Granddad's Little Accident
Several Billion years ago, God created the world.
Yes, He did.
Okay, maybe it was His brother. Maybe the whole family were sitting round one afternoon, and, like happens in most families, somebody (probably Granddad), inadvertently released a foul smelling explosion of gas.
"Whoa!" someone cries out.
"Ugh," says someone else.
"For Dad's sake," complains another. "That's disgusting."
Granddad says, "What? Why you all looking at me?"
"I wonders," pipes up Granma. "Who else we gonna look at when someone stinks up the whole place? We got to find somewhere bigger."
"Bigger than the Universe?" Granddad pulls a face. "Practical as usual. Pah!"
"Pah - ra - lel," Granma comes back at him. "As in Parallel Universes. Then you can have one all to yourself, and stink it out as much as you want, cos no one's going to visit you."
"Here we go," Granddad says, standing up and tucking the newspaper under his arm. "If anyone wants me, I'll be in the shed."
"Who'd want you?" Granma shouts after him. "Go on. See you in a couple of aeons."
"And whose cooking is to blame for that?"
Granddad shuffles off, muttering all the way.
Halfway to the shed, Granma's cooking attacks him again. It starts with a rumbling in the region of his stomach, a bit of gurgling, some bouncing around, like giants are juggling with a couple of cannonballs (or Granma's dumplings), then acrobats in heavy boots start trying out a few somersaults. There's a build-up of pressure and try as he might, Granddad can't stop this great onrush of natural gas escaping and knocking down nearby trees and faraway mountains.
"Ay, Caramba!" God's brother shouts in the middle of inventing Spanish. "Lo que era?"
"Eh?" says God."
"What's going on?"
"Una explosion gigantesco ."
"Una gran bomba."
"Speak English," God commands him, these being the days before He knew absolutely everything.
"It sounds like..."
"A huge sound?"
"That the best you can come up with?"
God glares at him, making his brain struggle even more.
"Er, it was, er...a...big..."
"A big what?"
"A big BANG!"
"A big bang?" God looks at him in disgust. "That's the best you can come up with? Pathetic."
God's brother stomps off, already thinking up some Spanish swearwords. God is about to go back to inventing ants, or whatever He was doing, but when He steps outside, it's absolute CHAOS. Within less than a millisecond, Granddad's unfortunate accident has caused a right mess. God is absolutely furious.
"Granddad!" He booms.
Granddad tries to make himself small, but God's all-seeing eye pins him down. His other, slightly less all-seeing, since He had the accident peering into a volcano when he was younger, watches the debris of Granddad's eruption shooting off into the distance, forming stars and galaxies and goodness knows what else.
"Sorry." Granddad tries to appease Him.
"Sorry?" God shakes His mighty head. "You're always sorry. But who has to clean this all up. Eh? Me, that's who. Good grief."
"I'm sorry," Granddad repeats. "Shall I get the brush and shovel?"
"Yeah, right," God says. "And while you're at it, see if one of your offspring's managed to invent the vacuum cleaner yet."
Granddad doesn't react well to sarcasm.
"You ask me," he says, quietly, "all these vacuums is part of the problem. If you didn't go leaving vacuums lying around all over the place, half these accidents wouldn't happen in the first place.
God hears him with His all-hearing ear - the other one being slightly impaired since one of the kids left the volume on the music of the spheres turned up to eleven: "Oy, that hurt!"
"Accidents?" He shouts. "You're the accident. Maybe I been leaving too many Granddads lying around..."
Meanwhile, Granddad's little accident goes hurtling off and hurtling off. In a blink of God's good eye, or a few billion years to you and me, Galaxies form and dissolve. Stars are born, grow up, get jobs, retire, die, and go off to form new stars, or planets. Those with no ambition become asteroids, or float around aimlessly as bits of dust. Eventually they become something else, whether they want to or not.
Backwards and forwards they drift and bounce, one day finding themselves part of a carbon monoxide iceberg on the planet Aagh! (named after one of God's Granma's cooking experiments), next they turn up as part of a drop of mucus slipping from a dinosaur's nostril.
On and on, bits of Stardust, recycling and recycling, over and over, all around the Universe.
Incredibly, miraculously, after millions and millions of years, loads of these bits of dust and atoms and molecules, somehow decide to get together, and to make something that has never been made, ever before, anywhere.
Something so unique, so beautiful, so wonderful, God and His family stop their interminable arguing and gaze down proudly at the Earth.
"Wow," they say. "Look what we made."
""What we made?" Granddad shouts from the shed. "Now you like something I did, suddenly it's we? Ha!"
Everyone ignores him, of course, being too astonished at the incredible result of all the interconnected accidents that had led to this moment. In the endless expanse of time and space, in the countless events, great and small, that had taken place...
If Imhotep had formed a sect
And not become an architect
If Moses had no slaves to free
The burning bush he didn't see
If Alex the G hadn't had the runs
Devaki had but seven sons
If Noah hadn't built a boat
Or found too late it wouldn't float
If Isaac hadn't met Rebecca
Mohammed hadn't conquered Mecca
If Pontius P had called in sick
The crowd Barabbus hadn't picked
If Mars had settled down with Venus
She-wolf eaten Rom and Remus
If Romans had discovered oil
Gas, electric, bacofoil
If Buddha plumped for luxury
and not a bed beneath a tree
Confucious had received the meat
the Duke had thought he shouldn't eat
A cobra had thought, "What the heck,"
And sunk his fangs in Nanak's neck
Had Leonardo lost his sight
Or Shakespeare never learned to write
The Trojan fools had burned the horse
Henry been allowed divorce
If Ghandi's mum had never married
Hitler's mother had miscarried
Disney not drawn Mickey Mouse
Stalin never left the house
If Mao Tse-Tung had died at birth
James Earl Ray not lived on Earth
If Lennon never met McCartney
If God's grandfather hadn't farted...
If... If... If...
If only one thing had been different.
If the Earth had been parked just a few miles further from the Sun...
If the Moon was a fraction smaller, or bigger, or in a fractionally different place...
If only one speck of dust had landed on a different spot of land...
If one microscopic creature had turned left instead of right, on Thursday 2nd of March, 25 million years BC...
If one car had arrived thirty seconds earlier in Franz Josef Street, Sarajevo, on 28 June 1914, or not mistakenly driven into it in the first place...
If only ONE of these things, or one of a billion, trillion others, had been different , in any way, no matter how minutely...
...history would not have led to this historic, earth-shattering, momentous occasion.
This astounding creation.
This brilliant, astonishing, magnificent achievement.
This beautiful, wonderful, breathtaking...