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No one knew the exact day the last member of civil society packed their designer suitcases and hurried out of the pockmarked city. Left behind were gardens overgrown with deranged bougainvillea, dusty books on political theory, quaint paintings depicting better times...
Only the poor and the gunmen were left to squabble over their homes. Of course the politicians were still holding on. They would be the last to go, although many had been dispatched prematurely. Now they drove around in bulletproof convoys running over anyone who got in their way, so afraid were they of being blown up. They held their press briefings and did their best to put a sheen on a country which had long ceased to exist as a functioning nation. The National Assembly had fallen into disrepair and was now used by youths to play five-a-side soccer sponsored by a liquor company. The High Court judges had nothing to do since the few police actually on duty had stopped making arrests some time ago. Most were now freelancing. An election petition was the only show in town and this was often interrupted by donkeys careening through the law courts. The public hospital was cheerfully empty...of doctors and nurses. Terminally ill patients had taken over whole wings.
And everywhere the sound of gunfire, common as car horns before the fuel imports dried up. Dried up because the country had long stopped producing sugar.
Who would cut it? Not rice, the farmers were now working as security guards in far away lands. This was a service economy. People sold drugs to each other and funeral parlours buried everyone. Death announcements went on for hours between political and religious programmes. Sadly Cheezuz had not come and saved everyone.
And wherefore the bourgeoisie? How merry and unconcerned they had been back then. Cocktails at eight. Perhaps they could not contemplate that it would all end so badly, convinced that mankind was a work in progress. ďHeaven no! Things are bad, so, so bad they can only get better... Call me weíll do lunch... Iím working with blind people.Ē But it did and they left. Many got on the plane wearing socks and shorts having been stripped of all their possessions on the way to the airport. Others were just picked off one by one for their cars, wedding bands and decency.
And now the country only existed in their minds. It took up residence on the web pages of the newspaper. Meet me on page eight we will argue religion, letís take a walk down memory lane. This was a safe place to live which had detached itself from the country like a cruise ship setting off from some fetid foreign port, sailing into an ocean of infinite remorse.
I have noted with interest a number of letters over the last few weeks which refer to my activities since time immemorial. Being the subject of this discourse I felt it important that I make a contribution and set a few things straight for your readers. But I would like to first state how much I enjoy reading your newspaper and yes.. keep up the good work. Justin de Freitas says I was rather unfair with Adam and Eve in that they had no notion of good and evil. Look I made it pellucidly clear to both of them that they shouldnít eat from that tree. Did they need to know more? I was the boss and what I said went - no questions asked. Sure enough they did. Was I too harsh in banning them from Paradise? Maybe but I was hopping mad at the time. I could have been a shade more understanding and in retrospect I could have given them a second chance but I am known to have a terrible temper which I am getting therapy for. Frankly I was getting tired of the two lovebirds anyway. They were leaving their fruit peels everywhere and spent most of the time frolicking around in the jacuzzi.
The thing is that you humans are a troublesome lot like badly behaved schoolchildren. So about a few hundred years ago, just after you treated my son really badly ..donít remind me ...I said I would just leave you all alone. Hence you havenít seen a miracle for donkeyís years. I used to do them all the time... water into wine that was my favourite.
But now I let you do your own thing. Itís better for me. I just donít have the time fixing everything on planet earth like some overworked handyman. And if I did you would be calling on me every day to stop this tidal wave or famine. It canít work. And by the way I have no influence on the outcome of any sporting event so please stop thanking me. Nor can I arrange for small children to get certain Xmas toys. Most of your requests are completely unreasonable and frivolous and reflect more your own idleness and greed. Now on the question of Sodom and Gomorrah, those guys were doing some really crazy stuff. No way I was going to go down there and check it out. Donít worry with what they said in Genesis. I am always being misquoted.
I may be omniscient but I am having a helluva time understanding how computers work. Your scientists are getting a little too smart for my liking. That is why I have given them that ozone hole problem to distract them from cloning themselves.
Another letter writer complained about televangelists. Let me state categorically that I love those guys! They have done wonders for my image as a fun loving kind of groovy deity. Iím down with that, I am.
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