OUT OF ESSEX – CHAPTER 21
“Someone once said that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism. We can now revise that and witness the attempt to imagine capitalism by way of imagining the end of the world.”
It was Saturday night at The Place.
Chicken tikka masala had been ordered up from Hell’s Kitchen. God was washing it down with a bottle of 1980 Margaret River Chardonnay, that Satan had lifted from an off-licence in Belgravia. Beside her sat Maggie, cleansing her palate with raspberry sorbet.
God regularly invited Maggie to the inner sanctum. They watched Essex on the screens, and talked. With over half of her team missing, God was grateful for company.
Frustrated by her inactivity, Maggie had been learning aikido and karate. It provided catharsis for unresolved angers. But the real craving of Britain’s first female leader, now deceased, was for wisdom. To understand her soul’s journeying nature, and the purpose of incarnation.
God tended to lead conversations. “Free will is complex Maggie,” said God. “Mine and everybody’s. Complex. Things don’t turn out as envisaged. You hatch a plan – then watch it take on life of its own.”
Maggie kept quiet. The sorbet was good. But this was priceless.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The last thing humans ever needed was money,” moaned God. “Life is hard enough – for Christ’s sake, I made it that way. The trauma of birth into a meat sack; the parenting lottery; the indoctrination of most education. Friends and foes. Egos and shames. Laughter, love and tears. The mating game, and its genetic underpinnings. Hunger, disease and mortality.”
Maggie recalled three-dimensional life: “Yes, the pressures could be quite overwhelming. Bringing up little ones. Work and careers. Defeating trade unions. Boosting arms sales. ”
Wincing, God cut in. “It was a test, a brilliant, unparalleled poetic test, of me, the Creator, and you, my tiny shards, the souls experiencing life on Earth.”
God took a deep breath. “The only things you had to do, all along, were to tend the earth, populate the land and report back. Nothing more. Forget the nonsense about worship. Just communicate. Talk to me in prayer.” Maggie remembered her prayers, last thing at night.
God elaborated. “Or sing about how the dice rolled, and the rains fell. Write a diary, to make me giddy with happiness. Pen poems and perform plays. Mourn your dead. Muddle through your infirmities. Tell jokes. Shout out your orgasms. Cuddle then lament your addictions. Shine out your lights. Trumpet your pain and pleasure. Holler your hallucinations. Strum out the best and the worst. Talk to me. So that I could know the depth and breadth of my experiment. And maybe tweak it here and there”
God poured another glass, asking if Maggie would join her. “No? Well it’s good that your soul stays in shape. Where was I? Yes, the ever-elusive plan. You know I did figure that the strongest wills would prevail. But had no idea that some dark agent would invent money. The concept is not mine. It is, for want of a better word, alien. Shocking. A black swan.”
God asked: “Did you know that there are ten trillionaires on Earth? You met two of them in your last life. They have all deleted public records of their existence. Yet possess the power of ancient emperors.”
Maggie felt lucidity fly near, like an almost-understood dream.
“Money, money, money,” said God, “A curse and a pox that says we are here to compete, weaving a spell that some lives are more valuable than others. Taxes and loans. Bailiffs and bankers. Shoring up the notions of privilege and the under-privileged. Starvation amid opulence. Survival of the fittest.”
God burped. “Sorry. That smells revolting. Anyway, one especially upsetting result of money that infests my screens is the profligate consumer society. Have you ever looked at the zombies wandering shopping malls, fast asleep, paying their tithes?” There was deep sadness in her voice. “My Creation affects me. Whenever humans crash, I crash. When Satan fell, I fell. But that’s another story. He’s a loyal lieutenant now.”
Finally, Maggie spoke. “This is no more than an idea. How about if your plan has cunningly, stealthily survived, morphing and adapting?”
God experienced a surge. Her eyes focused. “Pray, do tell.”
“Well, thinking about those hierarchies, the trillionaires down to the have-nots.” Maggie struggled for simple words to bridge a huge complexity. “Did you build, no… did you insert into free will the possibility that humanity would need to get itself in a such a pickle, face such a make or break challenge, so that it could either discover its deepest, most spiritual nature, and break the invisible chains, or fail and die?”
She picked words carefully. “So that life could now be poised at a penultimate stage….. as a kind of medicinal poison for all souls.”
“Wouldn’t that be a thing Maggie? Humanity digging itself out of the shite and finally singing from the same hymn-sheet. As I said, plans change in ways that cannot be predicted.”
God felt better about Maggie. “Now, as regards your role here. Had the insurance market collapse proceeded as planned, you would now be cheer-leading a radical Essex putsch to abolish money. But circumstances continually change. I am fully aware of your limbo, while Buddha and Gandhi build the Southend experiment. Be patient. Your chance will come. Before it does, we need to talk about money Maggie. Properly. Another time.”
“But just look at this.” God pointed to the glow surrounding a house in Southend, fighting back the darkness. As Dawn Landais and her family slept, God switched the screen to Chelmsford, where similar luminosity wrapped the house where Rose and Edward Fawkes lay dreaming.