Most Things Are Almost Possible
by Ken Mann
And then there was God the Almost, who allowed most things to be most of what they could have been and ended up almost loved by almost everyone.
God the Almost, GothA, had no knowledge of God the Greatest because GothA was only semi-knowing, and since GothA was only semi-present, missed a lot of the briefings.
GothA was somehow believed to exist by the inhabitants of Arth, which was very much like Earth but missing E. It was the second planet in its own solar system of eight planets, within the Ilky Way. The creatures of Arth were all about one helix shy of being complete beings, which made sense given that GothA was believed to have created them in its own image.
Most Arthlings had believed in GothA since they could remember. Even though they sort of loved GothA, for reasons they did not quite understand, they had kind of gotten used to unfinished business all around them, in general always coming up slightly short of accomplishing anything. Flowers would almost bloom. Projects would almost get done. Arthlings would almost lose weight. Females of the species would almost get pregnant, partly because of the common practice of premature ejaculation and partly due to the eggs always being able to out swim the sperm-equivalents, nicknamed Dead Arth Evaders, that happened to make it inside.
That’s why they had come to call him God the Almost. At least as far as they could tell that’s what they were calling GothA. While Arthlings loved GothA in some mysterious way, they also blamed GothA for making them the way they were — never able to complete anything.
Arthlings could not agree on how they had come to be. No one died and no one was being born. All Arthlings were fully grown. Some Arth scientists, all with degrees from Arvard, suspected they were all about 5,000 Arth years old, but the government, all with degrees from Ale, was always inconclusive in what it allowed to be spread as fact, as if they knew. Besides, no one had any proof that years actually existed.
Since nothing was ever completed, there were no printing presses, no books, no computers, no nothing. Just word of mouth, in a language that no one completely understood, in sentences no one finished anyway.
The male of the species mostly just grunted, and the females mainly whined. At least as far as their feeble minds could deduce, which was never quite far enough, it seemed that some Arthlings were different than others and that they seem to fall into two groups, the Grunters and the Whiners. They came up with the names for each group by the sound each group seemed to emit. The Grunters grunted. The Whiners whined. Thus, the names took.
As expected, no real progress had been made in the history of Arth. Their existence was pretty much like it was since the beginning, whenever that was. Could have been yesterday, for all they knew, since their memories were never quite right. Everything seemed to stay the same, but since they had no documented memories proving that nothing was different, they could only partly come to closure on this issue.
Every so often, an Arthling’s Summit was held. No one really knew how often it was held because time had not been invented. No one really knew where it was going to be held either. There were no cell phones to call other Arthlings, no networks for the cell phones, no ApQuest to find their way there, no Xpedia to book a walking tour. Somehow, they all just showed up there, at this nondescript place, without the benefit of signs, vehicles, or roads other than footpaths Like penguins.
At this year’s Summit, the agenda was mumbled to be something about GothA. There was a whole lot more grunting and whining going on lately, and it was being caused by disagreements of who was responsible for Arthlings being the way they were. Some said GothA. Some said Arthlings. It was the old Ature-Urture debate come to a boil.
One Arthling, wider and more striking than most, seemed to whine and grunt at the same time but louder than anyone else. The crowd grew quiet with anticipation. Someone seemed to be calling the meeting to order. Arthlings were pretty good at starting things. It was finishing they had a problem with.
The Loud One spoke, more audible than the average Arthling was used to, “You’ll have to excuse my voice, I’ve contracted an irus. I want to start today’s assembly with our traditional semi-secular prayer: ‘Our Being, though not apparent, shallow be thy game, thy kingdom’s done, you had your fun, this Arth sure ain’t no heaven. Give us a clue, our daily due, and deliver something finished. For thine are the weirdest and the wisest, quite a story. Unchanging. Amen’.”
The crowd immediately erupted into a frenzy of angry pushing and unintelligible accusations. The Loud One whispered to one person each to his front, left, back, and right, and told them to pass it on. The Loud One sensed that this was their most sophisticated method of communicating, so he told each of them, “Ask the four people surrounding you three questions, ‘Why is it so important to know whether GothA really exists? What can we all agree on about GothA? What does GothA know that we don’t? Tell them to pass it on and then pass back the answers.”
And so, on a day like any other, somewhere on Arth, in the Ilky Way, the most complete Arthian chain ever formed, at least like none in memory, sought answers to these three questions. By the time the questions got to the outer edges of the throng, this is what was heard, “Why is it so important to know why we are doing this? What can we all agree on about nothing? What does GothA know about you?”
When the answers started coming back toward the center, there was no problem about each person having to remember all the other answers from the outer edges. That’s because, amazingly, no matter how many people had answered, the answers were always the same to the first question, the same to the second question, and the same to the third question. This happened in spite of everyone in the swarm being asked slightly different questions and misunderstanding anyway.
So, when the original four who heard from the Loud One received the answers, this is what they each said to the Loud One, “The answer to the first question, ‘Why is it so important to know whether GothA really exists?’ everyone agrees, is so we can finally know something for sure.” The answer to the second question, ‘What can we all agree on about GothA?’ everyone agrees, that GothA has never been seen.” And the answer to the third question, ‘What does GothA know that we don’t?’, everyone unanimously agrees that we don’t have a clue what Gotha knows that we don’t.”
The Loud One pondered these answers for a long time. Not being able to reach any conclusions, the Loud One dismissed the multitudes by saying, “Go forth and start something, for you are as semi-competent and semi-potent as God the Almost, and while we may never know anything conclusively, we’re pretty sure GothA exists, at least in our heads.”
The horde wandered aimlessly away, happy to have lived up to their incomplete potential and yet unhappy with the status quo. Just like unintelligent life everywhere else in the universe. Many wondered what GothA thought about all this, and then filled in the blanks. As they did, Love almost oozed out of them. Almost.