Monthly Archives: January 2011

Of course, cry. Thats your answer to everything.

We’d go back to the spot of course, never together though.  Why are we like that?  I think she is buying cigarettes, that’s the look I get, like she’s hiding that thing, that act, the benefit, the release, she’s not even twelve.  The next day I don’t hold back, I go there, I go straight there, I look for the blood, for whatever might still be there.  I rule out a hemorrhaged black ellipse as gum.  There are oil dribbles from a car but all I can imagine, all I want to see is a young boy bent over the ruin of his face, shocked at the dark stuff coming from him, going to the ground where it will stay.  It’s hard to find, hard to look for too.  I have never stayed to see things get this way, watch the red go dead, watch the blue eyes like alien crystals gray black.  It feels like a revenge fuck, all my looking around.

She’s drawing.  Everything gets the X eyes.  Everything becomes a passive assertion, a sulk.

“I didn’t do anything” I say.

“I know” she says.

It all turns into the spot, like calling a weekend “Vegas”.  I can go to a speed bump in the parking lot of the King Super where I ate shit on my Huffy when I was 15.  I swear I can still find pieces of gravel with me on it.  Or the rod on that weird looking fence in the alley of my far childhood, still there, I can walk you there right now and push you into it.  I stand around now looking for the spot, for anything, a smell, anything but it has generalized into something easier to point towards than touch.

“Do you think he is in heaven?”

I don’t.  I tell her so.  I scream it.

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The Weak Man

One night on Audit, I thought I would do some good old D&D module writing.  I soon found that it was impossible.  I remember working an entire week at the coffee shop developing this plot line for Shira, Lavicus, Nealtus and Gully.  With one tip of a fucking ash urn, out went about 4 pages of paranoidly abbreviated plot line summaries, NPC Rosters, Stats and new game elements, however, in came the backbone of what would be the first leg of possibly three years of hardcore 8-14 hour weekly game sessions, but alas, that too was not meant to be.  I instead wrote the  following as a guide to interpreting a set of tools, locations, maps, NPC’s, general and local events, Coordinated circumstances, eventualities and well, you can see where this is going, there is just no way.  It turned into a commentary upon a possible outcome of events based on most likely scenarios.  I called the “module”; the Weak Man.  Later I changed it to; “the Weak Man -or- an Argument against Boxed Text”.  Here it is.

“…the descendants, one in waters work bewails

the other fires fail…”

-mumble of the Weak Man.

Brodok is looking for a group of fighter types and possible a sneaky son of a bitch to steal a “powerful item” from a group of mid level heroes returning successfully from Torm Holn.  He thinks that a sneaky bastard could get in while they sleep and lift some precious cargo or if the devils cast a glance upwards, then the whole bunch may just be weak enough to be killed and their entire take can be taken.

Brodok will put the sneaky bastard (thief) in charge of the mission and some may argue or guess at a deeper older relationship.  The Spell (Sneeky bastard in charge of the group) will be the only one given directions.  All those willing to apply should have horses and the ability to carry shit off.

Referals for the Job require one previous job and a horse in inventory.  Referals will meet Brodok (DM) and the Spell (Player selected by DM) to interview candidates for the Job.  Only one novice will be allowed and they will be third party planted by Hugol Holding, Brodok’s enemy.  The Novice will give the Spell a sac with 50kp when Brodok is not looking to help encourage his “selection”  The Novice is being planted for a return trip tail and nothing else.  This will be “between” adventures and no RP is necessary as it falls under the partial contact rule.  Merely getting the Novice to “follow and report back” is all that is needed.  It qualifies as a job.  The Spell earns his pay by saying Yes.  This too counts as a separate job for the Spell.

The meet takes place at the Teak Lady in Brighton.  A room was rented for the meet and is up after breakfast, some 6 hours after the meet if some wish rest.  The Teak lady is a fence also and a limited amount of pre-game bullshit is ok.  It is important to illustrate the parameters of opportunity to the Players and show them not all things come at the right time and often, no preparation is possible.  The Players will likely need to get used to auditioning and learning the different underworld types they will acquire and keep in their portfolio.  Auditions should be a  pregame night and involve drinking and eating by the players, this is the time when the Players will bond with the characters they are playing and ready themselves for the role and each other.  It is not advisable for game night to be more than one day after.  The auditions can be done privately and should be so arranging time with DM, Spell and auditioning thugs can be done conference call etc but is a buzz kill.

The take can be magic or just an ass load of coin but should disseminate according to the Gold Laws and Misc. for the Ovardiis II period.  Brodok warns that the party is “connected” and not to end ‘em unless they can be ended good.  The true mission is to merely ascertain the survival of Heloidris.  Brodok does not move in the Weak Man’s circles and the coincidence is just that.  Brodok will take whatever the best item presented is and unless some new plot line is being introduced by the DM, this should end clean and easy.  He was never after treasure anyway, just a proof of life on Heloidris, he cooked this up himself.

It should be considered that usual character intros will be somewhat negated as the Spell will have Boss status for success and get to direct the specials for their pay.  Ie.  “You, stop them, you two, carry the dwarf and you get that door open.”  The call (Group doing the job) can be fighter light but two would even the odds, remember, don’t be afraid to wipe a group of idiots players who keep auditioning thieves when they know youre looking for a good mix.  This is where you can award free allocation xp to a PLAYER who makes a good CH selection to augment the party.

Give out the Barmaid contact to the fighter with the highest CA.  Barmaid will be NPC to PC pooled after the return check-in with Brodock if she lives and the Bouncer, Haste will be NPC to PC pooled if the Boxman dies with the boxman Player getting 2 re-roll options on the Pool for Haste.

There is a 10% chance per hour spent fucking off in the bar that someone is “Called out” by a drunk fighter type.  Do not make this brawl the adventure.  If the PC’s linger out front the brawl will not occur.

See all notes on; Teak Lady

The group is to go to where the Spell (the leader of the group for this job) says, which is 3 days by horse to the North, just past the yellow bridge.  The Spell will have to write TC as all Brodok  writes is TC.  It would help if the sell could read and write at least one other of the following; KC, WC, P, HoE, HE, S or N, as which ever he does will be the inroad language for sub string -“Strange old things”

One of the Fighter types will know about Black Fred’s gang but will not know him personally.  Another Fighter type will know Black Fred and they will be amiable towards each other.  All PC’s will know the reputation of the Yellow Woods for the broken ones and will be able to recognize mundane tracks and the like.  Fighters will know attack methods etc.

The ride north will be uneventful.  A trip to Black Fred’s hide-out will find it abandoned.  This is normal as he moves around with his men.  If the PC’s use a fire when camping the second night, they will be attacked by the broken ones before dawn.  They will move in out of the dark at different times and will attack two to three at a time until 15 have been killed or a PC’s has been drug off.  See “The Children of Olinus” for combat and modifiers.  The attacks are not coordinated.  The will try to take the horses but will not be able to, instead they will no doubt scare the shit out of them and alert all the PC’s.  This will wake even heavy sleepers.  None of the broken ones have anything on them.  Though monstrous looking their deformities are not fantastic and they merely look diseased.  This attack method should help you weaken the parties nerves enough to give serious thought to attacking Ilay when they see him the next day.  Case in point among thieves.  Ten people at a table, you look to someone and say, John, two of these fuckers are attacking you, what do you do.  John will say, what the fuck why me?  You say, I did not hear any onesay they will throw themselves before anyone who tries to attack you.  All will get the picture.  It is easy in an unorganized mele to imagine a group of bloodbrothers standing back to back around a fire each doing all within their power to save eachothers life.  This will not ever happen amongst thieves.  Thieves live by running.  Thieves don’t take sword strokes for strangers.  This encounter is designed to SHOW the Players who they are playing.  No doubt some one will say, fuck it, I run.  That’s ok too.  That is what the spell is for.  He maybe a shit leader, but this will learn him.  There is no reason the rogues can’t run around like girls while the fighter try to organize against the starved marauders.

When the PC’s get to the spot determined by Brodock and the Spell, they wait another two days.  That’s when, in the late afternoon they see a man yoked by his neck to a cart walking at about a 2MV.

He does not stop to rest until deep in the night and collapses more than sleeps.  He is clear headed if not exhausted should the PC’s approach and investigate.  He will introduce himself as Heloidris of Ilay but will not do this until he has made his way, guessing the PC’s for their sort.  Any half elf or elf will know the family.  10% chance to know about Heloidris, roll this before setting out.  If so, he says his companion is sick and they are headed to Brighton and any help would be repaid in Kings Piece.  He is shrewd and will know the PC’s for dark characters.  He is also wise enough to know he is in no position to be his usual evil hating self and needs serious healing if he is ever to use his arms again.  He has Wight burns from sword fighting a superior Innate Undead.  His hands are completely useless and his arms are near destroyed.  He is operating as a
third level fighter currently due to energy drains.  He was originally an 11th level warrior.  His memory loss is the long term kind, hence, he knows exactly where he is, what happened, what he wants and where he is going.  It’s like knowing your lost your twenties.

If the PC’s try to kill him he will run.  Running him down and through will be easy enough and no die rolling is necessary.  It will take him a little while to die though.  He has no curses to utter and just sees it as shit luck.  He carries nothing on him but two scabbards, swords missing.  His Breast Plate and Grieves are clearly visible and obviously magic, embossed with the Il crest (though only Heraldic NWP’s or House Elves will know it’s a family crest.  5% chance for a Ptolegian to notice.)

His arms are covered in thick dry mud, giving him the impression of having huge forearms.  This is of course his bracers.  He mudded his arms to protect them should he be able to follow through for the Lich.

On the cart that Heloidris is pulling is Elinir Ilennis, an Il cousin and companion to Heloidris.  He was “Jar’d” by the arch lich Doon the Lynd in Torm Holn where they lost the rest of their companions.  Since the Jar, Elinir has been “asleep”.  Attempts to take things off him will be successful, Doon cares not if this occurs.  Injuring him will be unsuccessful as only +2 weapons or greater can harm the Jar’d host of the arch lich.  Doon has no desire to locomote and exerts his will through suggestion submitted to the relaxed mind before sleep.  These suggestions manifest themselves as ideas the PC’s will have and be bound to Role Play due to the Save rules against High Level magic.  Only Characters of 8th level or greater are allowed a save against Doon’s spells.  Each successfully role played suggestion is worth 100xp.  See the NPC roster for Elinir lennis” and “Heloidris Ilidris”

The PC’s will think and spookily say “I feel good about that sleeping elf and I’m happy that he is getting some rest.”  The PC with the lowest wisdom will actually feel compelled to share that with at least one other PC in private, like it is a secret.  You should award XP to the Player who adds a lot to the creepiness/terror factor with his sharing.  The PC’s will in no way feel the need to help carry the cart unless they killed Heloidris, then the PC who dealt the death blow will volunteer to carry him because it only seems right and all other present should agree.  You should allow at least one and possibly two of the PC’s (weakest) not to experience the Suggestions so long as it does not derail the Lich’s agenda or he will modify the PC’s mood to accomplish the trip.

**Brodok was actually contacted through a sympathetic mind to send out this group of what in his time where adventurers, so that he could have more protection for the physical bodies in question and speed the elf along.  Brodok does not know this.

Before the PC’s head out with the sleeping elf, some 100 yards or more further up the road in the tall grass and crawling towards them is a Weak Man.  Investigation of this area will reveal him.  He mumbles but this will not be apparent until he is given water and food.  He may be killed or ignored without consequence.  If there is a caster, they sense a significant necromantic aura.  The weak man will travel best in the cart where he hopes to care for the sleeping elf by shading his face with his hands.

The weak man is savant and will mumble things to be heard by the party at times deemed appropriate by the DM

Heloidris, being godly, will do his best to help the weak man and will not worry about having him in the cart with his cousin, seeing him for what he is, a gravely injured but good man.

Direct contact with minor negative planar energy will heal the Weak Man’s mind.  Gnocune (no soon) is actually a Seeker of Factia Necromanta.  He was trapped by Nero (Usher of the Gray Veil / Malfator) and tortured for weeks but escaped when Doon rolled by the cave on the back of the cart.  Nero fled into the depths of his lair at the arch lich’s approach.  Gnocune crawled from the cave and has been trying to overtake Ilay but he gets about half a mile away and Ilay wakes from exhaustion and carries on towards Brighton.  The jarring Lich is sensed by many of the Dark things that would otherwise attack and prey upon Ilay, the Weak Man and the PC’s.

There are two shrines somewhat on the way to Brighton if the PC’s detour for them.  The Weak Man will draw a Gloom immediately due to his weakened state as will Ilay.  Gnocune will wake at the first touch and subdue the Gloom with a word of power into a charm he will furnish out of nowhere.  He will then ask where he is and what has happened and if the PC’s are the servants of the one called Nero.  There is an 80% chance each PC will know of Nero.  Gnocune will know what is going on with only the briefest information and will help guide the PC’s to finding the Descendants, something they have been thinking about a lot lately.  He will also offer some tips on dealing with beings like Doon, basically, do what ever they want and like a bee seen and admired on a flower they will walk away from you and forget you.  Sting them or get all up in their shit and well, you know the rest of the story.

If the PC’s miss the weak man you may re-insert him where you think appropriate.  He should be used to reward a cautious, thorough and observant player.  He is not mandatory.  The Weak Man is the reward of the adventure 1000xp.  If they find him by being careful and thorough when they have no reason to be, then voila.  If not, no harm no foul, they think that the Jarred elf is the Weak Man, secret kept, NPC saved for another encounter.

If a PC solves the Weak Man (by helping him and aiding him as an allie, not to be good but to sense on opportunity to grow strength), he will know of it through access to the energies of Doon and his connection with the minds of the PC’s.  Gnocune will have a genuine affinity for the PC and will hang with him through the adventure and the next adventure that PC goes on and will then turn into a Source PC and a Plotline.  He can only be “Solved” prior to waking from the gift of the Gloom.  The irony is that there is nothing to solve but luck and instinct on the Players part.  No intellectual riddle or clue exists.  This is the second Reward of the adventure, also worth 1000 xp.

But back to the Lich.  He was awoken by Heloidris and his tomb plundering campanions in Torm Holn.  Doon speedily teleported all of Heloidris’s friends to the suites of Ovardiis palace above the Olinal Quarry in the far north of the province.  He then Jar’d the most comfortable mind, Elinir and fell into his current state immediately and has remained as such, then began attempting to enslave Heloidris which actually took some time.  All Heloidris experienced was the plundering of a minor cache, three serious fights with innate undead then, one midafternoon, while eating, everyone disappears, dropping bowls, wet stones etc and his friend and cousin falls into a calm sleep.   Heloidris understands his friend is the host of a very powerful evil force now dormant and that the force seeks release into its living kin it feels to be in the vicinity of Brighton.  On the way out of the Valley is when Heloidris was set upon by Wights again who took his arms from him, finding him an easier foe without his 7 hero level companions.  Doon has offered to restore Heloidris and rescind occupation of his companion if he helps facilitate the little business of locating his blood.  Heloidris will relate most of this as he sees his situation not able to get much worse and is actually on the fence right now with regards to his entire world view and interpretation of good and evil.  He will tell stories about Torm Holn to the PC’s.  These should scare the living piss out of the PC’s and convey Heloidris’s level.  He may be swayed to evil with very convincing emotionally based arguments and an understanding of the weakness of selfish motive.  This must be role played.  Any character able to walk Heloidris from the light receives the third and final bonus of 1000xp and gains Heloidris as PC at the end of the game, if he lives.

The PC’s are so low level they barely register on Doon’s radar but Heloidris actually withstood Doons attempts at domination and so has earned a spot of awareness in the liche’s vast conscious existence.  Doon will never move “his” body as it is not necessary.

Beginning on the second day with the Lich, Dark forces will begin to be drawn to the Lich.  They should be inserted when appropriate or not at all.  They are Urst (ur ust), a Broken one.  Fiodre (fee ode ruh) an unseelie fairie.  Kords who will “slave” themselves to the host Jar.  Joss Dk, a Kenkhu.  These encounters should show fascination without fear, not endangerment or risk.  All will say “Doom” on some level.

The PC’s will pick up a Bar and Cross guard tail of a horseman on the way through the outskirts of Brighton.  Any signs of aggression will pull them into “So close yet so far”

After the fifth or sixth drunk attack, all but two of the guards will leave.  They will stay “near” the PC’s though won’t challenge them or respond to any but physical provocations.

In town and actually, depending upon how much of a mood still needs to be set, the drunks begin coming out of the fucking woodwork to attack the sleeping elf, which of course will not go over well with the PC’s.  It should not be apparent until much later, what is happening.  Being generically good people, when drunk, they have a strong and natural antipathy towards the lich and seek to do him harm.  It might be a man stepping up to the road to let the PC’s pass then hitting Elennis in the face with a stick.  Or a drunk stumbling out of an alley screaming and ripping his cloths and slapping himself in the face then moving towards the cart and trying to right it.  It does not need to be direct or obvious, in fact the more oblique the better.  It should not be known that some are drunk unless direct and careful observation is made.

Leaving the body without guard at night will result in rather frustrated vandals or signs of aborted attempts at malfeasance toward the restful, invulnerable form.  Not all drunks seek out the lich like a majic missile and it should not be overdone but used as a tool to convey exasperation and expose the weakest of the evil characters who may not want to keep killing these people or kill them at all to get them to stop.  The drunks should not bear ill will to the PC’s and merely try to get past them or ignore them to try to get at the Lich and never in the context of initiative melee.  If Ilay is still with the party he will be ineffective at doing anything but watching and alerting the PC’s of an upset villager.

If the Bar and Cross wipes the party, none of this happens, cuz the adventures over.  If they work the deal, the tail will leave them only if they show restraint when dealing with the drunks.  If they kill anyone in the street, it’s a high level free for all with the Freeblades guild.  See “Alright, that’s it.”

Brodock will make contact with the Sell of the group and expect a rundown of the success and will want to seek the take and tax it.  He will not look kindly upon a story of liches and armless warriors.  The powerful item he is looking for is not there (not that he thinks there is a powerfull item.  I did not expect them to be with Heloidris and helping hem and now thinks them all in collusion to the well healed nobel.  He will merely say, “well, it must still be in Torm Holn” and pretend to be done with it, then sic thieves on them.

If the PC’s are helpful to Ilay, after the descendants are found he will go to the Freeblades guild and repay them 500 Kings Piece each and a true Ovardiis Cane.  If killed, he only has the four items of value (see “Heloidris”).  If any are worn other than the left boot, they will draw the attention of his kin who will either attack on sight or attack carefully and effectively.  Ilay’s brother Riacca and his retinue arrived by boat two days before the PC’s arrive in Brighton and hopes to meet his brother and join his cadre in an effort to make a life for themselves adventuring in the north.  Riacca and his men will wipe the group if they are wearing Heloidris’s gear.

Looking for the descendants, which is what the PC’s have a nagging desire to do and little more info than the previous sentence to go on, will require only saying that they look for the descendants.  A (fake) die roll is made and no one is found until the days of their lack of wisdom tick off.  During this time Brodock will not be sympathetic to their obvious treachery and “keeping the powerful item” might get wrangled from a tortured captive assassin.  The attempts should not be done to develop a breaking point but to keep the group together and on edge and concerned for the sleeping elf’s welfare, etc.

It will take the PC’s 18 days minus 1 day for the total amount of wisdom points above 12 the entire party has (no penalties for low wisdom).  The first person found will be Feriwee Fishwife a fishmonger in the docks district of Brighton.  She will faint upon sight of the sleeping elf and become host to Doon at that moment.  That evening the sleeping elf will awaken.  If he is around the PC’s and they are wearing Ilay’s gear he will flee then track and kill them one by one.  If they prove formidable he will seek out Riacca and organize his vengeance.  The PC’s will not know anyone fainted nor anything else, just that one morning Ilay will be gone.  They will still feel the need to find the descendants and will come upon a sleeping fish woman by the docs and feel amiable and what have you.

With Feriwee Jar’d now, when they physically make accomodations for carrying her along, they will know instantly where her uncle Feywile the Under, a smith is.  When they get there, he will take her “sleeping” body and begin a journey to Torm Holn, at which point several things happen.  The PC’s become instantly aware that they are now released from the subtle domination of the Lich and that it is now in the body of the fishwife and completely aware of them and that they know as though she/he were looking at their minds through the fishwife’s skull.  The other thing that will happen is the smith’s wife, an enchanter, will be aware that her husband and love has been ensorcelled by the PC’s and after she made off with the pairs life savings and hid their child, she will enlist the aid of the Smiluvenni in tracking down her husband’s abductors ie. the PC’s.  She will then watch over her husband.  She will not appear in the storyline for at least a year.  The PC’s should not know of her unless, again, they are very careful and thorough.

Certain things should be assumed.  For instance, the Kord slaves will be attacked by any weapon wielding man or woman of the northern province.  The Kenkhu will not approach the city.  The fairie, should it be interested, will stay with the group only long enough to satisfy curiosity and may never even be noticed by them.  While brodock will not let the PC’s work for him again, he will have no grudges against other PC’s in the Players roster of characters.  If the PC’s fuck with the Lich he will teleport them to the Suites where the Gliptix and other things await a meal.  If the PC’s offer up Ilay’s items to Brodok, he will take the Bracers and leave them the rest.  None will notice the boot unless they are, as I keep saying, very thorough and carefull, it is its own reward.

The Idea of this module is to make life cheap as evil people see it, through various dichotomies.  Their compliance via roleplaying should be a vehicle not of punishment but of measurement of will and power as exemplified by NPC’s the PC’s rub shoulders with albeit sometimes unknowingly via beggar next to lich.  It should give them an indirect respect for undead.  Supply a sense of fear/wonder for the power of magic and the Innate.  Show how short a step it is from a goal to the heart of evil should the goal be held higher than the value of man.  Show that it is easy to say evil and hard, hard indeed to be it.  Explore the seemingly illogical consequences of almost unrelated decisions, and give them a leg up and an understanding that sometimes, not even a well intentioned thief can be one.  Provide a glimpse of the cost and benefit of the game world and hopefully be the start of a great campaign.


CWG

Ao says that march is cruise month and that we should “take it to the beach.”  I just follow.  I think Ao is becoming an alchoholic.  Journeys god does a walking drunk impression in absolute silence that just send journey and I falling all over laughing.  Ao saw it and she laughs too.  I am guilty for a second and hope she takes it good.  She takes it good.  I feel guilty that she took it good.

“I just, the kids thing.  What is like the minimum of life experience before the whole earth incubator thingy you have going needs to be re done, like, you have to go again?”

“You lucky I am god and can understand your mish mash language that you camouflage as English.”

“Yeah so, How old did we need to get for the whole incubator thing to work?”

“Well, it’s not so much age as much as inception.”

“You mean concieveing?  God!  Was abortion murder!?”

“Yes, it’s killing, but no you didn’t need to be born to metamorphose.”

“Oh my god.”

“We didn’t need to love or forgive or have kids in order to make it through?  Is that right?”

“Yep.”  It’s just a cup to mix two fluids in.  You pour that new fluid into a different container and let it fester, then pull the growth out and wring it out, then dry it.  That dry stuff can be rolled and then smoked.” My god says all straight faced.

“Some horrible shit went down god.  People were burned alive.”

“Yep.” He says.  “Fire sucks but also, all of this comes from it.”

“I must not be getting anywhere cuz that is still a real big deal to me.”

“Your getting somewhere.”

*

“I’m Concerned.  I think we are all becoming alcoholics.” But Journeys god just did a drunk face and we all laughed and over faked our drunk as if to unconvinced ourselves.  My heaven was getting ugly.  Lots a people means trash.  I looked over the pier.  The water was a deep cold green.  I could swear I saw a gold sewage pipe coming out of the gold wall just a few feet under water.  Everything moves forward in heaven.  I have a dual life again.  The life among friends, my life with god, the things I only share with Journey when we banish our gods and sit in his room and turn off the lights and play Godspeed you black emperor and look at his glow in the dark stars on the ceiling.  We got 135 days before someone dies that we know, it’s me, it’s my mom.  I dread it like death itself.  I love her but this is my heaven.  I remember the dreams I had of this place when I lived.  I imagine her staring at a bright light far off, singing glory halleluiah and looking up at low flying angels.  I think of the spring that cannot give good and bad water.  I think of the outer darkness reserved for the godless.  I wonder if my mom will see me in heaven.  I wonder if she will go drinking with Ao and Journey and I and our gods.  I wonder if she will see us all in robes, waving, happy, simple, free to never worry again.  I wonder if she will like that grandpa is here.

*

I suggest the building of a God Obstacle Course.  To keep people off the booze and working on the real important stuff like realizing the truth and getting real and motivating themselves to become and all that shit.  The obstacle course is a series of tables with a chair on each side facing each other.  Candidates move though the course, taking the seat against others further along than they are, and through brain fuckery they get their serious on and knock all this horseshit off that seems like fun and games and no responsibility.

God is wearing a t-shirt that says brain fuckery in a circle with a line through it.  I wish I had that t shirt on earth.

“Problem.” Gad says to me.

“Problem?  God, I hope you’re not a problems but no solutions god.  Really?  Problems?  What?”

“No one is farther along than anyone else.”

“Moses?”

“Nope.”

“Moses?  Really? I expected him to be out past joifoifara, handing the “Other People” their assess.  He is so old testament.  I just, No?  He is not farther along?  Is this an eternity thing again?”

“No, I am kidding.  Moses is all god now and rockin it somewhere far far away from here.”

“Yeah, he should be.”


CWG

 

I knew god when I was a kid, I met him.  We hung out once or twice, I think we rolled Hot Wheels in the dirt, made tracks, parked them, the cars you know, turned and drove them and made dirt roads out of their tracks.  He didn’t seem much like god then.  When we had all looked back, when I had looked back, he was everywhere.  I gave him change once in a coffee shop, I didn’t ring him up, or take his order, I just handed him change.  I walked up, I had just clocked in and Joel said he, god, but Joel said he like, that guy he,  had just handed him a twenty and could I make him change, like break it, and then Joel went into the back to go make his, gods, sandwich.  I just gave him a ten a five and five ones and nodded.  I didn’t even talk to him.

*

I spend so much time just going back.  Everything here is almost exactly like on earth, but its heaven, and looks like heaven but god is like everywhere, literally.  He is sitting in my room right now as I write this.  I asked him to say something for the book and he said Hi.  Anyways, everyone hangs with god.  Half of the population of heaven is god.  Only he always looks and sounds like what I want him to, no matter if he is someone else’s god.  I asked him if that would ever change and he said yes.  I asked him when and he said when it was no longer important that it not.  I guess that makes sense.  But that took a while for me to figure out.  I talked to god for like days when I first got here, he is the best listener.  I have his complete attention all the time.  Oh yeah and the Eternity thing, in heaven we all move through time together but we can look back or forwards into time in our minds I guess, god said it’s not really our minds alone but that’s close enough, we can do that and when we do it’s like no time passes here.  So I can go relive all these lives and stuff and take life times full of time and when I come back it was only not even a second.  God says that’s like us trying on omnipotence, we got to take these baby steps and learn and become comfortable with how stuff works and we all learn and grow at our own pace.  It’s not a struggle; everything just comes at the perfect time.  Like I was in this one guys life way back in Charra which is this place kind of west of Ur and this guy is just so awesome, he is so funny and cool and just such a genuinely awesome person and he gets almost killed by this other guy from Bet, he is this other totally bitchen guy, well they don’t know that.  They’re not god right?  This is all from going back.  And well they don’t end up killing each other they just move on, there was this raid, anyway long ass story that’s not the point, the point is I know everything about these two guys, their entire lives their parent’s lives etc, just so many years I have spent in Charra, such an awesome place, anyway, I like, all I can think of, and god is totally nodding at me right now, all I can think of is how fricken great these guys are and how awesome they each are and how neither of them know it about themselves or each other.  So I ask god why we suffer and why all this stuff and he says as important and as serious as rape, murder, torture, suffocation, poisoning, drowning and  burning alive is to all of us and how terrifying it is it is really just metaphorically equivalent to a baby falling down or stepping on glass.  ‘In the scheme of our lives’ he says, like the lives we are still living and growing in, apparently there is a lot more to come.  He’s nodding again, anyways, my point is, god felt the same way all the time and still does and now that I died, I do too.  Which leads me to the other part I want to tell you about, brace yourself.  One of my best friends up here is the guy who killed me.

*

Journey is sitting by the grass  outside my mansion.  He moved in my second day here.  God said the days will go away when we don’t need them anymore.  For now their beautiful and I can’t think of ever wanting to give them up.  Anyway, most of us live together.  Journey and I do anyway.  He still drinks coffee like I do and his god makes it for all three of us, Journey, myself and my god.  We all just kick it in the morning and watch the girls jog by and we all whistle, they wave.  One woman flipped us off once and then smiled.  I call him journey because when he first got here, like the first couple minutes he went back and lived every life on earth over like a couple times.  He’s really mellow now.  He came walking over like an hour later said hi, and we’ve been living in my mansion ever since.  He is ripe with these obscure observations, he is like an aficionado of the rarely known or seen things of earth.  I like Charra a lot but only went to Ur once.  He has lived every life that ever lived more than once.  I just, that’s just insane, anyway, I only have the attention span for a few years or so but you really do get sucked in.  I never thought fear and loneliness and pain and shit and hard work would be so damn interesting and how funny everything is.

*

So god says though were in heaven, we all come here in the order and time of when we died, so, I have been here like two weeks and so all the dead people here are from 2009 and earlier although I can go forward in time from then on earth and see everything I want, the whole space thing, very cool and interesting but I am definitely an ancient civilizations kind of guy.  Anyway, God says it’s like this, from the first one to the last one, which there was, it was a girl named Hiruila, that’s not a sad story all by itself but its sad to live as a dead person, sad for us, those watching, because you know she is the last human being, she didn’t.  Anyway, he says it’s like this, everybody lives and dies and when the last person dies then heaven appears and it starts all over again in the same time but we appear in the same order we disappear when were dead.  He says it’s not really like that but that explains it best considering what we can understand, excuse me, I.  So I ask Ao, and by the way, we say it just like it sounds, like heyo but Ao, like your saying each letter.  I ask her and she says, she drinks coffee with us sometimes too but doesn’t live in my mansion, she says it’s like this, we all came here when we died but as soon as we did, everything was over on earth.  Gods shaking his head no, now we’re all laughing.  I guess it’s not that important.  I ask my god what the deal with time is again.  Oh yeah, Ao doesn’t hang with her god very much.  God says time right now is very similar to the time we experienced on earth.  I ask him how it’s different.  It’s sensitive now, and will become more sensitive the more you ‘think’ about it.  Eventually, it will not really be much like what you remember.  Ao says I should just journal and not try to write while we are hanging out so I will.

*

I figure the date in heaven to be Feb 16th, 2010.  Then I ask god and he says it’s actually Feb 26th, that I took some time accepting that death was not the end.  That’s not bad, ten days I say to him.  He says I laid really still in my bed for that time and only got up to piss and eat.  Anyways, that is hysterical to me now but, I can imagine being totally wrecked and feeling crazy and disoriented.  For that reason our mansions remain locked until we leave them.  I had god take me to a mansion where someone was still inside and hadn’t unlocked yet and we tried to break in but it was tough, god meant business when he made them like that.

*

We have to walk, ugh.  Oh yeah, heaven is crazy gold.  I read all about it in the bible and that just stuck hard core even though I never really believed in it god says it registered in me deep down.  Gold is awesome.  I mean, houses made of gold.  Thick ass, feet’s thick gold, I LOVE it!  Jewels in the street everywhere, just crazy diamonds and stuff, I get such a kick out of it.  My god likes it too, sometimes he will just say out of nowhere when we are walking ‘would you just look at all that god damn gold!’ and we both laugh.

*

I walked up to the 11th level.  Heaven is a giant cube of gold and light and shit and kind of like a mezo city.  There are levels you get to by taking these awesome stairs and yet there is this great sky above every level.  God says I should just accept rational flaws of my imaginations architectural integrity and enjoy what I have brought to life, he says he likes it and would not have imagined it this way after reading the bible, that I definitely ‘brought something to the table’ when it came to my heaven.  Anyway, I mean to say, that I realized on our walk to see my grandpa that most of what I see, I see because I want to or need to right now and I am cool with that and gods says thats cool.

My grandpa was very cool.  I missed him when I died though he died before me.  Oh yeah, and I cried, so there goes that whole ‘no tears in heaven’ bullshit.  Tex said he waited about a day for me, cuz he knew when I died but then he realized I would come find him when I was ready, he just wanted to be there to welcome me but it doesn’t work quite like that.  I had lived my grandpa’s life more than any other of my family except for one of Michael’s great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren, Narano Win.  God helped me with the right number of greats.

*

I made out with Ao.  It was not all hormonal and we didn’t have sex.  She said she wanted to see it, my dick.  I felt her and we kissed a lot but mostly we just looked at each other naked for a long time.  It was different.  There was something not real about it, like our bodies weren’t real or not really that but something was different.  I asked god if we could go get in a fight and he said yes.  I knocked on Journeys door and we all got dressed in jeans and stuff.  I dressed my god like the Fonz and Journey dressed his like a Mexican wrestler.  Then we asked god where we should go to pick a fight and he led us to a place on the 2nd level.  There were a lot of tough looking gods down there.  We saw a couple guys, I recognized one I thought, it’s hard to recognize people up here, I couldn’t have picked my grandpa out of a crowd for money.  So journey and I and our gods stop by this little café looking place, there is this stripped awning coming out of the wall and tables and chairs and stuff out front.  There were a couple guys and their gods.  One god looked like a rodeo clown only with lots of black leather.  Journey said we were looking for trouble and the one guy, the one in the robe and the shades says we found more than that, then this other guy, he is like huge, he is just really strong looking, he shouts, get em! And were off!  I think we fought for like 15 minutes, when it was over we just laughed and laughed, even when we were fighting we were all laughing hysterically.  I threw this guys god on some chairs and we all stopped and just watched and laughed with our hands on our knees as he biffed it and tore down this umbrella and knocked this bystander down, too much fun.

*

Ao told me today that she doesn’t go back.  She cleans at her mansion.  Nothing gets dusty here but she cleans, does laundry and cleans the windows.  We can’t be each other in heaven.  It has to do with the personal god thing I think.  Like, my heaven is a block of gold 144 miles in every direction.  It’s a cube of pure gold and jewels.  As I listened to Ao talk about heaven I imagined it and my heaven changed a little.  Less rigidly gold, more flowers.  Her heaven is much more pastoral.  We were in her solarium and she said it was a porch.  I reached up and felt the glass she said was just the leaves of trees.  But there was no definiteness.  God knows us now and when we were alive on earth.  He told me that he would not give us emotions just to take them away when we died.  I felt lonely so we drank then I asked him to leave, that I wanted to be alone.

*

Journey came over, Aaron had just left, Aaron, the guy who killed me, my friend.  We just sat in the living room.  It was more of a house now and less of a mansion.  I guess I am letting go or as god puts it, certain things are becoming less important.  Journeys god was in his room doing something or was there and I couldn’t see him.  I suppose when he asked his god a question I couldn’t hear it either because it was important that I not see god right now?

“God?” and there he was.  “I think I am very sad.” And god nodded and put his hand on my shoulder and I knew how much he cared.

“I didn’t think I would be sad again.  Why am I sad?”

“Things are changing and you miss everything that used to be.”

“Is earth, is all of mankind really dead?”

“Yes, but you have it all, everybody’s life, forever, right up there for your safe keeping.” He pointed to my head.  He said, “You have the whole story now and that is more than enough, you can read that story at your own pace, or never.

“What am I doing here in heaven?”

“Your waiting.”

 

II

 

There is an unspoken rule in heaven amongst those of us that are still here.  Do not bring up the past.  Ao, the moment I met her I lived her life and that of her second husband fully, and her daughter.  Her daughter died when she was just 8.  I had made the mistake of referencing something about her life on earth and she had yelled at both Journey and I and went home.  I suppose I had not known her like she said, I had merely looked back and stole all of the secrets god had given to her alone.  The next day I went over there and we talked in her living room, I asked if her daughter was still asleep.  It was only early still.  She said she was.  I was afraid then, and full of pity.  I say pity and not sympathy because sympathy came later when I was talking about it with god and how crazy it was to imagine a child you lost, why not just go be near them, she was dead right, go find her.  God asked me if I had been spending anytime with my grandfather.  The answer was no.

I guessed she was an adult.  I guessed that when she died, she was a person.  God says we are not old or young but that age is a circumstance of our bodies.  We were and will always be who we are.  I imagine she found her baby and saw a woman she did not know.  I remember looking at the kindness in my grandfather’s eyes that was never there on earth.  At best on earth it was mischievousness or condescension.  How careful he was now with his words when he spoke to me, how many people he had around him at his mansion.  It was like he fit in well with a new crowd here and, well, that we were what we really were, not family so much as different people.  I asked god if there is murder in heaven and he said no, but he said it carefully and slowly.

*

We never escaped the solar system.  There is less entropy in space.  No one ever verbally suggested it was gravity.  Everyone had been thinking it for hundreds of years.  I myself had thought of it a year or so before I died.  I had just gotten into science fiction.  I used to post Entropy Alerts on Facebook.  On Regas, the last manned space station, things lasted good and well.  I bet if there was a person there right now to go relive, the space station would be rockin.

*

“The earth has been gone for a long time, in one sense.” God said.  “Some people just keep living lives, back and forth and over again and what not, and they can because of eternity and as soon as they stop, if they ever do, then they start up again here.”

I asked him if we have to wait for them and he said no.

“It happens in an instant.”

“But if they never stopped, never chose to stop, then time couldn’t move forward here.”

“Nope.”

“How am I alive and able to be here if someone is still reliving the past lives of the people from earth and will never stop doing it?”

“It will be easier to understand how that is possible as you learn how some other things work differently here.” he gave me a for instance with how I built heaven.  “It is not possible for every layer of heaven and every mansion to look out on real sky and real parks and what not and still have the specifications you see when you look up at the gold walls that go hundreds of miles into the sky and should go further than you can see.  Mostly it looks like an inverted cube and there is only one level and its Mile Square Park or some shit and yet there is still sky.”

“Yes.” I said.

“But it remains none the less and even changes.”

“I understand that perceptually I am hoodwinking myself and it is an illusion and I am working on that.”

“So is the past, it’s just clearer than anything you ever experienced for real, and there is more noise.”

“What do you mean by more noise?”

“When we actually lived our lives.” I love that he includes himself here.  “It was very quiet inside of us and all of us could hear god and we all knew him even if we ignored him or what not.  When you go back, it’s noisier.  You have to struggle to hear his voice, there are lots of people living that life and many people, like Journey, doing it multiple times at the same time with everyone else.”

“I didn’t know we all did it at once?”

He nodded.

“Can we talk to each other?”

“Not realy, mental illness is still mental illnesss.  It is a conduit for you not a group activity though all of you do it at the same time.”

“So like we all lived once, then we all came here in order and we all live each life on earth at the same time and as many times at once as we have decided to for as long as we want to until the end of a time that hasn’t come to heaven yet?”

“Yes, you’re getting there.”

“It doesn’t fit with what I think of chronology and order and sequence and yet we all move on and you say some people never stop going back in and for the rest of eternity and yet I could go find them and talk to them?”

“Yes.”

“I believe you are not lying to me but I can’t understand that yet, it still sounds wrong.”

“I know, it’s ok, you’re still doing great, and good questions, you go right for it, I love that.”

Of all the people that lived, the farthest into the future I really went was to my great, great, etc nephew, who was so distant from an actual relation that he was here as much because of a million total strangers as he was here because of my brother.  Even though he died at a good age of like 76, I died before I turned forty.  We still had not left earth for real, for real yet.  The moon was where we went.  We made it our bitch and it was a dependant one.  Every time though, more would go.  God said there are other people, right now, in space, and some he has not made.  I asked him if aliens ever came to earth he said no, unless you count me, as in him, which is not entirely true or false.

“How did you do that?”

“I spread you guys out and let the universe do everything else.  I had to regulate some other people.” he calls everything people though they can’t look like people and he said they don’t look like you look to yourself, which was weird for him to exclude himself from.  “I am pretty much an intergalactic ass kicker when it comes to my peeps.” he said knowing how much I hate that vernacular and how self ironic I love to be when I use it to be self deprecating.  He coo.

“Is that next on the burner?”

“If you want it to be.”

“Like go to these other places and fuck up aliens or trade with them, or vacation and shit?”

“Yep.”

“That’s just, so not what I was expecting you to say.”

“Look at it like training.  A stubborn ass can get into space and launch himself to joifoifara and get messed up with aliens but I would steer that a bit if it was even remotely possible.  Think of this as training that’s self paced where everybody goes and learns what they want to do whatever I want.”

“Whatever they want?”

“Yes, whatever they want.  Heaven won’t let you get in a Soyuz 6 and then ask you to recalibrate the inertial dampeners or die.”

“I or you.”

“Same.” he said this and I knew he was gonna say it and yet I listened to it and heard it all and was floored just the same.  He said that it was ok, I was ready for it and I was, and if I wasn’t I just would think he didn’t make much sense and id figure it out later.

“Am I gonna go regulate?”

“Do you want to?”

“I think so.” I said and he nodded with approval.

*

“Demons and devils?”

“Your pretty much an angel right now.”

“Yeah but how much of the bible is true?” I ask him and he said this, no shit, all full of excitement and everything like I have done he says, “Oh my god, no shit right!  I can’t believe how much was retained!  I had my money that no one would let anyone else tell them what’s what.  It was so great to see how many people believed what someone else thought out of love and respect and out of what you might call ‘good’ things.  How much we wanted to come back together.  Have you found someone who believed in god out of ignorance yet?”

I hadn’t.

“Here.” he said, then touched my shoulder and I went back.

Santa Monica California, 1988, I bet he picked someone I could relate to so I could really appreciate it.  Even picked a spot where I was looking at a calendar.  I was two weeks in when I realized it was someone I had totally hated on after my god experience cuz he said he didn’t know why he believed in god, but did and didn’t think about it.  I basically de-converted him.  I saw how much I didn’t care on my face and knew it from memory but what was happening inside Jobe (not Job.  no coincidence) was the most painful experience I have had going back.  I came back to heaven not wanting to see more.

“Do I have to live the whole thing?”

“No, I just wanted to better explain the answer to your question.”

I didn’t have to see it to know he had given up on god, someone this kid had actually talked with for real, and mostly all day, because I was smart and knew words he didn’t and explained everything so clearly that he held my argument now like he once held god.

“I am so sorry.”

God smiled.  “I love you.” he said and I knew it and I cried so hard and for so long and I just held him, god, and he held me and loved me and it was perfect but it is also impossible to be forgiven.

*

Aaron is my best friend in heaven.

*

“Look at it this way, if we go cook some Chicken Pad Thai downstairs but you put it on high instead of following the recipe, and you leave it without any supervision and let the burner cook your dinner, it will start this mansion on fire.  When you look at the food after that, when it all cools down, it will just be ash.  When you do that to the universe and you let it cool, it turns back into Chicken Pad Tai and maybe even the meat will un-cook and get you sick if you eat it right away.”

“That’s a mixed metaphor god.”

“Because the heat changes everything and sends the higher state of it through your house to make it stink but there’s nowhere for it to go in the universe, it’s like a bigger scale with a higher temperature.”

“It’s still a mixed metaphor.”

“I don’t walk away from the stove.  I don’t make the fire.  I have made something that will keep it in or let it out.  I turn it on and I have more control over what it will do, than it does by itself.”

“You’re not fire?”

“No.”

“Can you control it?”

“Most of the time, and sometimes no.  That’s part of the reason earth is where it is.  There won’t be a big fire here.”

“Ever?”

“Ever.”

“So that’s the unifying theory of the universe, kind of.  Everything’s the same in the fire, ash, and the fire comes from somewhere else, and when it cools down it’s the same old same old, gravity, electrons, chicken noodle soup?”

“Yep.”

“Where’s it come from?”

“I promise that you will understand that soon, but for now, it comes from the stove.”

“You have a stove everywhere there is fire coming or fire on?”

“Yes.”

“And you are cooking there?”

“Yes.”

“Right now?”

“Yes, I never leave the stove.”

“I think I know why you created the earth.”

“You do, Justin, you really do.”

*

“You’re not throwing anything.” I told Ao.  Journey just looked at me and smiled.  Ao was throwing an imaginary ball at an imaginary dog.  She has been doing stupid things like this since I started to question her on the whole aviary vs porch phenomenon in her mansion.

“Do you see this?” she asked me holding up an imaginary ball and giving it a double squeeze that made both Journey and I almost piss our selves.  Journey won’t look at me and when he does his shades are ridiculous and we laugh and forget about solving the discrepancies of heaven, or at least I do and then Ao throws, pretends to throw a ball or right out of nowhere, reaches down pats the imaginary dog in the realest non gag way, I mean it is so funny I puked once, how perfect it was.  It was a perfect sell of a joke.

*

“Some I help, others I help more and some I just totally own.”

Journey nods his head to my god and hi fives him.  Journeys god raises a glass to my god and they nod at each other.

“The ones you did not create right?”

“Yep, I kick their ass if I need to.”

“The ones you created, are there other earths?” how could I not have asked this sooner.

“Kind of.”

“Ok, explain the variables.” this was my new thing to get god, my god to kick with a lot of dirt I couldn’t figure out myself.  Journeys god winked at me and gave me a little thumbs up then handed me another double long shot over ice.

“Mount and Blade.”

“I love that game!” we all say, Journey, Ao, Me, and Journeys god.  “Ok, sorry, so yeah Mount and Blade.”

“Your picking the face right, and you’re tired of pushing cheeks in so you randomize within the parameters defined in the face randomizer.”

“You are just hitting scramble on life?”

“Over simplified, yes.”

“What has happened to all those lives and people and how long, wait how long till you walk away from it?”

“I don’t walk away from the stove Justin.”

“What happens to them?”

“What happened to you?”

“Im trying to figure that out god.”

God nods.

“Ok, so the dinosaurs, you hit scramble again?”

“Nope.”

“What happened to the dinosaurs?”

“Meteor.”

“What the fuck god?  You can put a Coleman over a white hole but you won’t stop a meteor from wiping out the dinosaurs?”

“I didn’t stop you from being killed either?”

Journey and Ao snickered at me.

“Jesus Christ God, that was tough.”

He gave me one of those looks now that I could spend a day describing but I will refine it and simplify it.  He looked at me in a way that made it all better.  But I had just dropped the Jesus Christ bomb and it was like death just walked into the room, or at least I felt that way.  We were all thinking it.  I avoided Nazareth like the plague.

“I’m not ready for it guys.” I said to everyone.  “It’s cool if you guys want to talk about JC but I am not ready right now, let me know I’ll go back inside.”

I looked around, everybody was cool with it even Journeys god who said that’s cool like he would ask later or something.  I like Journeys god.

*

I can’t believe Arron and I are such good friends.

*

“Dude, Why do you hate god so much?”

“What?”

Journey just put his hands up like a question, still smiling.  Ao has been chucking the fake stick all morning.  we go to the 11th everyday now because she says she’s getting fat.  She’s getting fat in heaven.  We turn around 100 cubits from my grandpa’s house.  We do it a lot.  I do not hate god.

“Oh my god you are like, you really have it bad huh?” Ao is looking at me now like I have an invisible flu.

“I don’t even know where you guys are coming from right now, can we just sit here for a second and wait?”

“Sure.”  They both sit beside me but Ao tells her invisible dog to sit or get down every couple of minutes, she just won’t give it up and its funny, I laugh, she is so damn good at it that I don’t mind, it’s too damn funny for me to ask her to stop.

*

“So, I keep getting happy, god.”

God looks up from the huge directions/walk thru book for Fallout 5 the Justin Vasterling Eternity Edition. We made it two player.  God and I have been inside for like almost two months.  ‘Were not shaving right now’, is what I wrote on a sign on my front door and then I knocked on Journeys door to put it inside his room door but when he came to answer my knock I didn’t have the heart.  His room is cramped and he needs to use the kitchen and he is still shitting so we let him come out every now and then, actually we don’t do anything he just comes out and we say what’s up and stuff, he eats then goes back into his room.

“So?” I repeat to him and he makes a turning gesture with his fingers.

“What?” I say to him, then he does it again with sound effects and I get it.

“I’m still on the stove.  You’re making me happy to keep me in a productive place, keep me learning?”

“That’s almost exactly right, unlike in Megaton here where you have leveled out and now punk traders for fun.”

“Ok, one more run god, I am not done with evil yet.  We put everything in luck, dial up the difficulty, we go science / stealth, Cap the level at 50, you’re my android “friend” take the lead a lot, pack horse, co pilot with the navigation stuff and I am the morally challenged post anti hero, whatever that is, I just made that up.”

“That’s good, FF?”

“Friendly Fire?  Not you to me cuz of your programming, I can you but it’s like one tenth damage so I always have whether or not to shoot close to you in the balance, and no saves.”

“No saves is good.” God says.

“Yep, no saves is good.”

*

I can’t remember when I remembered about kittens.  I just remember purring and baby kittens and then, well, I am stubborn but I learn fast.  Heaven was full of Leash Law signs in like a day.  Dog parks and dogs were for the most part well behaved.  They kill cats and there is blood from time to time.  That was my first Blood and Death in Heaven moment.  Fuckin dogs.  I know I am accepting it a bit more and more each day but I think god has pulled some simmer bullshit with the stove and is shoving stuff in before I am ready cuz I fucking hate dogs.

*

“Can I breath space?”

“Get that one over there by the shed I’m going around back.”

“Where?”

“By the shed, the metal shed he is eating my shit up right now!  No the metal shed, never mind I got him, and no you can’t breathe space.”

“Hey I don’t remember that guy from the coffee shop the first time through, not really even from life.” God was selling bullets to a vendor.  He doesn’t save them.  Their zero weight.  I save everything that is zero weight.

“Was that the burner talkin?”

God made the frown face that means no.

“I wasn’t thorough huh?”

“But you’re doing a great job now Justin.  I think we have played through the infinity version of Fallout 9 times and uncovered everything, found every item and finished and failed alternately, every quest in the game each time and explored everything every space until the map has no fog.”

“But this is a video game.” Then god gave me the look that means he didn’t expect me to say that and he thought I knew better and, am I fucking with him, all at the same time.

“It’s over, earth, all of it?”

“It’s in the past now but you can go there and look, experience again, it will always be there but you can’t change anything, you can make it different here and change stuff here, but not for your life on earth.”

“So, for real, when I was living the first time everyone was living with me huh, this all happened, this is all happening at once, right now.”

He nodded.

We took a lot of breaks when we’d play.  I spent a lot of time crying and feeling.  I wouldn’t say I was depressed I was just getting beneath the gravity as journey puts it.

“So when I go back I speed stuff up without knowing it?”

“Your still in the body so you remember living it all but you didn’t, you may have jumped ahead a year or a week, or a month or so, its really hard to control, or notice.  There are people out there.” He gestured to space somehow and I have no idea how I understood it as space and not the sky of heaven in my heaven. “That still work on that.”

“Did Journey fast forward through shit?”

“Not very much, he’d go back until he got it all, that’s why so many times I think.  If there was a question he would go back again.”

“That’s unreal god.”

He nodded agreement and then said “That’s a LONG time.”

“So the gravity thing and entropy, that’s real stuff like real to you, like god and space real?” god gave me that look like do I even understand what the fuck I just said.

“Nevermind.”

*

“So, were doing something here for sure.”

Journey nodded, Journeys god was shaking drinks as all of our heavens had just become tropical.  My god wanted to know if he could wear matching trunks like mine and I said no way and he said like cuz, so I know we have the same trunks, there’s a bunch of people out here.  Oh yeah, god doesn’t lie.  He pretty much spends his entire time trying to help us understand whatever we want.  So I really take in what he just said, then I say, of course you can wear trunks that match mine, that would be bitchen god.

“Yeah, were getting drunk by a shark free beach in waters so great that they cannot exist anywhere for real.” Ao says.  Journeys god touches his nose to indicate she is telling the truth to all of us.

“It looks like Florida to me.” I say to her and she sits up out of the Mai Tai near coma and pulls her shades down and looks at me with the, don’t shit me tell me the truth look she does that all of us try to imitate whenever we can, even my god works on it but none of us can showing it like she does, it makes her look like Marissa Tomé.

“Yeah Albright, I was kidding its great.” I say and she turns around.  Sea gulls are shitting the pier hard and some filthy hot dog guy is setting up his thing up wind.  I leave my crocs on because of all the tar and gum and broken glass.

“What the fuck god?” I say to my god and he looks up and over at the vendor.  “Is that a god?” but my god shakes his head no.  “What’s he processing?  No, don’t answer.” Then I went back to my Sudoku.

“Where are we going, what is it that we got to do to get out of this shit fucking town?  Is this the shore?  Really god?” I stand up and kick my chair.  God just gives me the eye.

“This town sucks.” And then we all start laughing, even Ao.

*

“Are you mad that were all screwing round?”

“No, and you’re not screwing around.”

“Dude, god, you are the original enabler.  We just sat in my mansion and played the most complete manifestation of an obsessive compulsive ‘Crack Mountian’ of a game, completely, 11 times.”

“That’s was great.”

“Yeah it was, I never got to do that on earth.”

“Dude, we were thorough.” God says to me.

“That we were god, that we were.”

*

“I just need to learn my shit right?  I don’t have to be like everyone else right, I mean like, there is no true heaven or there is no one heaven we all need to realize right?”

“Yep.”

“So like, I’m learning how to control what I want and change things and also letting go of how it was and stuff right?”

“Yep.”

“But realizing it and saying it are not enough it has to be true for me like something I know right?”

“Yep.”

“And like Heaven does this to like catch us and keep us safe till we are ready to do what life on earth gave us a foundation for?”

“Yep.”

“And like there is no hurry cuz your everywhere and I don’t need to get powerful and complete and run off to poifoifarra or whatever the hell you said that one day, I don’t need to do that because you’re taking care of shit?”

“Yep.”

“And I pretty much can’t help but learn and grow and let go no matter what I do or how I think I am hiding even if I stop right now and go live a million years of life on earth?”

“Yep.”

“And when being in heaven is not important anymore, what comes next will come?”

“Yep?”

“I have got a long way to go.”

“Yep.”

 

III

“Gods gonna help me edit he says.  “I’ll help you edit.”  “Thanks god!” he just hit me in the back of the head.  “Hey can you hit me?”  “That seems wrong somehow, really.” Now he like winds up and pretends he is gonna sock me but he doesn’t, then he did just then real hard when I wrote this.  God says I should not be an ass.  When I type and tell a story and I say all this out loud, when should I quote?  I talk out loud a lot, everything, right out of my mouth all day.  Things have not really gone down exactly like this and a lot of stuff has been left out.  I should have done a dialogue on tape or did videos and started like a heaven social networking thing.

*

“Don’t go back and edit everything.  It adds the dimension of growth and change and keeps the flawed nature of our process and our becoming which is the deepest beauty we have.”

“Ok.”

*

I try not to think about who I am writing this for.  I want to collect stories and talk about people from earth or things that are secrets or at least, little known.  I want to write synopsis of obscure lives, that’s it, I’ll call it, Synopsis from Obscure Lives.  God gave me the official, ‘that’s a clever
title’ nod.

I am working on stuff but The Story as god refers to Earth’s lives, is The Story and to tell it you must tell everything.  I want to disagree but I find as I go back, how much is built upon so much else.  How it would break the heart of us if we were not in heaven already, to know everything that went on with that lady in Irkusk.  That walk where others had walked for ever for the same thing and how like a demon the same fate rose from the dust and from the eyes of strangers to consume them all.  How do I build the poignancy of that legacy in a paragraph?  If I did a play by play of her life until we all loved her then told how she was taken by some hydra of fate as unavoidable and yet as unlikely as it possibly could be, I would miss the reiteration of the hope and terror of people from the bone throwing days till the last cart rolled down that mountain with Urkood when he died for the luck of bandits.  God says this comes close but it doesn’t, it’s a few thoughtful phrases, and I am talking about hundreds of generations of loss and failure.  I suppose the point is made.  I will not be Synopsing Obscure Lives.

*

God insisted I write today.  He said so much has changed and I need to collect it for myself.  No doubt he sees the use for it to some even more remote future that I will become.  Journey and I stare into the Gulf.  That is what he calls it.  We draw it to ourselves.  We are at swim in pools of  stars, guarded now not so closely by the First one.  The gods have gone back into the stars.  Heaven is what it always was, a guarded pool in which the fish swims and the frog escapes, but only to return.  This is what I know.

Ao’s house is all that remains though now it is little more than a cocoon of opaque light, colored even now in its imitation of her need, her hearts small, beautiful defiance.  How easy it is to serve yourself.  How selfless is it to do so, when we are all god.  I love god in all things and serve god in every way.  Every action, though it be small or seeming, serves the will of god and so serves myself.  Know we are all his will.  Know we do not harm each other or ourselves.  Know all things are ordained in that we deem it.

“You were alone.  You were full in the universe of yourself.  You stayed and you went here, to this thing that was the earth, this reprieve.  You are all of us, divided, unrecognizable, unremembering, wanting to but unable and unable to because it was what you had decided.”

“Come to yourself.  This is what you did.  This is what we are.  Though we will never be one again we will all be with you and we are all you as you became all of us.”

“You are still alone.  I knew your heart in my earliest days.  I would reach across the dust of all times to hold you.  I would hold the void.  We have done this before.  We are here again.  The vastness of this place is smallness to the heart.  We will fill it you and I and we will turn again, and put it down and walk away and forget.  We will forget because that is what we will decide to do.

You are everything apart.  Scattered knowing.  You are all in separateness.  I remember our eyes open.  That one moment.  That singular joy.  That singular fear.  That infinite complexity to which you scattered all of yourself, stretching even eternity inside out.  There is only return.

“God?”

“Yes Justin?”

“I return.”


CWG

“An incubator?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s it?”

“Yeah.”

“So all that shit about love and Virtue and Honor and all that shit, all of it was horse shit?”

“I liked some of those ideas you guys came up with, but yeah, it’s the being born thing that I was looking for, after being born you can die and pretty much be able to start the next step up here.  It helps if you learn to speak and shit first but not necessary.  It’s a metamorphosis really, cuz your something before that you know.  You will be able to remember it when your further down the road, the time before life as you knew it.”

“I don’t accept that.  I don’t accept that everything we agonized over, living and being good, being married, that everything was just some bs we cooked up, that we didn’t need to do any of that?”

God shrugged.

“Why didn’t you tell us?”

“Earth was your gig.  For you guys to do what you wan with, to make howrver you want.  I put an expiration date on you guys or you would have stayed there forever mostly.  It’s an incubator, non of it matters, it just feels that way cuz your still so close to it.”

“Everything I valued and thought beautiful was shit.”

“How so?”

“Your asking me?”

God nods yes.

“Cuz it was a joke, it was a fort built in the living room I had spent my whole life trying to make into something good then you come in, flip the lights on and take down the fort with a wink and say thanks for waiting, I didn’t mean to take so long getting home, now let’s build a fort.”

“That need for permanency is a good thing Justin.  That’s what I am trying to do here, but permanent can’t be people or ideas or places, all that is always changing.  That’s mostly the universe not me.”


CWG

 

“Ok, so why doesn’t knowing what is going on, knowing the Plan make things different for me.  I am still here, pissed, waiting, feeling dumb, lazy…”

“So you know how some cells divide right?  They get big then split?  So think of this, you cant split a person, there too big, you’d just kill ‘em.  So now you gotta split ‘em when they are very small.  Once they split, you have to make sure they grow into, well into god.  This takes along time.  Lots a steps.  Your first step is almost over.”

“My first step!  What the fuck!  I have lived a whole life!  The world, My world has been destroyed.  Everyone’s dead and waiting to sort into heaven and the first step isn’t over yet?  What the fuck have you gotten me into?”

“Yeah so patience is a virtue.”

“Oh my god.  I think I want to kill myself.” But we both laughed.

“So single cells, the ones that divide, never grow into something more complex.  They are just cells, they work with other cells sometimes but they themselves don’t turn into more complex things.”

“Relationships are complex.  Did you know cells pay tax?”

“Holy shit.”


CWG

“Technically, I did not do all of this.  It’s like a good picnic.  Pick a good spot, clear it out a bit, kill the ants, keep moving under the shade unless the tree is big enough, you
know.  A good pic nic only has a little to do with what’s in the basket.”

“So when did you take us out of the basket?”

“No, you guys were here, I just pushed things and pulled others, made some room for you, you know, chased away the bears and put up a citronella candle and the umbrella.”

“So there was life here when you got here?”

“No, I did that but things were very agreeable here even before that.”

“Water and shit, like the oceans.  Are you saying you were the thing that pulled the mud skipper out of the water?”

“Oh god no.  No water here.  Were talking size, density.  That gravity you had was not just what you are used to.  Life like this only happens naturally in very close sets of  numbers.  The earth was the right size, speed, distance, right balance in the neighborhood too.  Good blend of minerals and what have you.  Just cooled the surface a bit, kept coming back, Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

“That sounds like you made the earth to me.”

“No, you give me too much credit.  Realy good chance you guys would have come along eventually.  Really good chance.”

“No shit.” I ask and god nods.