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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

And God Said to Alfred

 (Lit. Fable Flash Fic)

So, once upon a time, God wanted to hang out with his friends. He cooked and cleaned and set up the most beautiful feast, and party games, and everything. It would make your mouth water just to hear about the foods he made. He sent out invitations ahead of time, and even prepared a limo to bring his friends to come see him! This would be an important party that would change everything--one of those kinds of parties you remember for the rest of your life, the parties where you meet your true love, or form friendships that will last forever, or have SHENANIGANS you never regret. This party would change everything.

On the day of the party, God sent his butler (I call him Alfred) to go get his friends. But the first friend said, "I decided to schedule work tonight." He could work any other night--in fact, he did work every other night--but it was never enough. He wanted to make sure his investments panned out. People called him ambitious, but deep down, he was just afraid.
So Alfred drove on. The second friend said, "I've got to study." He could have studied any other night, but he was lazy and put everything off to the last minute, because hanging out with someone who loved him just wasn't important to him.
Alfred was beginning to get tired of this. He'd helped God with all the cooking and cleaning, so he knew how much work it had been. He hoped the third friend would be more friend-like, especially since God had sent out the invitations two-thousand years ahead of time, and then Alfred and God kept sending invitations (not too often--God doesn't spam people) as friendly reminders. The invitations were really cool, too, and individualized for each recipient with things like dancers and doves and animations and Mona-Lisas and cool windy trees. The invitations themselves had become gifts, like a special hobby for Alfred and God, a way for them to make people smile.
But when Alfred pulled God's limo up to the driveway of the next white suburban house, the third friend said, "Look, I just got married--" as if God hadn't been paying attention to the events in the third friend's life--"and I don't want to bring my wife to the party. We're just going to hang out here, by ourselves."
Alfred don't know if it was sex or love that was more important to this guy than the party, but he understood that both were powerful things. "Please come," Alfred said, explaining: "We'll make sure she has a good time, and God has some special surprises planned just for you! We can give you both your own special room in the mansion if you want to spend the night and get some privacy. We think the party will last the whole weekend, maybe longer!"
It was ironic, thought Alfred, because God was the one who'd introduced the wife to the husband, and God loved the both of them more than they could ever love each other, but this guy refused to budge--maybe he was embarrassed to bring his wife out in public? Or maybe he was just stubborn. Or maybe he didn't actually love his wife that much, and didn't want her to have a good time with the person who loved her most, and enjoyed keeping her cooped up at home under his reign. Or maybe she was controlling and mean and didn't want him to go, and he'd have to give up her happiness if he went, and he couldn't bear to do that. I don't know, but I do know that Alfred went home to God empty-handed.
When Alfred told God these things, God was pissed. It wasn't like he hadn't told people ahead of time, and he'd done so much for his friends, without asking anything in return. He was partly angry because hypocrisy made him want to punch things--his "friends" loved to talk about how they were friends with the almighty God, and how cool that made them, but when he wanted to spend time with them they never answered the phone--but he was even more angry because he loved them so much. He wanted this chance to do something even better for them--he wanted it so bad his heart hurt! He just HAD to give. It was in his nature, like how a rain-cloud has to rain.
"There's not much time left, Alfred," God said, speaking in his deepest, most Batman-like voice. He took parties every seriously. "Go quickly out into the city, and pack into your limo all the homeless drug addicts and the struggling psychiatric patients and the stupid people and the people no one wants to hang out with."
Alfred went quickly--how exciting, he thought!--but when he brought all these surprised people to the fine house he discovered there was still so much more to give! "Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room!"

And God said to Alfred, "Go out to the highways and airports and ask people from everywhere to come in, all the people, so that my house can be filled! None of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet."
As Alfred picked up his coat and hat and opened the front door to return to the limo again, he turned back to look at God for a second. "I don't think it should be hard for those who call themselves your friends to come to a party like this," Alfred said. "The party will be the best ever."
"But they can't see it that way," God said. "Right now, they see only the cost they have to pay. And there is a cost. They know they have to put their families and even their lives and their dreams second to make this weekend happen. To give up that stuff is like being executed and tortured for them. And anyone who can't handle that cost really can't handle my party."
"Hm." Alfred was not a man of many words. But he couldn't stop thinking about how delicious the party was going to be, and so even though it was raining, and the traffic was yukky, and he'd missed phone calls from his friends and family, he shut the grand oak door behind him, hunched his shoulders against the rain, and slid quietly into his limo to gather the final guests before the night began.
The End
Luke 14:16-27

What kind of party guest am I?

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