Martin visits Liz

Posted on January 24, 2004 by Jenna

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1. Liz reads.
2. Martin knocks on Liz’s door.
3. Liz opens the door.
4. “Hi!” Martin says. “I’m here to explain the divine plan for your life.”
5. Liz looks skeptical, so Martin shines with the subtle radiance of the numinous.
6. Liz sits back down.

“First, ” Martin says, “you need to have faith.”

“I do now,” Liz admits, having seen Martin radiate.

“No,” Martin says. “That’s rational belief. It’s mundane and normal to accept the numinous when you can see it firsthand. Then, later, the preponderance of evidence makes you doubt. Surely, you decide, I never happened. It was drugs in the water. You were tired. It was a hallucination. It wasn’t real. The numinous doesn’t fit the rest of your life. Therefore, it can’t exist. That’s how rational people cope with me. You need to give that up and have faith. Otherwise, you’ll fail at everything I want you to do.”

Liz sighs. “Faith scares me.”

Martin shrugs.

Liz sighs and looks for her faith dial. It’s a big dial on the wall marked “Liz’s Faith”. She cranks it up to 8. “Are you happy?”

“Maybe.” Martin thinks. “If you really loved me, you’d go to 10.”

Liz smiles wryly.

“In any event,” Martin says. “I want you to move to California and become a lawyer.”

Liz glances nervously at the faith dial. “Okay.”

“And then I want you to kill the first gas station attendant you find.”


“You heard me.”

Liz frowns. “Can that be right?”

Martin thinks. “Yes, it can. That’s the advantage of knowing the divine plan for you. Everything you do is right. You don’t have to know how or why. That gas station attendant might be a future war criminal or a serial killer. Or maybe it’s that one domino to push over to ensure a happier tomorrow. Whatever it is, it’ll be okay.”

“It sounds almost schizophrenic,” Liz says. “I mean, you come here, and you start telling me to kill someone—isn’t that what happens to mad people?”

“Yes,” agrees Martin. “And they’re right to obey. It doesn’t matter why they hear the voice of the divine. Their brain records it as evidence of divine will, and that creates a responsibility to fulfill it.”

“So … it’s not immoral?”

Martin tilts his head to one side. “Well, it’s murder. That’s immoral. Divine will doesn’t let you off the hook. It just creates a separate, higher responsibility.”

“Wait. You’re telling me that I have to be a murderer? I mean, that it’d be real?”

“No excuses,” says Martin. He radiates more intensely. “It’s your choice to do the right thing and serve me. It’s your duty to pay the moral cost.”

“But it’s not a choice. You’re standing there radiating. If I don’t kill him, it’s derailing the way things should happen. It’s betraying everything.”

“This is true,” admits Martin. “But I’ll leave. You can decide I wasn’t real. You can decide this didn’t happen. It was drugs in the water. You were tired. It was a hallucination. Then you won’t have to be a killer. You won’t even have to move to California. All you have to do is turn the faith dial back down, and fail at everything you were created for.”

“I can’t.”

“Not while I’m here,” Martin agreed. “You’d never do it to my face. But the dial’s there. And I’ll be gone.”