“God Meets a Junkie in a Manhattan Holding Cell” by Evan Retzer, page 3

        Eventually, they brought us something to eat: some kind of ground up meat and a stale roll. God poked at his roll idly with an apathetic finger—eventually his muttering became more coherent. With a word, he told me, brightening up a little, he could separate the light of the world from the darkness. Although, more commonly, he employed his skills to separate lamb fat from the good meat, weigh it, and divide it into two pound airtight bags for sale. It's not a bad life, overall. He can spend his evenings turning on with a few friends, talking philosophy or sports, let the stresses of work at the market wash off of him in waves with each hit from the lightbulb—then, later, fall asleep to the caricatured white noise of late night children's cartoons, or pulsing frequencies of his worn Led Zeppelin records—
        Time passed, and somehow felt like an infinite dream—I suppose when you're around the being who actually created time, its passage loses some of its sense of urgency. At one point I asked him if he was aware of his semi frequent slips into mumbling in the alien glossolalia I couldn't understand. It was an old habit, God told me, a reflex—when he changed tongues, he was communicating in the language of pure light.
        Suddenly, the itching and discomfort of heroin withdrawal came on like a bad dream—sooner than I had expected. I noticed a faint sheen of sweat glowing on my face, and after I became aware of it the sweat weighed on me like a ton of bricks. The withdrawal provoked an eternal feeling of guilt and letdown that wouldn't abate; it's as if my girlfriend is telling me she's leaving me—she's leaving me again and again every moment, that atmosphere of rejection stuck on a never ending loop. My drained dopamine receptors rejecting all sense of quietude.
        People like to jabber incessantly about finding God amongst our modern consumerist trappings, despite the confusion of our politics and our organized religions. When we do, however, manage to find God—we taser him until he's rendered functionally ineffective, we label him a lunatic and a schizophrenic, trivialize his ideals, we lock him up in the Manhattan 5th Precinct until we can figure out some way to shuffle him out of view. Could he really expect any less of us?
        God glanced over at me, and, in a jagged whisper, disclosed that he was going to cure my sickness. He put his hand on my forehead—I shrunk away slightly, but managed to stay where I was—his hand was boney, I noticed, trembling—he blinked, deliberately, several times. We both waited, amongst the sleeping population, the predawn glow making our skin pale.
        You can't cure me, I thought. I've seen your kingdom buddy—heaven in vast fields of poppies, glowing and releasing me from the suffering inherent in your creation. And, like the angel of light, Lucifer, for my endeavors to touch infinity I have to commit myself to the harsh realities of the fall—you can't cure this, you made the rules—
        I scrambled over to the corner and vomited harshly—and that acrid taste lingering in my throat was an unsettling agnosticism—should've followed the Ásatrú—Odin would have done something to fix all this—or at the very least have been more interesting—


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