by Doug Jacquier
Is there anybody out there?
Thomas stared at the image that had replaced the program he was watching on TV. It was an amorphous blob. Except for the eyes.
He sat in his recliner for a while, expecting normal transmission to resume, consuming his pizza and red wine while he waited.
‘Well, are you going to speak to me or what?’ the image said, sounding a trifle miffed.
Startled, Thomas spilled wine down his shirt.
Still trying to mop up the wet mess on his shirt with a paper napkin, he replied ‘Speak to whom?’
‘Me, of course, the image on your screen.’
‘I’m sorry but is this some sort of hidden camera thing the guys at work have set up’ said Thomas, desperately scanning the room for cameras.
‘No’ sighed the image. ‘I’m a life force from another universe and I’m trying to communicate with you.’
‘You mean like ET or Martians?’
‘Close but no cigar. Your universe is one of our experiments and I’m the technician assigned to what you call Earth.’
‘Yes, we have several going on at any one time, looking into what evolves in a range of atmospheres. I have to say that you humans are way more fun than most.’
‘Why is that?’
‘Well, we’ve been able to deduce that, past a certain point in evolution, an organism’s intelligence goes into reverse until it destroys itself in an orgy of stupidity.’
‘So everyone’s going to die in some sort of apocalypse.’
‘Not everyone. A few will be saved, like you, if you so choose.’
‘What do I have to do to be saved?’
‘Simple. Just believe.’
‘Believe that you are communicating with an intelligence from another universe that is controlling everything, has always controlled everything and will always control everything.’
‘But how do I know that’s true?’
The image sighed. ‘You humans are so tedious sometimes. OK, look at your shirt.’
Thomas looked down at his shirt, still damp but now clean.
‘Wine into water’ the image said wearily.
‘Do you have a name?’ Thomas said timorously.
‘For convenience, you can call me Gordon. I’m always here. All you have to do is think of me.’
‘Why would I have to think of you?’
‘In case you ever need any help. With anything.’
‘Oh, say you’re lying on the beach sunning yourself and suddenly a tsunami rises up and is about to engulf you.’
‘Now I get it. I’d call for you or just think of you and you’d save me.’
‘Maybe. Or maybe not. I might be attending to something else at the time.’
‘But then I’d die!’
‘Oh, for goodness sake, that’s going to happen anyway. But if you believe, your body would simply be converted to eternal energy. And then you’ll be one of us.’
Thomas seemed satisfied and said. ‘So should I tell other people about this?’
Gordon quickly said, ‘No, don’t do that! Leave the evangelising to me. It’ll end up like Chinese whispers and then there’ll be arguments about which version of the story is correct.’
‘But that’ll take forever’, protested Thomas.
Gordon rolled his eyes and said ‘Which part of me being everywhere at once did you miss?’
‘Oh, OK. So what do I do now?’
‘Do you believe?’
‘Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.’
‘Then just keep doing what you’ve always done.’
Thomas paused and then said sheepishly ‘So, can I go back to watching FoxNews now?’
Gordon’s image began to fade from the screen and his voice trailed off, saying ‘Why do I even bother?’