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“The Pope or Life : Choose ?”

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Filipino Farm Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Filipino Farm Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Edgar Tolentino, 32, stands 5‘, 6“ in his rice field. He weighs in at 110 pounds. He would be healthier if he got more food to eat everyday, but he has a wife and six children in Barangay San Antonio, Leyte, Republic Of The Philippines.

Edgar has managed to put rice on everyone’s plates three times a day, everyday. Edgar makes it a point to eat less, so, his four year old daughter, Eliza gets a full belly.

The stranger at the sari-sari store, near the rice field, watches Edgar Tolentino stroll through his rice field.

Edgar’s children do well in school. Edwin, his eldest at 14, is studying hard for a chance to work in the Philippine National Police and hopes someday to work at the National Bureau of Investigation.

The Philippine’s sunshine is already burning away the coolness of morning and Edgar feels the rising heat. Ellen, his eldest daughter is 12. Elaine’s hero is former President Manuel Roxas and Edgar watches her at night study by candlelight.  The cell phone he got her for Christmas gives off more light and she seems entranced by the images on the tiny screen as she reads the tiny type for her school lessons.

Elaine, a daddy’s girl, told her dad she is going to be Ambassador Of The Republic Of The Philippines to Great Britain. . .and, maybe. . .the United States Of America.

Edgar smiles at the memory and reaches down to look at the rice stalks. He puts his hand up to shield his eyes from the sun’s increasing light and heat.

EAST TEXAS OR EASTERN VISAYAS_6576_Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.The stranger rises from the bench at the sari-sari store and strolls along the barangay road toward the rice field.

Edgar wipes the sweat off of his forehead. He reaches down and rubs the back of his right leg. It aches. Doctor Salazar believes a parasite has entered his body from the water, which sometimes stands in the rice field.

For now, medicine has the infection under control. Edgar is worried, but he has his wife and children to love and care for, so, he rubs his leg and steps out into the field with the standing water sloushing loudly under his rubber boots.

The “Heat” is really getting to him. He is light-headed. He turns to walk to the bamboo lean-to with the canvas shade. If he can stretch out on the bamboo mat and rest for a few minutes, then, the heat will pass. Edgar smacks his lips. He would love some water. He left the house without his beat up water jug.

The stranger, an unknown Filipina, glances down at her rubber boots and steps into the rice field and walks toward the bamboo shade structure.

Edgar stretches out on the mat and closes his eyes.

“Thump ! Thump ! Thump !”

Edgar hears his heart beating loudly in his ears. He rubs his chest. He has never realized that it takes so much effort to breathe. He feels his chest rise and fall. Edgar frowns and rubs his head to try to think: “Why is breathing difficult ? I have been breathing all my life.”

His heavy eyes open briefly.

“Who are you,” he asks ? The attractive middle-age Filipina smiles and places her hand on his chest. Edgar moans and looks at his chest. The intense flare of bright blue light becomes a halo of white light and he feels like his body is becoming light.

Edgar has no idea how long he slept. He opens his eyes and is on the bamboo mat in the rice field. He rubs his head and sits up.

He scoots off the mat and stands on polished black marble tile. He looks around him and is in a large marble hall. The air is antiseptic. He scratches his head. He is confused.

“Hoy !” His voice echoes around the great marble hall of statuesque Roman columns and echoes like thunder.

“Hoy !”

“Hoy !” His scream echoes and rumbles like thunder around the room and shakes the floor like the tremor of an earthquake.

Edgar sits down on the floor because there is no place to run. The pinpoint of intense light burns a hole in the air and expands quickly. A starburst of orange, yellow, red and blue light expands and begins to become a human image within six feet of Edgar.

Edgar gulps and drops down on one knee. He puts up his hand to shield his eyes.

“Stand up,” orders the voice in fluent Waray

Edgar keeps his head down and slowly rises. “You know, who I am,” remarks the voice.

Edgar nods.

“Then, look at me.”

Edgar blurts out the first thing that comes to his mind. “I am not Moses.”

“Of course, you’re not Moses ! Moses is dust in The Universe. You are Edgar Tolentino. And, I am not a burning bush, so. . .Look at me !”

Edgar slowly lowers his hand as the light slowly fades away.

Edgar gasps and drops to both his knees.

“God !”

“In the flesh !” God laughs, walks over and puts out his hand to Edgar.

“Stand up, Edgar. If you keep dropping down on your knees every time I ask you a question, then, it is going to take centuries for us to have a meaning full conversation.”

Edgar rises slowly and bolts back a few feet. “You ! You look like. . .! I mean, I look like. . .You !”

God laughs. “Of course. Silly man. All children look like their mothers and fathers. You look like me because I am your Father. Look at my face closely.”

Edgar slowly eases his head forward. “ Tatay !”

“Exactly,” smiles God. “You are looking at ‘The Face Of Your Earthly Father’ when he was age 22, because he is convinced that was the best year of his Life. The point, Edgar, is every human being on the planet is a part of and reflected in God because God Is The Universe.”

Edgar frowns. God smiles. “My bad,” grins God. “I ignored the fact that as a child or man you have never been that interested in philosophy.” God winks. “You were never that curious as a child.”

“Can I ask a question,” asks Edgar.

“Shoot !” God smiles broadly.

“Am I Dead ?”

“Do you feel dead,” teases God ?

Edgar shrugs and carefully touches his chest.  God laughs. “No. Edgar Tolentino. You are not dead.”

“You are ‘Taking A Time Out.’ Humans like the terms, Visualization, Near Death Experience, and Out Of Body, among other words to explain your current situation. Suffice to say, your body is resting and your gray matter, brain tissue and mind is open wide. You are thinking faster than you ever thought possible.”

God gestures and a Louis XIV chair appears behind Edgar and an oblong Louis XIV coffee table appears between Edgar and God. A matching chair appears behind God. God smiles and brushes at his shoulder and the white robe changes to a white western shirt, denim jeans and black cowboy boots.

Edgar eases into the chair behind him. His faded, worn, torn red T-shirt and black walking shorts changes on his body. He settles into the chair and glances at the formal barong and black dress slacks that he is wearing complete with dark socks and black comfortable slip on loafers.

“How ?”

“I’m God. I do this kind of stuff.”

“What you thought the term, “Creator”, was just a compliment ?” God smiles and leans back in the chair.

A silver platter appears on the Louis XIV coffee table with the matching silver coffee pot, sugar bowl and milk pitcher. A tall glass of cold water appears closest to Edgar. God gestures at the glass and Edgar drinks the cool, precious water.

Edgar grins. “I have a million questions.”

God laughs. “Let’s start with one. It is easier to answer one question at a time. Then, we will get to the rest, all in due time.”

“One second,” remarks God. He holds up his finger and gestures. “There. Now, when you open your mouth to speak, you will recognize your voice, but, probably, not the language, since you didn’t finish grade school.”

“But, you speak, ‘Waray’,” remarks Edgar in fluent, loud English.

“Yes. I do. I speak read, write and understand every language on the planet, 24 hours a day, everyday of the year. Language is language. I choose English for speed of communication. Plus, English, at the present time, has more words in the Universal Vocabulary, so it is quicker and easier to express and idea and be understood.”

God smiles. “Anyway, Edgar, I did not bring you here to tutor you in English. I brought you here to think about your Life and the lives of your children. You have worked hard all your life to provide for yourself and your family. You’ve gotten off the path.”

Edgar frowns. “I am a religious man. I am doing everything I can to help my barangay participate in the Pope Francis’ visit.”

God nods. “I know, Edgar. You are a good man. You are a good father. Religion is fine to a point. However, when you become too devoted to any religion, then you become a zealot, a fanatic, a radical, an extremist and, then, it is just a small step across the line to criminal and terrorists.”

“You’ve gotten “To Into” your religion and you are going to hurt yourself and your family. Edgar, the world always has more than enough stupid suicide bombers and idiotic religious martyrs. I don’t want you or any member of your family to take that step.”

“Why don’t you stop ‘suicide bombers’ ?” Edgar blurts out.

“I do,” answers God, who gestures and an image of a Middle East man trips in a vacant lot in Damascus and he explodes. “An hour ago in Damascus, this moron blew himself to Kingdom Come. I have countless legions of angels and archangels at my beck and call.”

“The idiotic suicide bombers of the planet keep my legions of covert and military angels on duty around the clock in an attempt to stop or expose the terrorists. My archangels and angels are efficient, but the human mind thinks and conceives ideas faster than the speed of light. As fast as the angels fly, they, don’t always arrive in time to stop the insane suicide freaks of the planet.”

God grins an sips his cup of coffee. The cold refilled glass of water appears on the table by Edgar.

“Okay, son, we have gotten off topic. I brought you hear to let you ‘Take Command of your Life,” smiles God.

Edgar frowns. “I don’t understand.”

“You and your family are not living your lives. You are wasting your lives in support of meaningless fiction that will keep you poor, starving and, in the end, might get you or some, if not all, of your family killed. You can choose to “Waste Your Life” and “Play The Silly Religious Game” or you can open your eyes and enjoy your Life — your choice.

”Satan,” thinks Edgar.

God smiles broadly and laughs loudly.

”No, Edgar. I am Not Satan,” grins God.  “Nor, am I am Lucifer. I am not any of the bad guys of the world‘s religion. And, I am not any of the negative energy of the planet.”

Edgar shuffles in his seat. “How do I know ?”

God smiles and leans forward to look at Edgar. “Look into my eyes, Edgar. What do you feel ? What do you sense ?”

“I. . .I. . .,” Edgar’s expression breaks into a grin. He giggles.

“Peace. Joy. Hope. Contentment. Humor. Happy. Happiness. . .you can stop me anytime I get to the right word and feeling,” teases God.

Edgar snickers. “Happy.”

God points at his chest. Edgar eases back in the chair as his eyes witness the vastness of space appear before him with numerous galaxies and planets. God’s face remains in place and The Universe expands around Him.

“I am ‘The Universe’ !”

“You are a Child Of The Universe !”

“You are a Living, Breathing Testament Of All — that has ever been, is, and will ever be.” The panorama of ‘The Universe’ contracts and returns into the body of God in the chair.

Edgar shifts uncomfortable in his chair. God smiles. “Relax, Edgar. I am your Father. I want only the best for you.”

God stands up and a long highly polished walnut dining table appears in the room. The table is set with pancit canton, pancit bihon, barbequed pork chops, baked tilapia, halibut and a large, steaming container of rice. God gestures at the table. “Let’s have lunch. After all, you skipped breakfast this morning to rush off to the rice field.”

Edgar slowly walks toward the table. He puts out a finger to touch the table. “It’s all real,” chuckles God, who settles into his chair at the head of the table. God gestures at the chair to his right. “We have hot pandasal rolls and you will notice the pitchers of ice water and ice tea. And, I have my coffee. I love coffee.”

God winks at Edgar. “I considered putting a pitcher of tuba on the table, but you drink coconut wine fast. I want you alert and not drunk to what I am saying.” God grins, waves his hand over the table and cold pitchers of clear soda, black soda and orange soda appear beside Edgar. God looks at his coffee pot and a cold pitcher of grape juice and a cold pitcher of orange juice appears.

“Eat, drink and be merry,” grins God, who picks up his knife and fork to cut into his barbequed pork chop.

Edgar puts pancit on his plate and takes one of the hot rolls. “Why me ?”

“Why you, what,” asks God ?

“I’m no prophet.”

God laughs and puts the napkin to his lips. “Heaven’s No.”

“Edgar, old buddy. Prophet’s are a dime a dozen.”

“Every con man or con woman on the planet seems to play prophet sooner or later. I have priests, imams, nuns, archbishops, evangelists, cardinals, ayatollahs, rabbis, ecumenical patriarchs, ministers, popes, clerics and preachers coming out my ears.”

God grins. “I sometimes wonder whether there are more holy men and holy women on the planet or cockroaches.”

God laughs. “Religion is an old scam and con game.  Perhaps, “Fear” is why so many people rush to religion. After all, modern societies still haven’t come up with a legitimate, concrete way to prove the religious people are lazy frauds and crafty criminals.”

God shrugs. “The holy men aren’t ‘Stupid.’ They have learned to play the game well. They put some Money into hospitals, nursing homes, colleges, universities, grade schools, high schools and do some charitable work.  They always have their holy book or scriptures with the categorized verses that they are certain answers ever question ever asked.  Of course, automobiles were around in the Holy Land in ancient times, so either automobiles are Evil and ‘Of Satan’, or, the old prophets simply weren’t as smart as they thought they were.”

“The same old game for centuries.  Prophets and holy men and holy women always claim to have the answers.  They are polite and usually can convince the legal and government authorities they care.  Still, a scam by any other name is still a scam.”

“It helps when the Holly Rollers, Bible Beaters,Jesus Freaks, Peace Freaks and Prophet Mohammed Freaks get themselves elected into government institutions around the world, so they can keep screwing up domestic and foreign policies of their respective nations.”

Edgar frowns. “God, the religious people. . .the holy men. . .they all represent you.”

God shakes his head No.

He dabs his lips to his napkin.

“I am God !  I represent God !”  God grins, ” I have lived long enough, I can represent myself.”

“I, God speak for myself. I do not need some ‘criminals in costumes’ to pretend to ‘represent’ Me.”

God chews his food and sips his coffee. “Holy Men represent their wallets,” explains God, who dabs his napkin to his lips.  “They are ‘too lazy’ to get ‘A Real Job’, so, they find ‘a scam’ where they don’t have to work up a sweat and run with it to make a living.”

God leans back in the chair. “Edgar, ‘I’ created ‘You’ and ‘All’ humans to live on earth and enjoy your Life. I gave you a brain, intelligence, common sense, freedom and a beautiful planet to enjoy.  It is your Life, Edgar.  I want you to think for yourself.”

“Son, you always have to ‘Work’ for what you want in Life. Nothing comes easy. If you have to ‘Work’ for something then you can appreciate it and enjoy it, whether it is a jug of tuba under a coconut tree in a rice field or in a living room in a mansion in Manila.”

God shakes his head. “Don’t “Blame” me for the silly ‘Religion Crap’ of the planet !  The idea of ‘Religion’ is a ‘Stupid’ idea of humanity because you deny your skills, talents, capabilities and intellect, in a sick attempt, to live up to some old perverts’ ancient comic book understanding of Life.”

God smiles and puts a piece of the barbequed pork chop into his mouth and chews. “Umm . . .Heaven. Absolute Heaven. I Love Pork.”

Edgar finishes his plate and refills his glass with some of the black-colored soda. “I am Dead,” asks Edgar ?

God smiles. “You tasted the pancit canton, the pandasal, the fish and the fizz of the soda on your tongue. Newsflash, Edgar, ‘Dead People’ don’t dine.”

God smiles broadly and gestures at the end of the table. A  middle-age buxom Filipina in a bright blue shark skin business suit and bright red ruffled blouse appears and strolls to the chair beside God.

“Sir ?”

“Archangel Jonnari allow me to introduce Edgar Tolentino,” introduces God.

“You. . she,” stammers Edgar.

“Yes,” God nods.

“Archangel Jonnari was working the aftermath of the terrorist bombing in Paris, when I reassigned her to deliver you to me this morning.

The Filipina Archangel winks at Edgar. “Having fun, yet,” she asks ? God nods and Archangel Jonnari settles into a chair.

A 20 something man in a formal waiter’s uniform appears and pours a hot cup of coffee to serve to God.

“Thank you,” smiles God, who sips his coffee.

“I am putting Archangel Jonnari and Archangel Fernando in command of two legions of archangels to deploy to Manila and Tacloban City. I already have three legions of angels on the ground deployed from Manila to the outskirts of Tanauan to work the papal visit,” explains God.

“Five legions of angels to protect the pope,” comments Edgar.

“Pope Dope,”shrieks God ! He laughs loudly and he bursts into laughter.

God wipes a tear of laughter from his eye. “I wouldn’t waste one mutt in Manila to protect that old snake charmer. He is as full of it as a Christmas turkey.  Why is it everyone ‘assumes’ God always likes a particular person in the position of pope ?  ”

“I have five legions of angels sandals on the ground in the Philippines to try and protect the people. In the 21st Century, global terrorists are like dust because they settle everywhere. It does not matter what you tell people about ‘The Threat’ because they get a massive case of ‘Religion Stupid” and their common sense goes out the door.”

God frowns. “Contrary to popular global belief, it does not ‘Make My Day’ to see dozens of humans dead with flesh and blood everywhere. My legions of archangels and angels are guardians and protectors of the universe who try to save humans as often as they can from doing something stupid which will get the human killed.”

God smirks, “Archangels and angels work for the universe. My archangels and angels are not pitchmen for any of earth’s religions !”

Archangel Jonnari smiles broadly and looks at God. “Sir. If you will excuse me. I should return to Tacloban City.”

“Very well. Thank you, Jonnari.”

The woman nods and vanishes.

“Manners,” remarks God. “The world was a nicer, kinder place, back in the past, when parents and schools taught, ‘Manners : ’ Please. Thank You. Yes, sir. No, sir. Yes ma’am. No ma’am. People lost their ‘Respect’ for others. Then, people lost ‘Respect’ for themselves. Now, my beautiful planet is a toilet bowl of fools, idiots, moron and frightened freaks.”

God shrugs. He scoots his chair back from the table and looks at Edgar.

“Show time, son,” he announces.

God moves his chair further back. “Crash Course In God. Here it comes. Go ahead and sip some soda. I am ready to rock your world and wake up your mind. Are you ready ?”

Edgar slowly nods. God grins. He moves his hand down and God becomes Goddess. A tall, buxom muscular Filipina in a goddess evening gown stands smiling at Edgar.

Edgar drops his glass of soda and falls out of the chair. Goddess steps over and puts out her hand to help Edgar to his feet. Edgar scoots back.

“I don’t understand.”

Goddess smiles and laughs as she helps Edgar to his feet. “Humans really have a harder time with gender and sexual orientation issues than with racial and social issues,” Goddess admits.  Edgar notices God’s voice changed when he became Goddess.

Edgar frowns and scratches his head as he sits back in his seat. “Are you God or Goddess,” asks Edgar ?

Goddess laughs and winks, “You are really going to like the answer to that question.”

Goddess puts her hand in front of her face. Her fingernail color changes from pink to crimson red as she moves her hand down.

Edgar witnesses the changes to Goddess’ face as the eyelashes appear longer and false.  The lips of her mouth seem to become fuller and the lipstick shade of pink changes to crimson red.

The traditional Filipina’s long charcoal locks displays blended in blonde highlights in her hair that hangs down past her shoulders to the top of her D-cup breasts, which expands the fabric of the gown into a denim western shirt with rhinestone in the place of piping on the blouse.

Edgar slowly leans forward to glance at the thickness of the Filipina’s neck and realizes that a red bandana acts as a hair band and the tails of the bandana are slightly visible behind her clip on long, diagonal earrings, which seem to weigh her ears lobes down.

Edgar realizes that Goddess was in an evening gown and, perhaps, this slow changing process is just allowing her to change into more comfortable attire.  The wide white engraved western belt appears in the belt loops and Goddess grasps the large shiny silver oval belt buckle and smiles at Edgar.

Edgar seems confused.  Goddess smiles and puts up a manicured finger to gesture that he should wait and watch as the fading gown slowly transforms into form fitting flared denim jeans, which rest on the instep of the petroleum black cowboy boots.  Goddess swings her hips to the left and asks, “What do you think, Edgar ?”

Edgar scoffs.  “You changed from an evening gown into blue jeans ?”

Goddess laughs loudly and tosses back her head.  Edgar notices the laugh is different.

“The long dress was nice.  I imagine the pants are more comfortable.  Maybe, it is the heat from the rice field, but other than your clothes changing before my eyes I don’t see anything really different about you,” admits Edgar.

Goddess laughs loudly.  “Human eyes are precise instruments.  However, the human eyes and the human mind does not always agree on the image seen,” smirks Goddess, who swings her hips to the right.

Edgar shakes his head confused.

“T-Goddess,” proclaims Goddess !

Edgar’s mouth drops open.   He gawks at Goddess for a moment and leans slightly forward in his chair.  Suddenly, he bolts back against the chair.

“God is a Bakla !”

Edgar wretches backward and the chair slips and falls back against the floor.  T-Goddess hunkers down to help Edgar to his feet.  A surprised, Edgar pauses and then puts out his hand to be helped to his feet.  T-Goddess picks up the fallen chair and sits it upright.

T-Goddess laughs. “You need to take a breath. You look like you are going to have a heart attack.”

“Edgar, son, take a deep breath.”

T-Goddess steps back and puts her hands on her hips. Edgar watches T-Goddess transform back into God before his eyes.

“I am Everything.”

“I am Everyone.”

“I am ‘The Creator.’”

“As the creator, I created everything. Since I created everything. I created everyone. Heterosexual, Homosexual, Hermaphrodite, Gay, Lesbian, and Transexuals. I am proud of all my creations because they are all my sons and daughters.”

God winks, “I got out my box of crayons and created the different races of the planet as well.

“You are all my children.”

“I love you all.”

“Having said that let me explain something, I disown all terrorists. There is No Redemption. Terrorists become dust in The Universe, which means they might end up as part of the ring of Saturn or continue to drift through space for eternity.”

“Suicide Bombers ! Religious Martyrs ! All those dirtbags get a Major Wake Up Call once it is too late. Serial killers and Mass Murderers I look at their souls before I make a final decision. Usually they don’t do well when it comes to ‘Eternity.’

“One of the major problems of Life On Earth is ‘Belief .’”

“No one believes in God anymore. No one believes in Goddess anymore. No one believes in ‘The Universe’ anymore. As a result, No one believes in themselves anymore.”

God nods at Edgar. “Edgar, you have had a busy, hard life. We both know, you are a mechanic at heart. You have always loved taking things apart and putting them back together again. You were as happy as a hog in slop for four years ago in Bulacan when you were working with your uncle on Jeepney engines.”Salvacion Jeepney Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. 0018_resized

“You put aside your skills and talents to return to Leyte to work on the family rice farm. Your Life. Your decision. Ah, but, was it the right decision ?”

“Edgar, Life is my gift. I want all my children to live their gift to the best of their ability. Everyone on earth, needs to wise up and take charge of their life. Live the Life you want.”

“Never ever surrender your personal freedom as a human being to some old snake charmers whose ‘Sole’ interest in ‘You’ is your wallet.”

Edgar frowns. “You are telling me to ‘throw away’ my religion.”

God shakes his head No. “I don’t care what silly religious fairy tale around the globe that people choose because in the end all those thoughts and prayer end up with Me. I am telling you to quit being “Religious Stupid.”

“This year alone, you have “Wasted” 2,894 pesos and 37 centavoes on ‘The Church.’ You could of taken 1,000 of those pesos and bought you some hollow blocks to built a stronger house.”

“If you had bought some cement for around 517 pesos back in March, then, you would have a foundation for your home, so that the next flood doesn’t end up in your living room with your wife and kids rushing to put their clothes in plastic bags to keep them from being washed away.”

“Edgar, son, you are a good man. You are smart and you work hard. Quit giving your money away to lazy old fools in costumes, who only run their mouths.”

“Santo Poppa. Pope. Grand Mufti. Archbishop Of Canterbury. Ecumenical Patriarch — whatever title you give these old fools it always comes down to “Con Man” and “Your Wallet.”

The waiter clears away the dishes, while Edgar stares at God.

“You really do look like my father,” Edgar remarks. “I mean, my father. . . back in Barangay Cameri. He’s older now and got a lot of white hair, but the resemblance is. . .unnerving.”

God laughs and Edgar’s face appears on God’s face. Edgar grabs his chin. “Now, I’m really anxious. It’s like talking to yourself in a mirror.”

God tilts his head back and laughs and the face of Edgar’s best friend Rafael appears on God’s head. “Does this face make you more comfortable ?”

Edgar nods. “You want me to quit giving to and supporting ‘The Church ?’

“No. I want you to take charge of your Life. You can play whatever silly religion game you want to on earth. Keep in mind, the religion game usually makes people feel better.” God winks at Edgar, “I know you, Edgar, you’d rather “Waste” your Sunday morning on the barangay basketball court instead of fighting off sleep and boredom in the pew for Mass.”

Edgar blushes.  God grins, “When a game of basketball makes you feel better.,” God snickers, “Go shoot some hoops.”

“Don’t ‘Waste’ your Life living someone else’s silly religious fairy tales from the past. Live your Life, Teach your children to live their Lives.”

Edgar nods slowly. “The Pope ?”

God laughs. “What about ‘Pope Dope’ ?”

“I believe in The Holy Father,” mumbles Edgar.

God laughs. “You believe in an ole’ holy man and his crew of old men and old women half-a-world- away from Leyte; why ?”

Edgar scratches his head.

God chuckles.  “Could it be because your father believed and his father before him believed.”

“Absolutely,” replies Edgar.

God laughs.  “Once Edgar people believed the world was flat.  The world is a globe.  The point, Edgar is a belief can be wrong.  Just because someone tells you to believe something, you should use your own mind and do your own homework before you accept a belief.  Especially, when that belief can suck the Life out of your wallet by following the ‘stupid’ outdated ideas, rules, commandments and beliefs ?”

God shrugs. “You can choose to be ‘Pope Dope Stupid’, Edgar.”

“ The choice to be ‘Pope Dope Stupid’ is not going to make your life or those of your family any better. You will keep a bunch of old men in Rome and around the planet happy because your hard work and Money will allow them to sit on their hind ends and enjoy life at your expense.

“You can spend the rest of your life letting your sweat pay for new barongs for young priests and buying groceries for nuns or you can use your Money for your family and to help your community.”

“Edgar, do you really believe Pope Francis I cares about you,” asks God ?

Edgar frowns. “I. . .I”

God shakes his head No. “Many years ago, he was a bar bouncer. Edgar, you have been in bars and you have even been thrown out of one or two. Did the bouncer ever strike you as a compassionate human ?”

“If all else fails, use logic, son. You have an old 70 something years old man in a foreign country, who doesn’t know you from Adam.  How is he going to make your Life better ? Say a prayer for you. You are a grown man and a smart human, you can say your own prayers.”

“Is Pope Dope going to look out into the sea of faces in Tacloban City and suddenly realize that he needs to help you set up a system to sell your rice and improve your farming techniques ?”

God shakes his head No.

“Dog and pony show, Edgar. Pope Dope will smile, wave, and meet with the important people.  Pope Dope will do his ‘Holy Man’ routine, then, he will meet with some infirm and poor people. He will give them a smile and some words of blessing. He will forget most of the names and faces on his trip to the plane to fly out of the Philippines.”

God rises from the table and Edgar follows him. They walk forward and step into the same room, which is now decorated like a study at a British gentlemen’s club with highly polished wood moulding and door frames. They sit in the overstuffed straight back chairs by the table. A buxom blonde waitress in uniform in a white blouse and black skirt, hose and shoes walks in and places a plate of chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream, by God and Edgar.

“Edgar, I simply want what every mother and father wants for their children to have a rich, rewarding Life and to be happy.”

God slices into his cake and ice cream. “Don’t you think ‘The Church’ makes me happy,” asks Edgar ?

“Does it,” quips God ?

“I. . .my. . .my mother. . .”, stammers Edgar.

God scoffs. ” ‘ The Church’ made your mother feel better, Edgar.  She is not you.  And, you are not her.”

God shakes his head No. “Son, I sense your every thought feeling and emotion. I know what makes you happy and what doesn’t. You have always been skeptic. Super Typhoon Yolanda freaked a lot of people out. You aren’t the first person that Yolanda drove running and screaming to church once the winds disappeared.”

“You didn’t stop Yolanda,” shrieks Edgar !

“No. I did not,” remarks God in a matter of fact voice.

“Yolanda was a product of earth’s weather system. Weather is based on science. I knew it was going to be bad. Whether you believe it or not, I had Legions Of Archangels and Angels, ‘Boots On The Ground’ in the midst of it. It is no walk in the park to downgrade a massive force of nature. Long story short, I and the angels kept down the body count.”

“You ?”

God smiles. “Yes. Edgar, I got my hands dirty.

“I moved through the storm and did everything I could on the ground to limit the loss of Life. In a crisis, like Yolanda, whether you are an entity or assume the forms of men and women, no one is going to recognize you because the individual ‘Fear’ is far too great.”

God looks sad for a moment. “We worked as fast as we could. It is not easy to get ahead of shifting physical force, even when you can move at the speed of thought. We did manage to keep the body count down. Still, that is no comfort for people who lost loved ones to Yolanda’s wind and waves.”

“If you couldn’t stop Yolanda; why should I believe in you,” asks Edgar ?

“You shouldn’t,” replies God abruptly !  God looks deep into Edgar’s eyes.

“Excuse me,” replies Edgar.

“You should ‘Believe In Yourself, Edgar.’ Everyone should believe in themselves.”

“You as a human can not ‘Stop Yolanda’ or any super typhoon like her.  More typhoons, earthquakes,volcanoes, and tidal waves will happen because the planet has a life of it’s own.”

“When you realize that You are A Child Of The Universe, then, you start to understand there is always two parts to God. You the human is one part.  You Beyond is the second part, which  is beyond your human form in the universe.”

“It is always the second part of The God Formula, which confuses people. Suffice to say, whether you grasp the concept of universal energy as entity, fairy, extra-terrestrial or a God tossing out lightning bolts; it is this God Part of you which knows you are connected to the universe.”

“Humans seldom find a way to combine these two major parts, so the physical part does it’s best to stumble through Life until Death.”

Archangel Jonnari appears in the room.

“Edgar, son, I have enjoyed our conversation. I want the best for you and your family. Live your Life to the best of your ability and be happy.”

Edgar takes a step. “Please, let me ask one final question.”

God nods.

“You are saying I can live my Life without a religion. Religion, most of the time, is just a sham and a con game to keep people down and serving phony masters.”

God nods.

“Jesus Christ,” mumbles Edgar.

God shrugs and turns toward Edgar. “What about Jesus Christ ?”

Edgar smiles. “He is your son ! Lamb Of God.  Lion Of God.  Lord. Savior. Son Of God. Son Of Man. Messiah !”

“No,” answers God.

“The stories of Jesus Christ and The Prophet Mohammed all came from The Middle East. In the beginning, The Middle East was a rich, lush section of the planet. The Arabs chose to destroy their homeland. They have their ancient stories to live on in their endless daily loop of violence and Death.”

“The World needs “Common Sense” and “Courage.” People need to believe in themselves. People need to believe in their intellect, skills, abilities and talents. People need to recognize “The God Essence” within themselves.”

God smirks. “I don’t want people to suit up in leotards and capes and see if they can bounce bullets off their chest. They won’t. Bullets come under and respond to the physical laws of science.”

God winks. “Edgar, you are a rice farmer. You understand the growing season. I love my plants. I love my children. I assure you I love you more than the blades of grass, the vines, the rice stalks, wheat stalks and hay stalks around the globe. Plants die and are reborn in the seeds in the earth. Wouldn’t it seem logical that my children would live again ?”

“Edgar. You are a good man. You have worked almost the instant that you came out of the womb. Most children play with their father’s wrenches, you learned to use them.”

“In our talk, this morning, does it sound like I would allow a lazy bum to lay around my house while I worked my fingers to the bone to put food on the table ?”

“No,” answers Edgar.

“Jesus Christ was a lazy Arab bum,” replies God.

God turns to face Edgar. “It is your Life, Edgar. You get to choose what you believe and what you don’t.”

God shrugs. “You, like many people, can choose to chase around the planet bowing and scrapping to the pope or any other silly human who claims to be important and holy.”

You can choose to kiss the holy hind end of any preacher, priest, pope, rabbi, imam, minister, or religious fast-talker on the planet. It is your Life,” emphasizes God.

“Or you can choose to Live Your Live to the best of your ability,” grins God. “Son, the choice is entirely up to you.”

Edgar scratches his head. Archangel Jonnari steps up to stand by Edgar.

God smiles and replies,“The Pope or Life : Choose ?”

Edgar coughs and the woman helps him into his house. Edgar looks up at Archangel Jonnari, the middle-age Filipina, in the worn T-shirt and stretched dark black fadded jogging pants.  Archangel Jonnari, winks and steps back. Ellen, Edgar’s wife rushes to him. “The ‘Heat.’” gasps Edgar.

His wife looks at him. “What,” he asks ?

“You’re speaking English,” she smiles.

“Give me a minute. Must be the heat,” explains Edgar, who looks at his walking shorts and red T-shirt.

Edgar shakes his head. “Ellen. The Money.”

“I put it away, so we can see the pope in Tacloban City or Tanauan,” Ellen answers in English.

Edgar shakes his head No. “Our kids are hungry. I noticed Elena’s flip flop sandals,this morning, and they are smiling at me. The sole has come apart and it is hard for her to walk in those sandals,” Edgar replies in Waray.

“I’m okay. I’ll get the motorbike. We are going to get Elena some sandals.”

Edgar stands up and smiles. “I’m not hungry,” he grins. “I am always hungry, but I’m not hungry.” He dances a jig.

“What’s gotten into you,” asks Ellen ?

“God !” Edgar smiles.

“God has gotten into me ! I had the greatest dream. Wait ! It wasn’t a dream.” Edgar notices the soda stain on his T-shirt. “Yes ! It was Real ! I knew it ! The feeling ! Oh, Ellen, the feeling !”

Edgar kisses Ellen on the forehead. “I feel great. I must of taken a nap in the field.”

“Incidentally, I noticed you have worn holes in all of your panties,” remarks Edgar. Ellen blushes.

“Vener, stopped by and left you three jugs of tuba. He said he owed it to you for helping him with the lechon for his daughter’s baptismal last week,” remarks Ellen.

Edgar smiles and winks up at the sky and whispers, “Maraming Salamat, po.”

“Come we are going to the market ! The kids need some food other than rice all the time.”

Edgar winks and proclaims loudly, “You need new panties !”

Ellen blushes and gets her wallet out of a plastic drawer in the plastic chest of drawers in the small room.  She scowls at Edgar steps forward and stops. “What about the pope ?”

Edgar smirks, “He can buy his own panties !”

The End

Sam

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Written by samwarren55

January 17, 2015 at 3:36 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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