|Bethany Murray, Snowsfields, London, UK, #unsettledgallery No.8|
Today we discover the Small World Future of.... Bethany Murray
The year is 2035....
He wandered the earth for a few weeks after The Great Comeback. He met up with old mates, his parents, his disciples. Well, eleven of them, anyway. Everyone who met him felt calmer, surer. Everyone felt a little less angry. He seemed, for a while, like a bit of a force for good. A mate of mine - a PA to Pontius Pilate - said even The Prefect spoke well of him.
We weren’t all so impressed though. Some of us wondered why he didn’t do more. He could have done anything he wanted - anything. He could’ve made a real difference. But no. He had A Cunning Plan, apparently. And one afternoon - forty days after - he gathered a few of us together on a hill and we watched him Ascend. Just like that. That grief-stricken night, he called me and I followed him Upstairs: what else could I do? I was a little flattered, to be honest. And a little scared. And a little ecstatic. He was so, so lonely. Always had been. I think the sharp, dark anomie he’d always carried with him like a sack of rocks finally got to him. What do you do after you’re Resurrected? After you’ve made your point? After you’ve made The Point? I knew what I’d done, what we’d all done. That too helped me make the decision to join him.
Time nodded past us. Years, decades, centuries. We sat, the two of us, in his father’s place and talked and sang and watched what was happening down there and reminisced. I apologised. I apologised so much.
Together, we watched acts of kindness, of sweetness. We watched The Inquisition. We watched games of Scrabble and stand-up comedy. We watched The Holocaust. We watched love-making and cheese-eating. We watched The Trump War. And then, one day - October, 2035 - He announced he was going to go back. He asked me if I wanted to go with him. But it felt wrong. ‘I’d rather not,’ I said.
I watched him. I watched him Descend and announce Himself. Some laughed when they met him. After a week or so wandering, chatting and sunbathing in The Secular State Of Israel, he took The SpaceHopper, for some reason, to The Free And Proud Kingdom Of England (c) (TM). And people there told him to go back to where he came from.
And then he went to Greater Russia - to Moscow and to Krakow and to Ljubljana - and to the Beneath-The-Wall Southern States - to Texas and to Louisiana and to Mexico. He spoke to people, performed miracles, started delivering speeches, sermons - in ShopMalls, on the MindWeb and in Insert.
I think I saw what was happening before he did. They were interpreting. They were twisting. They were skewing his words. All dully predictable, of course. They started to wrench his words to fit their ideas, their hates, their desires. Some said He was the reincarnation of The Great Boris. Some that he was the new Martin Luther King. A group in France said that he was Johnny Hallyday.
He stuck with the stuff that had always (sort of) worked: be kind, be nice. But I watched him getting older, tireder. He did a lot of bathing of sinners, men and women, boys and girls, and he was soon ‘exposed’ as a sex pest (#Christperv). They started a campaign to have him banned from universities.
I wondered for a while if I should - if I could - go Downstairs and help. But I knew that what was happening was all part - consciously or unconsciously - of his plan. One night - after an expose on BBC MindWeb’s ‘CrushACeleb’- he spoke to me from a motel room in Carolina. ‘Too much. Time to die,’ was all he said. In Aramaic. And I watched him open a bottle of whiskey and I watched him open a bottle of pills and I watched him die a second human death and I watched them bury him, bury him as one of them. I cried. I cried for days.
There was no Ascension this time. I gradually realised he knew all of this would happen, knew the message this time would be so much more powerful without the party tricks. And I decided then: I needed to go down there. I knew what I had to do.
I think you do too.