New World Order

Bruce Holland Rogers

I meant to win the heart of Oola Pax, she of the violet eyes and the swaying hips. When Oola and her friends were out walking in the garden, I did a back flip from a standing start. I thought, How do you like me now, Oola? She pretended not to have seen. For the benefit of her friends, she pointed to the russet hills in the distance. Weren’t they lovely? I asked if I could be of service. I lifted the shortest friend of Oola Pax over my head so she could have an unimpeded view. Oola’s friend laughed, but Oola allowed herself only a faint smile.

Perhaps feats of strength were not the thing by which such a woman would be impressed. I put down Oola’s friend and began to recite the value of pi to many decimal places. When I got to 33832, Oola put her hand over her heart. She looked at me as if seeing me for the first time. She said, “My goodness!”

I returned her smile. I was doing well. Now for some really good cosmology, to show her the power of my thoughts. I re-imagined various universal constants. I made water a gas at one hundred degrees centigrade. I shifted the mass of the electron. I caused stars to implode and other matter to fly apart. In short, I unmade the universe, then put it all together again. How do you like me now?

But I must have left something out of the universe, some little cosmological spring or gear, for the universe reassembled was not the perfection it had been before. In this reconstructed order, the garden was a wheat field and I stood there all alone.

The sky is blue, and the stars are visible only at night. Animals live by tearing the flesh of other animals. But these are not the worst things. In this new order there are many holy books rather than the one. These holy books are full of murder, not math and sober explanations. One scripture disagrees with another. Human beings are aggressive, cranky, and likely to kill. I’d put everything back if I could, but my mind is fogged and my memory fails a little more each day.

I made an honest mistake. Call it a crime if you wish, but leave me alone. In this broken creation, Oola Pax is named Amy Ventura. She doesn’t even know I’m alive, and I’m all out of tricks.