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Long Glass

It was late of a warm evening in the empty urban desert, and God was sitting at a large plate-glass table in the back of a long, thin, glassy store where he lived. He was writing a story, writing it by hand with a pencil. God was not a god or The God; his name was a kind of joke. And the store was not really a store any more; as a store, it was disused, abandoned, but it was still glassy. In the front, where there were tall glass windows in the manner of stores, the door was open to let in the cool breezes of the urban desert night. As God wrote, there came a loud knock.

“That must be Doc,” thought God. He got up and went to the front, but there was no one there; just the cooling, empty street. “Must be in back,” thought God. He walked to the back, and looked out the door there. Behind the door, there was an alley, a sort of yard, a fence, trees rustling in the wind the moonlight had to fight through to reach the ground. Doc was there, looking like Che Guevara only now maybe 50, 60, 70 years old, like God. He came in.

“Good evening,” said Doc. “What's doing?”

“I'm writing a story,” said God.

“I shouldn't interrupt.”

“Nah,” said God, “It's all in my head. I'm just writing it down now. It's from a dream I had. In a way, it's about my life. It's sort of a breakup story.”

“You're breaking up with Eve?” Eve was the name of God's girlfriend.

“No, it's a philosophical story about the futility of breaking up. People do it, but mostly they don't get anywhere; they're still the same person, right? They go find another unsatisfactory person they don't get along with. And this story is also futile. It's still the same story.”

“Well, no wonder,” said Doc. “LIfe is to be lived, not written about.”

“True,” said God, “but it's like this store I live in; it's not a store any more, but it's here anyway, and I'm living in it. And I'm writing a story; at the moment, that's how I'm living, even though the story won't change. And most likely no one will read it.”

“So, if you're not breaking up, what is Eve doing? She's not here tonight.”

“She was restless and she went out. Now she is in a beautiful place with beautiful people. I don't mean anything superficial by that; I mean people whose souls are beautiful and exciting and who are doing meaningful things. Even though Eve doesn't believe in the soul. Or, probably, meaning.”

“So you seem to be breaking up after all.”

“Things are always breaking up. As I said, it's futile, as this story is futile. You break up, you put the pieces back together again, and there you are. You can make it official, or not. It has not been made official; maybe it never will be, as far as this piece is concerned.”

“Maybe death is the solution,” said Doc. “You break up or you die. Or and you die.”

“Death is not a solution. It's breaking up on a different scale. Whatever made you die made you live, and vice versa. After awhile there is no reason for it not to do so again. Life is lived anyway. When we fall, we fall forward, as the lady said.[1] But we keep falling forward in a circle.”

“You're certainly in a mood tonight,” said Doc.

“It's just the story I'm writing,” said God. He looked through the mostly empty store and out the front door into the urban desert night. He was quiet for awhile.

“We should go visit Molly,” said God after awhile.

“It's pretty late,” said Doc. “Will Molly want to see us?”

“Molly will be glad to see us,” said God. “Molly always wants to see us. It's her fate. Eve and so on are true love; that's why they don't want to see us, at least not this late at night under these dubious circumstances. They are real people leading real lives. They need to lead real lives. But it's want versus need for me. So: Molly awaits us down the street, across the night, in her fate. Further on are our true loves, in a higher place, always receding, always gazing into the narrow, long, glassy light of the heavens, discerning what we cannot see, aching with aches we cannot feel. That is their fate. In the morning they will return. Or not.”

A large black cat came silently in the open front door from the street and relaxed onto the floor nearby. It paid no attention to the men. “No one can argue with a cat like that,” said God, as if concluding an argument which the cat had supported. “Anyway, it's in the story.”

After awhile, the two men got up and, passing by the cat still studiously ignoring them, went out the front door where the urban desert night, and possibly another piece of the story, awaited them. The moon shone down through the trees, creating enormous shadows.

The moon shone down, and a dog out there looked at them askance.

“Go on, brother,” said God. “Don't let me stop you from howling at the moon.”

“You couldn't stop me from howling at the moon,” the dog might have said. “God gave me the moon to howl at.”

“Give me a break,” said God. “You created the moon by howling at it.” Anyway the dog, who was not fond of philosophy, did not pay him a lot of attention.

The men walked along in the desert moonlight and its shadows.

“Let me tell you a story about the moon,” said God. “I got it from an Indian. There was this young Indian guy who decided to chase the moon. He was probably walking along, and then he started running. In the original story he probably got on a horse, but this Indian got in a Dodge pickup truck and he started driving after the moon. He wasn't getting anywhere, and after awhile he realized that he was not chasing the moon, it was was coming after him. So, you know, he drove along and he saw that the moon was leaping over the hills and the mountains and the clouds and the houses and the trees, and after awhile he was away out in the desert and he was driving along and there was the moon, and he wasn't getting anywhere. So you know how you do, when someone is gaining on you, you push down on the gas a bit and go a little faster. But the moon just kept up. It wasn't even breathing hard. So after awhile he had that old pedal right down on the floor and the truck was speeding along as fast as it could go and he still wasn't getting anywhere.”

God paused.

“So what happened?” asked Doc.

“Well, of course, after awhile he ran out of gas. He got out of his truck and there he was, out in the desert. And then the moon came down and sucked his mind from his body, and his flesh from his bones, and his bones from the desert.”

God paused again.

“So where is he now?” asked Doc.

“Maybe that's him right over there,” God nodded at a patch of moonlight between the huge shadows they were walking through under the trees. Anyway, we'd better hang out with Molly before the same thing happens to us. She knows a thing or two about it.“

And so those two men were walking along from shadow to shadow, as people do, to where they were going.

[1] Laurie Anderson, Big Science: