Pixabay picture user Andrys

God is a Dinosaur [Short Fiction]

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The following is a one-act play that I wrote. It exists by itself, but also in the manuscript of Gleeman’s Tales. Just in case it’s not clear. In the play, the name of the character above the paragraph is the character speaking the dialogue in that paragraph.

 

Characters

CHUCKY: A young boy of 7. Wearing a hospital gown. Brain Damage.

MILES: A man. Wearing simple clothing. Well-manicured and particular.

CHUCK: An adolescent boy of 15. CHUCK’s skin is sooty and blackened by ash. He coughs frequently. Clothing is singed. Succumbed to Tuberculosis.

CHARLES: An adult male of 24. Staff Sergeant in US Army. POW in Poland for a year. Wearing a sodden military uniform. Suicide.

CHARLIE: An elderly man of 83. Wearing dingy striped medical pajamas. Natural causes.

 

 

Scene: A small board room. CHUCKY is sleeping in one of the chairs with his head on his arms leaned over the table. MILES is writing in a small notebook, observing CHUCKY. CHUCKY yawns. He rubs his eyes. Picking his head up, CHUCKY notices the board room and the chair he is sitting in.

 

CHUCKY

Mommy? Daddy?  Woah –Cool! This is one of those fancy chairs like Poppa’s boss had. CHUCKY spins in the chair and hits his head on the table as he dizzily comes to a stop. Feeling pain in his head, CHUCKY pats his head and discovers he is bald. Oh wow, does my head hurt. Why is there a crater on my head? Am I a planet? Ow! Ohh man…I’m bleeding. What happened? Am…Am I dead?

 

MILES

Chucky, Welcome. CHUCKY looks up, confused. My name, well, the name I’ll go by, is Miles. I’m sure you have many questions, but now is not the time. I can assure you, that you are indeed dead. Hmm… I would refrain from probing that crater of yours… not that it’ll kill you. CHUCKY laughs. Listen, Chucky. What can you tell me about the last time you were alive? About… yesterday?

 

CHUCKY

Well…ummm. A friend and I were running around in the old Morris Tin Factory. We had made it upstairs. One of the offices…Ughh it’s all so fuzzy. There was something on the ground. He had gone back down to get our pop. Then… A shadow? MILES jots notes on his pad of paper. And then this morning I saw something.

 

MILES

What do you mean by that?

 

CHUCKY

Well, it’s just that this morning, I woke up…with no feeling in any of my limbs…Glad that’s back, too. Couldn’t see anything either, but I heard Momma and Poppa, and someone else. She called Poppa “Gerald” –she never does that when I’m near.

 

MILES

Hmm interesting…Alright Chucky, sit tight. I’ll be bringing a few more folks in here, so be quiet as they recount whatever they feel they need to. Smoke wafts into the room from the floor. It lingers in the air and CHUCKY gasps for air between rough coughs. A new person enters: CHUCK. He is fifteen years old. His body is covered in black burns. Chuck, Welcome. You may call me Miles. I’m sure you have many questions for me, but I’d like to start by affirming that you are indeed dead.

 

CHUCKY

Hey! We have the same—

 

CHUCK

I’m dead?  Examining his body, CHUCK looks to MILES. CHUCK lets out a lengthy coughing fit. Why…why am I black?  Uhhh…I feel like my insides are on fire.

 

MILES

Yes, Chuck, you are indeed dead. But alas, death is not the end. Hell, I’ve been dead for so many years that I can’t fathom how long anymore.

 

CHUCK

So, this is Heaven then, and you’re–

 

MILES

Yes, we will get to that, indeed. Now please, Chuck. I’d appreciate it, and I think our little friend would also appreciate it, if you would recount how you died. Start from the original accident so we get the context of your current situation.

 

CHUCK

Well…I suppose I’m here now because I caught the plague. And there’s only one time I could have caught the damn’d thing because no one I ever knew was sick with it. I was in a medical sleep for about a week when I was seven years old. CHUCK snickers. Yea…A friend and I were fooling around in an old abandoned factory. Get this…the factory used to make tin toys. Then when The Great War rolled around, the owner was drafted –ended up dying in the war and when it ended, the banks foreclosed on the owner’s wife. That’s why my friend and I used to snoop through it. We would look for old ammunition pieces or tools.

 

CHUCKY

That’s right…we were looking for ammo, or men’s magazines, or tools…whatever they had left abandoned.

 

MILES

MILES glares at CHUCKY. Hush child. Continue, Chuck.

 

CHUCK

Anyways, my friend had gone down to get our pop, and I was wandering around. Something must have fallen on my head. All I know is that when I woke up, a week had passed. I was missing a chunk of my brain. The doctors had told my folks that during that week, I had contracted a disease. I never caught wind of the specifics. Figured, I was fine as Hell…errr sorry. For the longest time, I was fine as He- err…right as rain. Then, after eight years of being alright –had to wear a helmet for three of ‘em– one day I started coughing up blood, and I was hotter than the sun. My parents rushed me to the hospital, but we really couldn’t afford any fancy medicine or doctors. They were still paying off my hospital visit all those years earlier from what I could tell. My friend would call me the hospital’s own ‘Hoover patient,’ because of how popular I was among the other people in the hospital. Whenever he came to visit, he would always be covered in plastic. Well, that was until his Mom forbade him from coming to see me.  And every day I kept coughing up blood. Not sure how I had any left after a week. Last night, I went to bed, and woke up here. But that doesn’t explain why I’m black.

 

MILES

You aren’t black my dear boy, but rather you are burnt. As you have told us, you contracted the ‘white plague’ when you were in the hospital as a child. The disease was suppressed and you lived a normal eight years. The plague is one of those illnesses though, that can revive itself and wreak havoc again, many years down the line. The hospitals, in your time, had a mandatory cremation for all cadavers infected with easily communicable diseases, the memory of the influenza pandemic of 1918 still fresh on their minds, I see. Can I get you a glass of water?

 

CHUCK

Please.

 

CHUCKY

Me too please! The boys look down at the glasses which suddenly appeared before them only to discover that those glasses are empty.

Wha…

 

MILES

Chuck, I know you have more questions, but everything will become clear soon. We have another guest entering soon, so please remain quiet. And don’t forget to breathe. You might be dead, but you should never forget the mundane things. They help you pass the years…and the centuries. Brisk water fills the room. CHUCKY and CHUCK stare in amazement as they discover that they can breathe and speak as effortless as if they were in the fresh air. CHARLES, 24, enters the boardroom.

Staff Sergeant Charles Wildnis, Welcome.

 

CHUCKY

Wait a second. Wildnis is my last name. Is this an uncle I have?

 

MILES

Patience, Chucky. For brevity sake, I will refer to you as Charles. My name, or what you may refer to me as, is Miles. I understand you have some questions, but maybe not the same questions that our young friends had when I brought them here. As I know you know, you are dead. I don’t expect you to question this, as you chose to die. I would appreciate it, however, if you would recount what it was that made you die in such a manner.

 

CHARLES

I am here because I chose to kill myself. So this must be Hell. CHUCK suddenly sits upright in his chair and coughs sending a spur of bubbles cascading to the ceiling.

 

CHUCK

            You did what? What is the matter with–

 

MILES

Reserve your judgments, Chuck. Charles, you are not here because you chose to end your life. No, you are here, as are the other two young men, because you died, and you lived. Now please. Enlighten us about your life Charles.

 

CHARLES

Well…I’ll have to recount back to my adolescence if you want to truly understand why I killed myself. I had a rough childhood, one friend who stuck with me through thick and thin, and a shitload of bad luck. As a kid, I was in a coma for a week. It was there that I developed a dormant, violent strand of TB. Hell…my life was over as I knew it. I was fifteen, sick as a dog, coughing up my lungs, and I could see death. It was right there. And then…it wasn’t. One day, I sat up and felt the thirst of a desert. I drank a gallon and a half of water before the nurses had to restrain me. And I survived. I had dueled with death twice all before I was even an adult and I had won both times. Boy, did I get drunk when I got out of that hospital. I emptied every bottle of liquor we had in the house. The folks looked on at me like I was a deranged zoo animal. CHARLES laughs. That hangover was a bitch: like a flapper at a convent.

 

CHUCKY

What’s a hangover? What’s a flapper?

 

CHARLES

I’ll tell you when you’re older. CHARLES sadistically laughs.

 

CHUCKY

Hey! That’s not funny.

 

CHUCK

                        Chucky shut up!

 

MILES

                        Gentlemen, please.

 

CHARLES

From then on, I had an immense will to live. Unfortunately, it was the Krauts who would take that will to live away. Chucky, Krauts are Germans…And yes, Sauerkraut is where that came from. I was drafted into the US army in the fall of ’42. Mom and Dad fought tooth and nail for me to be blacklisted. I had a missing piece of brain. I conquered one of the worst diseases known to man…twice. I was still weak, still helpless to them. That’s why I forged my medical papers (although, I heard they were accepting anyone who could hold a rifle and had meat between the legs). Wasn’t a part of the beach assault in Normandy like my friend, but I was in a platoon that assaulted German weapons factories. Tired and battle weary, we were easily picked apart by a team of German snipers. We surrendered. I was a prisoner of war for a year in Poland before we were liberated. When did I die, Miles? I died the day I happened upon this camp on my way out of Poland. CHARLES’S voice drops. I walked into a Russian regiment and they took me in with them as they inched along the Polish railroads. We came upon this camp which had a peculiar sign above the gate: ‘Work sets you free.’ We entered. It was a goddam ghost town. I opened up a door into a long house and vomited because it smelt like a toilet and a morgue all in one. It was at that moment that I died. When I saw the corpses, those that lived, and those that were dead…I knew that I was one of them. CHARLES pulls a hand up in front of his face. I was better fed and had clothes, but I was no different from the corpses. CHARLES extends his arm and points at MILES. I don’t understand how that was allowed to happen! I still see them now: the piles of bodies, the stick-thin limbs all weak, and mangled, and contorted. It’s branded my memory. CHARLES pauses to catch his breath. We forced the Krauts to dig graves for the bodies and then each prisoner was able to take a shot at their captors. I gave this little boy a pistol. I kicked out the legs of a soldier, and forced the pistol at his head. The kid fired. Hell…he emptied my clip. CHARLES is shaking.

 

CHARLES

When I got home from the war, no one understood. Mom and Dad didn’t understand. The government didn’t understand. They threatened to have me committed to a state-ward if I didn’t stop talking about Auschwitz. Well…I couldn’t live a moment without seeing the thousands of innocent faces that scarred my memory. So I drove. And I drove. And the water seeped in. And I sat there. I welcomed the cold water as it filled my lungs. And now…I’m here.

 

CHUCK

How could you be such a coward? After everything you lived though, to go and kill yourself. You’re pathetic. I’m glad I didn’t live long enough to grow into those shoes.

 

CHUCKY

                        Wait…grow into those shoes? What–

 

CHARLES

You have no idea. And count your blessings that you didn’t live long enough to witness that war of godlessness. It was sickening.

 

MILES

Calm yourselves, gentlemen. One more friend will be joining us. He has been listening to our meeting up to this point. I think he can relate to you three more than you might think at first. Suddenly, the water disappears and the room is completely dry. The air feels crisp. A breeze ripples through open windows on the far side of the room. A fourth man enters. CHARLIE, 83, hobbles into the board room. He is visibly old and his slow walking is dependent on a cane.

 

CHARLIE

You can save me the spiel, Miles. I very well know that I’m dead. Not only because I’m eighty-three and my liver failed, but because in the year 2000, doctors were able to foretell when any given person would die. Every day for those six years, I knew that I would be coming. I’ve had a long tiring life.

 

CHUCKY

Woah, 2000! Is everything silver? Are there flying cars and aliens and space ships and lasers? CHUCKY makes noises: Peew Peew.  

 

MILES

Charlie, do tell us what happened in your life after the war.

 

CHARLIE

After the war, I suffered a severe bout of depression, what was later called Post-traumatic stress. I, too, struggled and contemplated suicide. I had lost all faith. But  then, as I was going to drive off into a lake, I saw a woman. She was rather frail and maybe twenty. She watched me drive up to the edge of the lake. I was afraid she would call the police so I got out to talk to her. Turns out, she was a survivor of the Holocaust. She had been adopted by an American family because her entire family had been killed. But the American family couldn’t relate to the nightmares that plagued her dreams. She was in the process of running away. We talked for three hours about how God had abandoned the world. CHARLIE pauses and lets out a tired breath. Well, I won’t bore you with the details, but she saved me. And I married her. We lived as happy atheists for a time. We had children, who also chose to be atheists, and the decades flew by.

 

CHUCKY

What’s an atheist?

 

CHARLIE

An atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in any deities…Gods.

 

CHUCKY

But, you don’t believe in God? How are you…How did you…But how can you stop–

 

MILES

                        Chucky, let Charlie finish please.

 

CHARLIE

A cold war between America and the Soviet Union became hot when a handful of nuclear missiles flew. (Now, Chuck and Chucky, these are bombs capable of leveling cities and killing hundreds of thousands.) These missiles obliterated the southern half of Florida. America’s retaliation was swift, just, but costly. Siberia and the greater USSR became an irradiated wasteland, but at the cost of sixty thousand American soldiers’ lives…and over three million American citizens –including our sons. CHARLIE wipes a tear away with his arm and pauses. The rest of my life was a blur. My wife’s depression consumed her shortly after our children died. I lived, a ward of the government for the next thirty years. When the death-predictor was invented, I was first on line to know. And for the next six years, I sat, idle…waiting. And…I died. Miles…God. I know why you brought me here. Why I had to listen to these younger versions of me tell their tales.

 

CHUCKY

                        Wait! That’s me? MILES snaps at CHUCKY and shushes the young boy.

 

CHARLIE

They died in the moments when I lost faith. But they aren’t real.

 

CHUCKY

Hey! I am too real!

 

MILES

Chucky is right. They are real. Chucky, Chuck, and Charles…All of them lived. The difference, is that you, Charlie, have lived all their lives. All of you. You’re all the same person. I chose each of you specifically for your next purpose.

 

CHARLES

And that is?

 

MILES

You all, are going to become one. And that one, will be God.

 

CHUCKY

Ummm… did I hear that right?

 

CHARLIE

I can think of a few errors with that statement. One: I’m an atheist, so I still don’t believe that you exist. For all I know, this is some ethereal trance that I’m in on my death-bed. Two: I’m assuming that you are the Christian God because the others are Christian. Supposing that you exist, and this isn’t some twisted vivid dream, does that mean that the ancient Pantheons of Greece, Egypt, and of the Norse are all fake?

 

MILES

MILES taps his fingers on the table and thinks to himself. I am, and you will become, all Gods. God is a relative term that doesn’t really cover everything that I am, everything that you will become. CHUCKY raises his hand. Wait, Chucky. Gentlemen: Zeus, Poseidon, Hera. Ra, Anubis, Isis. Odin, Loki, Eir. Shiva, Hanuman, Lakshmi. The spirits: of the forest, harvest, rain. Imaginary Friends, Lady Luck, Demons, Dragons, Devils. Every deity, every force that exists in the minds of humans –from the most powerful of beings, to the humblest of spirits. Millions, and millions upon millions of entities…you will become them all. In fact, since we have been talking, I’ve become a hundred more deities…although time is a relative concept that doesn’t factor too much in our existence as higher beings.

 

CHARLES

So, what is going to happen to you, if we are becoming God?

 

CHUCKY

Why am I even here? I was only seven. I didn’t see the world. I don’t know what Norse is, let alone any of those other things that you named. I…I thought you were Santa until now.

 

MILES

Chucky, I am Santa. A column of smoke covers MILES for a moment. It dissipates, and sitting in the chair is Santa Claus: beard and red hat in all. Ho Ho Ho, Chucky, you have a creativity that the others have lost. You will certainly need creativity when you start over. My time as God is ending. I won’t die, in that sense, but my essence will go a long way to helping you rebuild the world.

 

CHUCK

            Wait…rebuild the world? Why? What is going to happen?

 

MILES

The universe doesn’t want you to be partial to the lead sentient race, so humanity must end. You will then rebuild the world and begin the next sentient race.

 

CHARLIE

So, that’s why you let World War II occur…the nuclear war. Your hands were tied?

 

MILES

I wanted to. You all were my creations after all. But as you will learn, you have to let your people work their own problems out.

 

CHARLES

Wait. You said we have to kill off the humans. And the next sentient race will be one that is not human? MILES nods, smiling. But you are a human.

 

MILES

Am I? Silence. I was in your same shoes many millions of years ago. My original life form, like yours, was split up into four different lives. Like you, I met up with God, and he told me what I told you. In my mortal life, I was a dinosaur. My first task as God, was to cause a meteor to impact Earth, sending my people into extinction. You will have a similar choice when you gain power.

 

CHUCKY

            Cool! A Dinosaur! Can we see your original form?

 

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PC: Pixabay; User: albertr (Dinosaur), Andrys (pen)

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