Blasphemy

“If I see one more crummy performance, I swear to God I’m going to…”

“Please don’t.”

The two friends stopped short. A man had walked out of an alley in front of them as they headed away from the theatre. He had been focused on his rant, and she was amused by his feigned anger, so neither had noticed the stranger.

“Excuse me?” he asked.

“Don’t swear to me,” the stranger replied. “You don’t mean it. And if you did, it would present a different set of problems.”

“I wasn’t swearing at you. I didn’t even know you were there.”

“I didn’t say you were swearing at me. You were swearing to me. God.”

“You’re not God,” she said. She hadn’t meant to. It just slipped out.

“In fact, I am.”

“Prove it,” he demanded.

“How should I prove it?”

“I don’t know. If you’re God, think of something.”

A lightning bolt struck the ground several yards away. “Satisfied?”

“Wow!” Again, she couldn’t help herself. It had been startling.

He, too, seemed impressed. “Amazing! How did you do it?”

“What?”

“The lightning trick. How did you do it?”

“I’m God. I just commanded the lightning.”

“No, really. How? Is it a secret or something? Magicians never reveal how they do it, sort of thing?”

“I am not a magician.”

He shrugged. “If you say so. I bet you could do really well with an act like that. But if you want some advice, I’d drop the religious stuff. I don’t think it would go over well.”

The two began to walk on when the stranger stopped them. “What would it take for you to believe in me?”

They looked at each other, neither sure how to answer. Finally, she spoke up. “Probably nothing. I mean, if you were God, wouldn’t it be obvious? Illusions and the like won’t do. We’ve all seen amazing stunts. You’re not God. So how could you convince us?”

The stranger, at a loss for words, just stared at her.

She gave a little wave before turning around and leaving. “Thanks for the trick, though. It really was good.”

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