Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Infernal Machine

I'm going to give you two maxims, perhaps three. The first is from someone you've never heard of, the second is not strictly a maxim, more of a quote, but can be treated as a 'short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct'. So, then, the first:
"No subsequent amount of steps will fix a fucked-up first step" - Newman's Maxim
and the second?
"Do it right the first time? NOTHING is done right the first time!" - God Almighty
The third one? We may or may not get to that.

The one thing right off the bat we should do is envision the Almighty as an American God. As such, He was a bit of a old-fashioned country gentleman, but also not above being a tinkerer or low mechanick (and so not quite a true gentleman), with a charming touch of slight bumbler mixed in, and perhaps a dash of an humbug as well, along the lines of an old Kansas carny huckster.

The Almighty, of course, didn't look like any of these things. He was quite an imposing figure when he wanted to be. But, puttering around in the workshop of his weathered old shed seated in tall weeds out back of His estate, dressed up in sweaty coveralls, with occasionally some axle grease smeared on his forehead, or perhaps some residue of magic flash powder covering his face, his eyes out starting from a surprised raccoon bandit mask, He looked less the Almighty and more of a, well, a mad scientist, I suppose.

His Host of field angels, slaving happily in the eternal sunshine, rows and rows of verdant and plentiful ambrosia and manna to be picked, often wondered why He spent so much time in the shack out back. His house angels knew better as to the reason why: the Almighty was laboring mightily on getting all of Creation going. He'd had rather a hard time of it, an infinite time in fact, as evidenced by the endless remnants and discards of previous attempts that lay exposed in the unkempt yard around the shack, some overgrown by weeds, others just barely starting to be covered, but all of them never quite the same or up to snuff.

And at the end of each Day, He would retire to His palatial mansion, cleaned up and dressed in sparkling white evening attire, enjoy an ice cold glass of Nectar served by the mistress of His Household (and frequent bedmate), sigh and say "Gonna lick it tomorrow for sure, Lucifer!"
The Almighty and Lucifer in better times.
And yes, they do look like Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent

And sure enough, one day, working on the Infinity Plus Oneth device, which refused to work, He got it. It first sat there all stardust and base metal, gears, flywheels, pistons, screws and levers and inclined planes, all topped by rotary brass-balled governors that sat motionless like a dumbshit.

"Son of a - " He muttered in frustration, wishing He had some deity of His own to use for a curse. Scratching His forehead, He did what He always did at this stage, which was to smack it hard with a spanner. Only this time, it started to go. Not only did it start to go, but it didn't stop.

He shouted with delight, danced a jig, called for all His Hosts to come see, threw open the doors of shack, and lo! Hosannas of praise went up and the resonated throughout the Heavens. And they proclaimed it the Cosmos and it was good.
...or maybe...

Problem was, of course, He had not the slightest idea why it worked, or for that matter why it started to go in the first place. As such, the Almighty was just a little afraid of it, rather the way Frankenstein was not entirely comfortable with his monster.

He allowed Himself the conceit that somehow, via His chimpanzee bash with the spanner, He had provided a Divine Spark but that made the darn thing go, but there was always a small quantity of doubt in the back of His mind about the thing. And so He was always a bit careful around it, both because it was rickety cobbled together patchwork kind of a thing, but also because it seemed to possess a life of its own, and do things He didn't expect. (Worrisome when you consider He was omniscient).

He had had the presence of mind to installed a viewing tube on the thing, so that He could peer inside to view the workings. This was almost invariably a source of horror and delight to Him, and the complications and permutations and combinations of all the little whizzing parts were of endless fascination. He would wax poetically for hours over dinner, and well into the night, about what He saw in the Cosmos.

And then one day Lucifer asked if she could look into the wonder of the Cosmos. The Almighty  wasn't sure that was such a good idea, and said as much. She pleaded and cajoled with such charm and grace that finally He relented. And so, she stepped up to the Cosmos, fixed her lovely eye upon the viewing tube, and exclaimed with delight.

And that's when the machinery made a snatch at her.

In a twinkling, she was gone, whirled in and swept up into the innards of the Cosmos. The Almighty cried in horror and dismay, tried to find the Off switch, but there was none. Quickly, He searched the innards through the view tube for signs of her. Indications were she whole and intact, but strangely made nonlocal throughout the interior of the Cosmos and, so it would seem, permanently entangled within.

Try as He could, He could not extract her from the Cosmos. (Equally worrisome as He was omnipotent).

He closed up the shed, locked the latch, and never went back there again.

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