J Bov Explodes Rhetorically

04/02/2013, 6:40 PM
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I have a little something up at Weaponizer.co.uk

It’s a sci-fi flashfic called “All ‘Rodes Lead to Roam™”: Click these words to go to there.

Take a look at the rest of the site, too. It’s cool.


A Conversation

Stephen awkwardly shifted the green beans around on his plate as his wife’s friend Susan continued to speak.

“It’s just awful, the stuff that goes on down there. Drugs, murder, prostitutes.” She was saying.

Stephen made a suitably disgusted noise in response.

“I heard,” Marjorie, Stephen’s wife, began, “that you can get hold of anything off the Ban-List down there if you know where to look.”

“Ordering crimes a la carte.” Bob, Susan’s husband, chuckled at his own joke through a mouthful of fish. “See, ‘cos the Ban-List is like a menu for them.” He went on to explain. Susan giggled.

Stephen stopped moving the tasteless, grey beans around and looked up.

“I know I shouldn’t say it, but I wouldn’t mind trying some of the stuff on the Ban-List.” He intoned.

“Stephen!” Marjorie’s voice cut the air like a knife.

“Nothing extreme!” He quickly added. “But I bet those ‘crisps’ things were pretty good. They sound good.”

His wife and their guests stared at him for a moment, their plates forgotten, until Susan, tentatively, as though disarming a bomb, asked a question.

“Where have you heard about them? Other than the name on the List, I mean.” She said, quietly.

“A bloke at work.” Stephen’s reply was instant. “A bloke at work was saying they were like very thin strips of potato…”

“Potato julienne?” Marjorie cut in.

“No, more like… leaves. But fried, and covered in salt. Sometimes flavoured, too. He said you could get ‘crisps’es that taste like cheese, and onions.”

“Disgusting.” Bob snorted into his wine.

“And how did he know about them?” Susan prompted.

Stephen considered his next words carefully.

“I think he’s had them. I think he’s gone into the Ciphers and got some and eaten them. I told the Overwatch my theory during the inspection at the end of work. They said they’d ‘keep an eye on him’.”

“Bloody good job Lord Oliver added them to the Ban-List, if you ask me. They sound awful.” Bob postulated.

For a long time everybody ate in silence, staring at their plates intensely until;

“They want to put them all in jail. Every one of those Cipher scumbags.” Bob huffed.

“Don’t be silly, Robert.” Susan smiled at him.

“Well, they want to put soddin’ great gates on the front of it and keep them locked, then. Just use it as a prison itself.”

“Now, Bob, they aren’t all bad. There’re innocent people in there who are just unlucky.” Susan looked patient. Almost as if she’d had this conversation before.

“Well, they can get out and then we’ll lock it up and forget about it.”

“You can’t just ‘get out’ of the Ciphers. It’s where you end up when nowhere else in the world wants to put up with you.” Stephen told his now empty plate.

“Stephen, please…” Marjorie placed a hand on his arm, for comfort or restraint. Probably both.

“No, it’s ok.” He sighed. “My parents spent the last years of their poor, miserable lives down there. They put me up for adoption, so I never saw it myself, thank God. But they did.”

“Sorry mate, I didn’t know.” Bob apologised sincerely.

“No, it’s ok.” Was all he said.

Bob and Susan left quite quickly after that and, after shoving the plates into the dishwasher, Marjorie went to bed. Stephen poured himself a whiskey and told her he’d be up soon.

After making sure his wife was fast asleep, he went into the kitchen and grabbed a potato from the bag on the vegetable rack.

Then he opened the fridge and, in the dim light from within, filled a pan with oil, turned on the hob, grabbed the sharpest knife he could find and began to slice.

“No, no; thinner.” He told himself, quietly, before grabbing the salt from the cupboard.

The Evening I Met God

It was a pretty standard Thursday evening.

I had come home from work, eaten a chicken kiev and chips for tea and watched a repeat of QI on the telly. I was already lounging in a nice warm bath when I was visited by god.

“Greetings mortal!” Cried the great ball of light above my prone, soapy body.

“God?” I asked. “Are you God?”

“Oh please, I can hear you pronouncing the upper-case ‘G’. Stop it.”

“Sorry.” I looked down at myself then, blushed and hastily covered my shame.

God just hung there. I imagine if I could see his face the expression on it would have been bored and condescending.

“Oh right, yeah. You’ve seen it all before.” I chuckled nervously. “So, er… what do you want?”

God bobbed up and down for a few seconds, as though considering.

“You have questions.” He finally said. “Ask them.”

I opened my mouth for a second then closed it again. I did have questions, but now I could actually ask them I couldn’t remember any of them. It’s a little like when someone tells you to think of ‘any film’. Or rather ‘Every film’.

“What’s the meaning of life?” Poured out of my mouth before I could stop myself.

God just laughed uproariously. I sat, slowly stewing. After a few minutes the laughter died away.

“Classic.” God said. He’d probably be wiping a tear out of his eye if he had an eye, or a hand to wipe it. “No, something else.”

I racked my brain for a few more minutes. God remained infinitely patient.

“Oh, I know!” I shouted all of a sudden. “A lot of people believe that you created everything and evolution isn’t real. Doesn’t you coming to talk to me prove them right?”

“Certainly not.” God seemed mildly annoyed. “Why is it so hard for people to give credit where it’s due? How hard can it be to say ‘Evolution? Yeah, god started that.’, really? It’s not a case of one or the other.”

For a few seconds god seemed to be silently fuming.

“I thought it was a bloody good idea, too. Just writing it off like a bunch of morons. Pah!”

“God?” I ventured.


“I know I asked the ‘meaning of life’ question already, but can I rephrase it?”

“I don’t know, can you?”

“Why did you make us? All of this,” I gestured in a roundabout way, “but mainly us.”

God just hung there for a moment.

“It’s difficult to explain.” He finally told me. “Here, consider this; do you remember that ant-farm you had when you were young?”

I nodded.

“Why did you have that?” God finished, sounding satisfied with his explanation.

“So you’re comparing the earth to an ant-farm and the whole of humanity to ants?” I was incredulous.

“What? No, no, it was the ants I was interested in. You lot popped up when I wasn’t looking.”

“Oh.” I finished, lamely.

For a long time we simply regarded each other, then;



“What’s my purpose?”

“To have a bath.” God answered instantly.

“But after I finish my bath, what then?” I asked.

“What were you going to do after your bath?” He asked in return.

“I was going to eat a biscuit and go to bed.”

“Then your purpose is to eat a biscuit and go to bed.”

“Do you have a plan for us?”

“There’s a plan,” God sighed, “but it’s nothing to do with you. Or anyone you’ve met, or heard of, or not heard of.”


“The plan is all to do with me and couple of the other guys that very few people have met, and some that nobody has met, and others that nobody’s even thought of. The plan doesn’t involve you lot at all. It won’t affect you at all. Any of you.”

I just pondered for a moment.

“And the ants?” I asked, finally.

“Oh they’re part of it, yes. Well, bye.”

And with that, god was gone.

I finished my bath, ate a biscuit and was setting off to bed when I spotted an ant on the windowsill.

“Good luck.” I told it, with a wink.

I felt like a great weight had been lifted, and fell asleep with a smile.