Art Pact 264 - All The Little Gods

It's sad when people haven't found their god, but there was something more sad and Kelly and I agreed on that - it was when someone found their god and it was something pathetic, like a cardboard box or an ant. I think an ant would have been the worst god, because how would you know it from all the other ants? They run around like crazy, you'd be standing their calling down to your god to do you a favour or to find out whether it was hungry or not, and there would be lots of other ants running around like mad. You'd never know which one was yours. What if your ant god lived in the same nest as someone else's ant god? You'd have to be very careful who you were talking to.

Then again, that's not the worst I've ever seen. The worst was on a TV show about it, about people who'd found their god in unusual places or where their god was something unusual itself. There was a man whose god was a roof tile. Just one roof tile on a house. It wasn't even his house! They showed him standing outside in the rain, looking up at his god and trying not to look like he was peeking into the windows of the house below. The people in the house were sick of it, you could tell. I wouldn't be surprised, with some random looking up at your roof the whole time, you'd think he was a burglar. But they couldn't shout at him to go away because it was his god up on the roof, and that's something you have to be respectful of. You can't stop people from talking to their god. I suppose it would be different if some gods were human people, but none of them are. That's the only rule about what a god can and can't be. It can't be a person. I know that because my own god told me so when I was asking it about the man with the roof tile.

"That's to stop people being confused about who they should listen to," my god explained. It was sitting at the end of the bed, on the little shrine I'd made for it. My god is a mouse, a sort of small brown mouse that came up to me in a park one day and introduced itself. At first I didn't really know what was going on. I'd got by with just my dad's god most of the time (and sometimes my mum's god would give me advice), I knew there would come a day when I found my own god - I just wasn't expecting it to be so soon. I thought there'd be more time to prepare, I suppose. It's not a terrible thing, finding a god at that age, and in some ways it's better than the opposite, being old when your god finds you (or vice versa), but I sometimes wonder if it wouldn't have been better to have a few more years without a god. My god tells me that's perfectly natural - to wonder, I mean, to go through what-ifs and might-have-beens. It's part of living to have things that might or might not be regrets.

"When you just know things," it said to me, putting down the bit of cheese I'd got for it, "you just know them. Like I know that I'm your god and you know that you're my human. But that's only overall, you see. You don't have that certainty all the time, because you're not a god. You can't worship me the same way that I rule you. I have godly powers. You're just a man. For the moment, I mean."

My god likes to add those little cryptic bits to the end of his prognostications. Then I know what it's talking about, because that's when I have a little bit of doubt about whether it's a god at all. I mean, it can talk - and normal mice can't talk - it knows about all my past and all my future (I have to take its word on the latter, mind), and it has all the other powers you'd expect: invisibility, supernatural strength, and so on. It's easy to believe that it's god usually, just when it pulls that stuff it sounds like an elder brother or something: I know something you don't, something big, but I'm not going to prove it. You'll just have to wait and see.

The man whose god was a roof tile was kind of pathetic in and of himself. I mean, it wasn't like when a god is a mouse, or a dog, or a radio. You can hear when they're talking to their worshipper. You can't hear what they're saying, obviously, but you can tell that they're saying something. If you listened to this guy talking to his god you'd think he was just some crazy yelling at someone else's house. Like sometimes when he was asking perfectly normal questions, it sounded like he was talking to someone inside, a lover or someone.

"Tell me what to do!"

"You just to imagine the word Louise on the end of every sentence," Kelly said, when we were watching the program. "Like that. Tell me what to do, Louise! Tell me how to love you!"

Kelly's funny like that. She laughs about flippant things, then gets very serious.

"Don't go all mad on me like that," she told me, taking my hand and staring into my eyes super deep. "If we break up, you have to forget all about any chance of getting together. There's nothing more pathetic than a man crying outside a woman's window, begging her to give him another chance."

"I won't have to beg," I said. "You'll give me like a million chances."

"Oh I will, will I?"

"That's what god told me. It's very clear on that fact."

Kelly doesn't get on too well with my god. She's a little freaked out by it, I think.

"It's the way it moves," she said once, at breakfast. "A lot faster than you'd expect from a little thing like that."

"All mice are like that, though."

"Yeah, but at least with other mice you get to remember that they're going to die soon. That thing is never going to go in a mousetrap and get its back broken, is it? It would just disarm the trap, or you'd find the metal killing bar bent into the perfect shape of a mouse's back in the morning, where the bar had just closed around it."

I didn't mean to tell my god about her wanting to kill it, but it's very good at winkling that sort of story out of me. I suppose it knew it all already, like a lawyer - it only asks questions it already knows the answer to, and since it's omniscient about my life, it would have known the minute she said it that Kelly was a deicide (in spirit, if not in practice).

"Well, there's nothing she can do about it," my god said. It scampered to the edge of the table and mimed throwing itself off, then splatting on the ground. "Even I can't do it. Even the other gods wouldn't be able to. That's the way it is. Maybe you should ask her how she'd feel, though."

"What do you mean?"

"How she'd feel if you wanted to kill her god, obviously." It wiggled its whiskers.


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