Kurt flicked back his immaculately groomed hair for the fiftieth time that day and jauntily asked, “Is Jesus here yet?”
Veronica checked herself in the mirror, straightening the lapels of her suit. “No. I just called him. He said he was stuck in traffic.”
“Did you believe him?”
“I believe in him.” She shifted her feet and looked down, feeling comforted by the beige carpet’s plainness and lack of scrutiny.
“You’re avoiding the question.” Kurt squinted at her with an inquisitorial look.
“Well . . . I heard women in the background, and someone pulling on a bong.”
Kurt rolled his eyes in a gesture of inevitability. “It can’t go on like this.”
“It can and it will! This shit will persist all the time and his father ignores it. I mean, how many blind eyes can an omniscient being turn before such a distortion of reality damages the cosmos?”
Thoughtfully pausing, Kurt eventually said, “I don’t know,” then looked at Veronica expectantly.
She eventually replied with, “That was a rhetorical question.”
“I see. Well . . . The Manual usually says three on these occasions, but you know how out of date that thing is. That particular deity has been operational so long there’s no one alive who remembers how it works. But then, this whole system of human beliefs is a decomposing mess.”
“I know. For millennia management have said someone should overhaul it–run an impartial eye over the whole thing.” She began touching her hair proudly into place. “They were going to ask me to . . . ”
“Buddha’s good at that!” Kurt enthusiastically exclaimed, “He doesn’t get caught up in stuff.” His smiling face beamed with pride as he brushed his hair back to ensure the full display of his widened cheeks.
“Apart from pizza boxes!” Veronica snapped in a mocking tone.
Kurt’s face sank. “That was an accident; he explained it to me. How he’d fallen asleep with the window open and a load of pizza boxes blew in, clogging up the exit to his room. It wasn’t his fault.”
Veronica held him with a derisive look. “The same way Jesus is stuck in traffic right now?”
Conciliatory, Kurt muttered, “I know Buddha, and there must be an element of truth to it.”
Sensing her ascendancy, Veronica replied in a haughty tone: “It only takes one falsehood for everything else to become specious. Lies are the pits. When a mind lies, it murders some part of the universe.”
Just then the office doors burst open. Kraven Curruthers erupted into the room and strode across it with onerous poise, his self-esteem filling the air. In a luxurious and cavernous voice he asked: “Either of you heard from this Jesus fellow? Page 95 of The Human Beliefs Manual says the last person he lied to has to take responsibility–filling in forms, reporting to the centre of the universe–the whole ball-ache.”
Veronica cleared her throat and shifted on her feet. “No, not spoken to him. . . My phone’s not even working.” She stared at the comforting plainness of the carpet, awaiting release from Kraven’s gaze.
With a resplendent swoosh of his hair, Kraven turned his head toward Kurt. “How about you, buddy?”
“I know nothing about it.” Kurt scratched the back of his head. But then, feeling compelled by Kraven’s shining eyes, he continued: “He’s probably stuck in traffic.”
Veronica’s foot discretely nudged Kurt. Hurriedly seeking to correct himself, he mumbled: “Or stuck in a lift, or something. I wouldn’t know. . . I don’t know.”
Kraven meanwhile was distracted checking himself in the mirror. He then absently added, “Thanks guys,” before promenading jubilantly back across the room. On reaching the door he stopped briefly, preparing himself to explode flamboyantly into the next room.
As the door closed behind Kraven, Kurt whispered, “You lied!”
Veronica retaliated, “You lied!”
“You lied first!”
“You lied about Buddha.”
“You lied about Marxism last week.”
“Your whole life is a lie!”
Kurt reflected for a second, then responded, “You’re right. But what do I care? Truth is a changeable, slippery thing. I can’t be bothered to keep up with it all the time.”
“Me neither.” Veronica sighed, “I don’t understand why this office supplies so many philosophies. Especially as people are meant to live numinously in continual unknowing. Must be confusing for humans, all those structured belief systems creating opportunities and needs for lying. But that’s what you get forming illusory ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs.'”
“Does my hair look alright?” Kurt asked, gazing in the mirror.
Soren James is a writer and visual artist who recreates himself on a daily basis from the materials at his disposal, continuing to do so in upbeat manner until one day he will sumptuously throw his drained materials aside and resume stillness without asking why. More of his work can be seen here: http://sorenjames.moonfruit.com/