#156 Trail 703
71 years old and Joe acted like and thought he was in his 20s. Like a dummy he rolled down a mountain bike trail sprinkled with boulders, water-stops made from trees or rocks at a speedy clip on his hybrid bike. He jumped a log in the middle of the trail and went airborne when the front wheel jammed between two tree roots. His bike wasn’t built to take this punishment, and neither was his aging body, but he didn’t worry about dying. Somebody up there had looked out for him his entire life.
The bike stopped instantly. He didn’t and flew over it. The handlebars caught between his legs as he plunge head first toward a pile of rocks,. He wondered if he’d be saved again. Memories of past saves flowed: The time he was about to chug-a-lug from a Four Roses whiskey bottle he had stolen from a safe, his friend grabbed it and said, “Better check it before drinking.” It was fire extinguisher fluid, an acid that would have melted his throat.
The times the police chased him with guns blazing and bullets hitting so close that spatters of bricks smashed into his face, visions of cars he stole that ended up as mere chunks of metal after he crashed. Yet he always walked away. He recalled how later in life when he worked in construction, ladders fell, stuff exploded, others got killed and hurt, Joe always walked away.
The bike hit, and after a minute of doubt and severe pain, he knew he had been saved once again. He was able to get up, walk and push his bike four miles to his parked car. That night he wondered if it was God keeping him alive to perform some good deed.
The next day, two Jehovah Witnesses knocked on his door and wanted to read scriptures to him.
“Not interested,” he said and slammed the door, but instantly he wondered if he should have listened. Maybe this was how God was going to tell him how to pay him back for all the times he had saved his life. Too late now, he thought. Opened the fridge and took out a Miller Beer, opened it, took a long cold drink. Inside his head he heard a laugh.
He stopped drinking and listened. Must be imagining things. He went online to enjoy a bit of porn. He heard that laugh again and looked around to see if anyone was in his house. He was alone. Then he heard the voice.
“Fun, huh?” it said.
“What the f…,! Am I going nuts?” he said out loud.
“NOOOooo000,” he heard in his head.
Must have banged my head when I took that dive, he thought.
“Do you really think it was God who saved you all those times?”
Joe spun around. There had to be someone hiding in his house and projecting thoughts into his head. He went to the bedroom, got his baseball bat, and searched the entire house with a burning urge to smash in his tormentor’s head.
“Anger! I like that,” the voice said.
“Show your face, I’ll show you some real anger.”
“Love it, love it. No wonder I’ve kept you alive all these years.”
“Holy shit! Are you God?”
More laughter. Joe got angrier and out of frustration hit himself on the head with the bat. “Come on out of there and show your face.”
“Ha,hahaha, want to see what I look like? Go look in the mirror.”
Joe ran to the bathroom and saw his image over the sink. Rage twisted his face and his eyes glowed with evil intent. “You’re in me?”
“Let’s just say, I’m the best part of you.”
“Well, who the hell are you?”
“I’m the one who has kept you alive all these years.”
“You’re not God, so I don’t believe you.”
“Joe, Joe, Joe, don’t you know it’s God who has been trying to kill you? It’s a battle? Good against evil, and with all the stuff you’ve done, you can’t possibly think you’re on the good side.”
“I try to do the right thing all the time,” Joe said.
“Yeah, and when you do, I puke,” the voice said. “You’re not here to be good, you’re on my side.”
“Wait, wait. You’re telling me I’m on the evil side?”
“It’s like a chess game. Once you’re killed, you get to play again in the next game.”
“Hold on. You’re saying I’m on your team, the evil team, and you’re not God, so you must be. . . .”
“That’s right. If you were on the other team you wouldn’t be drinking that beer or watching those girls on your computer, so would you rather switch?”
“I don’t know. Tell me why you’ve saved my life so many times.”
“Oh, I have big plans for you, boy.”
Joe figured that if he killed himself before doing what was planned for him, he’d thwart the Devil, but for committing the sin of suicide, God would send him to hell where the Devil was in charge. He figured he’d stick around to see how bad his evil deed would be before deciding one way or the other. It didn’t seem fair that he could be made to choose. But then he was surprised by an alien voice, “Listen to me, there’s a third choice you can make.”
Joe looked into the 11th dimension of what until now was only theoretical and saw that he had infinite choices in the multi-verse. He laughed, stepped across a line in space-time and upset all of Satan’s carefully laid plans.