"He's driving me mad! I'll end up in hell, if things continue like this!" Gabe looked up from his paperwork and shocked at Kim.

"Everything alright, boss?"

"No. Yes. I mean, hmmpff!" Frustrated Kim leapt from her throne and paced through the room. Gabe took a deep breath and looked back at his paperwork. Prayers, sins, desires and temptations. A lot of temptations.

"I wish he would give into temptation." Kim exclaimed, sensing Gabe's thoughts. "I'm giving him so many, so many temptations. I set out a life that isn't boring. And he just doesn't comply. As if he wants a boring, unsatisfying life. The man is destined for great things. He may save lives! But noooo... Am I too obvious?"

Kim stood in front of Gabe's desk and looked at him, questioning. "What do you think?"

"What do I think?" Gabe scratched on the back of his nearly bald head. Why couldn't this just be another day in the office? Why did he leave the morning prayer department? Why did he want to suck up to the boss anyway?


"I... I think he doesn't know what's good for him. Maybe he ought to be punished?"

"No, no! Why?"

"Of course he shouldn't, you're right, you're right." Don't argue with the boss, simply don't...

"Maybe I should go down to Earth and handle things myself."

"That's an excellent idea. Sorry, say what?" Gabe got up from his office chair and looked at Kim. "The last time you did that, didn't exactly..." Gabe bit his lower lip. 'I'm so getting fired now. I wonder if Lucy has a nice job, probably warmer down there anyway.'

"Yes, yes, he got jailed after I met him, spent 27 years in prison. But, change came when he was released, right? It's not perfect, it still isn't more than 30 years later, but still. Eventually, Nelson did what he was meant to do."

Gabe nodded. "Sure. It helped."

"Are you questioning my ideas?"

"No boss, most certainly not. But, if you don't mind me asking," ('I'm so getting fired for this.') "What is so special about... who are we talking about again?"


"What's so special about Kevin?"

Kim walked toward the big screen and tapped on it. An image of a city appeared. Kim waved her hand and the image was zoomed in, showing the high buildings, the water splitting the city in two halves, the nearly not enough trees, the neighbourhood, the house. The living room. Kevin. Sitting at his desk pondering about life.

"He's wasting away. He thinks he found happiness with this lady he met a few months ago. She has two children already and wants another with him. She hasn't told him and he certainly doesn't know. But I know she wants that. And when that happens, he's lost."

"Many people are. What's so special about Kevin?" Gabe repeated himself. He wasn't fired yet, that's a good omen.

"Kevin." Kim turned around and walked through the room. "Kevin is a free spirit. Meant to be creative, travel the world. Inspire people. He should be posting is thoughts about economic inequality with a picture of down town New Delhi."

"You want him to be an influencer?"

"At least he'd do something good with that job."

Gabe nodded. He thought he understood, but wasn't exactly sure if he did. Kim had strange ideas sometimes, but he knew she was a good at her job being God.

"I can't watch anymore, I'm going down there."

"Good luck, I guess?" But Kim didn't hear Gabe anymore, she was on her way to Earth.

Kevin shook up from his desk. He looked at his screen, he looked at the words in front of him that didn't make much sense anymore. Become an editor, they said, because everyone is writing. He sighed and closed his laptop. He suddenly craved Bagels and Beans. He never understood that name, but the bagels were good.

The weather had turned out nice. The weather app had promised rain all day. But since half an hour it had stopped raining and now the sun was also making an appearance. The weather was actually nice. With a good mood he arrived at the restaurant. His favourite table was available, so he sat there and waited for a waiter to come to his table. He looked at the menu, but he always took the same.

"Bagels with marmalade and a green Moroccan mint tea?" He looked up from the menu. The woman in front of him acted like she was working here, but she wasn't dressed like that. He had never seen her before, yet he thought she felt familiar. And how did she know what he wanted to order?


The woman turned around and looked at the counter. "Make that two." she said and sat down at his table. He was too stunned to object. She smiled at him. That was a nice smile.

"Tell me, how are you?" she asked.

He didn't know why, but as soon as she asked him that, he felt like telling everything. Everything that frustrated him. His pointless job without any room for creativity. His friends who only seem to be interested in beer, women and football (in that order). His girlfriend who he didn't really like, but at least it was some company. Of all the dreams and plans he had when he was younger and how everything simply didn't happen because he was stuck. Stuck with friends and family who possessed no sense of adventure. Stuck in a boring job. Stuck with an ever reoccurring cycle of the same meaningless relationships with women who didn't even excited him much. He went on for at least half an hour.

"Sorry." he said. "No one ever asked me that, I guess I had to vent some air."

The waiter came and placed two tea and two marmalade bagels on the table. When he left, Kevin said. "I'm really sorry. I don't even know you and I give you all that. You must think I'm crazy. Who are you, what's your name? My name is..."

"Kevin. And I'm God, but you can call me Kim if that's more comfortable. This is what you eat every time you're here? You do know they have a very extended and exciting menu right?" Kim took a bite from her bagel. "It's nice though."


"Surprised I'm a woman?"

"Surprised you would want to spend time with some loser like me." Kevin reached for the tea and placed it into the hot water. "I don't even pray."

"Not anymore. You were filled with a lot more fire when you still did."

"You're telling me that because I stopped praying I didn't receive any blessings anymore?"

"If that was the case, you would have been married by now and you'd have two children."

Kevin shuddered. "The woman I'm dating at the moment has two children. I mean, I don't mind, we all have a past and my masculinity isn't that fragile that I think everyone I'm dating doesn't have a sexual past. But to be honest with you, I have no idea why I'm dating her. I have no interest in having a family. Not with her anyway."

"Kevin, I'm here to tell you something. It may sound weird but I hope you can bring it up to at least listen and consider what I say."

"You're God. I assume you know what you're talking about."

Kim smiled. He liked his easy going way of being. His honesty. "Listen, you are on your way of heading right there. If you don't take action right now, she and her two children will be your future. And it won't be a happy one."

"I'm not happy now either. Happiness is a marmalade bagel. We're at that level."

"I want you to do something about that."

Kevin felt suspicious. "You want me to do something about it? Why? Do you have some bet running?"

"That's something Lucy would do, not me."



"Oh. But, anyway. Why should I do something? Can't you just wave your... I don't know, your halo around and change my life?"

Kim started to laugh. She now remembered why she liked Kevin. He sat here at his local restaurant talking to a God, as if it was the most normal thing he could do. "That's not how it works I'm afraid. But, and I'm breaking the rules here, what if I tell you that if you would follow your dreams, sell everything you have and start travelling, that everything would turn out OK and more than that."

Kevin stopped eating and looked at Kim. She was serious. "Have you ever done this before, talk to someone and change their lives?"

"Yes. But I didn't tell them who I was. That I've never done before. Sometimes I wonder if I should have the last time."

"Did something go wrong?"

"He did what he was intended to do, eventually. It took 27 years too long. I'm hoping you wouldn't take hat long."

"What was it you wanted him to do?"

"End apartheid."

"End apartheid? Jesus, uh, no offense to your son, but what on Earth do you want me to do? End the Ukraine war? Free North Korea?"

"End capitalism."

"Say what?"

"You heard me. Look, you are stuck, consumed by what society thinks is right. You don't believe in that, you want to go your own way and your own rules. And you can. Just abandon the things you don't believe in and live your way the way you think is right for you."

"And that will end capitalism?" Kevin sounded doubtful, but was feeling the plan nonetheless. Leave this rat race, free himself from wanting things he didn't need. Make his own decisions.

"Not directly. But it might free you from it. And when you share that knowledge, others will follow."

"You're sure?"

"Did apartheid end?"

"I guess?" He's smart, Kim thought. She liked him more and more.

"Kevin, even I can't give you guarantees. But I want you to do this. You have my blessings."

"Your blessings had Mandela in jail for 27 years."

Kim pointed out of the window. Kevin turned his head and saw that his girlfriend was walking outside. She wasn't alone. She was holding hands with one of his closest friends, one he spent Sundays watching football with.

"That's going on for some weeks now. But she'll have your child in ten months. Unless..."

"We're talking Mandela. I guess Cape Town doesn't sound like a bad place to start. And, no sex before leaving, I assume."

"Hey, that's up to you. But I'm no contraception." Kim smiled and got up from her chair. "I have faith in you." She nodded at the waiter and left the restaurant.

Kevin slowly drank his tea and started to make plans. He should of course finish his project first. But why? Just send it back and quit, yes, that's what he was going to do. And then invite his girlfriend over for diner and break up with her. Yes. That's what he was going to do!

"Did you leave him with the bill?" Gabe asked. Kim shook her head.

"He's going to use every cent he's got. But I he will make it."

"Will he end capitalism?"

"Well, you never know. Nelson surprised me as well." She smiled and sat back on her thrown. There was something about Kevin indeed.

May 11, 2023 13:43

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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