Why didn’t I prevent what?
Oh hey, not fair.
No, really, not fair.
You’re asking, how could I have let that happen?
Have you ever thought about the ones I DON’T let happen?
Anyway, that’s not how it works these days. You know about free will, right? You wanted that. The apple. All the stuff in that book.
No, it’s okay. Just — don’t rediscover your faith every time there’s a disaster. Blame isn’t faith.
Sure. Thanks. Flat white.
What does it do for you, that leaf-shape in the froth?
Uh huh. I get that from rainbows.
How did it start? Seriously? You’re asking me that?
It was like — waking up.
No, making a decision.
Let there be light — ha! More like — let there be difference. Light and dark, here and there. Difference I was quite pleased with that.
Then it was just numbers. From one to binary and then the big multiplication. It was excitement, inspiration, making, creativity. It was such a moment. A fever, There was light, so there was dark, so there was a place; no — call it a potential, and then all of a sudden there was Me. With the capital M.
You could say that I created myself. My Self. Self. Separate word for a separate thing.
Excuse me — I have to take this call. Yes, same again, please. And a glass of water as well?
Gabriel, hi. Yes, yes, Yes I know; the thing is, Gabriel — three scientists, yes, I see that. Three politicians, mm, I don’t know. And I don’t think the light in the sky and the unplanned pregnancy would really have the same resonance…
Yes, he told me he was thinking about it. After last time he’s hardly going to jump at it, is he? Look, Gabriel, I’ve got to go, I’m in my meeting with — yeah, you know, the journalist. We can discuss it all when I get back. No, I haven’t forgotten what to say, of course not, that’s — yeah, Sure, Gabriel, I will, yep, Gabriel, yep — ‘bye.
Sorry about that. We’ve got a project on. I can’t really be out of touch.
Ah, thanks. Did you get the water? No, never mind. I can — there. Don’t look so surprised. It’s just water.
Of course — sorry. Now it has a glass round it.
Close your mouth. Just breathe. I’ll talk.
Seriously, relax; what’s the big deal?
Relax! Your heart rate’s still really elevated. I told you who I AM when I sat down. You were humouring me, I know, but…
Okay. Take a moment. I’ll talk.
So. We’re working on a project, and we were wondering… I mean, we have a way of operating that needs an update, and the idea came up… I’ll get straight to it.
We’ve got a project coming up, and we’ve been discussing how best to get it started — you know, advance publicity, spreading the word…
We’ve been going over what happened last time, and my people finally came out and said — just tell them.
Actually, they said: forget the gimmicks. Find some credulous young journalist — no offence; they just meant somebody who’d humour me — who does interviews with interesting people, eccentrics rather than celebrities, and do the whole Interview With The Vampire thing on him. Anne Rice, right? That bit where the young guy’s interviewing… and he realises… I know you were humouring me earlier, but you did it kindly, which I appreciate. And you’ve bought me two coffees. Third one, I get.
You okay now? You went really pale when I did that thing with the water. But you held it together. Your heart rate’s coming back down. Yes, it’s really Me.
Get up! It’s okay. Nothing to forgive. Yes, I know about that; it really doesn’t –
You bought me a coffee, didn’t you? And you thought about buying me something to eat? That was Good. You’ll get your reward in — oh, calm down!
We’re having coffee and talking. After this, you’ll grow old and die, in the normal way. Unless… I mean, you’re okay, and — Gabriel’s so much better at this, how does he put it? Behold, it’s all fine, and yada yada. I don’t want to embarrass you, just two guys talking, but I’m really, er, very fond of you…
Now I remember why I leave this kind of thing to Gabriel.
Anyway. Ahem. Nice coffee.
I just want you to tell people we’re coming. Advance publicity, briefings, maybe some kind of media release…
No, we don’t do that kind of thing any more. It’s complicated. There has to be a decision to believe, and — anyway. Complicated.
Why? You mean, why are we doing this? Or why the whole thing? John, that’s a great question, but before I answer it — another flat white? — Let There Be Two More Coffees.
You’re going to have to get those reactions under control.
Why? It’s time. You people are getting along fine with the quantum mechanics and the string theory and all the small stuff where the scientific explanations get embarrassingly close to the kind of thing priests say. It’s fun to watch, and a little touching, and thank you for trying, well done.
But you’re too hung up on explanations. You’ve been around for a few thousand years and you think you can explain everything. You’ve worked out a few things about how the world works, and you think you’ve got a handle on nature.
Don’t get me started.
So what I want you to tell people is…
Yes, you. Of course you can do it. Get over yourself, okay?
Start with — think about what you’re doing to the planet. It’s my planet and I like it the way it is. Look around you. It’s beautiful. I know, this is a coffee shop, but — hey, wake up and smell the coffee, that’s what you say, isn’t it? Wake up and smell the coffee?
Are you doing anything for lunch? The next stage is where it gets really interesting, but I know you skipped breakfast…
First published not so long ago at www.williamessex.com.