Friday, August 25, 2006

The Solution

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

The blind date had been a bust so far. What was Susan thinking when she set him up with her sister, Amelia? They'd been through the weather (twice), making fun of Susan, and their jobs. What the hell happened to that appetizer? Phillip searched for a third angle on the weather while Amelia busted out with: "When God blinks, the Universe shuts down." So much for small talk.

"Well, things seem to be going along fairly well," Phillip said, playing with his fork. He couldn't work up the nerve to make dancing legs out of his flatware. "I suppose he's had his eyes open for quite some time now."

"No, not at all. It all comes back when he reopens them."

"Are there . . . fluctuations?" It was a little nutty, but it was better than staring at the candle.

"Not that we'd notice," she said. "It's generally a smooth transition. Everything picks up pretty much where it left off."

"How do you know that it happens at all, then?"

"You've just got to have faith. There are clues, though."


"Like, you know how your milk sometimes goes a bit funny before the expiration date? That's God's blinking that does that."

And in that moment, Phillip found his life transformed. He thought of the milk he poured into the sink just this morning, cursing it all the way down the drain. He'd desperately needed his Fruity Pebbles and everything at work had gone wrong because of this lack.

"My God, Amelia! We've got to do something about this!"

"Like what? How in the world could we ever keep God from blinking?"

"We can't keep him from blinking, that much is obvious, but maybe we can encourage him to blink less."


"Saline solution."


Where do you look to find God's eyes? Shoot a rocket into space? Astronomers had confirmed long ago that if God was in any physical location above the Earth, it wasn't anywhere we could reach in a lifetime or even twenty. If they weren't going to give up before they even began, Phillip and Amelia had to work from the "God is everywhere" school of thought. They created a huge saline diffuser and attached it to the back of Phillip's restored El Camino. They drove up the California highway spraying as they went. Things got a little better. Phillip's milk seemed to last a day or two more than it used to.

They filled their holding tanks for a second time as Phillip's next revelation came to him. He grabbed Amelia by the shoulders.

"Amelia, do you trust me?" he asked.

"Well, yeah, sure," she said. They'd been working on Project: Cosmic Redeye for two months by that point and she realized that her sister was right to set them up on that blind date. The two of them meshed.

"We need to go to Israel," he said.


"Think of it: How happy are you when you get sand in your eye?"

"Not very."

"Exactly. You think it's a coincidence that there's all that sand in the Middle East and all that fighting? God's irate, baby, and it's up to us to fix him up!"

"I'm with you," she said.

Phillip traded the El Camino for a sweet dune buggy and the two of them roamed the sands of the Fertile Crescent, spraying everything they saw with their solution. The violence didn't stop but it certainly eased up and six months later there was hope for serious peace talks for the first time in years. Phillip and Amelia had a celebratory dinner at a decent restaurant. They couldn't afford anything too fancy as their work didn't bring them any money. After dessert, Amelia became serious.

"Phillip, what if this only lasts as long as we spray? Who's going to carry on our work? Everyone thinks we're insane."

"I've been thinking about that also, Amelia." He took her hand. "We could pass the torch on to our children."

"Our children?"

"Marry me, Amelia." Phillip wasn't nervous in the least. He'd eaten his Fruity Pebbles this morning. There was only one thing she could say.

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