[This is part eleven of my short story Belly. To start at the beginning, click here.]
“Young Jonas believes I’ve got a purpose to fulfill. I’m not sure what it is. Something cosmic, or religious, or spiritual. Whatever you want to call it. Young Jonas still believes. There’s this dream. Something ridiculous. A bad B-movie script. Worse than that. I’m in heaven, I guess, and it’s a full out battle between the angels and devils, or whatever the evil forces are. It’s not guys with horns and capes or anything like that, but you know who they are. And I’m right up in the front lines leading the charge, like the Archangel Michael, but I’m a kid. Who knows how my mind came up with such a thing, but it did.
“And that was a long time ago now, but young Jonas still believes that kind of crap. He’s here. He never left. He’s hidden away, but he’s here.”
“Grown-up Jonas, me, I lost my faith in that stuff many years ago. Since my 20s. I don’t know what finally did it. Losing someone. Losing more than someone. Spirit, purpose, good, evil, they all went too. And after the years, and the disappointments, and losing other someones, you have to justify it to yourself somehow.
“I justify it by seeing the world as pretty indifferent. There’s no kindness in it. Why would it care about any of us, or for any of us. It’s all blind luck who does well and who doesn’t. There’s no one up in the sky keeping score. Rewarding the good, punishing the evil. It’s all random events. There’s no reason to anything that happens. People get pushed onto their particular paths, and they bump into other people along the way, but who they bump into isn’t preordained. It’s dumb luck, like I said. Or blind luck, same thing. Throw in deaf luck too.
“Young Jonas is here though, and he squirms when I say that. And maybe I say it to make him squirm. Or maybe I say it as a challenge. Prove me wrong. If there’s someone or something out there, prove me wrong. Yeah, maybe I just want to get whatever it is mad, so it shows me I’m wrong. Take the Lord’s name in vain, blaspheme, whatever. Just to see. Prove me wrong, god dam you. Prove me wrong.”