The Divine Dialogues
Part 1: Introducing Heroes #1 + #2
"I wonder what life is like," Morris said, "I mean, all we get to experience is death. As angels, we have so many amazing powers. I can blink and move a mountain. I can laugh and cause the destruction of an entire civilization. Sure, we angels aren't better respected when we do those things, intentionally or accidentally. And here I am in heaven, where every other angel has these powers and where they are incapable of accomplishing anything. For once, I'd like the chance to live."
"I don't think I would care much for life," Skippy responded, "I've lived in heaven all my life. I'm very comfortable here and I've always made extensive use of the available amenities up here. I'm used to death, and I'm not curious about anything else."
"I'm sure the idea of death to you will change completely after you've gone through the process of dying," Morris replied, his remarks getting more bitter and personal, and then relaxing his nerves a bit. "What I'm trying to say is," he sighed and turned to his friend again, "Think of all the stuff you could do if you were on earth. Up here, our powers are simply atrophying."
"You're not thinking this through entirely," Skippy said, "Omnipotence is a very unnatural power. No creature on earth also shares in this ability. If we were to enter in to an alien habitat, with a power that was completely unknown to these people, we could really cause massive problems."
"Not if we --"
"No, no, no," Skippy said, "You always get overexcited about this topic. You really need to listen to me. Up in heaven, things are simple. You get bored, enter the room of fantasy. You get tired, you swing on by the pool of rejuvenation. There's even a library with copies of every piece of paper or papyrus that was ever composed. Every book, journal, diary, newspaper, floppy disk, or clandestine classroom note is in that library. Things up here are definitely not the same as they are down there."
"I'm not doubting that at all," Morris replied, "But that's why I think it'd be exciting! A new people in a new land! We would learn by experience, not by research!"
"Have you ever been to the Library of God?"
"A few times."
"Seriously," Skippy said, "You spend almost all of your time floating around on clouds watching people. That's all you ever do."
"I know!" Morris replied in vigor, "They're absolutely fascinating! I get to watch these beautiful moments when mercy tenders the heart of the tyrant, where authority oversteps its boundaries. I watch the poets swoon and the brigands drown in their own blood. You still don't understand why I would be completely absorbed by these subjects?"
"But you haven't done any research on the subject," Skippy replied, "Humans are not so beautifully simple as you'd like to think. I read one journal entry of one guy who was a general in the military; he was a shining example to his nation of how high an average citizen could rise that high up the social ladder."
"So?" Morris asked, "What happened to him?"
"Turns out that he had a temporal lapse of sanity," Skippy said, "After his soldiers cleared the village and found no hostile forces, he started to personally execute the villagers. Sometimes by gun, other times by bayonet, but not until a thorough and vicious interrogation was completed."
"That's just one face of humanity," Morris replied, "There is as much compassion as --"
"Wait, wait," Skippy said, "Let me finish the story. The reason why he did this was because as a child, his parents had him stay with his uncle on weekends. He was only three years old, but his uncle had this sick fetish of walking around naked and biting his nephew on various parts of his body; enough to make him bleed. Sometimes he would fight back and scream. When he did this, and his uncle was in bite-flesh mode, he would hear, 'The rat who squeaks first, squeaks last.'"
"I know that people do a lot of sick, unbelievable things," Morris said, "I've learned a great amount from surfing those clouds. I've seen some evil things that humans have done. I sometimes think god created mankind in order to put the burden of a poorly constructed world on man's shoulders. It's kind of obvious he's not perfect. Otherwise the world wouldn't be in the condition that it suffers from right this second. Scripture calls god powerful, not diligent."
"I think you're missing the point of that gem of a little story that I just told you," Skippy said, "The world is sick and twisted, not cruel."
"I totally understand the human heart," Morris said, "Cruelty and mercilessness breeds itself. It is its own cause and effect. I know this pattern very well."
"You're still missing the point of that story," Skippy said, folding his arms and waiting.
Morris glared. "Fine, what was the point of that story?"
Skippy spoke slowly, but confidently: "The point of that story, is that early childhood trauma can completely commandeer a man's interests and desires and longings, with much less detection than even a demon-possession of a human being. Every person's wants, from the food they like to how much happiness they get from being abused, and especially in what gets them turned on or off in the bed, all of this is determined by those first, formative years. There was one person who kidnapped and cut off the ears of hookers, because as a four year old, his mother blew crack smoke into his face. When that general of the military shot and murdered those innocent villagers, he was orgasming. Now, from grade school to boot camp to the battlefields, his interests, his wants, those forbidden pleasures and tainted attractions, these were not all created out of his so-called free will. It was predetermined by the way the human brain reacts to certain experiences. The way humans are built, well, they all come with the option of predetermining them to be anti-social, cruel, cold-hearted, or to express themselves viciously when it comes to sexuality. The sad fact is... the cause of this antisocial behavior is difficult to trace, it is always active, and most people are not even aware it exists."
"But, but... but there are good people."
Skippy ignored Morris. "And there's no real way for us to associate with the humans that way. I've never had a brother, a sister, a father, a mother, or any other form of a blood relative. I have no idea what it means to wake up to five empty bottles of vodka, a painful headache, and a scribbled note that says something about murdering my lover because my parent's emotional response gave me a sexuality complex. Can you imagine what that's like?"
"There's no way you can possibly imagine what that's life, just like it's impossible for me. We were both made in angel incubators. Our interests, desires, and other hopes are based on what is mutually desired of us by our creator. We were all made thoughtfully and unique. It's like we were god's first and most perfect race. But, you really need to reconsider your idolization of humanity."
"Is that it?" Morris asked, "Are you done with your story? Can I speak now?"
"Yeah, go ahead."
"I still am fascinated by humans," Morris said, "And the subconscious structures of the mind that may premeditate their actions and causes, well, they are just a new facet of an old subject. I was definitely familiar with them before, but maybe I didn't place enough importance on that part of the human brain. Yes, early childhood experiences can be a source of an adult's desires and actions. If these childhood experiences can generate bad habits, what is to think that they do not generate good habits?"
"So, you're still on fire for humans?"
"You're goddamned right!" Morris said, feigning a punch in the air.
Part 2: The Journey Begins
The conversation of our lords of dialogue was abruptly interrupted by: "All angels, classes A through G, report for briefing in the chambers of the Department of Angel Distribution." Skippy sighed again, giving a tired look to his companion. Morris' face lit up with a bit of joy. He was excited to see his supreme commander again. They walked together towards the chambers. "It's times like this I wish I didn't enlist in the Angel Corps. I could be drowning in the ecstasy pool right now," Skippy lamented.
"I like the angel corps," Morris said, "What else would we be doing without it? Being bored in the library of heaven?"
"Or maybe sleeping in some clouds."
"Or, I bet, you would sit around your personal chambers, developing new theories on why humans are so debased. Maybe god will even let you write a chapter for the Newer Testament."
"I'm not going to say it again," Skippy told his friend, meeting him eye-to-eye. The two kept floating together towards their destination. Upon reaching the chambers of god, the two angels took their place in a crowd of similarly, astute angels.
"All angels that have been summoned here today are now being transferred to souls for the purpose of inhabiting the lives of once-living humans. If you have been called here and are under the class description given to you, then you are going to have a direct experience of living. If you have already fulfilled your obligations of living a full, human life, then you are hereby dismissed," the Chief-in-Command, our heavenly lord, spoke with a plainness and clarity. Several thousand spirits heard the words and floated out of the membrane walls of the creator's chambers. "All of you who are still here have been chosen to complete a single tour of duty. You will all be given a physical human body of your choice to enter the world of the living. This tour of duty will give you the experience and credentials if you would be interested in the Department of Prayer Monitoring or the Institute for Studies of the Conscience, or if you're good enough, you might just get a seat on the Acts-Of-God Council."
"Excuse me, almighty and all-powerful," Skippy rose in the air so that he was visible among the collection of spiritual beings. "Is this a requirement of us? Do we have any choice to accept or deny this assignment?"
"In front of each of you there should be the agreement you signed upon joining the Angel Corps," God spoke, trying to look to each member of the audience, "In this agreement each of you signed, it states that within a two-year period of joining, you would have to get one direct contact experience, as defined in sections F-2 and stipulated in sections I-six through twelve and Y-7. Those of you still here have not fulfilled this requirement. This assignment you are being given is your one last chance for a good will mission to earth. I have given you all the choice to take this requirement on your own, but now you have this one last chance. Failure will mean expulsion from the Angel Corps."
Skippy shook his head and closed his eyes. "This is the one thing I never really wanted to do in the Angel Corps," Skippy thought to himself," I had no problem with the supernatural abilities training course. That was fun even. But to be put in a situation where my performance depends on a mortal instead of God or the drill sergeant at soul boot camp #39."
Morris's thoughts went along a different line: "I complete forgot about that... Wow, I get to walk on earth and interact with humans!"
God continued with his orders: "You will be sent down in pairs of two. One team member will be given the responsibility to communicate and deliver reports of activity on Earth. You will be given information on how to adequately deliver relevant data. The other team member will be given a multiplier gem that increases the supernatural abilities of the soul by ten. Before further briefing, I want you all to team yourself up with one other spirit here."
Morris draws a big grin and looks to Skippy. He returned a look to his friend that resembled that of a drowsy individual just waking. Skippy turned back to the crowd of spirits flying through the air and locking up with partners. Then he looked at Morris again. "It would probably be better if you and I were partners," Skippy told his friend, "Because, we already know each other pretty well. Plus, we did decently well together in spirit academy when we were teamed up for group projects. Remember when we had to resurrect that corpse?"
"Yeah, I tried to get out of that class project on moral grounds, but my instructor wasn't convinced of the validity of my ethical objections," Morris responded.
"Come on, buddy," Skippy said, "It's not like it had a brain or even a soul. You're too much of a softy."
"All right, it looks like everyone here has chosen a partner," God said, "I would know. I'm omniscient. It should be understood among all of you that, whether you get to be the informant or the carrier of the multiplier gem, this is something decided completely randomly."
"I'm loving this project more and more," Skippy thought to himself, as it looked like he was about to fall asleep.
"Now, on to the part of assigning tasks to the teams..." God spoke to his captive audience.
In front of each partnership, an envelope appeared. Everyone grabbed the paper in front of them. Some reluctantly, some excitedly. One envelope read, "From a random starting point in Africa, find the village of Benin and fix their well. Attribute the miracle to the local, popular god." Another assignment requested, "Deliver this religious scripture to be buried under a boulder in the Himalayan Mountains." There were other similar orders.
Skippy gazed at the floating envelope. He smirked and then already regretful, he slowly reached out and grabbed it. To his partial surprise and delight, Morris lunged his hand forward and pulled the paper towards himself. He quickly read the words on the paper, scrunched it back up against his chest, and threw a look of pure happiness to his friend. Skippy sighed and spoke, "Okay, what task did we get?" Morris pulled the paper away from his chest and held it out in the air so that he could read it again.
"We get a miracle of our choice!"
"Wait a minute," Skippy's face showed irritation, "What does that even mean?" Morris held out the paper. Skippy pulled it close to his face and read it aloud: "The team is given the responsibility of pulling off one miraculous event that has no backfiring ability. That means that a storm to water the soil of farmers in a drought better not turn into a deadly flood. A fire to give heat to poor villagers better not turn into a flame that devours the village inhabitants."
"I'm really excited about this project," Morris said, tapping his feet and soaring.
"It does seem simple enough," Skippy said, "I feel bad for the angel partnership that got the task of setting up a false idol so that god can smite the blasphemers."
"That task is such a rumor!" Morris said, "You heard that in the academy, like everyone else."
"I don't know," Skippy replied, "I've heard too many spirits talk about it for it to just be scuttlebutt."
"What kind of miracle do you want to perform?" Morris asked.
"I'm not sure," Skippy said, "Maybe something easy, like fixing a well in some African village."
"If you want to do something easy because you're lazy, we might as well listen to the prayer's of the people and deliver a little doll to some five year old girl in the ghetto," Morris replied, "At least that's creative."
"Eh, I'll do as little as I have to in order to get my angel degree," Skippy said, "But yeah, it does seem like an easy project. It's not like we have to bury religious texts deep in to the ground just to puzzle and perplex future generations, to throw them into centuries of sectarianism and turmoil."
"Now that you all have the earth task that is before you," God continued, when he knew everyone had been informed of the quest before them, "Each partnership must be delegated, between the member carrying the multiplier gem, and the member responsible for delivering intermittent transmissions back to heaven, so that we can monitor the progress of each group." The pairs individually walked up to god, where they were each given the their personal duties.
"This sucks," Skippy said, "I knew this was going to happen."
"What?" Morris asked.
"You're definitely going to get to carry the gem multiplier. You've been a favorite student of his for as long as I can remember," Skippy replied, "It's obvious that he's not too particularly fond of me or my opinions."
"Oh, hush," Morris told his friend, "Besides, god is omniscient. He knows everything. He'll hear your thoughts!"
"Yeah, and he knew that I would have those thoughts when he created me, so there's not much that either he or I can do about it, right? If god made me who I am, then he knew I'd turn out with some unpopular, doubtful ideas, so this is all really his fault technically."
"You've been talking to the philosophers too much," Morris retorted, "I'm surprised god even let those guys into heaven."
"Can't find with obstinate logic and reasoning," Skippy said, "Even if you've got god's endurance."
"Actually, I think those guy's are in hell," Morris replied.
"Oh, yeah, now I remember. I was in hell when I was visiting those philosophers," Skippy replied, "Sure, I went to hell without authorization. I've been reading their books. And the pursuit of wisdom can never be sacrilege"
Morris and Skippy approached god. Skippy's predictions were correct. Everyone had been assigned their task in partnership. God moved on to the next stage of the mission briefing. "Everyone must choose a human form in order to accomplish the task given to them. This will only limit certain of your supernatural skills, not all of them." Several angels floated in the air to raise problems with that, including Skippy. But another angel was given the right to address the audience...
"But, god, how will we complete these tasks? I have to get to the top of a mountain. Unless I'm in spirit form, I can't float."
"You will all need human bodies so that you can blend in when your objectives require it," god spoke, "But tools will be made available to you so that the job you need to complete will be much less difficult. Now, feel free to choose your human form in the package that appears in front of you. You will also receive information of what region of earth you will be on and in what time era you will be appearing. Don't forget to consider important local heritages, bigotries, and prejudices. You won't get far as a black female in the south of the United States of America before 1850."
"Where do we have to commit our miracle again?" Morris asked his partner.
"Skippy held up the paper given to him by his superior. "We're going to North Africa, 1950... Whoa. That place was a center of social progress, culturally exploding with new art, poetry, literature, and revolutions."
"All of you enter in to a transformation chamber," God ordered, waving his hand and creating the devices behind him. Everyone followed suit.
Skippy stood inside his transformation chamber. "Gender," the spiritual machine asked him in a tone and style that wasn't exactly different from that of a robot. "Hhhhmmm," Skippy thought to himself, "I could be either human gender. I could probably embellish a gender with a lovely set of psychological issues. Maybe I could be a man who is only sexually aroused by acts of power. or maybe I could say that I'm a beggar woman from Calcutta who has traveled long distances to personally deliver a letter to the king of the Zulu Empire, but at night, I'm a prostitute, slowly learning to treat sex as an act of self destruction. All of this, of course, contributes to the growth and development of the daughter I give birth to at age 28; all of her life, she lives with the subconscious, emotional idea that she always will be and always was unwanted. Oh, the possibilities are endless. But, seeing that Chauvinism has such a strangle hold on the region, I probably have to be a male." Skippy's choices: dark complexion, African, male, 6'1, moderate build.
Morris stood in his transformation chamber, and he was shaking with happiness and giddiness. "I can choose to take any human form I want!" he thought to himself, "I will finally be able to live the life of the object of my study and fascination! For so long, I've seen them act, and react; I was the scruple, the scholar, and the worshiper of their behavior. I've been limited to my spiritual form from understanding exactly all of the emotions that go through the head of the average person. As a spirit roaming around the vast open space of heaven, observing my kin of spiritual flesh, and observing my brothers and sisters of blood and bone, I have known many emotions. I've become acquainted with feelings of disappointment, desire, and maybe even a little empathy. However, I seem to have been completely isolated in this heaven above earth from feelings like hate, love, greed, envy, lust, pride, hunger, pain, pleasure, and all those senses that come with a fully functional body. And now, I am going to enter the world of the living..." Morris' preferences: light-middle complexion, African, male, 5'9, strong build.
"Everyone has completed their choices," God's voice boomed through everyone's selection booth. (He didn't ask them if they finished; as an omniscient supervisor, he knew when you were done.) "Now, be prepared to enter in to your world with the body choice you have picked." All of the transformation booths started to vibrate and rumble.
Skippy looked down in his booth and saw his feet start to form, as sparks of light exploded and burst. He looked up. "Oh, shit."
All of the souls emerged from their chambers as they were thrusted into open space with their brand-new, naked bodies. The powerfully loud noise of rushing wind muffled all the screams of their born-in-heaven spirits, as for the first time, they experience coldness in its most excruciating and extreme form. They free-float in the open space, completely helpless to control their direction. After this fifteen minute experience of flying through cold space, draped in the star light, worm holes appeared, pulling the once-spirit forms of angels into certain realms, times, and places. This is the experience of these souls as they were each given human bodies for the first time.
"Ugh, my head," Skippy roles around on the ground. "I guess this is what it feels like to have a head... and a headache." He looked over his shoulder to find an African male looking at the palms and backs of his head respectfully. "After that birthing experience," Skippy continued, "I think I need some serious therapy."
While Morris continued to marvel at the ingenious construction of the human body, overlooking the primary flaws, of course. Skippy decided to give his friend the necessary time to make a massive readjustment. As Morris's attention drifted to his belly button, Skippy examined the immediate surroundings. The very first thing he noticed was that he and Morris were both clothed in garments fitting to the region, the culture, and the time era. "That's good," Skippy thought," The Nudist Revolution of 2338 hasn't come yet, so at least god's thinking about our situations." He also examined the contents of a backpack that was in the area. "Oh, yeah, I love the smell of improperly cured rawhide. Rawhide that is sown together with... what is property just raw, bone sinew. I really do like god for applying those little aspects of realness. This tunic? It's was made with filthy wool," Skippy's thoughts kept snowballing, between his apathy and the knowledge that he had a divine chore (AKA: miracle) to do. He opened the backpack. The odor brutally assaulted his sense of smell. Almost unconsciously, he threw the bag to the feet of Morris. "So," Skippy said, walking closer towards his friend, "... how are you taking this?"
"It's amazing..." Morris replied without looking up, now pulling on his arm hair.
"What's more amazing is what's at your feet," Skippy said, "You open it."
"Did god send that with us?" Morris asked, postponing his mesmerized stances.
"I don't know. Probably. No one else is around, so it has to be ours."
"Neat..." Morris said, "It's a genuine kerflakin 2000."
"Uuummmm," Skippy looked at his quest partner, "This is 1950, not 2950."
"Oh... it's a purse," Morris said.
"Sure, it's a purse," Skippy said, "Now open it."
"There's some... colored paper and heavy weights."
"That's money, coins and bills."
"Some soft, moist substance with an appealing smell."
"Food... let's hope."
"Some... flat thing with lines on it."
"that's paper... just like the money you pulled out. But, this is a map."
"And, it looks like... some more clothes... um, some women's clothing."
"Those are blankets."
"Oh... And then there's this cold, shiny thing."
"Give me that... It's a knife. Well, I'm glad that god thought we'd probably run into some death-deserving blasphemers."
"It's nice to be human for once," Morris said, "We should hike to Benin."
"Well, technically," Skippy said, unsheathing the blade and checking its sharpness, "Our task is to perform a miracle that will remind people of this time era and this geographic location of the greatness of their god. In order to do this, we should probably head to the nearest population center, Benin. But..."
"But what?" Morris asked.
"Nevermind," Skippy said, "Let's just go." The two had decided that, since Morris was a stronger build and physique, he would carry the purse. Or, at least, Skippy decided that and convinced his friend of it.
"What can you tell me about the people of this era?" Morris asked.
"There's the same stuff here as in any other time frame or place. Governments manipulating people, wars, public hysteria in the form of traditions and customs. The name of the groups, the ruling class, the privileged class, the religious caste systems, the insurgent activity of youths and social changers, the progression of technology and its use to defend all established institutions, the use of schools and education to indoctrinate the young instead of liberating them, et cetera, et cetera, nothing changes ever. Just their names and circumstances evolve."
"Wow," Morris said, "It's probably all true. What do you think god's plan for all of life is?"
"It's never been a vexing question for me," Skippy said, "I've never been human before, so it's not something I need to solve to find peace and happiness in my existence... besides, mr. big doesn't like it when his angels and spirits speculate about his thoughts and plans."
"I still Who is struggling for power? Who are the oppressed groups? On what tyrannical circumstances are these battles fought? Are they masters of technology with nuclear weapons, or have they released the germ? Shall we fight with battle-axes or lasers?"
"Did you ever pay attention to what time frame the people you were spying on were from?" Skippy asked.
"Not really," Morris replied, still hiking towards the city of Benin with his project partner, "Most of the time, I'd just turn the time dial to 'random.' So long as I don't get stuck counting waves over the Pacific or the Atlantic, I'm fine. I would prefer the metropolitan areas, sometimes just the countryside with less than one human per acre. Nature can be interesting, too. To see a coyote give birth, a bear hunt for fish, or the trees sway helplessly against the wind. That can sometimes be as entertaining and interesting as people-watching."
"So, how does it feel now?" Skippy replied, "You've watched humans for so long. Now you are one. How does the change feel?
"Well, I haven't experienced anything that interesting yet, like society or some great war," Morris said, "But this ground is infinitely more harsh on bare feet than I thought previously."
"What?" Skippy asked, "You were maybe expecting a cloud-like composition?"
"I suppose you eventually take advantage of the cloud carpeting in heaven," Morris said.
"Yeah," Skippy replied, "And you also probably take advantage of that no-feet/spirit-form/flying deal. I know I did."
"So, tell me," Morris said, pulling on his backpack straps and turning to Skippy, "What kind of tensions are we going to become enveloped in by this society? What kind of rebel force exists? What kind of freedoms and liberties can we appreciate here?"
"Well," Skippy said, "This is 1950, North Africa. We are on the outskirts of the Middle East, a 2,000 year old center of political, religious, racial, and cultural clashes. So, yeah, we'll probably be running in to some terrorist cells, some suicide bombers, maybe a massive military campaign or even some ethnic cleansing."
Morris gasped. "What happens if we get killed?"
"You remember training, right?" Skippy said, "Oh, forget it. If you die and go before St. Peter, he'll probably recognize you as heaven-born within two seconds. Most people who die keep screaming from their phantom pains for a while. If St. Peter gives you any crap, just whip out your god's army ID card and he'll wave you by."
"So," Morris kept talking, "Tell me more about the political strife of the geo-time frame?"
"There's the newly formed Palestinian group," Skippy explained, "They recently lost their homeland that belonged to their parents for over 5,000 years. It was obtained by the nations of European races, each with a little mingling of Arab, Asian, and African blood. The Palestinians are responding in two ways. Many of them launched an open offensive against the European invaders. It failed due to the large-scale support of the Western countries. However, a rebel force of Palestinians, completely unorganized and far-flung, has been fighting back. The other Palestinians have spread out of the Middle East and have settled in other surrounding areas. But who knows what people we will meet. They could have any background or any motive. I haven't been given access to god's Personnel Library of every thought conceived. I still lack credentials."
The two kept walking. Every hour Skippy would stop and retake direction and map navigation, sharing bread with his quest partners. They discovered some interesting animals in the area, and the two both cast doubt on the idea that god made man and every animal in the Garden of Eden. Night started to fall and Skippy recently predicted that the pair was only fifteen miles away from the city. "We'll probably have to camp soon," Skippy said.
"Camping?" Morris said, "First hiking, then eating for the first time, and now sleeping in this insect-infested territory?"
"I'll do my report to god now," Skippy said sitting down, "Now, let's see how easy this can be." He sat in a meditative state. "It's been six hours, and we are nearing the capital of Benin. Right now, we are only fifteen miles away. We have yet to run in to any humans." The report was brief and quick. The two had not experienced anything significant yet. A confirmation was received. "Apparently," Skippy said, "1 out of the 180 pairs of souls have already completed their quests."
"Someone did their question in less than six hours?" Morris said, "I've been attacked lately by things like hunger and unsturdy ground. I have no idea that anyone could do their job that quickly."
"I don't know," Skippy said, "Someone could have had the task of delivering a note to a king, telling him to wage war on the heathens. It's very possible that someone got a very easy job like that."
"As they say, god acts in mysterious ways," Morris replied.
Part 4: Encounters of the Human Kind
The two-party troop continued its expedition deep in to the core of human civilization. They had camped together with few to no dilemmas. And, after waking and eating, the two went back on their hike to the capital city. "Why do you think they call it a purse?" Morris asked, pulling on his backpack straps.
"I don't know," Skippy replied, "Actually, no, I do know. I studied linguistics and human languages in the Divine Academy. I think all languages are based on previous languages. 'Purse' was probably based on the Sanskrit word 'pirke,' which translates to 'to loot.'"
The two travelers stopped in their tracks and looked at the marvel that lay ahead of them. The city of Benin. There were palace towers scraping at the base of the sun as it slowly rose up. From their distance, they could see so many little machines of flesh exchanging and reacting to each other. The flat roofs of the buildings produced an almost ancient feeling to the pattern. And while it may be obvious that poverty was the only staple of this city's children, the culture was active and the people talkative. Already, just outside the city, Morris and Skippy could hear children playing, drummers banging away, adults in the marketplace adoring the colors and savoring the tastes. "Wow," Skippy said, "Maybe this is the last outpost of the frontier. These people seem to be relatively untouched by Westernization. Amazing how different or real things can be when reading about it compared to actually experiencing it."
"I am also blown away by this," Morris said, "Sitting in clouds never allowed you to listen to their voices or the sounds of them working and playing."
The two slowly stepped closer to the city. As they neared the city, they heard some voices behind some trees. "Well, try to push and you can walk," the two questioning knights heard. They slowly walked closer to the foliage to investigate. The thought running through the mind of Morris at this time was: "Yeap, we are just soldiers in god's army, doing what god wills."
The two men came upon a woman, trying to help a wounded man stand up. "Hey, do you two need any help?" Morris asked, standing only a few feet away, while Skippy kept a much more cautious distance.
"Yeah, sure," the girl muttered in between her sounds of struggle, lifting him up. Morris helped lifting the man to his crutches. "Thank you so much," she was gracious to him.
"Are you heading to the city?" Skippy asked.
"In a moment we will be," she said, "I don't believe I've seen either of you in these parts. Are you travelers?"
"I suppose that term would fit us most aptly," Skippy replied, "We are traveling from a very distant land with its own obscure customs."
"I am also a traveler," the girl spoke, "My brother here lost the functioning of his legs in a bombing by Israelis when he was only 12. But last week, we lost our parents in a shooting, so we are traveling to Benin to live with our uncle."
"Have you traveled here before?" Skippy asked.
"Yes," she replied, "I've visited many times before to see my family."
"Can we travel with you to Benin?" Skippy asked, "I'm not quite sure which path off this hill will prove least cumbersome."
"Of course, you are very welcome to come with us," she said, "I am Katrina, what are your names?"
"My friend here is Sk--"
"My name," Skippy said boldly, moving a little closer to the girl, "is Mark. And my friend here is John."
The party started walking together, the sister and her brother in back, as Skippy ("Mark") and Morris ("John") walked in front, clearing out the passage. And while the brother and sister talked to each other, Skippy and Morris discussed among themselves...
"Why did you call me John?" Morris whispered.
"Well, a lot of reasons," Skippy replied, "First, we need names that will help us blend in with this time and area. John and Mark are both Biblical names. This is 1950, North Africa. We can thank these missionaries for the poverty, yes, but we can also thank them for popularizing all names referenced in the Bible. Besides, the name Skippy would not be recognized as sexually or intellectually potent until the porn star Skippy Ramirez releases his autobiography in 2318, detailing both his sexual adventures and his involvement in the Philosophical Reconstruction Movement."
"When does the name Morris become popular?" his friend asked.
"Oh, no way," Morris said, "Come on. Morris. It's such a fluid word. Mooor.... iiiisss."
"I think a book was written about a guy named Morris once in the late twentieth century," Skippy said, "But that guy called himself Morrie, anyway, so it's completely different."
"What's the Philosophical Reconstruction Movement?" Morris asked.
"Now that is something I decided not to thoroughly research," Skippy answered, "I think it has something to do with unemployment."
The two kept walking. Morris looked over his shoulder and saw Katrina helping her brother walk, trying to steer him away from stones and other detriments in the path.
"Say, I have an idea," Morris piped up, "We should use are miracle to give her brother the ability to walk and we should revive her Palestinian culture. The two greatest miseries in her personal life, as well as the lives of so many others, would be lifted, and the people here in Benin and the Middle East would have faith in god's good works again!"
"I'm not so sure that's a good idea," Skippy said.
"Well, why not?" Morris asked, "It's perfect. All the sources of pain for this kind-hearted woman would be eliminated from her life. Can you really think of any other possible miracle that would be better to perform?"
"We haven't even been to the capital yet," Skippy said, "We are still very ignorant of a great deal of pains and miseries that effect these people. And have you stopped once to think that, maybe, this woman is dependent upon her misery to live?"
"HA!" Morris replied, "That idea is so absurd, that I must laugh at it to mock it!... but, just out of curiosity, what do you mean?"
"This is life, not heaven," Skippy replied, "People don't make sense, and it's according to their nature that they don't follow rational thoughts or ideas."
"So, maybe you should stop to think that a great deal of people are dependent upon things that cause misery. Look at the pattern in this girl's relationships. Her brother is crippled, and she cares for him. The shattered culture of her people is the only thing that she understands as history. There is a behavior pattern. She is the helpless savior; she must take the pain of others in her life in order to satisfy her unconscious longings."
"I think you're too stuck on that Psychology idea of yours," Morris said, "Not every action of every person is motivated by some deep-rooted complex. What about all logical and engineering abilities of the people? The person who is moved by their thoughts, to invent the wagon, by combining previous technological advances, was that person motivated solely by an abandonment issue or early sexual trauma? No. And it's not artwork, where it can only be judged by how popular the piece is. The machines created by these people have no real psychological origin."
"Okay, so, maybe all actions of people are not motivated by hidden thoughts," Skippy admitted, "But that doesn't mean that some very important aspects of a person's life are not entirely independent of these secret wants and desires."
"Fine," Morris said, "Let's say we did perform this miracle. We save her brother's legs and her people's homeland. What evils would we have created?"
"First, understand that I'm not completely a master of the art of psychology," Skippy said, "There is still a great deal I need to learn. It seems to be that one field of study which, the more I learn about it the more confused I become. Physics has its formulas, experiments, its verifiable results and scientific processes. The same can be said of any other field of science, from mathematics to biology. Psychology definitely does have some roots in the scientific process, but its on the very edge of the legitimate sciences."
"Well, what makes you say that?" Morris asked.
"Even by the year 2658, there will still be a certain mystery about how enzymes and hormones interacted with each other in the brain," Skippy said, "And like I've told you, the only thing I've studied was the divine library, which is a collection of all written documents of mankind. And, since God decides to end his little science experiment, his Universe in a soda bottle, in the year 2942, what I can learn is limited by what all humans know. I mean, I know I will have access to more privileged information once I graduate the academy, such as the Vaults of God, containing every soul's secret wishes and dreams."
"Wait, you said," Morris stopped talking, and somehow started to make measurements using his fingers, "Wait, if the world ends in 2942, and you have all human knowledge until 2658, what about human knowledge after that?"
"The year 2658 was the year all developed nations unleashed their stockpiles of nuclear fire on everyone," Skippy explained, "The only written documents of 2658 to 2942 are starvation entries in personal journals and barely legible notes or maps. Seriously, I've read like twenty billion notes of people starving to death, people who are partly euphoric and confused about their fate, talking about food. If that bores you, then nothing after the year 2658 written by a human being is going to be worth reading."
"So, how far did scientists get in understanding the brain?" Morris asked.
"They came very close to understanding the insect brain," Skippy replied, "But that's as far as they could reach."
"So, god ends the world in 2942," Morris said, "How.... ironic. Is ironic the word I'm looking for? I think so."
"Actually," Skippy said, "The year 2942 is the last year that humans live on Earth. Some suggest that the world continues to thrive, with a new, naturally arising species. But, again, that's all classified information."
"Why is all this shit classified?" Morris asked, "I mean, doesn't god know which angels will betray him and which ones won't?"
"He does," Skippy said, "That's why there is an underprivileged academy class, and an overprivileged overseer class.... and a moderately privileged guardian angel class."
"So, intelligent life could thrive on Earth after 2942?" Morris asks.
"It wouldn't surprise me," Skippy said, "Base life forms would be available. All one species would need to do is outline the nuclear fallout and mutate successfully."
"Sooooo..." Morris started, remembering the point of the entire conversation, "... we shouldn't eliminate the source of this girl's pains, because it is a necessary crutch to her psychological and personal development?"
"I'm not arguing for that point of view because I want to believe in it," Skippy spoke as the two finally started to notice the strain of hiking downhill, "I'm arguing for that point of view because I think it's right."
"So, assuming we alleviate any misery," Morris said, "How do we know that we did not eliminate what would have also been the source of character development in a person."
"I don't know," Skippy said, "I guess we'll have to do this on a case-by-case basis... We should find a tavern or pub when we hit town."
The traveling troop finally arrived in the city of Benin. They split ways and our heroes Morris and Skippy wont to a tavern that goes by the name of the Old Goat's Tail. "Mmmmm," Skippy said, breathing in the fumes of vomit and possibly urine in the gutters around the tavern, then exhaling his sarcasm, "I've read about this bar. It was an absinthe bar from 1942 to 1948, so we lucked out by two years, Skippy said, "But as I read, there were over 400 alcohol related deaths here from 1923 to 1950. And another 250 on the way before it closes in 1963. This is probably a good place to start."
"You're a walking encyclopedia," Morris said, "Now let's try out this drunk thing we've heard so much about."
The two entered the bar, to little amusement or response from the existing crowd. This was definitely the place to be for any North African who had a couple of hours or days free on their hands. "I've seen people get drunk," Morris said.
"And I've read nothing but good stories about it," Skippy replied, "Here, you go order us two pitchers of beer." He handed his friend a fistful of coins, "I'll get us a booth so we can talk."
"Wow," Morris said, "My first time consuming a drug and making a financial transaction. I've never been so terrified or thrilled at once." He came back to a booth where Skippy had made himself belong, carrying the two pitchers of brew.
"How did it go?" Skippy asked, "You survived, right?"
"It went well enough," Morris replied, "Now we have alcohol. That's well enough."
"Well, I'm willing to give it a try," Skippy said, "I've read a great deal about it. It's even been presented as the most powerful evidence that god exists. We wouldn't be real angels if we refused to try it."
"Yeah, Morris replied, "I don't think plagues were an effective method. They really just tarnished peoples' opinion of god, actually."
"Okay, give me a second to upload my daily report to god," Skippy said. The information he submitted was as follows...
"We've finally reached the city of Benin, and we're ready to perform a miracle, once we decide upon the most effective miracle."
"Interesting," Skippy said, opening his eyes after his communication with god, "About 25% of all angels at the academy have finished their tasks. Oh, and one pair got killed by a demon named Curly."
"What did your report say?" Morris asked, "Was it anything good? Did you tell god about the girl and her brother, and how we decided to not to miracle-ize her, or our discussion about the uselessness of faith by miracles?"
"Nah," Skippy said, "I don't want to write a report to god that could be the least bit blasphemous. I'm not getting any more demerits from the academy."
"What about that whole omniscience thing?" Morris pointed out, "If god knows everything, then won't he know that you hold an unpleasant opinion of him?"
"If god knows everything, and he knows that I question the way that he operates, then god knows well that I have good reason to doubt his method and style of religion. Besides, if god knows everything, then why the fuck am I sending him reports of stuff he already knows?"
Morris shrugged while pouring a glass of lager. "Maybe the Big Man is mostly interested in obedience, and this is just his style of accomplishing that. Besides.... Beer. New topic to capture your mind, heart, and soul."
"Valid argument," Skippy replied, "From what I've ready, this substance creates euphoria, relaxation, and pleasure. Some respond to the lack of inhibition with violence and others to it with lust. How do you think we'll respond to it?"
"I've seen people have increased tendency to fighting, having sex, and and sleeping, from alcohol," Morris replied, "Well, I've only it once, but I know I loooove sleeping."
"Eh, it's okay," Skippy replied, "It reminds me of the Ecstasy Pool in heaven."
"Aw, yeah, it does, actually, doesn't it?" Morris said, "So, let's get plastered!" He lifted the mug in the air and then chugged it. He brought the glass slamming down to the bar table, with a big grin on his face, and small amounts of foam on the sides of his lips. "... interesting," he commented, his smile unavailing.
Skippy squinted his eyes a little, and took a minor sip. He slapped his tongue against the roof his mouth, slowly pulling back from the drink. "Yeah," he said nodding, "Definitely interesting."
"Hey, it's better than that water in the canteen god gave us," Morris said.
"Very true," Skippy replied.
"How long does this stuff take to kick in?"
"Alcohol?" Skippy said, lifting his mug and bringing it close to his face, smelling the cool fuzz as his eyes gently closed, "Mmmm... It can take between ten and forty minutes to fully hit you." The two toasted, and shwigged to their merriment and joy.
Twenty minutes passed. Each soldier of god in that bar had finished two mugs. And they were definitely feeling it.
"Hey..." Morris said, as his friend's droopy eyes struggled to focus, "Aren't we supposed to be performing a miracle now, and not just getting trashed?"
"I was expecting you to say that," Skippy said, taking a sip off a fresh mug, "Hey, buy us another pitcher, okay?"
"I'm low on cash," Morris said, "God only gave us so much gold, and I'm sure he wants us to use it in order to accomplish our task at hand, and not to get drunk."
"You have that power multiplier jewel thing, right?" Skippy said, "Use it to make money so that we can buy more beer."
"Why don't I just use it to make us more alcohol?" Morris asked.
"I don't know about that plan," Skippy said, "Last night when you made food using that device, it was little more than just an interesting experience. And I don't care to repeat it."
"So, I should make money, so that someone else can make us beer?" Morris asked, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. I'll do it!" It took a while for Morris to come up with money that appeared genuine and not counterfeit.
"So, any ideas on this miracle thing?" Morris said.
"No, not really," Skippy replied.
"So, it's easier for you just to criticize my ideas on a miracle to perform, than to come up with your own ideas on performing a miracle?" Morris said, "Is that right?"
"Hey," Skippy turned, slightly agitated, "I made a damn fine point about human beings defining their existence and lives by the misery they experience. And you agreed with me."
"Yeah, true," Morris said, leaning back and taking a shot of vodka. He coughed "It's just that, I want to do this miracle so I can do a good job.... did that sentence make -- "
"Yeah, I understand your intentions," Skippy replied, putting his elbows on the table, looking like your stereotypical, dispossessed, Marxist worker. "Maybe I don't know the best way to perform this task before us. Maybe the only thing I know is that I am seriously confused by the mission god has given us. It's too vague, but then again, I should have expected that."
"Why would you expect him to be vague?" Morris speaks between making faces from his recently purchased shots of whiskey.
"Have you read the Bible, the Qur'an, the Vedas, or any other piece of scripture?" Skipped asked.
"Only the excerpts in the text books at god's academy," Morris responded.
"All of god's books are vague and full of holes where it should be specific," Skippy said, "Or, they piece by piece, as the plot develops in each work, more and more contradictions pile up."
"The textbooks said that was the fault of prophets and apostles who twisted the meaning of scripture or were unsure how to interpret some of god's commands," Morris replied, lifting up a shot of whiskey while keeping his eyes focused on the response of his partner.
"Maybe my doubts are unwarranted," Skippy said, I've been human for only a few days. I've never been cold or in pain or stressed in my existence since god created me. I've studied the humans' behavior, their wants, their hopes, the patterns of existence that make up their daily life. But experiencing things is always a thousand times different than just studying them."
"Studying things doesn't give you any edge on experience things?" Morris said, giggling, and then pausing his laughter long enough to take a shot, and then continuing his drunken giggles. "Why wouldn't it? he asked, "You know what to expect!"
"I'm familiar with the theory of society and life," Skippy replied, "So, yeah, I know that certain people or groups are motivated by vengeance, that is, the suffering of pain turned into the desire to cause misery back to those who harmed you. There are lovers who switch between the highs of adoration and self-sacrifice to the pits of jealousy and merciless cruelty. Confident men are more likely to succeed, and beautiful women are more likely to be loved. Humanity has always been that wonderful little project of god that I always loved to leach, but was desperately afraid to directly experience."
"So, is that why I never saw you floating on clouds, watching the people, and why you've dreaded this mission?" Morris asked.
"I suppose that is right," Skippy said, pressing his forehead to the lid of his lager mug.
"You think there is no advantage in studying human nature as an aid to experiencing it?"
"I didn't say that exactly," Skippy replied with a grin, as he slouched back in his seat a little more. "It's just an advantage to my activity here. It's certainly no substitute for actual experience. I mean, it was only a day ago that I experience wind for the first time. People are animals stuck in a psychology founded on the idea of association. If a person from Greenland were to talk with a person from here in North Africa, they couldn't talk about the idea of ice. When a man sees another person get stabbed, he might understand the pain solely on his experience of getting burned. The feelings of warmth, cold, love, hate, pain, pleasure, happiness, depression... All of these emotions have their own individual applications that everyone experiences. People of different cultures, societies, classes, castes, or racial or ethnic predispositions each have different applications of their living experiences. In the most obvious example, poor farmers in Brazil of 1980 can associate with the poverty and poor living conditions of American workers laboring 14 hours a day just to feed their families, as was the case in 1880 with almost all working Americans. Someone discriminated against for being Jewish will understand what it's like for someone to be discriminated against for being Asian, just as two men of completely different religions or beliefs can associate with each other about their emotional response to a lover or spouse despite their differences."
Skippy took another gigantic swig, and then continued speaking to his comrade, "Every person on this planet experiences pain and pleasure. That is god's first rule when he created the world; and maybe the only rule of his I understand. Two people who have both experienced needle pins in their skin are more likely to associate with each other than a person who had a bad day on the stock market and a stab wound victim. And everyone has some previous experience to associate with others in creating the substance of their life."
"Except us," Morris said, holding up a shot of scotch.
"Except us," Skippy confirmed, toasting a shot of rum. And the two drank.
"So, what do you suggest we use that miracle on?" Skippy asked, "I mean, you are clearly educated not just in humanity and in their struggles and emotions, but also in the weaknesses we work with just in trying to understand them."
"True," Skippy replied, sipping a shot of gin, the way a child takes a small sip to test whether soup is too hot to eat yet, "And a part of me wants to just waste that one miracle on creating beer for ourselves and the locals."
"Well, why would you call that the best way of convincing the people that a god exists?" Morris asks, "I don't think many of them would either response with hate or love towards for god for that."
"No, that wouldn't be the point," Skippy replied, "I mean, I know that is our objective. I know that is the reason god has sent us to Earth, partly as an educational experience before we graduate the angel academy, and partly as activity to repair the decaying relationship between humanity and god."
"So, what would be the point of creating an alcoholic feast for the good souls on Earth?" Morris asked.
"Well," Skippy said, readjusting himself, so he could better explain a complicated idea, "We were sent here to do something, right? We have a job, right?" Morris nodded. "Our task here is to convince the people of the sublime truth that god exists. And that method we've been given for it is to make a miracle for these people. Let them publicize it for themselves. Let them tremble in fear, or stand in confidence, of the never-ending vengeance or eternal love of god. One or the other. That is our tool: the miracle. And what exactly is the miracle? It is an event that satisfies the wants of mankind, or it abolishes one of his miseries. And by doing one of these miracles, we are supposed to help save mankind, set it on the right course, solve its problems, do its labor. Do you really think that will work well?"
"Maybe it will work," Morris said, "What is the problem with god's theory?"
"People don't get faith by having a spirit do something for them," Skippy said.
"No, actually, I think that is the point," Morris said, "We commit some miracle and then they have faith."
"You make a valid point," Skippy replied, "Do you think that system is effective?"
"Yeah, sure," Morris said, "Something happens, and people believe it was a god. What could go wrong?"
"Yeah, but people are equally mesmerized by false miracles as they are by real ones," Skippy said, "If that's what god really wants, if he wants people to believe in him and honor him, then his main job is to breed a type of human who is gullible, stupid, and ignorant. His only real job is to make the people willing to believe in false prophets who want to exploit them, as much as they are willing to believe in true prophets, like us. The Catholic Church, the Inquisition, the millions of religious wars -- god doesn't have to do a thing to convince his people that he either loves their virtue or hates their vice. The humans have done a very good job in propagating the god idea themselves, even without any genuine interaction with their creator."
"Good point," Morris replied.
"Besides, it is not by obtaining results of an activity that makes you have character ability or wisdom," Skippy said, "It is by wanting something good for yourself or the community and obtaining it through hardship that gives you wisdom and truth. If we just give any of these people everything they wanted, we will destroy all character building skills and innate abilities within them."
"Probably true," Morris said, "So, what do you do to help these people?"
"Something that they neither seek nor feel is something that would help them," Skippy said. Morris smiled and the two toasted.
The two kept drinking for a little while. Finally they made their way to a smoke shop. Only one or two bowls of Marijuana from a hookah was enough to force them into a deep sleep. They woke up on the next day. Day # 3. Skippy checked in with his report. Over half the souls from the academy had completed their tasks. They continued to smoke Marijuana throughout the day, and thinking of its magnificence, they decided on a miracle. They created a ton of Marijuana and distributed it for free. The only thing that awaited them was the journey back to their drop point so that god can beam them back up to heaven. It took only two hours to get the entire city of Benin high. Now, all that remained was the long walk home for these wanderers in a human land.
Part 6: Home to Go
The two walked side-by-side, feeling that they understood each other a great deal more now. "Humans are very weird," Morris said, "But at least we completed our mission, and experience something very unique."
"Very unique for us," Skippy replied, "Not for the ten or twenty billions souls who were created when their human bodies were born. We had to float around heaven for a while before having direct access to the emotions of humans."
"True," Morris said.
"At least we weren't the last to complete our task," Skippy said, "There were still 15% of other souls who have not completed their jobs, to say nothing of that one pair of souls who were gobbled up by a demon and probably won't ever finish their job. So, at least, we're not the worst in the class."
"Yeah, you remember that time we got paired together to make an animal?" Morris said, "We got the lowest grade in the academy, but we still passed. Yeah, and good still created our creature: the duck-billed platypus."
"Aren't humans a little awkward?" Skippy said, "I mean, compared to what we made, don't you think humans are just a little unusual?"
"Well, especially so, when you and I talk about it, at least," Morris replied.
"Did you notice how nobody spoke to us when we were sitting at the bar?" Skippy said.
"No, I guess... I didn't pay much attention to it," Morris replied, "Being a cloud surfer, I'm used to people ignoring my thoughts and words. That's probably it."
"I'm not going to worry about how much interaction I get with humans," Skippy said, "In fact, I'm glad I'm going home. I could use some serious time in the Ecstasy Pool."
"You're not going to miss having this body?" Morris asked, "I'll probably miss having mine."
"I ran a mile in town," Skippy said, "That was the first and only thing I wanted to do with my first body. Of course, once I tried out this world and the human experience, I was less interested in running than I was in the various, available intoxicants. In heaven, you can't get sore feet because you have no feet, but then again, there's no bars or pipe shops in walking distance anyway."
"There wasn't anything that you wanted to do, but didn't try?" Morris asked.
"No, why? What did you have in mind?" Skippy replied.
"Well," Morris said, "When in heaven, I always had an interest to experiment with sexuality. But once I got here, the power of the hormones in my body took a brief break while we got plenty intoxicated, though now they're just becoming more and more powerful, just driving me in the direction of sexual activity."
"Well," Skippy stopped and looked back at the city, "We're getting farther and farther away. To get back to the city, and then to this point again, would take a whole day. And we would finish last.... which I guess is a shame or humiliation, I don't know which word is better. I try not to pay attention to god's demerit system. That's the only advice I can have for anyone who wants to be an angel. Besides, the whole process of romance, dating, courtship, and all that can take a great deal of time. If you watched people long enough, you should know that."
"What do you mean?" Morris asked.
"Well," Skippy said, "Most people prefer to know the person they're fucking, and to know them pretty well. It's just a people thing. Well, a psychology thing."
"You and I have known each other pretty well, right?" Morris said.
"What are you getting at?" Skippy asked. The two thought about and discussed it. Some thoughts crossed their conversation, such as "Humans are so reclusive and afraid of others; if there is any opposition to gay sex, it is because it is taboo and for no rational reason whatsoever," and "Human instincts and thoughts are natural. Satisfying your sexual urge any way you can is never unnatural." The two had reached a consensus and had decided to do it. That is, engage in some sexual activity with each other, before returning to their bodiless condition in heaven. The only thing that awaited them was the assessment of their boss, god.
The creator of the universe had informed each group in his first release of information that he was going to personally investigate and grade each pair based on how well they did. The time had come now just after Morris and Skippy where stripped of their bodies and returned to the academy of angels in heaven, with god presiding over as dean, waiting to assess these two students. "So, you understand what this assessment means, right?" god said to Morris and Skippy, as the two sat uncomfortably in the chairs of the dean's office. the two nodded with an unsure tone of their movements.
"It means," god said, in passing to the other side of the office in his nerve-wracking, deliberate walk, "... that I am going to judge how you acted, based on your reports and the reports of 2,000 angels I had constantly monitoring the Earth. You understand this all, I hope."
"I understand very clearly," Skippy replied.
"God held up a folder in his hand. "This," he spoke, "Is a record of your activities. Now let's just open this and..." he stopped, "Actually, you know, I never read these things. Why don't you just tell me if you think you two did a good job or not."
"I feel that we have both satisfactorily accomplished what was required of us," Skippy said, "We've probably completed our task with more thought and consideration than any other pair."
"And you?" God asked, signaling Morris
With more boldness and revere than Skippy would imagine him to have, Morris replied, "The job you gave us has been done better than any other project that we have responsible for."
"Well, okay then," God said, "You're free to go. You will both probably graduate very soon."
They both stood up and walked towards the door. About three feet away, and the door suddenly vaporizes into a wall of bricks. "Ha!" God yells and points, "I gave you a false sense of hope that you would escape, and as you tasted that delicious fruit, there I was, the worm, just waiting for you to bite in and taste my bitterness! Oh! Am I a vengeful god or what! You thought you could get away with drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, and sodomy, but no! I have you in my grasp, and you shall suffer for your carnal sins of the flesh!!"
"I was just thinking that the private office of the school's dean looked a lot like the campus police's torture room," Morris replied, like a superhero without confidence who was just foiled by a villain.
"Well," Skippy looked at his god, "Why did you allow this whole interrogation and exchange if you knew the truth to begin with?"
"Because I needed to hurt you just as painfully as you had sinned," god replied, "You two must've really lost your innocence in a bizarre way."