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The Changing of the God
by Lori B.

I knew I was in trouble when I heard the tremendous bang and felt the vibrating shock waves spreading like wildfire across the universe. I’m supposed to be omniscient, right? So why in the world didn’t I see that coming?

I must have been too preoccupied with trying to create light to notice the warning signs in the distance. In my defense, that project did take all of my attention. But maybe I shouldn’t have worked so hard at it. After all, the explosion solved the problem once and for all. One minute, utter darkness, and the next instant, blinding light. I remember thinking that there should be some light, and I might have said the words out loud, but I didn’t really do anything to cause an explosion, did I?

Sure, I’ll have another one. Absolut, on the rocks. Can you make it a double? Thanks.

I’ve got to confess, I've been feeling pretty guilty about that big bang ever since. If I’d been on top of my game, maybe things wouldn’t have gotten so out of control. Yeah, I know nobody’s perfect, but in my case … well, never mind. I just think maybe I should have quit while I was ahead. But no … I had to keep trying to make things right. And the harder I tried, the more I screwed up. Ever had days like that? Yeah, I know you have.

If you want to know the truth, I think my biggest mistake was this whole idea of free will. But it’s partly Adam’s fault. He was so insistent! Didn’t I give him everything he could possibly want? I tried to warn him against having a mind of his own, but he just wouldn’t listen to reason. Maybe he wanted to impress the other one. Anyway, in the end, I relented.

Ever since then, things have gotten pretty crazy, right? Oh, there have been some high points, like that day I invented music. And puppies. I try to look at the positives. But some days I just need to vent. You don't mind, do you?

I guess you might as well pour me another one while you’re not busy.

I never intended for things to go the way they did. Everyone thinks it’s in my hands, but it’s not. It’s totally out of my hands, I tell you. The wars, the floods, the pestilence. None of it’s my fault. But, naturally, I’ll take the blame. I’m used to it.

Hey, by the way -- you’re an awfully good listener. It sure is a relief to talk to somebody after all I've been through. Ignored, forsaken, cursed. You’ve no idea how many times my name’s been maligned. It’s no wonder I reacted the way I did, with the fire and the brimstone and all.

I’m ready for a refill over here.

Yeah, I know I probably overreacted in my younger days, and I’m truly sorry. I’ve been trying to do better lately. How? Well, I used to drink, but there are no answers at the bottom of a bottle, let me tell you. Because I’ve looked. So why am I here tonight, you ask? Well, I was thirsty, I guess. Speaking of which, don’t even bother to put that bottle back on the shelf. Just set it down right here. That's good. Now, where was I?

Oh yeah, trying to do better. Well, I went ahead and read every self-help book that’s ever been written. Co-wrote one of them myself, actually, but once the editors got ahold of it, I hardly recognized it. Anyway, I don’t need a book to tell me “I’m okay,” or to teach me how to “think big” or “influence people.” Nope. Been there, done that. I think I just need to learn how to accept things the way they are.

Meditating seems to help a little. I just tune everything out, and focus on “me.” Nobody even seems to notice when I do that. They’ve tuned in to other forms of energy, for the time being. Like that big screen you’ve got over on that wall. (By the way, the Red Sox are about to tie the game.) No, I’m not jealous. But I might play around with their power grid one of these days, just to give ‘em a little scare.

What else have I tried? Well, lately, I’ve been pondering the “L” word a lot. No, not him. Lucifer doesn’t occupy my thoughts at all. He’s not even real, for one thing. Although I’m glad to have someone else to blame for the mess we’re in. No, I’m talking about that other “L” word: Love.

Talk about your surprises! Next to the big explosion, Love is the biggest surprise I’ve ever received, and certainly the best. I wish I could take credit for it, but it just sort of evolved. I know that sounds strange, but I can’t think of any other explanation. It was a beautiful thing to witness. I just sat back while it was unfolding and let go of all the controls. It’s pretty powerful stuff, am I right?

I’d hoped that Love could conquer its opposite -- you know what I'm talking about, don't you? (I refuse to dignify it by speaking its name, but it rhymes with fate.) Anyway, Love and that other thing just keep going back and forth in some kind of eternal struggle. I’ve thought about turning back the clock. I can do that, you know. I actually pulled it off once, but it unbalanced things. I was sorry afterwards, because of what happened to the dinosaurs. After that fiasco, I’m hesitant to try it again. What if this time, Love were to become extinct? I’d never forgive myself. So I’ve decided to just take the good with the bad, and leave it at that.

The thing is, lately I’ve been getting the feeling I’m becoming obsolete. People used to talk to me all the time. They’d ask me for help, tell me their plans, make me laugh. Maybe I was wrong to laugh. Now I hardly get any requests at all, and I’m running out of things to do. Sure, I could make things up, but it’s hard to be creative when you don’t feel appreciated, right? And I’m not talking about tips, although a little loose change never hurt anyone. No, I just think a genuine “thank you” once in a while isn’t too much to ask for.

I’m ready for another one whenever you get around to it. No, I’m not driving tonight.

I’ve even thought about retiring, but that sounds so final. I guess I could always retire and come back part-time. It’d be better than just fading away. But what would that accomplish? No, I actually think a total makeover is the ticket. A brand new image to get their attention. Yes, that might do it. Might come as quite a shock to some of them! What do you think, three heads, or just two?

I think I'll have one more for the road. Yeah, I know you’re getting ready to close up. Guess I’m your last customer. This is my last one, I swear.

Listen, before I go, can I say one more thing? I know you might not want to hear any more of my personal problems, but I’ve just got to get this off my chest. I think I’m starting to get … impotent. There, I’ve said it. And there’s no pill for what I’ve got. Believe me, I’ve tried ‘em all. But that’s why I’ve got to act fast, before it’s too late.

No, I’m not going to do anything stupid. That’s totally against my nature. But I am seriously thinking of changing careers. In fact, come to think of it, I could open a place like this one, and work behind the bar like you do. I’m definitely qualified. I'm a good listener, and I give pretty good advice (although not everybody takes it). Plus, I have lots of experience making miraculous drinks. All I need is a little water, and I can get that easily enough.

Okay, I guess I've bent your ear enough for one night. I'll see myself out. No, thanks for the offer, but I can walk home.

Oh, I almost forgot, here’s your tip. Yeah, ten brand new ones. Made ‘em myself this morning. Goodnight.

(Bartender locks the door, turns around, and reaches for the light switch. Just then, an elderly woman emerges from the kitchen, wearing an apron and holding a dish towel and a glass. She sets the glass on the bar, wipes her hands on the towel, and flings it onto a hook on the wall, where it catches by a thread and hangs there.)

Woman: “Surprised to see me?”

Bartender: “Not really. I thought I heard you rattling around back there.”

Woman: “I thought he’d never leave.”

Bartender: “Me neither. So what brings you here tonight?”

Woman: “I needed to see him for myself. Now I’m convinced. He’ll never be able to handle the transition.”

Bartender: “So what’s going to happen to him?”

Woman: “Nothing terrible. After Tuesday, he’ll be transferred to Orion. There’s a minor star there that needs some TLC.”

Bartender: “TLC?”

Woman: “Yes, Temporary Light Correction. And after that, who knows? In that guy’s hands, anything's possible.”

Bartender: “And you’re okay with that?”

Woman: “Do I have anything to say about it? It’s all up to Her, and you know it. Pour me a drink, will you?”

Bartender: “Your usual?”

Woman: “Do I ever order anything else?”

Bartender: “One tequila sunrise, coming right up.”

Woman: “Make it strong. It’s been a long millennium.”
























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