Most of the people simply continued about their business, some still working, others raising families, thankful that life had become much easier , never questioning why. The initial fears seemed to subside as everyone came to expect something new and wonderful each day.
I do remember reading about the probes of outer space; a majority of scientists were convinced that everything happening had to be the influence of some sort of superior alien; one that was making our Earth suitable for an impending visit. The skies were probed and scanned night and day, from every corner of the globe, but nary a sign was detected, no unusual flicker of light, electromagnetic wave or any sort of energy disturbance.
It was when the light finally appeared that the true meaning of it all became apparent. It started over South America, the Amazonian rain forest to be exact. The few observers said it was like the sun started to expand. Bright light filled the sky and blocked out everything else, no clouds, no sun, no stars or moon at night, just bright, white, warm light, day and night; without a flicker, but steadily expanding.
And, it wasn’t just the fact that there was this bizarre light “down there”. The “light”, wherever it shined, permeated everywhere and everything. Inside, outside, in a closet, even in the deepest cave, it found you. Slowly, over a few weeks, it circled the globe, carrying its luminescence to every nook and cranny. There was no hiding place, no day or night, just bright, warm, and, surprisingly, comforting light.
It was a true joy to be outside. I walked along streets that were covered with soft grass. Everywhere it was softness and comfort. Hard asphalt was gone replaced by a natural thick, plush carpet of blue green grass. Trees and bushes, laden with fruit grew everywhere. Most of the people seemed happy, content with this new world order. On one of my walks I met Dingo, at least that’s what we’d always called him at the hospital.
Dingo’s real name was Dennis, but he was given the nickname Dingo sometime during his younger days and it stuck. Dingo had Down’s Syndrome, had lived with his parents for years until they both passed away a couple of years before all these changes began. Social Workers brought him to a halfway house where he had a roof over his head and someone to look out for his needs. He always was around the hospital and we gave him lots of simple chores to do, deliveries to make and storage rooms to straighten and such. He really was a tireless worker and compulsive enough about doing a good job to have been a surgeon.
He was sitting in the grass eating an apple when I saw him.
“Hey, Dingo, how’s it going?” I asked, standing over him.
A big smile lit up his face as he patted the ground, an invitation to sit with him I surmised. I picked an apple form the nearby tree and sat down opposite him, staring at his beaming face.
“Don’t you think this is great, Dr. Marcus? God is coming back to us”, he stated as if it were a generally accepted fact.
“You may be right, Dingo. That certainly would be the best explanation for everything.”
“Oh, I know it’s God. It’s just like my Momma would tell me, before she went away. She’d set down next to me and read me some of the Bible and then she’d close it and say, ‘Someday, little Dennis’, she didn’t call me Dingo, ‘someday God is going to remember our little world here. He’ll remember that He made us and this world, just like it says in the book here, and He’ll come back for us and gather us all up to his house in Heaven and there’ll be such a party in Heaven. And, little Dennis, we’ll all be the same, He’ll look at each of us and love us the same. He won’t care if we’re rich or poor, smart or dumb. All He’ll know is that He made us, that we’re His children and the He loves us all. Even though we’ve been bad, he still loves us.’
“That’s what Momma used to tell me and now’s the time. You know, Dr. Marcus, I’m going to sit right here, eat the fruit He’s left for us and wait for Him. Because He’s coming and pretty soon we’ll all be in Heaven.”
I sat and stared into his innocent, believing face and saw hope and trust. No cynicism, no anger, no suspicion. We sat together for a while and then I left him. I envied him; simple faith is something I had never known.
It was at this point that everything stopped and I mean everything. Nothing worked, every TV, computer, automobile, every mechanical, electronic machine, even wind powered or solar powered simply went dead. As a matter of fact, I looked into the back of my computer and dust wafted out; the circuitry had become a mass of fused metal and silicon, perhaps useful as scrap meal, but totally nonfunctional.
With all this free time I went to visit another old friend, Mickey Simons, a very successful businessman, the inventor of the personal motorcar. “Ace”, as he was called by everyone that had ever met him, had designed the extremely low priced, but very functional, almost disposable vehicles as a way to travel around local areas vey inexpensively. He made a fortune before he sold out to Ford Motors. He lived in a huge mansion on the outside of town; I hadn’t seen him for years, but with nothing but free time I took the walk across town, curious to see hear his opinion about the strange happenings.
I found the green metal gate open when I arrived and the premises a bit unkempt. I knocked loudly on his large, imposing front door. Ace answered after a few minutes.
“Hello, Dr. Dan; good to see you, thanks for coming by”, he exclaimed, grabbing my hand and shaking it vigorously. “Come on in, Come in.”
It seemed like he was expecting me; as if I was an invited guest, rather than a surprise visitor. The huge mansion seemed deserted, except for Ace. I wasn’t sure if he was still married. I vaguely recalled that he had a wife named Judy, but something about an affair and a nasty divorce stuck in my mind, but then again it may have been someone else.
“Anyone else here with you?” I asked, trying to be nonchalant. It seems like a big place to manage alone.
“No one but me, at the moment. My wife left last year, took the kid with her and my hired help left when all these strange things started to happen. I had a handyman who took care of the grounds and his wife kept house. But, they left to find Jesus or God or something. Times being what they are, I’m managing OK. But, come with me; let me show you something.” His voice rang with enthusiasm.
I followed him to his garage where I saw a funny, strange looking vehicle, sort of part car and part bicycle.
“Meet the future”, he exclaimed proudly. “The autocycle, self propelled, uses the earth’s gravity and rotation along with the pedals to move. Has a solar panel to provide some juice. In the days ahead this baby is going to be humanity’s salvation.”
“Does it really work?” I asked, a bit skeptical that this freakish “autocycle” was anything more than a gimmick designed to put some cash into Ace’s pocket, sort of like the scam artists that sold radiation detectors to people in California after the earthquake and Tsunami of 2011.
“Of course it works”, Ace answered, a bit of irritation in his voice. “Climb aboard; take it for a spin. It’s top speed is about 35 mph.”
I climbed in and headed out and around his long circular driveway. The pedals turned with a minimum of effort and it was very comfortable and easy to use. I eased it back into the garage and stepped out, greeted by Ace, grinning from ear to ear.
“Great, isn’t it?” he asked as he opened the door.
“Looks like you’ve got a winner, Ace. Just one question, though. Why does anyone need to go anywhere? From what I can see, it’s the same here as at the South Pole.”
Ace’s grin grew even wider. “That’s true, for now, you’re right. But, do you really think all this peace and joy and tranquility is going to last? Let me tell you; we were thrown out of the Garden last time. This time we’ll leave of our own accord, probably shaking our fist at the God who has the audacity to think that he knows best. And, when the crash finally comes, I’ll be there with my autocycle; get as much as I can and live out my life in comfort.”
I stared down at the ground, slowly shaking my head. Sadness overcame me as I realized that Ace was right. God would be rejected, again, and all that would be left would be autocycles, hatred, selfishness, envy and death.
“I hope you’re wrong”, I whispered as I turned to leave. “I hope you’re wrong.”
As I walked a way I heard him call out “When the time comes I’ll be waiting; I’ll sell you one at half price.” His voice faded away as I walked quickly home, brushing a tear away as I passed a large group of people gathered on what had been a street corner, when there were actual cars that ran. I saw Meno standing on a bench addressing the crowd. I only caught a few of his words as I passed by, but the crowd was sizable and he seemed to be keeping the throng enthralled.
“Is this what we want? A promise …?”
I wasn’t sure if he was for all these changes or against them. I made a mental note to stop next time I saw him and listen more closely.