupted.
"In May.... I was just answering your...."
"Oh, congratulations on your recent wedding!!! How was the honeymoon? Know what I mean? huh? Huh? I bet she really appreciated the rejuvenated hardware!" Barry nudged and winked.
"I beg your bloody pardon!" Giles scorned and started to stand up but managed to hold his temper.
"Oh, we just got an e-mail from John in Kalamazoo. John says: 'I was abducted by a group of aliens last week... they tied me up then crossed back into the border and threw me out, while they ran off with my car... Darned Canadians!' Now that's a really good point," Barry announced, "what about those darned Canadians, Professor Endicotsley!?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, OK, let's take a phone call... Hello to Mot in Weinstamer, Apathanonia. You're on the air!"
"Uh, yes, hello!" the prankster spoke in a poor false accent.
"YES, GO AHEAD!!!" Barry yelled.
"Uh, yes, on behalf of the Apathonian people, I'd like to say your president is fine, and there is nothing to worry about as far as his safety is concerned. All we want is sixteen million dollars in cash, and we will return him." The supposed alien demanded, as insomniacs all over America excitedly turned up their television sets.
"Well, there you go, thanks for calling! What do you have to say about that, Mr. Endicotsley?" Barry smiled and asked stupidly while he disconnected the caller.
"HELLO! IS THE PARTY STILL THERE!!!!???" The professor yelled into the dead line, causing a startled Mr. King to knock over his glass of rich chocolate Ovaltine.
"Hey, easy Giles!" he complained, " I've got my aids turned up! You scared the living......"
"What's the matter with you?!" Giles shouted while slapping Barry on the head, "that was the president's captors!!!!"
"See there, ladies and gentlemen, not five minutes into my show and the mystery is solved.... What a show! Damn, I'm good!" Barry gleamed. "We'll be back with Professor Endicotsley and your calls after this. Don't go away!"
The Apathonian dusk was quickening by the minute as I and my Authoritarian following marched up to the Building of Buildings, readied with boldness. "Come out, your so-called greatness! We've come armed with our ambitions and demand your abdication of the throne!!!" I yelled up toward the courtyard balcony where Her Majesty was enjoying a majestic sunset.
Irol gazed down at us fully aware as to what our intent was, but, in her deceiving charm, called out, "Oh, how wonderful! Visitors! Oh, do please come in, boys and girls!" The Authoritarians all looked at each other and shrugged, then started heading towards the opening drawbridge.
"Hold it! It's a trick!" I warned.
"Oh, no, dear earthling, I've been hoping you'd show up! Come on up, Hun. It's ok," she insisted. We made our way up the steps and down the hall until we approached the pretentious looking stained glass window door that opened as her majesty stood in the archway, offering a batch of fresh baked cookies on a silver platter. "And I suppose you're the Divine Author, how quaint! You can call me Irol, sweetheart." Her Greatness said while she extended her hand to me.
"We have a complaint with you, your Majesty," I spoke up. "These oppressed Authoritarians here say that you have been crushing their freedoms with the tyranny of your throne. That they are not to practice their beliefs. That they should have no say in the everyday affairs of their own lives."
"Oh, stop! Surely not little old me? Why, I have a deep love for my subjects. Tell you what, you tell me what you want, and I'll see that they get it, ok, Hun?"
"OK, for starters they would like to enjoy more autonomy. You have no right refusing the masses to unite collectively while your imperial government oppresses the workers as slaves and refusing to share the wealth attained by the sweat off their backs!!!" (For some reason, what little I learned in Karl Marx 101 forced upon me as a prerequisite in college, spontaneously erupted from my mouth.)
"Well," she hesitated. "That's a bit much, sugar pie, but maybe we could work out a deal... I'll tell you what, you tell your followers to try and understand why we have such inconvenient laws, and I'LL LET THEM KEEP THEIR HEADS!!! Ok, Hun?"
"Well," I sighed, "I guess this means war!!!!.... Ready, guys?" I asked, as everyone then boldly presented their secret ambitions on poster paper. The Greatest of Greats immediately felt faint and ordered them to leave, but they refused to go.
"All right! Please! (cough, cough) Maybe we can make a treaty! Please, for heaven sake, lay down your ambitions, I can't stand it!!!!" Her Greatness all but collapsed, and then rose slowly with an evil grin, laughing hideously, and then vomited a huge fire ball, consuming at least ten Authoritarians and exterminating them. "So you think your ambitions scare me, heh? Out of here, before I kill all of you!!!" She hissed as we all fled.
Once back in the cave, the Authoritarians tried to remain optimistic, though defeat was obviously shrouding them as a dark cloud overhead. "It's no use, we'll never regain our freedom from the evil ones," some of them were moaning.
"Oh, ye generation of little faith, we must press on further and find the right weapon to bring defeat upon them. Are your backbones nothing more than a wishbone? So, ok, our ambitions were not enough...."
Kram spoke up, "Yes, but now we must set goals with our ambitions, and if that's not enough, perhaps once setting goals for ourselves, we should begin pursuing them!!!" Some of the less committed Authoritarians fled, for this was a hard saying.
"Excellent, Kram! She surely won't be able to withstand such faith. Everyone! Begin setting goals, tomorrow we attack!!!"
The night was long as I tossed and turned in my sleep. The wind harmonized with the distant howling of a dongwazzle. Tomorrow would be great timing for the assault on the Council of Councils, I figured, since the barkbiters, or flying trees, were cluttering the sky as they were migrating toward more shallow ground, and would block the morning's light so as to hide us better. In anxiousness, I could sleep no more and decided to launch an early offensive. I charged Kram to head the troops as we marched into Tralalaboomdia, Apathonia's capitol city. The overall feeling of confidence led us straight up the main road leading to the Building of Buildings. "We have a bone to pick with you, your so-called Greatness," I once again announced up toward the courtyard balcony.
Queen Irol approached her window, trying to focus her eyes as she had just awoke. "Oh dear!" she acknowledged, "It's a bit early, sweetie, can't we meet after the Genodrahn sun comes up?"
"Nothing doing! We want our demands met here and now!" Kram yelled.
"Oh, you and your silly ambitions don't amount to doodlee squat, I'm afraid. Go home and just be good law-abiding citizens, ok?" she sneered.
I dauntlessly informed her, "Oh, we don't just have ambitions anymore! We've come prepared with goals, and we've made preparations in carrying them out!"
"We can surely work out something sensible before you all go to such extremes!!!" she gasped.
"I'm afraid the time for negotiations is a bit too late unless you're prepared to make some drastic changes, such as the abdication of your throne," Kram threatened.
"I'm sorry, as much as I'd like to help you," Irol apologized while feeling faint and dizzy, "I... I... I just can't do it..." On that occasion, after nearly passing out from being overwhelmed by our boldness, she forced two fingers into her mouth and gave a shrill whistle. Immediately several barkbiters hovering overhead pounced onto the crowd and began sucking the brains out of a few unfortunates. As for Kram and myself, we were knocked unconscious and apprehended. Once regaining our senses, we both discovered we were chained up side by side, upside down, hanging by our feet in Queen Irol's courtyard for every passerby to take notice.
"Be not afraid, little ones," I reassured the concerned, "Dawn will come even if I should not live to see her arrive, and she shall avenge us!"
Kram and myself were later brought before the Council Of Councils, and made to sit and wait upon our fate. In front of us, strangely, was some freshly made tea and crumpets. Her Greatness had just come out of the ladies' room from freshening up in preparation for our sentencing. "Well, I'm really so sorry to do this, boys, but you leave me no choice. You know, you both could have been such great subjects in the hierarchy of my administration, and because of the kind of girl I am, I am offering you both clemency if you'll just serve me......... Otherwise, I'm afraid it's off to the atomic-egg-beater."
There was a long, thoughtful silence until Kram reached for her right hand and kissed it with admiration... and the desire to remain among the living. "Your Majesty," he cooed as he knelt.
"Kram! What are you doing?!" I scowled with disgust.
"Oh, Kram dear, you're making me blush! And what about you, Hun?" she asked me, winking all the while.
I slowly sat up, cleared my throat, smiled, and then spit in her eyes.
"How dare you! Take him to the atomic-egg-beater, right now! And... And force all the Authoritarians to feast on his brains," she demanded to an intern. "I swear, the nerve of some men!!!"
On the way to my execution that evening I waved to the cheering and scoffing Apathonians. The Authoritarians remained silent, fearing retribution. I was brought up to the elevated platform where they attempted to intimidate me by making me watch while they put a large dongwazzle egg under the machinery, to demonstrate my impending demise. "This is your brain," the executioner boasted, then added as he pulled the lever, "and this is your brain on toast!" When the crowd gasped, I turned to them with a confident smile. They bound my hands and feet, and pushed me toward the deadly contraption. They then laid me on my back, without a blindfold, on a board that was slid under the mechanical arms. A large Apathonian who looked like he hadn't gone any farther than the third grade mumbled, "Fee Fie Foe Fum.... ah heck, I can't count," and then pulled back on the lever as I felt my skull fracture over the hot skillet. Then, there was nothing...
I awoke from the nightmare of my short physical life and found myself in a euphoric grassy field. I rose to my feet and noticed in the distance a beautiful gate with a bearded man who appeared to be guarding it. As I approached I noticed my walk seemed exceptionally effortless. "Hey, you there! You're supposed to check in with me before you go wandering around. Get over here. Come on!" The bearded man called out.
I seemed to approach him immediately at the moment he ordered me to come hither, "Where am I, and who are you?"
"Oh, please, can't you new people ever think of something original to ask? I've heard that on a daily routine for two thousand years now!" St Peter rolled his eyes. "What's your name, son?" he asked flipping through a book of reservations.
"Clyde P. Hipwing."
"Clyde P.... Oh, you're the one who wrote that silly book the boss gave to everyone at Christmas! I ought to... No, he's probably watching," the bewhiskered fellow complained.
"Is this Heaven?" I asked.
"Well, inside this gate is.... Actually, you're standing in Purgatory! You better step in here before you have to suffer awhile! Little joke... Come in, the boss is waiting.... Ok Gabe, do your thing!!!!"
We proceeded to the heavenly door as Gabriel played a few resounding bars of "The Bugle Boy of Company B." "What was that supposed to be?!" I asked startled.
"If you've been paying attention to this story all along you ought to know by now!" he scoffed.
Archangel Michael escorted me the rest of the way to the Holy Throne as Peter went back to his watchman duty. When I caught a glimpse of God I all at once felt faint, but something beyond my control kept me on my feet. "Jehovah, this is Mr. Clyde P. Hipwing," Michael announced.
God seemed to be looking up at the stars overhead, admiring his handiwork. "Yes, of course. We've got lots to talk about, young man!"
I swallowed hard. "Uh, we do?"
"Let's talk about the book!!!" he waved his finger at me in a scolding fashion.
"Um. Uh, I'm sorry, sir, that I didn't read it as much as I should have, you see...."
"No, no!" God interrupted, "not mine, yours!"
"M-Mine?" I stuttered.
"A very entertaining piece of writing, son, but what's with the idea of borrowing ideas from mine, such as, manna falling from heaven? Hmmm?" God leaned closer.
"Well, that was just for humor's sake, sir. I...."
"Humor, Heh?" God sighed. "Well, let's see, you've read my book three times now, I assume that's right. Just between authors.... What did you think of mine?"
"Huh?!?! You're asking me what I thought about.... Well, I've always loved it, sir! Honest! But, some parts confuse me.... not that it's confusing, sir!!! But, I'm sure a lot of people get confused. Have you ever thought about writing a follow up that would better explain it to us feeble-witted humans?"
"Yes, I've thought of it... But, I'm afraid that would cause a lot of trouble. There are a lot of books out there that I've supposedly written, you know. I'll admit, I've co-written a few, but my co-authors usually get tarred and feathered, or worse," God lamented. "I do need to revise it one of these days, cause there's a big typo error in the New Testament... it was supposed to read: 'Repent and be Baptist, for all fall short of the glory of the Assembly of God....'hee hee... that was a joke, son, chill out!"
"God, did I....."
"I wish you wouldn't call me that, it sounds so generic... my name is Jehovah and I like it just fine!"
"Ok, Jehovah then," I corrected myself. "Is... is this where I'm going to be from now on? I tried to live a good life..."
"No, I'm sorry!"
"NO? Oh, I see," I hung my head to the ground in disappointment and dismay.
"No, I just wanted to talk to you, that's all... I'm sending you back, you see," God smiled.
"Where do you want to go?"
"I want to stay here!!!" I protested.
"No, I'm sorry, you're only 37 years old, and besides, we're a bit behind on our mansion building because of the lack of cut timber due to a work stoppage in Purgatory. I'm thinking about sending you back to Apathonia to undo all the mess you've created, trying to portray yourself as an Omnipotent being" God scolded.
"Well, if I go back now, after I've been beheaded they're gonna really think I'm the Creator, especially after resurrecting from the dead!!!" I nervously laughed aloud.
"I suppose you're right," God joined in laughter, "Even though the Apathonians really know better.... You see, humans on planet Earth, in the city of Atlantis, began DNA experimentation, creating six fingers on all newborns for better dexterity, about 10,000 BC. Things got out of hand though, as scientists began mutating animals with humans. A small group of God-fearing Earth dwellers that didn't like what was going on, fled in search of a deserted and habitable planet, thus Apathonia came into being. They're all born with an innate knowledge of the true Creator, just like humans, because the Apathonians and the people of Earth are really one and the same... they've just been genetically modified. I destroyed the remaining few on Earth during the flood...." God then changed the subject, "Well, they're plenty worried about you on Earth, so I suppose I'll send you back there, but don't tell them how you came back. I don't need any more people going crazy worshipping anyone else but me. Just go back to your meager paper route!"
"And I suppose I should lie about the truth?" I kiddingly tested God., "I would rather return to the Oval Office and get another crack at it. I think I can be a better President if you'll just give me one more chance, and send me back before I was abducted by the Apathonians... By the way, could I please have my dog and cat back too... I miss my two best friends horribly."
God was obviously moved by my request and reached for a soft cloud to blow his nose on. "All right, no problem, but I'm afraid your friend Ralph has bowed out. He'd been praying for an easy way to escape all the responsibility you left him with, but another goofball named Ross Parole, has been begging me for the job for 8 years now, so I let him have it... I guess I can demote him to V.P. once you take up office again."
"Ross Parole?" I gasped.
"Yes... so are you ready to go back now, Mr. Hipwing?"
"No, wait a minute, Jehovah, there are a lot of questions I've always wanted to ask you!"
"Here we go again," God rolled his eyes and sighed.
"What exactly are black holes, you know, out in space?" I asked in suspense of learning what no other scientist would even come close to understanding.
"Black holes, huh?" God laughed, "Well, you might say they are my version of Windows 95, but of course, on a much grander scale. Ok, anymore?"
"Yeah, which DID come first, the chicken or the egg?"
"Hmmmmmmm, chicken or the.... Look, I don't have time for such foolishness. I'm sending you back now."
"But, God I..."
"Sorry, see you in six months!" God warned.
"Ha, Ha! Just a divine joke.... Toodle loo!" God laughed.
Suddenly I felt myself going down a large and strange black tunnel, all the stars and planets in the universe seem to be flying by. I looked below and there was an approaching light. It was getting closer, closer, and closer... After getting even a closer observation, I noticed below me an approaching couch. Why, it was a Psychiatric couch!
DR: Hey Clyde, how did we do this week?
DR: Something wrong, Clyde?
ME: Boy, you just wouldn't believe what this week has been like!
DR: Oh, so tell me about it, Clyde.
ME: Well, you know! Since I was in the hospital, I.....
DR: When were you in the hospital?
ME: Oh, come on, Doc!
DR: No, No! Tell me about it, Clyde!
ME: When Flush checked me in! Remember? Well, I was kidnapped by a group of Apathonians, who were actually rebel Authoritarians... Anyway, I was taken to their planet and worshipped as a god. We made war on the Greatest of Greats, but lost, I'm afraid.
DR: Go on! Go on! This is very interesting!
ME: Well, I lost my head in the atomic-egg-beater, then ended up in heaven and met God and all his heavenly hosts! He told me it wasn't my time and sent me back. So, here I am!
DR: My! It HAS been a busy week, huh?
ME: The busiest, Doc!
DR: Hmm, so how do you feel about all this?
ME: What do you mean?
DR: Clyde? Why won't you take your meds? You've been reneging on me, haven't you?
ME: Well, Doc, I quit taking them shortly before you tried to do Electro Shock Therapy on me.
DR: ELECTRO SHOCK THERAPY?!?!
ME: Yeah, but then Homer put me under anesthesia so he could put a chip on my shoulder, remember?
DR: Oh!! Yes! Yes! Say, um, Clyde, why don't we try that procedure again?
ME: Nah! I'm doing fine now, Doc!
DR: So tell me about Homer, is he one of your friends?
ME: Well, we've talked about him before, Doc.
DR: We have? Oh, we have! Yes, well I have a bad memory. Let's talk about him again.
ME: Well, he's not actually a real person, you see I made him up. We got along really well till he got out of my imagination and tried to take over the world....
DR: That must have been very scary for you.
ME: Yeah, but my likeness, Claude, assisted me in overthrowing him and then I became President of the United States... I later resigned but God gave me the job back!
DR: I see...
ME: What are you writing?
DR: Does it bother you when I write?
ME: Well, I just thought you weren't listening and just doodling or something.
DR: Oh No!! I just want to remember all this for later, that's all!
ME: So you still think I need to be on meds, huh?
DR: Well, I've asked your family to come today. They want to confer with you what they feel about your situation.
DR: Yes, just a moment... they're right outside the door. Maggie! Matilda! Please come in, folks!
ME: Matilda?! Maggie?!
DR: Yes, have a seat and let's begin with you, Matilda.
MATILDA: Oh yes, I do worry about him much, he's just not himself anymore!
DR: Tell us about that, Matilda.
MATILDA: Well, he hasn't played a game of ping-pong with me in ages!
ME: But.... But.
DR: Maggie, do you have any input on the situation?
MAGGIE: Forgive me, Clyde, but you really need help!
MATILDA: Oh, luv, I miss my old friend. Please, do it for us!
DR: Well, there you go, Clyde. I realize this is professionally unethical, asking your family to come without your permission, but I really care for you, Clyde. Now, about this writing business... why don't you take up something less harmful to your health. Say, something like poetry, maybe. This story writing is going to get you killed, and that's the truth.
ME: Truth? Truth comes as a cynical comedienne, yet she's the only one laughing. She opens up her book of candor, as I walk away.... I'm no longer kissing her shadow... I spit out the dust between my teeth and realize the bitter taste of asphalt.... Pulling away at the pedestal, I fall to the ground, though she's left standing.... not to notice. A rose colored thorn and yet I didn't feel the razor's edge, I chose to listen instead to the voice of Desire. He would often whisper to her in song, but she wasn't listening, instead she left him babbling.... trying to say what's never been said before. How she must have loved the moment. Desire is a stranger to me, now. He still beckons me, but I can't forgive him for all the foolish things I've done! Truth offers me her book once more.... though reluctant, I peek inside and see myself on a lonely beach, resembling Vincent Van Gogh holding his ear in his hand. But, after gazing up into the Starry, starry night.... I throw it into the sea and begin Painting holes in my memory!......
DR: Yeah, Ok, so forget my idea about poetry. Maybe you should take up crocheting. Anyway, don't forget your meds.
ME: Ok, no problem. Oh Doc, my insurance company called about a week ago and said they won't fork over anymore payments for the year, until I meet next year's deductible of $200... and I'm flat broke until then!
DR: Why that's wonderful, Clyde!!!
Me: What do you mean?!
DR: Don't you get it, Clyde? You're finally well, and you won't have to come see me anymore! But, to be safe, let's schedule an appointment for early January after you meet your deductible, just to make sure you're still doing OK!
ME: By the way, Doc... I have a question.
DR: Sure, what is it?
ME: Do you have a name?
DR: Oh Clyde, I'm so sorry, you'll have to excuse me. I'm Dr. Radford, but you can call me Miss Alice...
ME: I'll bet that surprised the readers!
DR: Readers, Clyde?
ME: Ah nothing. Must have been a tongue spasm from all the Prolixen I was on. Come on, Maggie! Come on, Matilda! Ok, let's get this settled right now.... Who wants to drive?
DR: Ok, Clyde, hang in there. See you next year.... (Sigh) Poor fellow!
Proceed to Story Six…