Becomes One Hundred Stories #48: Wakes to a Strange Voice

This is a piece of short fiction in the style and universe of three of my novels: Becomes the Happy Man, Becomes God’s Silent Prophet, and Becomes the Meaning Blossom.

Wakes to a Strange Voice

The voice woke the man from his sleep. The voice woke the man from the middle of his sleep in the middle of the night.

The man woke up when the voice woke him from the middle of his sleep in the middle of the night. The man woke up and asked what the voice wanted.

The voice said it was the voice of the supreme being.

The man said he did not believe it.

The voice said it didn’t matter what the man believed or didn’t believe.

The man told the voice to say what the voice had to say and let him get back to sleep. The man said he had much work to do in the morning.

The voice said he wanted the man to work for him in the morning.

The man did not believe the voice was the voice of the supreme being, but he wanted to get to sleep, so he decided to humor the voice. The man asked the voice what kind of work the voice wanted the man to do the next morning.

The voice said in the first place the voice wasn’t the one who wanted the man to work for him in the morning, but rather the supreme being was the one who wanted the man to work for him in the morning. Then the voice told the man what the supreme being wanted the man to do for him the next morning.

The man said he had already planned to do that work the next morning.

The voice said but not for the supreme being.

The man asked what the difference was.

The voice said it was a matter of attitude. A matter of spirit. A matter of preserving one’s soul for all eternity.

The man said he did not know how to do that.

The voice said all he had to do was agree to do the work the next morning in the name of the supreme being.

The man said that was unnecessary as he already had planned to do that work anyway.

The voice agreed it was unnecessary, but the voice said the man would receive a blessing if he did the work in the name of the supreme being.

The man said he had enough blessings. He said he counted his blessings each day and each day he found he had enough blessings.

The voice said the man could store his blessing against the day of judgment. The voice said the blessing would be like extra credit.

The man said he didn’t think he was much in arrears on that count.

The voice said perhaps. Then the voice said but perhaps not.

The man said he was certain even if the voice wasn’t.

The voice said it wasn’t the voice that had spoken but rather the supreme being, and the man should reconsider the tone of voice he was using in addressing the supreme being.

The man said that’s how he always behaved when someone woke him up in the middle of the night. He added especially when strange voices claiming to be the voice of the supreme being woke him up in the middle of the night.

The voice said the man would recognize the voice of the supreme being if he paid more attention to the ceremonies celebrating the supreme being in his community.

The man said he would not argue about it.

The voice said why.

The man said the question was irrelevant.

The voice said how could the supreme being be irrelevant.

The man said the question whether the supreme being existed or not was what was irrelevant.

The voice said that was right. The voice said when something existed, it was irrelevant to question that existence.

The man said as far as he was concerned, the only thing he knew that existed at that moment was himself and some strange voice.

A female voice beside the man said and what about her.

The man said and her voice. He said he was certain her voice existed too.

The voice said who was that.

The female voice said she was Philosophy. She said who did the voice think he was.

The voice said he was the supreme being. Or rather the voice of the supreme being.

The female voice said to go away and let the man sleep. She said the man had much work to do the next morning.

The voice said all he was asking was for the man to do his work in the name of the supreme being.

The female voice said the supreme being did not exist.

The man said that was a superfluous statement and he was surprised such a wise woman as Philosophy would make such an error.

The female voice told the man to watch his attitude or he would find himself sleeping alone in the future.

The man said whether he slept alone or not was irrelevant to him. He said he had slept alone enough in the past.

The female voice said what a load of thanks that was.

The voice said the man wasn’t very thankful was he.

The female voice told the voice to stay out of it.

The voice said the supreme being was everywhere and could no more stay out of the man’s affairs than a needle could pass through the eye of a camel.

The female voice said that made no sense, and she added that the supreme being didn’t exist. Not anywhere and certainly not everywhere.

The voice said look who was talking. He said all he heard was a female voice who claimed to be the voice of Philosophy.

The man said he could prove Philosophy existed.

The voice said go ahead.

The man turned on a light.

Philosophy pulled a blanket over herself and squinted at the sudden brightness.

The man said there she was, in the flesh.

The voice said he very well could see.

Philosophy said what could the voice do to prove the supreme being existed.

The voice said the man could be sure the supreme being existed by receiving the supreme being’s blessing when he did his work the next morning in the name of the supreme being.

Philosophy said that was no kind of proof.

The voice said it was enough for anyone who had found favor in the eyes of the supreme being.

The man said he found it irrelevant whether or not he had found favor in the eyes of the supreme being.

Philosophy said it was worse than irrelevant. She said it was plain wrong.

The man said it was enough for him that it was irrelevant. He added that if Philosophy wanted to argue with the voice about the question of whether the supreme being existed or not or argue over whether the voice was the voice of the supreme being or not then she should take it outside and let the man sleep in peace.

Philosophy said it was wrong to let someone fraudulently claim something existed when it clearly did not, especially when claiming some sort of authority over others.

The man said it was all irrelevant to him.

Philosophy said the man didn’t have to be a conformist. She said the man had a long way to go if he wanted to truly be one of her followers.

The man said he didn’t want to be one of her followers, and he never would. He said he would be her partner, or rather an associate, but not a follower.

The voice laughed. The voice laughed and said Philosophy had found her way into a strange bed that time, and wasn’t she already regretting it.

Philosophy said shut up. She told the man to go to sleep and to tell the voice—and whatever it was the voice of—to go to hell. Then she pulled the blanket tighter over her shoulders and rolled over and pretended to sleep while she pouted.

The voice asked the man what he would do.

The man said he would go to sleep and wake up in the morning and do his work.

And he did and he did and he did. In no one’s name but his own.

To read more stories in the series, see the Becomes One Hundred Stories page.

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