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And as rain started falling out of the sky I looked up, to see its source. Thick grey clouds, that had formed in the dark blue sky and had obscured the sun, were slowly breaking and releasing water.
I'd time and again wondered if said water was inside the clouds, and though I knew better, I could not help but keep imagining it that way. As if a short, balding man, with a big, crooked nose would punch some holes in the bottom of the cloud with the rusty forks he held in his hand.
Everytime I got home soaked, everytime I would ride my bicycle quickly - which was futile, because I knew I'd get wet anyway -, I would as well wonder if there was a point where the rain stopped. The edge of the cloud it was emerging from; where was it? Was it perfectly possible to drive out of the rain, but then turn back again? To hop between rainy and sunny, as if you were crossing the Greenwich Meridian? Or to follow the cloud around, and to never leave the rain...
Thoughts that mattered not the slightest to the course of world history, or to the wars that were being fought in distant countries; wars for things that were perhaps even less futile than the poor balding man on top of the clouds.
I wondered. They'd all do it in the name of their God. Their God, who was none other than the same person - just by another name. It confused me, that he was what caused such feuds, whereas the only proof they had of him was that some wacky bearded salesman had come back from the desert, rambling on about how he'd seen an angel appear. Or because a woman dared not admit she had committed adultery and claimed that her son was in fact Son of God...
"Well," I said, looking up still. "You haven't really made it easy for us, here, have you? I mean, what with all the killing."
I knew it would sound hypocrite now to talk about wars and deaths of innocents, when I myself had spoken to said Lord in an unguarded moment. I would then ask of him that, if he really existed, he would give me a sign, because I had no reason to believe his existence. I would speak to him and ask of him to do me an unimportant favour. A something that barely mattered anything, compared to the world's grand problems.
"And yet, here I go again," I sighed. "I have no evidence, not even the slightest trace that would suggest that you aren't just the figment of a madman's imagination, but here I'm speaking to you."
"Did you notice I did not address you with a capital letter? Am I to be formal, and should I call you sir? So much questions unanswered, so much questions unasked even. Is there a manual, somewhere, on how to pray properly, in order to make sure that they will be answered... someday?"
I thought carefully about which words to use next.
"Yes, maybe I could not convince you to prove your existence to me," I whispered. "For I am just one person. And, what does it matter if just one person believes in you or not? But if that was how you thought, then you'd have to admit that you're a pretty lousy ruler." I was silent, and then quickly added "Sir".
A loud crash of thunder sounded, and I'd thought for a moment that I had madly infuriated the man upstairs, but as I closed my eyes, I heard a voice.
"Me-damn it!" I heard it say, and as I opened my eyes again, next to me in the couch was an aging man. He looked as if he was on the verge of going bald, and the back of his head was mostly bald already. The small man directed his eyes at me, and the purple irises stared back into my humble brown. He sniffed once, and with a mutter of "oh, bugger, not again," he yanked his nose back into place.
"Hello," he said, and when noticing my shocked expression, he continued, "is something wrong, chap? You look like you've seen a ghost?"
I kept staring at him, unable to move my face out of its undoubtedly odd look, as much as I wanted to.
"Well, my bad," he grinned. "I'm sort of a ghost, aren't I? Yeah, a little bit, in that that I'm not alive and that I've ascended into heaven. Well, I've never quite really ascended, that is, I was always sort of up there, much to my dislike, that is. But enough about me, I have this nasty habit to always mention none other than myself, annoying, isn't it? Yes, I thought so. But look, there I go again. How are you today?"
"Who are you?" I stumbled.
The man shook his head in disbelief.
"Well, you're quite the oddball," he concluded. "I distinctly said to stop talking about me. But if you insist, fine, why not."
I awaited his answer anxiously.
"My name is John," he said seriously. "John God, that is. Careful there, your mouth dropped open."
"Yes," I bursted out, and with that I'd immediately closed it again.
"Ah!" John God laughed. "He has spoken about himself, finally! The first word that's not about me, it was 'yes'. Marvellous."
"I've seen you," I mumbled.
"I should've known it was only short-lived, though," he said.
"No," I disagreed with him. "It was about me. I said that I had seen you."
"And so you did! Bravo."
"You punched holes in the bottom of clouds."
"Oh, really, boy!"
"I saw you punching holes in the bottom of clouds."
"Much better! Yes, yes, I believe you did in fact see me punching holes in the bottom of clouds. That's what I do for you."
"Yes, for you. You see, for every individual on this planet I mean something else. Perhaps not every individual, that is impossible, for your species are starting to bang away as though you were rabbits. But to many of those all I mean similar things, that is a fact."
We were both quiet.
"But you've tricked me again," he sneered jokingly. "I said, no more talking about me, I'm much more interested in others than that I'm in myself, as hard as that may seem to believe. Tell me about you."
"I," I started.
"Good, good, marvellous, that is a very good beginning! You can't go wrong anymore!"
"I'm interested in you."
"Oh, boy! You're quite the oddball indeed. A wise nose, yes, I can see that. Marvellous. I have nothing to tell you though, boy, I'm just an old man who does the futile things that one thinks he does."
"Answering prayers," I said. "How do you do that?"
"I don't!" he chuckled. "Let them speak all they want! There are billions of people on this planet, and only twenty four hours each day in which they all have the chance to pray. They're not going to go in turns; people just don't do that, because all they really care about for is their selves. I can impossible hear each single prayer, let alone answer them. As cruel as it may seem, I just don't do it."
"So you don't do what people think you do!" I grinned at him.
"Oh, sure I do!" he grinned back. "You don't think I answer prayers. And I don't."
"But not everyone thinks that I don't answer prayers, do they?"
"No..." I mumbled, and I started to comprehend what John God had been trying to tell me.
"What I am to you..." he slowly started his sentence. Then I blinked.