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A Man of Yet a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison


I was first compelled to give some thought to God’s plan for the Universe when the Angel Gabriel appeared to me in the company boardroom, late one evening when the corporate headquarters was deserted.

I freely admit that I was terrified. For one thing, I’d been totally taken-in by the “Dawkins Delusion”, so hadn’t expected there to be a God - nor an associated hierarchy of celestial beings. Also, I had built my multi-national with no regard to the lives I had wrecked along the way, nor the massive ecological damage done by my mines and factories.

As Gabriel stood before me within a halo of radiant light, I was expecting to be directed to the super-fast executive elevator to Hell.

‘You are blessed amongst men,’ announced the Archangel.

‘Have you got the right address?’ I responded in surprise.

Gabriel pulled a sheet of paper from his white, flowing robe and consulted it. ‘Are you Henry Greedbanker, the psychopathic bastard who built Earthrape Enterprises?’

‘Well… yes,’ I admitted.

‘I’ve got the right person then,’ confirmed Gabriel, replacing the note. ‘Anyway, as I was saying, God is greatly pleased that you are doing His will. He wants to encourage you to continue with your current behaviour, and assure you that you are destined for an honoured place in the Kingdom of Heaven.’

I suppose I was overcome with the emotion of the moment. I fell to my knees and praised the Lord. Then, as I fervently worshiped my Creator, I began to think things through: I wasn't oblivious to having led a hedonistic existence and to doing more than most to expedite the end of the world. My schoolboy understanding of Christian ethics seemed to be at variance with the Archangel’s message. ‘Can I ask a question?’ I said to my angelic companion.

‘A question?’

‘A sentence that’s aimed to elicit an answer,’ I clarified.

‘No one’s ever asked me a question before.’ He looked puzzled. ‘They’ve just accepted my messages from God, without comment.’

I rose from my knees, sat down at the boardroom table and beckoned for him to join me.

I looked into his eyes. ‘I’m the most powerful industrialist on Earth,’ I continued. ‘Up until ten minutes ago, I thought I was God.’ I paused. ‘What’s this all about?’

‘Just what I said,’ he responded with bewildered confusion.

‘For God’s sake man,’ I said with a note of frustration, ‘I’m a leading force in driving this planet to destruction. How can I possibly be doing God’s will?’

Gabriel looked down at the table and spoke falteringly. ‘God’s downsizing and relocating,’ he mumbled.

‘Downsizing what and relocating from where?’


‘I don’t understand.’

Gabriel paused to think of a way to explain. ‘You know those nuclear weapons you sell to terrorists?’ he said.

‘Yes. What about them?’

‘They have to be assembled in precisely the right way or they won’t work.’


‘It’s like that with a Universe.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘In order for life to exist in the Universe, lots of things have to be precisely balanced. For example, there can only be a limited number of conscious beings.’

‘So God needs to limit the Earth’s population?’

‘He wants to make Earth’s population redundant so he can concentrate on expanding life on Gliese 581g. The laws of this Universe only allow enough conscious beings for one planet.’

I could see the logic. ‘A bit like when I closed that factory in Wigan and moved production to Cambodia to get the benefit of the cheap, un-unionised labour,’ I said.

‘In a way,’ agreed Gabriel.

‘So He’s trying to wipe out life on Earth?’ I summarised.

‘I’m afraid so.’

I was confused. ‘Why doesn’t He just send a plague or a flood or something?’

‘Have you read the papers recently?’ questioned Gabriel. ‘He’s sent floods, volcanoes, earthquakes and plagues. You lot are very difficult to kill. We were getting worried that mankind would get suspicious about His divine carnage, but humans have this strange view about God as being innocent of anything bad while being responsible for everything good.’ Gabriel sighed. ‘He killed half the population of Haiti in 2009 and everyone thanked him for saving one child that luckily got away.’

Gabriel brought his mind back to the business in hand and looked at me earnestly. ‘We need people on the inside, like you, who can promote wars and global warming.’

‘Now you’ve told me, do you expect me to go along with the plan?’ I questioned.

‘Just carry on having a good time with no regard for the planet or anything else.’ Gabriel recommended. ‘You’ll be dead fifty years before the planet dies. If you help us, a nice future life can be arranged for you on Gliese 581g – plenty of wealth and women.’

I thought for a moment. ‘Fair enough,’ I said, winking conspiratorially at him.

Gabriel winked back, smiled and then vanished in a glow of unearthly blue light.