Alice Kelley ~ Midnight Sketch

God, the Night & Beer

part of: The Wanderers

by The Archives of Raynah

Related by Azuridian Bluesky of the First Generation of Wanderers

It started out so innocently – a trip to the Oregon coast – a secluded beach where a small stream made its way to the vast Pacific Ocean. There in the cold sand during a fine drizzle we managed to get a fire going – we cheated and used a propane grill laden with branches instead of burgers. Nonetheless, its cheery blaze warmed our faces as we tossed back beer, wine, and I don’t remember what else, as we indulged in our favorite activity: tackling the problems of the world. Tonight’s fare started out as god and belief.

“Is belief the root of god?” Hector asked huskily. He was well on the way to drinking enough to be sorry tomorrow.

“Maybe god is the root of god,” Eduardo slurred. Yeah, he’d be sorry tomorrow already.

“Well, belief has to come from somewhere, doesn’t it?” I asked.

“If we dig for the root of belief, will we find god too?” Joseph asked.

“Belief comes from parents, from newspapers, from TV,” Paulie said hotly. Belief and god – quick way to get tossed into the volcano that churned Paulie’s world.

“You do the math,” she taunted. “ God comes from frakkin belief. Belief comes from frakkin’ people!”

Paulie leaned over and kissed Hector sloppily on the mouth.

“This would all be so much more respectable if we were all squeaky clean sober,” Joesph quipped. “And if I’m not mistaken, frakkin leads to people,” he continued, laughing mightily. “Belief hasn’t a thing to do with that!”

We all laughed.

“But seriously,” I asked, “if people believe in god, and they pass that belief on to their kids and others, why did the first person start believing in a god or gods?”

“Fear, plain and simple,” Paulie snorted.

“What?” Hector asked, almost as slurry as Eduardo now.

“Seriously buddy,” she continued. “What is the correlation of fear with any assertion about god?”

“Well, people of God are fearing – as in God-fearing,” Hector replied very seriously.

“Yeah! I’ll drink to that?” Paulie shouted.

But, Paulie was onto something far more serious. I could see it, one-drink wonder that I am. “You mean the fear of death, don’t you?” I asked.

“Frak yeah,” she yelled at the darkening sky. Rain was beginning to fall in earnest now.

“But that isn’t the only fear is it!” she screamed up at the sky.

“There is the fear of disease,” Joseph noted.

“There is the fear of the unknown,” Eduardo added.

“There is the fear of loss of control,” I said.

“The Universe is very big. The night sky is unforgiving,” Paulie shouted.

“Birth is fatal in the wild,” Joseph added. “For the mom and often for the kid!”

“Frak,” Paulie yelled, jumping up and down, “Life itself is universally fatal. If there were no death in life, would anyone need god?”

A deep silence fell. Finally, as the sea slurped up against the land and the moon made an unexpected appearance through the breaking clouds, Eduardo finally asked, “So, god was invented to make the night less dark?”

“God was invented to shield us from our fear because the night is dark,” Paulie replied flatly. “Can any human alive remember a time when god didn’t loom large as refuge from our fears?” she asked tartly.

“I can’t, but that doesn’t mean someone can’t,” Hector replied. “I am not everybody.”

“You can say that again! Sometimes you have a hard time just being yourself,” Joseph laughed.

“That’s probably another reason we need god,” Eduardo mulled.

“Because Hector can’t be himself we need god?” Paulie quipped.

“At least you realize we need god,” Eduardo snapped.

“I realize nothing of the sort,” Paulie yelled, easily whipped back up into a frenzy. They continued bantering history, psychology and philosophy long into the night.

As for me, I took a long swim out into the cold night waves – I chased the path of moonlight west. There was all the life and possibility of death in that act I could handle. My own warm limbs bore me there and back to the light of the fire and my friends. I needed no more god than the life inherent in all of that.