Aspergillum

 “So God has an email address now.”

“Fuck off no he doesn’t” I said.

“No really,” replied everyone else. “God, creator of all things, the Big Dad of Mankind, and founding spark of the universe, has an email address. This isn’t like all those fake twitter accounts. This is The Deal, my friend.”

“Who’d he choose,” I asked

“Gmail,” they said. “He’s not a wanker.”

It just appeared, first spotted by a helicopter tour guide, written into the side of Ayers Rock in big caps-lock letters.

GOD@GMAIL.COM

It was written in blue, and underlined. Seemed legit.

They found it scrawled across Kilimanjaro as well, on one of the big fells in Finland, Mount Fuji, Everest, popping up here, there and everywhere. ‘Could this really be true, is this the work of a rich nutcase or is it long-awaited confirmation of the existence of God?’ cried the media.

Pope Francis stood in front of a Macbook Air. He took an aspergillum, dipped its brush hairs in holy water and sprinkled some on the keyboard, which made a lot of people who work in IT quietly cringe. Then he lent forward, and typed. The crowds stopped moving, everyone gathering around whatever screen was nearest, and held their breath. Finally, there was a tiny little ping sound, the Pope clicked his mouse and scrutinised the laptop screen. Finally, he ambled over to the array of microphones, flicked one of them, cleared his throat and said “Yeah, it’s legit.” Then everyone took out their phones and gave it a shot.

Google went down instantly. “Stop it” said Larry Page, Google CEO, his hair mussed, his cheeks tracked with tears. “Please stop it.” They burned down his big house. “Mine didn’t go through” they shouted, burning down Larry Page’s big house and killing his pets. “Booo. BOOOOO!”

Everyone I knew had their draft email to God typed out, saved and ready to go. They’d whip out their phones, send it, it’d fail, they’d tut and there’d be a few minutes tense quiet, then they’d try again. As a writer, a couple of people have asked me to proof-read theirs for them. “Does it make me sound needy? Can you go to Hell for being needy?” Of those that I read, some came off as a little self-serving, and most were just outright begging letters.

It didn’t die. Most people’s emails failed, but you’d occasionally hear of one or two getting replies. The first one was to Elisabeth Carmen, a schoolteacher in Buenos Aires.

“I asked him if it was really him. And could he watch over my husband, Rey, who’s in hospital for gallstones.” she said through a translator.

“What did he say?” cried the world.

“It’s private,” she replied “but he’s very polite.”

People called bullshit, but the reports kept surfacing, the occasional sprinkling of replies; France, Poland, South Africa, one guy in London, all had their moment in front of the microphones.

“He signed off with ‘Cheers’, which was much less formal than I thought he’d be.”

“He said I had moxie, which I appreciated.”

“Very polite, yeah. I like him.”

Truth be told, I’ve never been a believer. As a writer who works to keep his mind active, that’s what God’s always been to me. A character in some storytellers’ active imaginations, a character that builds and builds as each new storyteller, with their own slightly separate take, comes and nails on a tiny extra piece of the myth. But now?

Hi, I typed, and sent it. I tried to put it to the back of my mind, act like this was my one indulgence in the collective nonsense, and that would be that. A week later, as I was sitting in Costa, writing a scene on my laptop, I got a reply.

That it? I mean, hello back and everything…

I looked around. No one had seen it. My mouth was suddenly very dry. I took a sip of coffee and typed:

Sorry. Wasn’t sure what to say. How’s this all been for you?

I got a reply almost instantly.

Bit hectic, but pretty much to be expected, I suppose. Thanks for asking.

Did you really create the universe? I replied.

Sure. But hey, don’t worry about it. Happy to.

He seemed like a pretty decent fellow.

Any general advice for me? I responded.

There was a pause of about ten minutes this time. I was worried I might have overstepped the mark or something, when:

Buy property young, read His reply. Don’t be afraid of a mortgage. Sure, it’ll tie you down, but if you’re spending out each month, why not build towards a goal, you know? Anyway, nice talking to you. Keep safe.

I sat back in my chair, feeling a little light-headed. For some reason, I had no desire to share what had just happened, not with anyone. It felt personal, warm, and it didn’t seem right somehow to brag about it. I went to close my email to return to my scene, but I hesitated. I clicked Reply and typed out one last message.

Do you ever get sad?

Sent. I waited a few minutes, had a few more sips of my coffee, then the response came through.

Nope.

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