a story about the Universe
and Everything Else,
by Kay Tillis
~The Universe and Everything Else~
“A Tall Man Shall Save Us!”
This is the cry that created the Universe and Everything Else. Many scientists have struggled over the passing of the ages, trying to find answers to the biggest questions our species has ever encountered. After thousands of years of evolution and scientific research, the whole community of scientists, wise men each in his own right, has agreed that the sound the Universe and everything else made as it was exploded, in infinite speed, into existence is….”Bang!” Not even a great Bang!, just big.
Little did they know that in reality, Bang! was the second sound, the end result of a cosmic story of love and deception which was played out along the shredding limits of another dimension. A story of a love so pure, so determined to fulfill itself, to manifest unrestrained and uncontrolled, that had the power to create The Universe and Everything Else upon its dying breath.
The last cry ever to be heard again from this strange and remote dimension came out from a woman. A lover. One half of the love, which shook the foundations of reality. It was her last cry as she raised the gun, pointed hard straight to the heart of her lover, and pulled the trigger.
“A Tall Man Shall Save Us!” she cried in agony, as the tears were running down her cheeks.
And so the story goes, about The Universe and Everything Else.
Aeons later, on a galaxy far far away, on a very small blue-green planet, a species had just risen anew. Risen from the ashes of a fallen evolutionary step, that led to its destruction. Now, one would expect some wisdom, some acknowledgment that all that misery and death would teach’ em a good lesson. Alas, no.
So the first tribe was built, and the leader gathered everyone around the big fire, stepped up on the enormous rock in front of them and started the first religion of the new age
The Tallest – Book One – Genesis (Not the band)
As the bullet fled from the chamber in great haste, the ripples of its echo, Bang!, spoor the Universe and Everything Else into existence. It struck the lover’s heart like a thunderbolt, piercing it with precision and brutality. And as it ticked for the last time, The Tallest was born.
- We shall call him “The Tallest” and he shall lead us to pastures green, and we will be happy and content.
- The land will be fruitful and fertile and the Tallest shall speak words of wisdom, and we shall listen and understand.
- Nay! Shall we stray from the love of The Tallest and we shall remain faithful and true, and The Tallest shall remain silent and content and loveth us he will and safe he shall keep us from darkness unknown.
- And if rain and storm shall prey upon us, we shall quail not; and if beasts of wild come to feed upon us, our ground we shall stand and we shall flay not.
- And The Tallest shall be the guardian of our people and fear we shall know not; under the bosom of The Tallest rain shall not touch us, and by the might of his voice, beasts will near us not.
- The earth shook and thunder came from the sky, splitting it in half. And as light filled the world, The Tallest spoke to its people for the first time…
“HEY YOU!”, she said.
“YES, YOU!”, she echoed violently as she came forward through the clouds.
~The Return of The Tallest~
“WHAT IN THE HEAVEN’S NAME DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING!!!”, her voice thundered, as lightning struck the earth around The tribe’s Leader, Shaman and Chief Accountant cowered in the sound of The Tallest’ s voice, with fear and terror running through his mind in the speed of light, he fell to his knees, covering his head as is customary in such cases.
“1, 2, 3, 4, EXHALE…1, 2, 3, 4, EXHALE.”, The Tallest whispered, trying to compose herself.
“RIGHT, WELL…LET’S START OVER. PLEASE, PITTY PLEASE, WITH SUGAR AND HONEY, EXPLAIN TO ME, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”, she said with poisonous sarcasm.
The tribe’s Chief Cook, Arch-General and Football Captain slowly looked around, only to see the rest of the tribe lying on their backs completely still and silent. “Probably playing dead”, he thought, “Nice one”, his mind mastered to think as it was slowly recovering from its previous paralyzed state. His body, in a rebellious act against his mind, turned his head and looked up. His eyes goggled in intoxicating admiration as he gazed on The Tallest for the first time.
“Errr…hello.”, his vocal cords managed to tremble, with the connection of mind to voice temporarily being under construction.
“HELLO.”, The Tallest quickly replied, trying hard to keep her temper in relatively mild mode.
“Who are you?”, the Chief Cleric asked, as he was still under the impression that maybe all of this was just one of those after the world has just ended kind of dreams.
“SO IT’S GOING TO BE LIKE THAT, HUH? OK, OK, I’M GAME. SINCE YOU ASK THEN, I’M THE TALLEST.”, she calmly replied, trying hard to fight off the impulse to smite his ass.
“Oh…but…well, you know…aren’t you supposed to be….well, you know…”, the Imperial Composer stuttered while his mind was constantly slapping him, battling against the primal urge to say it.
“WELL SPIT IT OUT MAN, WHAT?”
“…aren’t you supposed to be, a man?”, the Arch-Chancellor of Modern Art cried, while his mind was committing mass suicide.
. Cases of gods appearing are numbered and of course covering your head although instinctively a good idea, is considered to be somewhat useless. I mean let’s face it, if a god decides to smite you, you don’t really stand a chance now, do you?
~Humanity 101 VS Celestial Anger Management: 1-0~
“1, 2, 3, 4, EXHALE…1, 2, 3, 4, EXHALE…”
“What are you doing?”, asked the Chief Librarian.
“I AM TRYING HARD TO RESIST THE IMPULSE TO STRIKE A BOLT OF LIGHTNING ON YOUR BEHIND.”, The Tallest replied as her celestial veins popped red on her forehead.
“I am sorry if I offended you in any way my Lord…err…sorry…my Lady”, he cried in desperation, hands over head once again.
The Tallest smiled. It wasn’t a big smile, just a smirk, but his reaction was so entertaining that made her celestial veins subside. In the split second that passed, she wondered about the brief history of this intelligent yet stupefyingly ignorant species. How could it be that they had managed to survive so long? Ice ages, drought, thunderstorms, hurricanes, tsunamis, wars, World Wars, famine, diseases, viruses, you name it…they survived. They blindly worshiped ideas, faithfully entrusting their existence in things and social statuses, repeatedly murdering everyone that got a glimpse of what is real and true in the Universe and Everything Else. Yet they endured, they stomached everything, even their own ignorance and stupidity, they managed to look the cosmos straight in the eye and say “Is that all you got…punk!”, and they stood on.
Maybe this wasn’t the best of times, she thought. It was the first day of her cosmic period and she had struggled hard to manage her temper enough to avoid a supernova from happening. The “Anger Management Exercises for Gods and other Celestial Beings” seemed to pay off, for now.
“LISTEN, I THINK WE GOT OFF ON THE WRONG FOOT. I AM PREPARED TO LET YOUR SEXIST COMMENT GO UNPUNISHED AND START OVER. DEAL?”, The Tallest calmly offered the olive branch of peace to the human speck.
“Do I have a choice?”, the Executive Officer of Financial Affairs boldly replied.
“YOU DID…NOT ANYMORE.”
“YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE, TO DO AS YOU PLEASED, TO MAKE YOUR OWN FREE CHOICES, UNHINDERED BY MY CONTROL, BUT YOU WASTED IT, YOU SQUANDERED IT IN WARS, IN EXPLOITATION OF YOUR FELLOW MEN AND WOMEN AND BEASTS, IN POWER HUNGRY GAMES OF WORLD DOMINATION, IN VIOLATING THE EARTH THAT FED YOU…YOU LET YOURSELVES DOWN, BY BEING THE TOOL OF YOUR OWN DISTRUCTION.”, thrashed The Tallest against the man, fighting against the urge to cry…
DAMN THIS PERIOD!!!, she thought.
“SO WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE I CAME, WHEN YOU WERE WRITING ABOUT ME ON THAT STONE TABLET, YOU WERE TRYING TO START A RELIGION WEREN’T YOU?”, she went on to say, while crossing her hands in front of her chest, impatiently tapping her galactic foot down.
“Well yes, my Lady…I was writing about you…I want us to worship you, to the best of our abilities”, replied the Lord of Pancakes in admiration, conveniently whispering that last bit.
“Well, we need to believe in something and whom better than your ladyship, my Tallest”, he cried in penitence.
“Well, I guess we need to have a self-assurance of some sort…to know that you’re looking after us in times of need…it’s not easy you know, we only have two hands and two feet after all.”
“AND ONE BRAIN! IT’S MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE HAS IN THIS GALAXY YOU UNGRATEFUL PIECE OF MATTER! USE IT DAMN YOU!!!”, The Tallest doomed in agony as the sky darkened in despair.
~People R Wood~
It was not easy being there. Witnessing the end of the world is a life changing experience one might say. The ashes were still warm when the last survivors started to come out of their holes, their bankers, their underground shelters, cold, hungry and alone in a sea of shattered glass and cement. The people gathered around, united in small groups, then larger groups and started gathering whatever food and water they could find as they prepared to leave for the countryside. They didn’t know where they were going, there was no one to lead them or show them how to survive, but like bees in a hive, sharing a collective brain, they were working together as one.
The countryside seemed like a good idea at the time, everyone agreed. The air was more breathable and there weren’t any signs to remind them of the destruction they had experienced. They wandered like ghosts for days, with no hope, with lifeless eyes staring into a new dawn but seeing nothing.
He wasn’t always the President of the Royal Chess Academy, he used to be a simple man, living life with a sense of calmness. He was a carpenter, and a good one at that. Wood was easy, you knew where you were standing with wood, you could mold it in any form you chose, it didn’t put up any resistance and it certainly didn’t bitch about every time you left the toilet seat up or every time you left your jacket on the chair when you returned after a hard day’s labor or when you didn’t do the dishes right after you had finished lunch or that time when…oh, right, sorry. Being a carpenter wasn’t an exciting job, but then again who needs an 8 hour excitement when you have a fully operational Play Station 3 with a 50” LED 3D screen waiting for you at home. He was happy. It wasn’t much, but he always thought that regardless of what everyone wants, sometimes it feels nice when you realize that you have what you need.
Now everything was gone. He knew he had to start over, but this time he wasn’t alone. “They’re like wood” he thought. People are just like wood; sure they are hard but they can be smooth and soft, sometimes they can be rough and sometimes you might even get a splinter in your finger, but in the end, if you know what you’re doing, you might end up with a beautiful sofa.
He was just a simple carpenter, but leaders don’t come with a resume and a cover letter, they rise up in the circumstances, they burden the load and they inspire others to an idea greater than themselves. Jesus was a carpenter and look what he did. Well, being the son of a god surely helps, but when you think about it all men want is hope, something to believe, all men want is Faith.
Now, faith can be a tremendous motivator, some say it even moves mountains, although no empirical evidence has been officially documented. It’s one of those conundrums, like the one that goes “if a tree falls inside a forest, does it really make a sound when there’s no one there to hear it?”. Faith can also be a tool of destruction, a chainsaw in the hands of a psychotic madman from Texas. All one needs in order to shape faith in people, is a vessel, a delivery system that surmounts the conscious mind and speaks directly to the most primitive and basic form of thought. All one needs in order to shape faith in people, is religion.
~When being Right is always Wrong~
Discussing existential matters with a cosmic entity is not to be considered a simple task. The Chief Executive of Agricultural Orientation although a common man, was far more intelligent than the average bloke you meet at a bar on a Friday night for lager and chit chat. Even so, keeping this conversation at a civilized state, while at the same time making sense of it all, required all his mental capacity. Not so much as to understand what he’s being told, as to forget what he knows to be true.
“REMEMBER WHAT YOU THINK IS WRONG AND FORGET WHAT YOU BELIEVE IS RIGHT.”, The Tallest whispered as if talking to herself.
“Isn’t that a song?”, the Supervisor of Useful Medicine replied instinctively.
“YES, AND A DAMN GOOD ONE IF YOU ASK ME. THE PERSON WHO WROTE THAT SONG WAS STONED OUT OF HIS HEAD, BUT WITHOUT HIM EVEN BEING AWARE, HE MANAGED A GLIMPSE INTO THE VERY ESSENCE OF THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN THOUGHT.”
“Do you mean to say that the evolution of thought relies in forgetting one’s own beliefs?”, the President of Irrational Mathematics boldly inquired.
“WHAT I MEANT TO SAY WAS…WAIT A MINUTE…THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I MEANT TO SAY. WELL DONE HUMAN!”, said The Tallest as the celestial veins begun to subside again.
“But aren’t our beliefs the basis of what defines us as individuals, as communities, as races, as a species altogether?”
“NO! IT IS SIMPLY THE BELIEF THAT WHAT YOU THINK IS RIGHT, IS IRREFUTABLE. THAT IS WHAT GOT YOU INTO TROUBLE IN THE FIRST PLACE! THE COMPLACENCY AND ARROGANCE OF THE WISE AND INFALLIBLE. WHAT IN REALITY DEFINES YOU, IS THE ABILITY TO OBSERVE, USE YOUR SENSES, YOUR LOGIC AND YOUR FEELINGS, AND ADAPT BY EVOLVING, NOT IN BIOLOGICAL TERMS, BUT IN TERMS OF KNOWLEDGE AND THE EVERLASTING PURSUIT OF THE TRUTH.”
The Chancellor of Asymmetric Geometry stopped to think for a while, as experience and history not only collided with what The Tallest was actually saying, but it actually agreed, both at the same time. He understood that only when man didn’t obey the rules and the axiomatic principles of those before him, only then was he actually anything more than a sheep…or a calculator. He understood that the thousands of years of human history was a head to head clash between the Aristotles and the Hitlers, the Newtons and the Pol Pots, the Einsteins and the Popes. And THEY were winning.
“I see your point, but it doesn’t make sense. What’s the meaning of having rules in the first place, if the only way to evolve is to disobey them? Why can’t we just disobey everything and skip right to the good part?”
“BECAUSE THE UNIVERSE RELIES ON BALANCE, AND SINCE YOU ARE PART OF THE UNIVERSE, YOU MUST EXIST IN BALANCE AS WELL.”
“IT’S SIMPLE. WITHOUT RULES, THERE IS KAOS. AND SINCE KAOS CAN ONLY EXIST ALONGSIDE ORDER, YOU MUST HAVE RULES. THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU HAVE TO OBEY THOSE RULES FOREVER! RULES, LAWS, AXIOMS, ARE ONLY USEFUL GUIDELINES IN THE NATURAL PATH OF DEFIANCE. YOU NEED THEM IN ORDER TO REFUTE THEM AND IN THAT WAY, EVOLVE AND BECOME BETTER. EVEN YOUR NATURAL LAWS ARE INCOMPLETE.”
“Oh, c’ mon! Physics isn’t wrong! It’s based on proven facts and experiments! I can understand your questioning of religion, but not science as well!”, the High Commander of Archaic Artifacts shouted in rebellion.
“I NEVER SAID THAT IT IS WRONG. I SAID IT WAS INCOMPLETE. SCIENCE IS BASED ON OBSERVATION, AND OBSERVATION IS LIMITED TO YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT YOU OBSERVE. SINCE YOUR UNDERSTANDING IS LIMITED TO THE AXIOMATIC TRUTHS YOU ACCEPT TO BE TRUE, THE ONLY WAY TO FULLY COMPREHEND THE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE (…and everything else) IS TO PROVE WHAT YOU PERCEIVE TO BE TRUE, AS FALSE, AND REPLACE IT WITH A BETTER VERSION OF REALITY.”
“So when does this end? I mean, when are we going to be able to fully understand the nature of the Universe in order to find our place within it?”
“IT DEPENDS ON YOU. IT DEPENDS ON THE IMPORTANCE YOU GIVE ON THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN YOU THAT HOLD THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE BACK. THE PURSUIT OF THE TRUTH ABOUT THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING ELSE IS AS SIMPLE AS IT IS COMPLEX. IT ENDS WHEN YOU STOP BEING HUMAN. IT ENDS WHEN YOUR UNDERSTANDING REACHES THE POINT WHEN IT DOESN’T DEFINE YOU AS A PART OF THE UNIVERSE. IT ENDS WHEN YOUR UNDERSTANDING REACHES THE POINT WHEN YOU DISCOVER THAT YOU ARE THE UNIVERSE!”
. Although now that the population of the world had diminished in just a handful of people, the average isn’t much of a standard now is it?
. Meaning avoid any smiting whatsoever.
. It’s always THEY isn’t it? And since we’re discussing relativity, you might as well pick your own THEY.
. Yes with a K! Who needs a C and a “silent” H, when you have a perfectly reasonable K that makes exactly the same sound, but with half the effort!
They say “God is in the details”. It seems peculiar to me why any god would choose to live there; I’ve always found Bora – Bora to be a much more relaxing and spacious destination. It seems peculiar to me why any god would bother with details. Yet, if one stops to think of the tragic track record of the ~3000 deities that have inhabited this planet through time, maybe HE or in our case, SHE, should.
The Tallest wanted to be a responsible god, she had given a lot of thought to the creation of the humans, it was meant to be her masterpiece. Talking with the Master of Nuclear Economics did not help to make her feel better about it.
“MAYBE HE IS THE WRONG ONE.”, she thought while the astro – hormonal reaction sank in even deeper.
“BUT HOW COULD HE BE THE WRONG ONE? HE IS HERE…NOW…HE MUST BE THE ONE.”
There is a great power governing the Universe…and Everything Else. It’s called the Power of NOW. The logic behind this mysterious power comes from the fact that if everything that is happening is a direct sum of all the things that have already happened until…well, now….then everything that is our present is exactly as it should be, since if it weren’t, that would mean that we are in the wrong Universe…which would be a terrible inconvenience, especially when you have an appointment with the woman of your life or if you have forgotten the gas on or even worse, to pick up the groceries. The Tallest knew that, she had created it to make things simpler (as simple as anything can be when we’re talking about the space-time continuum), yet nothing was as it was supposed to be when it came to the humans. The expansion of the Universe was going according to plan, check, dark matter and dark energy worked like a charm filling up the void between space, check, the animals were doing alright (considering that 95% of all animals that ever existed have been extinct), check, and everything was working like a well-oiled sub-atomic clockwork…except them.
The Power of NOW offered her all the explanation that she needed, but that wasn’t enough. The Tallest knew how everything happened as it did, she was just unsure of the why. The Tallest wanted to be the details, the smallest change, the difference that could influence everything, the butterfly, and she wasn’t prepared to leave the humans to their fate, because that would mean that she was actually wrong, and being wrong doesn’t go well in anyone’s resume, let alone when you’re an all-powerful cosmic deity.
“SAKURA”, she thought. The word came to her like lightning and it hit her with a force of a thousand pulsars vibrating at the sound of Motorhead.
Sakura, the Japanese word for “cherry blossom”. It is also a word symbolizing life and how fragile everything is. All the beauty, captured on a moment in time, and while it takes months of complex physics and chemistry to produce this amazing flower, it takes just a few weeks before its colors blacken and its light diminishes within the eternal circle of life. Could it be that they are like the sakura? Could it be that their beauty came from the frailty of their existence and their light was just a spark of life within the Universe, destined to die?
Humans are the only known species to assign meaning to everything around them, even if that means inventing something in order to do so. All their understanding of the world around them stems from their senses, nothing more that electromagnetic signals inside their brains, creating thought, imagination, creativity, dreams, sight, sound…and meaning. If the Universe is all numbers, if everything is governed by cosmic mathematics, why would anything be any more meaningful than a chalk board equation?
The Tallest was worried. She knew that something was amiss. They had survived even themselves and yet they understood nothing of their place in the world. They were lost and alone, they needed hope, they needed time, they needed to become sakuras and NOW was the time to do it. The Tallest was worried indeed, but she was reluctant to let it cloud her judgment.
The Tallest turned to the Superintendent of Supreme Harmony…and smiled.
~Come with me~
The Master of Archaic Backgammon looked at The Tallest as she smiled. His mind was working hard to stomach all that she told him, all that he felt and everything that was left unsaid. Her smile shined like a thousand suns on a beautiful Sunday morning, full of hope, never demanding and always forgiving, with a tiny pinch of deranged psychotic obsessive behavior…well she was a woman after all.
He breathed deeply and was about to smile back when The Tallest turned away and with a sudden movement of her hand, she made the air sparkle, as tiny veins of electricity started filling the air around them, hissing. Her fingers barely gliding through, dancing against the void as the hissing became louder, and the silver sparks of energy started coming together, binding and dividing, always closer, hissing and sparkling more intensely, drawing more power…and then it stopped.
The air became thick and he could just see in front of him, the background, only it seemed that it was moving, like the scenery had liquefied into a colored sea of trees and rocks and mountains. The Prime Leader of Suggestive Medicine swallowed and started extending his arm as though to touch the horizon when The Tallest reached out and grabbed him by the hand, held it tightly and said:
“DON’T BE AFRAID…COME WITH ME.”, as she entered the liquid vortex with him.
When the President of Abstract Weather Forecasting opened his eyes, he was suspended in space, flying as if a force was propelling him in the distance. He looked around as they were navigating through the Milky Way, as planets and moons and meteors passed them by, he saw the sun of a nearby star system, burning bright red, with its boasting flames reaching for the stars. Nebula’s formed, as the gasses created a pallet of colors against the black curtain of space. He felt vibrations, a thumping sound of atomic accuracy, a constant beat of energy as they approached a pulsar…its rotation in such a mind-boggling speed that it warped the fabric of space around its core, a core so dense that a spoon full would weigh billions of tons.
He marveled at the perfection around him, the beauty, the vastness, the sheer power of it all, where everything mattered, where all the atoms were connected to each other and even destruction was just another way of creation. His eyes gazed through the darkness, where even nothing was something, where the dark had substance, energy, purpose. He felt smaller than he ever felt in his life, and more important than ever before as he began to realize how interconnected he was to everything around him.
It was the first time in his life that he didn’t feel alone or lost, it was the first time that everything seemed to have perfect order and balance, even if they seemed to just simply suspend into nothingness, it all made sense. Mostly because it worked, it lasted, it endured time and disaster and re-birth and separation and it kept going and going. Like man, disastrous and kind, wise but untrue, irresponsible and brave, always enduring the spitefulness of the world and always coming through on the other side, like a zombie on speed, always pushing through the evolutionary osmosis, past the bullets and the spikes to the heart.
~Uninvited guests are the worst~
When they returned through the vortex, everything seemed unchanged, everything but the mind of The High Priest of Undiscovered Religions, which was spinning insanely as the images of infinity and astral wonder spiraled in his thoughts trying to find room enough to fit. He didn’t speak, it was unnecessary under the circumstances. He turned to look at The Tallest…and he smiled.
The Tallest watched him as he wondered off, buried in his thoughts. She turned around to close the vortex when she saw something strange. Two figures were approaching from the other side, she could hear them shouting but she couldn’t quite make out what the commotion was all about…she wasn’t expecting guests, was she? The figures were coming closer and closer and when she managed to make out who the figures were, it was already too late.
“OH NO!”, she thought, as the figures crossed on the other side.
“C’mon man, don’t be daft, you can’t possibly be so naive as to base man’s salvation on faith!”, Buddha screamed as he hovered over the ground in an ethereal manner.
“Of course you can…faith can move mountains. Dad says so!”, Jesus argued calmly.
“I have great respect for your Dad man, but the way I see it, you took from the lily”, the Dalai responded ironically.
“Says you! Woman hater!…when are you going to put it in your thick skull that men and women are always going to be equal…well almost always anyway. Nevertheless, the point here is, and always will be, that there can be no salvation without belief in ME, I am the Light, the Truth, man is sinful from the day he’s born and only through his devotion to Dad will he be able to save his soul and be part of my eternal Kingdom in Heaven. Period.”, J.C. barked frantically as if he was giving one of his lectures in Jerusalem.
“Kingdom in Heaven my ass…just a bunch of self-righteous super skilled harp players and the most boring personalities in history discussing about the weather. All the cool guys are down under!”, Buddha laughed away, pointing his finger at J.C. while he continued laughing hysterically.
“Seriously now, don’t you think that it would be a much better idea for man to accept that his soul is an illusion, that he needs to be detached and follow the truth that lies within him through right living and self-guided mind control. Man needs to meditate, learn about himself, man needs to be his own teacher and his own student, he doesn’t need self-appointed Messiah’s carving out Terms & Conditions on stone tablets. Man needs to learn this now, during his lifetime, learn not to want but to be, he needs to stage his life according to the reality that he’s facing every day, not wait until he dies just so that he’s forgiven from You…first, he needs to forgive himself.”
Buddha’s words echoed inside Christ’s head. He knew he had a good point there, but Dad was always strict about other people’s opinions, and Buddha was not one of his favorite characters…it was the long ears that were really scary some times and that eerie sound he was making every time he meditated under a tree…OMMMMMMMMM.
“CAN ONE OF YOU HALFWITS TELL ME WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?!”, shouted The Tallest.
“Personally I don’t believe in Hell…and I have proof now!”, the Dalai exclaimed in protest.
“Stop fouling around man, can’t you see she’s angry?, Jesus whispered while pulling Buddha’s robe frantically.
~Gods are like children~
The Tallest tried to remain calm. She knew they were trouble. She tried to recall the teachings of the “Anger Management Exercises for Gods and other Celestial Beings”; it had served her well in the past. They were standing in front of her like children who just shot a football (soccer ball for all of you who are still wondering) through the window of the front porch and have now come upon the universal reckoning, the eternal justice and the furious wrath of THE MOTHER.
“ONE OF YOU PLEASE ANSWER ME! W H A T A R E Y O U D O I N G H E R E!!!”, The Tallest doomed as her celestial veins started popping up again like swelling rivers on spring. Only bigger…and more menacing.
“We were just hanging around the cosmos and we were kinda drawn here. We left Allah back though, he was with some chicks again. Do you know he’s got like 70 of them?!! We’re talking serious pimpage here…but he’s too strict with the dress code. I mean what’s with the black and all…very dark and mysterious all the time.” Buddha replied in all sincerity and complete lack of impending danger.
“Come on dude, the guy still talks in riddles and metaphors…its creepy. But truth be told, he does have 70 chicks…I mean that’s A LOT of chicks! I can barely handle one…God, Maria can be such a bitch sometimes…errr, sorry for speaking your name in vain Dad!” replied Jesus, playing it dumb, as he was trying to concentrate hard to avoid any sudden smites.
The Tallest was thinking. She was trying to find any reason why these two halfwits would end up back here, the dark, the lonely, the shattered Earth. Was there still belief in this world? Even in helplessness? In despair?…Only fait could have drawn them back.
“ITS FAITH THAT BROUGHT YOU HERE”, The Tallest responded calmly and assertively.
“Beats me. I don’t care, I’m just here for the ride dude.”, the jolly bald guy with the orange robe stated in unspeakable James Dean-ish.
“Hell if I know!…err Sorry Dad.”, JC responded while checking the sky for thunders.
“LISTEN…I’VE BEEN TRYING TO MAKE THIS RIGHT. CAN YOU PLEASE NOT MESS IT UP? REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME RELIGIONS GOT IN THE WAY?”, she explained calmly while trying to restrain herself from doing anything rush.
“Yeah, I mean they took it all so seriously. I was out there teaching about how to be cool to each other and you know, just like, chill and stuff. Next thing I know, they’re burning people at the stake for me”, Christ sympathized…as usual.
“C’ mon dude! You were very dramatic, admit it! Son of god, death on the cross, torture, denial, betrayal, miracles…I mean seriously, look at the Oscars you got with that Gibson flick. Even that “Jesus of Nazareth” used to be in yearly repeat every Easter!”, Buddha cried in protest.
“SEE! YOU’RE DOING IT AGAIN! CAN’T LEAVE YOU ALONE FOR FIVE MINUTES…HE’S GONNA BE BACK SOON AND I DON’T WANT YOU HERE MESSING WITH HIS HEAD…AGAIN!”, The Tallest retorted in a severely demanding manner…foot tapping frantically on the ground.
“Damn, I really missed this place man…the wine, the fish…and those sweet Jewish chicks man. Seriously dude, they were like wild beasts in bed!”, JC recalled romantically.
“Daddy didn’t let you out a lot huh?”
“Shut up and don’t disrespect father!!”, Jesus shouted angrily as a couple of salmons fell from the sky.
“Sssshut up and don’t dislispect fazer”, Buddha repeated as he was trying to imitate the all-time classic Jesus “The Cross” Christ pose.
“YOU ARE TESTING MY PATIENCE! YOU HAVE TO LEAVE NOW! WHAT ARE YOU LIKE, 5?! GET OUT! NOW!“, The Tallest screamed hysterically.
“Jeeezz! Chill out!”, cried Buddha, trying to keep his cool from becoming sheer terror.
“What is it?…oh you said jeeezzz…ok…right.“, JC said as he tried to remember that sometimes it is better to chew than talk.
“Hey, let’s go tease Allah! He gets mental when I fool around with his chicks.”, uttered Buddha as if he had an epiphany of wickedness.
“Yeah, it’s your sexy round belly, your wonderful long ears, and let’s not forget your shiny magic ball for a head.” Christ martyred in a failed attempt of humor.
Buddha assumed the deadly cold James Dean stare, looked Jesus right into his eyes and said.
“Chicks dig it…lets bounce.”, as he grabbed Christ by the cloak and dived into the vortex head first.
~The Siren song…not only eyes can see~
The Chief Astronomer looked up at the darkening sky, where the shades of yellow were slowly becoming red, as if the sun was bleeding as it went down below the horizon to sleep under the earth. He stared at the stars, one after the other as they lit up without mercy towards the living, suns of faraway systems spreading hope of life across the vast emptiness of space. “We are but stardust”, he thought, we are but seeds of an astral orgasm, billions and billions of atoms of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, the elements of life and matter, joining together under the sun. We are here, bound with one another by the same cosmic fate as we struggle to give meaning of our existence, if any is there to give, if any is really needed in the end. With our collective experience we learn the thoughts of those that came before us, and we begin our journey where our forefathers left it, everlasting and with no real control of our destiny or what lies beyond.
“Some have forgotten”, he thought. Dazed by the song of sirens, they blinded themselves from what their mind can see, through hopes and dreams and visions far beyond where their eyes are capable of seeing. He turned to look at The Tallest. How beautiful she was, how fair and how certain of the magic that the universe creates, of the stardust that is man…and woman. She looked a bit uneasy, for a god, as she hovered her body through the grassy fields below, looking at his direction from time to time, but never meeting his gaze.
He turned his eyes back to look at the sky, now black, as night had fallen onto the world, with her billion silver pins holding her veil against the fiery light of day. Sun and Moon. For millions of years they took turns, without caring of what goes on below, keeping their course true, reminding humans of their infancy and at the same time, of their cosmic heritage. If we earthlings follow our evolutionary family tree, we will eventually reach our common ancestral root, smiling bright with its rays of gold.
The Tallest had broken the song of the sirens, as he remembered how to look through the eyes of his mind. The President of the Discoverers of Lost Socks closed his eyes as hundreds of millions of synapses burst in the minefield of electricity inside his head. The Tallest looked at him as he gazed at the sky with his eyes closed.
“HE REMEMBERED!”, she thought, and smiled.
~Finding your way to grow Taller~
The sea, an infinite reservoir of life, constant in its movement, always expanding, reproducing, merciless and unforgiving, yet the source of all the beauty that was, is and ever will be. The shaman of the long-lost tribe of Wuakiki had once said that the oceans are the earth’s tears while giving birth to its children, the continents, and all that live and breathe on their shores, tears of joy and pain.
Much like man, sailing through life, through the tears of his happiness and his sadness, chasing the endless horizon like a lost sailor returning home, battling through the waves of his own misfortune and ignorance, staring at the heavens for answers beyond his infant comprehension.
The tribesmen of Wuakiki thought of their shaman as the wisest of them all, their guide to the journey of life, his wife just thought he ate too many mushrooms.
The Prime Minister of the order of Undiscovered Geography turned to The Tallest, having been deep in his thoughts all this time and with the uncertainty of a 1000 philosophers, he said,
“So what now?”
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT NOW, BE SPECIFIC.”, The Tallest coldly replied, staring at the sun with her eyes never blinking.
“I mean, what do we do now, us men, and women and children? How do we build again what took thousands of years of human evolution to achieve? Where do we go from here?”, the Chief of Cybernetic Pottery cried in a voice of a rehabilitated alcoholic.
“THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ANSWER FOR YOURSELVES. I AM SIMPLY HERE TO SHOW YOU THE WAY, TO POINT OUT TO THE RIGHT DIRECTION. THE JOURNEY IS YOURS, IT ALWAYS WAS, YOU JUST WALKED INTO A DEAD END, NOW YOU NEED TO TAKE A STEP BACK AND FOLLOW A DIFFERENT PATH, IF NOT, MAYBE NEXT TIME THE DEAD END WILL BE JUST THAT, DEAD, period.”, The Tallest replied softly, trying to avoid any expression of emotion.
She liked the humans, they had been her source of amusement in this lonely galaxy for thousands of years, an evolutionary TV series with twists and turns in every season, and she couldn’t wait for the new one to begin. She didn’t care about writing the script, it would have been much too easy, and boring, but she liked ‘The Humans’, and after spending some time with the star hero backstage, she had high hopes that this season would be mouth-watering and full of suspense.
“HISTORY IS NOTHING MORE THAN A DESCRIPTION OF WHAT HAS COME TO PASS. DO NOT BIND YOURSELVES TO IT, DO NOT REVERE IT, LEARN FROM IT AND MOVE ON. THINK OF IT AS IF YOU JUST FELL OFF YOUR BIKE AND YOU HIT YOUR KNEE, YOU HAVE TWO OPTIONS, YOU EITHER SEE WHAT YOU DID WRONG AND AVOID FALLING DOWN AGAIN, OR YOU DO NOTHING, AND JUST KEEP FALLING OFF EVERY TEN METERS UNTIL YOUR KNEES ARE TOO SWOLLEN FOR YOU TO EVEN WALK. YOU DONT NEED GODS TO TELL YOU WHAT TO DO OR HOW TO BEHAVE, YOU KNOW DAMN WELL WHATS RIGHT AND WHAT’S WRONG, DEEP DOWN YOU KNOW, EVEN WHEN YOU GO ON AND DO IT. EVERY THIEF KNOWS THAT STEALING IS WRONG, NO THIEF WOULD LIKE FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO STEAL HIS LOOT, HE KNOWS, AND SO DO YOU. YOU DON’T NEED POLITICS, FOR YOU ARE ALL THE SAME, YOU HAVE ALL THE SAME WEAKNESSES AND FEARS, THE SAME NEEDS, THE SAME DESIRES, HOPES AND DREAMS. THE ONLY LIMIT TO WHAT YOU CAN ACHIEVE IS IN YOUR HEAD, REMOVE IT AND BE FREE. YOU DONT NEED ANY MASTERS EITHER, YOU ARE THE MASTERS OF YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL SELF, EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU HAS THE POTENTIAL FOR GREATNESS, EVEN IN YOUR SHORT LIFE SPAN, YOU JUST NEED TO FOCUS ON PRESERVING EACH OTHER’S FREEDOM, JUST AS YOU WOULD EXPECT THE OTHERS TO DO FOR YOUR OWN. ITS SIMPLE, THE ONLY THING THAT STANDS IN YOUR WAY IS THE HABIT OF HISTORY, THE COMFORT OF THE KNOWN, EVEN IF THAT MEANS DOING THE SAME MISTAKES, AND FALLING INTO THE SAME HISTORIC BUMPS.”
The Tallest felt proud of herself. It was a good speech, simple and to the point, no need for flamboyancy now, just essence. She turned to the Head of the Unbalanced Accountants and smiled a soft mother’s smile, he was looking straight into her eyes, but his stare was full of worry and uncertainty which made her smile even wider, she knew that humbleness was a trait not easily acquired, but essential if you wish to grow, and stay alive.
“I WILL NOT TELL YOU WHERE TO GO FROM HERE, BUT I WILL GIVE YOU A SMALL HINT OF WHERE HUMANITY LOST ITS WAY. YOU SEE, YOU LOST YOUR WAY WHEN YOU STOPPED DREAMING, WHEN YOUR VISIONS FOR THE FUTURE SUDDENLY TURNED INTO A BUSINESS PLAN, WHEN YOUR SEARCH FOR KNOWLEDGE TURNED INTO AN EFFICIENCY MATRIX, WHEN THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS BECAME A TV SHOW FOR THE BLIND. LOOK FOR IDEALS, DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE AND WORK SLOWLY TOWARDS IT, THE ROUTE IS LONG AND HARD, BUT IT WILL NEVER FAIL YOU, AND EVEN IF YOU GET LOST ALONG THE WAY, ITS LIGHT IS BRIGHT ENOUGH TO GUIDE YOU. THERE ARE NO LIMITS TO WHERE OR HOW FAR YOU CAN GO, DREAMS NEVER END, AND IF YOU FOLLOW THEM AND STAY TRUE, NEITHER WILL YOU. WHO KNOWS, SOMEDAY MAYBE YOU WILL GROW ENOUGH TO BE EVEN TALLER THAN THE TALLEST.”
She smiled. That last bit was really good, she thought, very inspirational indeed. The Dean of the School of Martial Painting stopped to think for a second, her words were echoing endlessly in his head, bouncing back from synapse to synapse as electric currents were firing away with no remorse, signaling meanings and patterns and feelings through the universe of his mind. His eyes suddenly widened, as realization hit him hard like an open cupboard as you stand up without paying attention. He turned to The Tallest and smiled back as he felt the words escaping his mouth in a shuttering act of bravery.
“I know what I have to do.”, he said as he turned around and started running back to his group.
Suddenly he stopped, turned back, he saw The Tallest gazing at him in wondrous admiration and cried,
“By the way, my name is Jack!”.
~Goodbye, and good luck~
Jack walked fast, with decisiveness carving the ground beneath his feet. He had never felt so sure and so liberated in his life. He was not very sure of how he could ever describe the time he had with her, but he was damn well sure that it was the most important thing that had ever happened to him, even if it was just a fading dream. He stopped to get his bearings, he breathed deeply and exhaled the cold air of dawn as he listened to the sound of birds, giving their good mornings to the sun above. The early breeze was wet, and he could feel its touch on every part of his skin, well most of it anyway. Was it days, weeks, months, or was it just a second, just a moment in time. Reality can become deafeningly quiet sometimes. He had no idea if he would succeed, but he had to try, damned if he failed or not, he had to; he could never be the same after what he had experienced. Jack took another step on the path leading to the settlement, his foot carved the earth beneath him and he quickly found himself picking up his pace; this was going to be fun.
During the way he thought hard about all the men, the women and the children of the group. They had been a tight-knit bunch, and although The End had caused them great pain, they kept going, as if their life had become a dull chore that they had to finish but just procrastinated instead. It was difficult for everyone, the scenes of horror they had seen escaping the clutches of the city were enough to drive anyone insanely manic-depressive, with just a spoonful of acute schizophrenia. Yet they persevered. Jack had taken on to him a lot of the responsibilities of the group, hence the titles, but it was something that needed to be done, people had no appetite to discuss organizational matters, not after what they had experienced. Half of them weren’t even sure if there was even a reason to live when they all had started this journey. But Jack worked hard for them, taking on all the decisions, strategizing, finding ways to feed, to clothe and to take care of the group, his people, those strangers, his family. Jack had given them hope, his tireless optimism was a counterweight to the dried up tears on everyone’s faces.
There is a song called “The House that Jack Built”, but Jack was no builder, Jack was a carpenter, and his cunning was enough to turn the skill of shaping wood, to a skill for shaping people, people’s minds, their expectations, their hopes. Starting the religion of The Tallest was part of his scheme for survival, as he knew that they all needed each other in order for that to keep happening.
How simple things become when we’re faced with the brutality of being alone and afraid, man’s mind sharpens with the accuracy of his primitive ancestors, his mind becomes almost mechanical, clogged in the hands of a thousand Swiss watchmakers, it ticks in action, there is no time to think, you blink and adrenaline pumps inside you like a lunatic on fire, your muscles tense in milliseconds, your synapses burst like the SOS Morse code signals of the Titanic…you blink, and time stands still.
Survival. The greatest of all instincts. Without it, our species would have perished thousands of years ago; an instinct so powerful that even after all this time of evolution and technological advancement, remains carved in our genetic helix, embedded so deeply within us, boastingly denying our free will whenever our logic runs out, whenever our cries for help can only be listened by ourselves. Yet, what we have been taught through our civilized manners and three different types of fork, is that our instincts are holding us back, they preserve the base animal in all of us, and suppressing them, would mean to embrace a better version of our perception of identity. It is that false perception that caused the downfall, that caused The End to happen. It is that false perception which fed our lustful hunger for power against all others, against animals, against nature, against our own kind, against our own selves. A hunger which without any mercy or hesitation, exchanged friendship for money, wisdom for information, love for a villa on the hills. Kings and Queens of a few square feet, we worshiped idols, disillusioned in our comfort, we embraced our mediocrity and celebrated our myopic ideas of what is real, with blurred vision by the shiny bright lights of TV commercials.
Jack reached the campsite and people gathered to welcome him with open arms. He passed through them, hugging and kissing each one. Everybody was happy to see him again, and he was happy too. He avoided answering any of their questions and gathered them all together in a small opening.
“I have something important I want to share with you all. I have given it a lot of thought and I feel we have to take a different path than the one we are on right now. We’ve been here before, we know where it leads. It might take thousands of years to reach there again, but we know where it leads, it leads there, the rubble of cement and glass and plastic, on the piles of the dead, our families, our friends, our loved ones, of all those that were sacrificed, abused, betrayed or forgotten.”
Jack took a moment to gather his thoughts. Silence fell like rock.
“The Tallest is dead. God is dead.”, Jack proclaimed with a calm confident voice.
“Do not be alarmed, we haven’t killed him or her; no, there was nothing to kill to begin with.” Jack felt a sharp stab in the heart with every uttered word. He stood there looking at the people around him, respectfully expectant, staring at him as they were trying to understand. He sighed, took a deep breath and continued,
“We have failed our expectations. The pillars of our civilization, of our culture, lay in ruins as proof of that. We have outgrown our bodies, in a rate that we couldn’t adapt, like prisoners of our egos we became gluttons of our own confidence, our pride, self-absorbed in the smallest measure and denying our potential out of fear, out of petty emotions and frivolous hope. We dared to be called kings of this world, masters of this planet and everything on it, yet we don’t even know ourselves. We have marveled at the wonders of knowledge, yet we leashed it, we honed it, we controlled its direction in inferior ways, for purposes which held no real meaning, and lobotomized in our dystopia we followed the lights blindly, with no questions asked, and no answers given.”
“Our present is the culmination of our past, each second that we experience is the peak of human existence, yet everything is dependent of our unilateral choices, trillions of possible futures combined into a universal singularity in time-space, into Now, Here, into every passing moment.”
tik, tok, tik, tok…tik.
“We’ve allowed ourselves to wander off the path of reason, our thoughts became twisted, malicious, exploitative. We mistook development for evolution, staggered with no compass, neither moral nor otherwise, trapped in our prejudices and our fears of the unknown. We turned art into a commodity, with price tags and fancy sales pitches, music became an industry, notes turned into well-oiled clogs, feeding the machine of our false perception. We gave up on our visions, lazy in our uncertainty, hungry for things of no use or value, things which never end, empty, that leave us emotionally and mentally starving while asking for more. Religions, international organizations, national parties, nonprofit, for profit, struggling to reach the top of our Babel tower of greed, founded upon the skeletons of broken dreams, upon the skulls of failed promises, rising ever higher.”
The fall had been cruel. The End of the world as they knew it was without warning, and without mercy. Jack was there, along with everyone else he became a witness of human history and now it was his time to testify. Words came natural to him, comprehension condensed in telegraphic messages, he let go, with no control his mind kept feeding him thoughts that structured sentences, sentences that held meaning, meaning which defined purpose, purpose that gave birth to hope, and when you have nothing left to lose, hope is pretty much the most valuable thing you could ever have.
“Yet here we are. Alive. A shadow of our former selves, wandering, picking up the pieces, enduring and trying to survive. Our differences now forgotten, meaningless. Our prejudices, lost remnants of a decadent empire built on fear. Our fates bound as one. Our destiny, now an opportunity laid bare in front of us. Never before had the sun felt so warm, so hopeful, never before the suns of the night sky have glared so bright, as beacons of infinity, as reminders of our place in the cosmos and the possibilities that will come, in time, soon, with every passing second, with every choice, with every expression of love and friendship, and understanding, and solidarity. Our variety, once a threat, now stands as a banner of our strength, for our unity multiplies our potential, our love defies our misgivings, our vision dissolves our doubts, our fears, our past.”
“Here we are, on the precipice of change. A new beginning for our kind. We have tens of thousands of years of human history on our hands, tens of thousands of years of valuable lessons. We won’t start from scratch, our foundations will be stronger, more solid, avoiding the traps of repetition we can build a better future, starting here, right here, right now, with just a choice, with no cost at all, with no effort, no stress, no pain, null, nada, squat, just a simple choice, to stare deep into our future and become Gods.”
Jack’s voice echoed in people’s minds. It wasn’t so much what he was saying, as how his thoughts acquired form and vision, becoming solid, real, within reach. His tongue, like a chisel of perception, smoothed the edges of their understanding. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.
The Tallest smiled proudly.
“A JOB WELL DONE.”, she thought as liquid diamonds were starting to form under her eyes, free falling across her celestial cheek.
“Ha! Oh man! That’s what passes for wisdom these days? Quelle decadence?!”, Buddha laughed as he spat the pits of the cherries he was chewing.
“Look who’s talking!”, JC protested intensely.
“Shut up Jay C, I can bet you Allah’s wives that you can’t understand a word of my sutras…blessed are the stupid I guess. Dumbass.”, Dalai’s words spat venom as fast as his mouth was spitting cherry pits.
“Hey man, pass me the cherries, these dates make my mouth dry.”, Allah spoke absentmindedly as he was hypnotized by Jack’s performance.
The Tallest couldn’t take her eyes off Jack. Not even the three fools beside her could spoil her mood. Like a proud mother hen, she saw Jack as the tipping point of humanity, not the brightest, not the most talented, not the most skilled, not even the most handsome, but an average guy with a heart of gold and a mind as open as the horizon. People seemed to be listening to him. She knew that they had their hands full, but somehow, call it divine intuition, she was certain that this time it would be different.
“IT WILL BE FINE. GUESS OUR WORK HERE IS DONE. WE ARE NOT NEEDED ANYMORE.”, The Tallest spoke gently, with a mild tone of nostalgia.
She lifted her arm and pointed in thin air where a vortex started forming out of nothing.
“Where to now?”, Buddha inquired.
“I’M THINKING OF A PLANET SOMEWHERE IN ANDROMEDA. IT SEEMS THAT THERE IS A LIFE FORM SIMILAR TO HUMANS OVER THERE, ONLY A BIT MORE PRIMITIVE. I THINK THEY’VE GOT IT ALL WRONG, THEY’VE ONLY STARTED WALKING UPRIGHT RECENTLY BUT IT SEEMS THAT THEY’RE DOING IT UPSIDE DOWN, USING THEIR HANDS AS FEET. COME ON, WE’VE GOT WORK TO DO.”
JC walked into the vortex first, followed by the levitating Buddha. Allah, in a rare expression of old fashioned gentleman’s etiquette, gave way for his 70 not virgins anymore to pass before him, stealing kisses from each one as they passed through.
The Tallest stood in front of the vortex, she looked back only to see Jack staring at her from afar.
“LOOK TO MY COMING ON THE FIRST LIGHT, AT DAWN LOOK TO THE EAST”, she whispered gently inside Jack’s mind.
“Seriously? Quoting Lord of The Rings?”, Jack thought.
“HAHAHA…WHAT CAN I SAY, I’M CHEESY THAT WAY.”
“I WILL BE BACK YOU KNOW.”
“I know.”, Jack thought, and smiled.