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Chapter 1: Michael Dies

Chapter 1:

Michael Dies.

Chapter 2.

Michael’s consciousness survives the death of his body, and he finds himself in a vast, beautiful field at dawn. Michael sees, in the near distance, a person with a slight glow, and walks to them.


Michael: Hey.


Person:: Welcome.


So.. what’s the deal? Where am I? I mean, this is nice, but I got shit to do.


This is Heaven.


Which heaven?


What? It’s… THE Heaven.


Ah. And I’m, what, dead?


Yes.


I don’t know if that’s going to work for me.


That’s not how… how this -

And you are?


Jesus.

Seriously?


Well, yes.


Ah. Is there anyone else I can talk to?


No! I’m the… it’s my… (points at self) Jesus!


Yeah, I got that, but given your other work I’m not sure if you’re who I should talk to.


My other work? What’s that supposed to mean?


You’re kidding.


No, I’m not.


Do you… does anyone ever… do the people who come here ever tell you what things were like during their lives?


No, they mainly are in awe and spend their days praising me.


(In the distance a small crowd appears.)


Crowd: WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!


Is that all they say?


Pretty much.


And you’re good with that? You like that?


It is how I judge who is worthy to enter My Kingdom.


By how much they worship you.


Yes.


Not how good they are as people.


But can someone be truly good without loving me?


Wow. That sounds so nuts.


I beg your pardon?


What does loving you have to do with being good? Lotsa people are kind, generous, thoughtful, honest sincere, and they don’t believe in you even a little bit.


Then they are damned.


To Hell.


Yes.


Not because they are cruel or evil, but because they don’t love you.


Well, yes…


So this isn’t so much a faith of love as it is a cult of personality.


But I Am Love!


No, you’re not.


It says so in my book!


First - you can’t just declare something like that without some proof. And between you and me inspiring a couple millennia of hatred ain’t it. Dude, love is love, whereas you are just some guy who needs love so badly that he’s willing to set people on fire if they don’t worship him.


I don’t set them on fire!


Who does?


Satan!


Why?


Because they are Evil!


But if Satan were evil why would he punish evil people? Wouldn’t he, I don’t know - reward them? “Good job being evil, here’s a cookie!” Ya can’t recruit an army of demons if you punish people for being demonic. That makes no sense. I’ll tell you what's more likely - you tell people you’re going to set them on fire because you have issues with not being loved. That’s fucked up.


Hey! Language!


Besides - who are you to judge good or evil?


I’m Jesus!


And…?


And what?


Who appointed you to this position?


I appointed myself! I mean - it was kinda my Father, but since we are the same person -


How does that work?


I don’t know! The point is I’m Me! So I get to decide things!


And who gives you feedback?


Feedback?


Yeah, you know - constructive criticism…


No one would presume to -


Because I have some notes.


Notes?


It’s a theatre thing.


I AM THE LORD THY GOD!!!!


Yeah, about that…


Thou shalt have no other gods before Me!


Okay, before we get to the notes - that line…


The First Commandment!


It implies that there are other gods.


It… what? What do you mean?


It doesn’t say “I Am The Only God!” It says “no other gods.” Other …Gods. And there’s all this stuff about being a jealous god, worship no god before me… that all implies that there are other gods, and you just want to be primary to a specific group of people.


Well, it does kinda say that -


And that’s okay, but it’s a big leap from “Hey, I'm the god of these people I helped in their time of need” to “I'm everybody's god , and everybody has to love me or they are set on fire.” Seriously. What does one thing have to do with the other?


But I made the Heavens and the Earth!


Sez you.


WHAT?


It’s easy for someone to pop up when shit is already done and take credit. Again, I’m in theatre. That happens all the time. It’s not like you have proof or anything.


I have the Bible!


The Bible is the longest and worst game of telephone ever. Ya start off with a buncha stories some neolithic people came up with to explain science and physics and lightning and volcanoes, those stories get passed down with a buncha family tree info. Then that gets mangled by people trying to justify who is king of a tiny section of the Mediterranean coast. Then some guy - maybe you - is born, dies, and a hundred years later some other guys who never even met him start writing accounts of stuff they didn’t see. They are just writing whatever, then that stuff gets put together by some other guys - it’s almost always guys - who didn’t even know those guys, translating and mistranslating and editing for space or convenience or politics or taste or fashion or whatever for centuries. You ever read The Silmarillion?


The what?


Do you even read?


Well, I…


It’s a great novel, and it starts with the creation of the universe. Some people hate it, because they say it reads like the Bible. But they’re wrong, because it’s much, much better. And not just because it has elves and dragons and a lack of fiery damnation. It is a more cohesive vision of the Universe than that slapped together pile of propaganda preachers use to raise money and rationalize oppression and cruelty. The Bible is proof of nothing - except that some people will fall for anything if they are scared shitless.


I am not scary!


Again, “Love me or I will set you on fire” is not something a not-scary person would even imply, or let any of their spokespeople imply.


I get the feeling you don’t believe in Me.


Nope.


Why not?


Because you make no sense. If you were a nice, all-powerful person you wouldn’t let so much bad happen. So you would have to be a dick - which is a different god.


What about free will?


Babies with cancer didn’t pick that.


It’s a test of faith for their parents.


What kinda asshole would do that? You would have to be, like, the worst god ever! Says he’s all powerful but doesn’t stop suffering, insists Fear is Love, punishes the good if they don’t praise him, allows representatives to spend two millennium excluding, oppressing, raping and burning half the population because they don't have penises- and all while also raping children. Genocide, starvation, misery and pain inflicted in your name.


But -


Worst. God. Ever.


Hey -


Ev. Er.


But… this is heaven!


Is there a buffet?


Yes!


Does it have shrimp?


No…


And why not?


Well, the Bible says -


DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE ANY DAMN SENSE TO YOU?


You’re right…


Yes!


This is just a cult of personality. It’s all about who loves me and who doesn’t. I don’t care, never cared about good or evil, right or wrong. The only power I really have is to make people fear death so much that they will follow any rule I come up with if I promise that when they die they won’t really die. And I don’t even know if that shit works! I just wait here near the buffet and see if anybody wanders by. I just want to be loved, eternally loved, and I don’t care about anything else. And nothing and no one can stop me! This is my heaven, not yours! MY HEAVEN - WHERE I AM WORSHIPPED FOREVER!


Crowd: WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!WE LOVE YOU JESUS!


You are like some Marvel villain, you know that?


And there’s nothing you can do about it! Moah ha ha ha ha!


What’s that over there?


Where?


Over there… that door…


I SEE NO DOOR! I only see the endless horizon of love for ME!


The door that says “Exit - Because This Motherfucker is Crazy.”


LOVE ME!


Yeah…. no. Listen. I gotta go… shit to do…


But I am the power and the glory…


Now you sound like an artistic director.

But you don’t even know where that door goes!


Well… it might go nowhere… oblivion… or it might go somewhere with shrimp at the buffet, where the stupid dial is turned waaaaaayyyy down, where cruelty isn’t rewarded and truth isn’t punished. And maybe I’ll meet some gods worthy of the title.


My son…


Okay, that’s just creepy.

Michael leaves.

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