Made and Maker
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It had almost been too easy. Only words. In the end, it had only taken a few carefully strung together phrases to convince them all. Of course, he’d had help. Science mostly, but history and philosophy had been there as well. The dilemma was finally solved. The ultimate riddle pondered throughout the ages had merely been waiting for him to come along with his fancy words and his simple solution.

He took a cigar from the gold box in front of him, ran his ring finger over the neatly rolled tobacco, feeling the rough texture pass beneath his fingerprints and then reached for the cutter. He snipped the end and was about to strike a match when the intercom buzzed.

“Mr. Jonas?”

“Ms. Dellham.”

“The President is here to see you; he says you’re expecting him.”

  
 
“I am. Please show him in.” ‘Good,’ he thought, ‘just the man I’ve been waiting for.’

He set the cigar back inside the box. His traditional, celebratory smoke could wait while he dealt with Webber. "But what does the puppeteer say to the puppet after the show?" he thought with a grim satisfaction that left a sweet taste in his mouth like a caramelized apple. "What indeed?"

Webber stepped through the door. He was dressed in a crisp, navy suit, white shirt, and no tie. He ambled into the room as a man who knows he will never have to face the cruel whips of responsibility, as only a public official can, Jonas supposed. The look on his face was one of stupid satisfaction. An ignorant, yet cruel look that denoted a man of leisure and pompous expense.

"The perfect tool," Jonas thought as Webber took a seat at the other end of the desk.

“Good morning, oh trusted advisor,” Webber quipped, while adjusting the side of his pants, which had bunched when he’d sat down in the chair. The maneuvre made him seem senile somehow.

“What have I told you about calling me that?” Jonas snapped. His tone was cold.

Webber froze for a moment, with his pant leg halfway to his knee and looked up to meet Jonas’ glare. “Lighten-up Cal. C’mon. There aren’t any reporters in here,” and he gestured around the room with a broad sweep of his arm. “Besides, you won a great victory today. You should be celebrating.”

Jonas eased-up. The old man was right. What need did he have to be upset? Now that the world was in the palm of his left hand and its uncontested leader in his right? He forced a smile and eased back in his chair. “Forget it. It’s just something that makes me uncomfortable,” he lied.

“It’s like I told you a thousand times before. Y’all need to relax, Cal. It’s just not healthy to get all steamed-up the way you do. I mean, take me for instance. Calm as a breeze on a butterfly’s wings, and I ain’t even happy about this business of ours.”

Jonas thought briefly of how satisfying it would be to twist Webber’s head all the way around until his neck popped, and smiled. He could be calm, for now.

He reached to his left, pulled open the drawer closest to him and produced the all important document, sealed and ready for signature. “One last matter and we’re in the clear,” Jonas said, sliding the paper across the desk in front of Webber. “Abolish religion, and the masses will turn to their politicians for direction -- the moral sentiment, the holy grail of the faithless,” Jonas said with a grin.

Now it was Webber’s turn to be cold. He’d been a strong believer, Jonas was sure of it. The evidence was written in the deep lines of his tired face. Probably still hasn’t let it all go, Jonas thought. Even now that it’s been proven.

“Don’t go getting soft on me now, Mr. President,” Jonas sneered. “Sign the paper and let’s put the question to rest. Just think,” he said, leaning closer. “You will be remembered as the man who proved, beyond any doubt, that god was a fantasy.”

“I gotta ask you Jonas. Jus’ why in the hell are you so damn happy about it?”

“Because I was right,” he said. “Now sign.”

“But aren’t you even a little disappointed? I mean. It’s over now anyway, but I just can’t stop wishing—”

“Wishing’s all it ever was. Foolish, selfish wishing and that never got anybody anywhere except dead. Think how many people in the history of this world died either for or against this absurd concept.” Easy, Jonas, he thought, don’t loose your cool. That, above all else, would be a very bad mistake.

“They believed in it,” Webber stammered, clearly unhinged by his part in the ordeal. “Is that so wrong?”

Jonas leaned forward in his chair and looked the old man dead in the face. “Isn’t that exactly what that document in front of you says? It is wrong, Mr. President.”

Webber sat back and clasped his hands in his lap.

Jonas sighed. This was going to take longer than he had anticipated. "Why do they always have such trouble letting go?" he wondered. "What did the idea of God ever do to deserve this loyalty, a loyalty that lingers even after they know that there’s nothing there? Was it sheer ignorance? Or was it something more?"

He’d always thought that people who believed in a religion, people who had faith, were somehow deficient mentally. Like there was a tiny part of their brains that just could not understand how completely impossible the idea was. Even now, there were protestors, people who had managed to convince themselves that the evidence, the unquestionable evidence, was somehow the devil’s working He knew exactly what these people thought. They thought that a being with tiny red horns sticking out of its head and a pointy red-tail was responsible for this turn of events. That the devil had convinced a global panel of scientists and historians, (hell even politicians had been forced to concede when the evidence had been presented) that there was no god, for his own evil purpose.

Jonas had to stifle a laugh. They thought he was the devil.

“Well, you proved it, I suppose,” Webber said, reluctantly. The frown on his face widened. “But what if I disagree?”

There it was: the argument of arguments. Denial, he thought, the steely armour of the religious fanatic. Now it was Jonas’ turn to frown. “Sir,” he said when he was certain he could control the volume of his voice. “I think you need to consider the evidence against. Now, I know it’s hard to accept, but facts are facts. There isn’t any god or gods. There never was and that’s the truth of it. If you want proof, you need look no further than that pile of pages sitting in front of your face.

“It’s only words,” he said softly, and Jonas knew at last that he’d won.

“So’s the Constitution,” he said. “It’s only words - right?”

Webber’s frown was now so wide that the corners of his mouth were actually hanging off of his face. He looked like a bullfrog with manic depression.

“I suppose you want to tell me that’s different? That the constitution is somehow exempt of that last comment? Sometimes words are all we have, Sir.” He stood-up, walked around the desk, and placed a hand on Webber’s shoulder. “And sometimes words are enough,” he said and he squeezed. Not hard, not hard enough to really hurt anyway, just enough to let the old man know that the time for debate had passed. He’d had his chance and had come up short.

“It’s not the facts of it that bother me, you know,” he said, shrugging-off Jonas’ hand. “I guess I never really believed in it. It’s just, what does signing this contract do for us anyway? I mean, are we really going to go public with it? That would be lunacy.”

Jonas nodded.

“So, why sign it?” he asked.

“Sir, the governments of the entire free world have agreed. It’s in everybody’s best interest to acknowledge this to re-establish control.”

Webber looked up at him then with a gaze so cold Jonas thought, "If there is a hell, which of course there isn’t, it just froze over."

“They’ve got nowhere to turn now,” Webber said, eyes firmly fixed on Jonas’.

Jonas returned the glare. “They’ll turn to you,” he said, and he pressed the president’s gold pen into his hand. “Sign.”

“I won’t do it,” Webber said, and he had half-risen out of his chair before Jonas shoved him back down.

“I think you will,” Jonas said.

A shrill laugh escaped Webber, “And what makes you think that?”

“Just a hunch.”

Jonas pulled the report back towards him. “Have you read it?” he asked.

“Of course I have, but what does that—”

“...and did you understand it?”

“Well—”

“I didn’t think so.” Jonas took a deep breath.

“What this proves is that each of us lives in two worlds and lives two very different lives,” he began. Webber looked on with interest and even a little fear. "But he is listening," Jonas thought. "The old fool just didn’t understand. That’s all. No problem."

“We know this, thanks to the recent findings regarding human sleep and dream patterns.”

“What does this have to do with God, Jonas?” Webber asked with more than a little sauciness.

“I’ll get there. Just be patient. The human mind was thought to be separated by the conscious and the subconscious. We now know that this belief is inherently flawed. Scientists have discovered that the part of the brain we refer to as the subconscious actually acts as the conscious part of the brain during sleep. Vice-versa also applies during sleep; our conscious mind becomes the unconscious. Simple so far, right?”

Webber nodded.

“Now to get a little more confusing. When you fall asleep, your mind switches consciousnesses. You can’t remember this life when you sleep. Just like you can’t remember your dream-life when you are awake. All you get are bits and pieces, images mostly, that pass through your dream-consciousness to your dream sub-consciousness. When you awaken and your consciousness switches over again, you remember the images as dreams because your mind cannot interpret what happened except on a subconscious level. Your dream mind cannot remember what your waking mind experiences and your waking mind cannot remember what your dream mind experiences either. In this way, we live two lives -one being completely oblivious of the other.”

Webber’s excitement had grown considerably since Jonas had started speaking. Jonas watched as the president slowly leaned increasingly forward in his seat.

“I still don’t understand how any of this disproves the existence of God.” Webber said.

“Then allow me to explain without any further interruption.”

“Very well.”

“Right now, you are aware that you are Jonathan Webber, President of the United States of America, husband to Susan Webber, father of Daniel and June Webber. What you don’t know is that you are also another being, alive, but sleeping on another plain of existence. Scientists were incredibly curious about this other life we all lead, once they’d realized the truth in the duality of the mind.

“They conducted sleep studies of more than sixty thousand individuals between 1980 and the beginning of the twenty-first century. The problem back then was that they didn’t know how to interpret the results. What they did know was that there were bewildering similarities between the dreams of those studied and events in real life. Similarities which could not be ignored.

“For a while, certain scientists began to believe in things like ESP and telekinesis as a way of explaining the links between one dreamer’s dreams and the real events which mirrored them in reality.

“Certain subjects would have dreams involving a train accident. Two weeks later, hundreds of people were killed when a passenger train crashed in Madrid. A subject in 1983 had a dream that a jet-plane crashed through a skyscraper, followed by a second. Eighteen years later - well, you know what happened. Undeniable links, and there were millions.

“It got to a point where we honestly had given-up hope of ever explaining what was happening during this process when the breakthrough we’d been waiting for finally came.

“I wrote and submitted a paper with a singular theory which explained how all of this fit together. The theory has now been tested and the results of those tests have been scrutinized by every top-scientific mind in the entire world. In the end, the theory has proven true.” Jonas smiled.

“This is the part where you make my eyes pop-out of my head, right?” Webber said.

Jonas laughed, “That’s just what I aim to do.”

“Please proceed.”

“The theory basically states that all dream consciousnesses are actually a part of a giant, singular consciousness. Further, that this consciousness implants thoughts and actions into the millions of singular waking minds while they are in the subconscious dream-state. These actions are usually not remembered by the individual, and in this way, the collective dream-mind of the living controls the events of the real world.”

“Just like a god!” Webber nearly screamed.

“Exactly like a god,” Jonas answered, pleased that the old man had understood.

“But, haven’t you just proved the existence of a god by all of this. If what you say is true?”

“Ah, now that’s where you’re wrong. Essentially what I’ve proven is that there can’t be a god. Think about it. If everything in the universe is controlled by the collective subconscious of every living being, then we are our own gods. We control every single aspect of our fates collectively; thus, eliminating the possibility of an outside omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent consciousness. After all, there’s only room for one all powerful, all-knowing entity, and what this proves is that that entity has been us all along. We’ve been jumping at the sight of our own shadow for thousands and thousands of years!”

“So the purpose of life is—”

“...to dream,” Jonas finished.

“What about when we die?”

“We die. It seems that in order to be a part of the collective subconscious, you also have to be alive, at least enough to sleep.”

“No heaven?”

“Nope.”

“What then?”

“Best guess -- nothingness, whatever that might be. I didn’t say we had all of the answers. Just the biggest one.”

Jonas slid the document back over to Webber’s side of the desk.

Webber sighed. He picked the gold pen up off of the desk. (He’d dropped it somewhere in the middle of Jonas’ explanation.) “Okay, I’ll sign it,” he said.

“I thought you’d come around. None of this really changes anything. The world still turns, the same as it always did,” Jonas said with a sly smile. “All this does is give us the grant money to try and better understand it all.”

“Do you need me for anything else Cal? I’ve got a lunch appointment with the Secretary of the Interior.” Webber looked like a man having the absolute worst day of his life. He handed the document back to Jonas. His arm was shaking uncontrollably as he did this.

“Nope. I’ve got everything I need. Thank you, Mr. President. I’ll be in touch.” Jonas said, snatching the paper from Webber’s unstable hand.

“Don’t even know if it’s safe to take a nap anymore,” Webber mumbled as he strode out the door.

Jonas returned to his desk and pressed the intercom button. “Ms. Dellham?”

“Yes Mr. Jonas?”

“Will you get me the lab, please?”

“Certainly, Sir.” And then a moment later, “I have the lab on line two. It’s Mr. Kirkland, Mr. Jonas.”

“Thank you, Ms. Dellham.”

He picked up his phone and opened the second line, “Kirkland? It’s Cal Jonas. We got the grant. Proceed with the plan.”

There was a long silence on the other line, and then a low-pitched voice said, “We’ll be ready in two months to proceed with operation coma, Sir.”

Jonas laughed. “The world will have its god,” he said and hung-up the phone.

He opened the cigar box and took out the cigar from earlier. He was going to enjoy being in control. "Let there be light," he thought and struck the match.

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