Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Arguing with God - Part IV


Go Back to Part 1.

Walter Tinsdale fell in love with the AMC Spirit. A wonderful motor car! It was economical, powerful-looking, and spacious: He wished that he could fill it up with all of the corduroy suits he saw here in 1980 and drive it back to the year 2312. But God probably wouldn't allow it: He preferred Walter to buy his suits at PriceNice like everybody else.

What had happened is that back in 14th century France God and Satan had gotten into a huge argument. It was a great (almost theological debate) between good and evil. What they were talking about went way over Walter's head and the topic isn't really something that mere mortals should even contemplate. They had started going on about old VHS tapes that they had and were currently engaged in a row over who the greatest actor of the 20th century was: God said Marlon Brando and Satan said James Woods.

Walter was glad to get away from that verbal onslaught. Before they could question his opinion he had asked God if he could go check out 1980 and, with a, 'Zap!' he was there.

Now Walter was at an auto dealer checking out the cars.

The reason that he had chosen 1980 as opposed to 1945 or 2000 is because in 1980 corduroy suits were all the rage. If there was one thing that people loved in 2312 it was a good corduroy suit.

Walter sat behind the wheel of the AMC Spirit with a salesman smiling in the passenger seat beside him. He briefly nodded in appreciation at the man's brown corduroy suit and then surveyed the dashboard.

Salesman: "And this is one of the most fuel efficient cars built in America. So do you want to take it for a spin?"

Walter's eyes lit up. To actually drive a car in 1980 was something that he thought he could only dream about. "Okay," he said, expecting that there was some kind of catch.

The Salesman waited for him to turn the engine on.

Walter cleared his throat and then said loudly: "Computer, turn engine on."

Nothing happened.

The salesman stared at him for a moment. He broke out into laughter: "So, you must be some kind of Star Trek fan?"

Walter said slowly: "Star...Trek? What's that?"

                                                                           * * *

Meanwhile, at the convenient store Gary was bracing himself for what Vince had called the 7 o'clock rush. He had not seen a customer in three hours and people were waking up now and would soon enter to fulfill their purchasing needs. He peered out the window and saw three people walking quickly towards the store. Gary sat down behind the cash register and prepared himself.

The first person to reach the counter was a 30-year-old woman. She politely said, "Hello." And then: "I'd like a burger and some fries."

Gary clenched his fists and tried to remain calm. He understood that there would be other customers beyond this one. In an annoyed tone he said: "This isn't a fast food restaurant; it's a convenient store."

At this point the woman burst into laughter. She laughed and laughed and laughed. Gary clenched his fists harder. Finally, she said: "Oh okay, I guess I'll need some time to figure out my order."

She stepped aside. The next person in line was a clean shaven 25-year-old man. Gary was relieved because this guy looked normal.

This customer said, "I'd like Defacto filterless cigarettes."

Gary happily handed him a pack of smokes.

The man quickly picked up a donation box on the counter and dumped its contents infront of of him: Pennies and dimes went everywhere.

Clenching his fists even harder, Gary asked, "What are you doing?"

The man shrugged. "I'm paying."

Gary angrily said, "That's donated money for the disabled."

Again the man shrugged: "I'm disabled."

Gary's face was red as he shouted, "You are not disabled!"

"Am too!"

"Are not!"

"Am too!"

"Are not!"

Now the woman stepped back toward the counter and asked, "Can I get a cheeseburger?"

Gary was trembling: "No you can't get a cheeseburger. I want both of you out of this store. Now."

The two slowly left contemplating whether they should get the last word in. Before leaving the man shouted out, "Give in to the needs of the disabled!"

Now Gary noticed the third customer. He was a tall white-haired man who moved like a jelly fish. His arms were constantly flailing about as if they were boneless. The man spoke very slowly in a high-pitched tone: "Hello. I require your head."

Gary nodded knowing that he had misunderstood.

Now the man said, "Your head. Your head. I require your head."

Gary was dumbfounded.

After a pause the man tried a different tactic: "I am a diplomat from the Sarturus-Alphangeti star system."

Gary slowly reached for the baseball bat that Vince had left behind the counter.

"You see one of our agents left little Draxos in your coffee cup and you swallowed him. So give us your head so that we can obtain his cells and regenerate him."

Gary showed the man the bat saying, "Sir please leave or I'm going to call the police."

Scared, the man made his way to the door shrieking, "The police? The police? What are the police going to do with your head? I need your head!" As he reached the door he warned: "Don't make me call in little Draxos' mother. There'll be trouble for you if I have to resort to that."

The man jumped outside and hurriedly sprung off.

Finally Gary was alone.