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  • I never thought I would find the Almighty wearing an oil-stained tank top and jeans.

    It had taken me a minute to figure out where I was -the last thing I remembered was the car crash on 29 South. I had died in such a common way (over a million/year, actually) that I was a bit disappointed, a fleeting wish that I had gone out.... impressively? peacefully? It didn't really matter, and the more I adjusted to my surroundings, the more I knew that an unusual calm had settled on my shoulders.

    Coming to my senses, I was struck by the sight of a network of mechanics that surrounded me on all sides. I appeared to be inside either a machine or factory so intricate and vast that just trying to take it all in was dizzying.

    Then came the noise.

    Clocks clicking slowly, gears perfectly interlocking near
    Pistons, worked by hydraulics and heat which puffed out
    White, billowing steam, to send propellers whizzing and cranking the
    Shafts that spun at breakneck velocity, working pulleys to support the
    Chains of all sizes, attached to large metal structures that held up
    The furnace, through which ran a tread that carried out white hot screws and nuts,
    Only to be added to the continually growing machine, all fastened with a


    The bright voice startled me out of my head, and I looked around to see Him lying on his back, grinning and squinting against a spray of black oil that misted from a conglomeration of bolted pipes. His voice rang through the air, displacing the din of mechanisms with a quieter, comforting tone.

    "Well," He laughed, "are you going to hand me the wrench on that table?"

    I nodded stupidly, wondering who my new friend was. Considering my situation, I had a pretty good guess. I handed Him the wrench, and I wondered what I should even say. That's what you were supposed to do, right? Once you met "God", you could have all of your life's questions answered? I stood there silently, unsure, as He closed the leak with one of the newly produced bolts from the furnace.

    He looked up again at me, head cocked to the side. "It's fine, go ahead and ask me. I don't mind a good chat"
    "Besides, we can hardly talk about the weather or football knowing you've got life's greatest mysteries on your mind."

    "Are you really God?" I asked, the question feeling very unfamiliar in my mouth.

    "Sure am."

    "Well, what happens now?"

    God stood up, wiped off his face, and picked up one of the cooled screws. He looked at me. "I'll give it to you straight. You are about to be reincarnated here into a piece of metal, or in your dimension, another person. You see, every single piece of this machine is a person. After they die, they are made into another one for a different part of the machine, to see if they run smoother."

    "What do you mean, run smoother?"

    "No piece is ever perfect at first, it takes lifetimes of trial and error for me to discover what one should be. Take you, for example. In this past life you were a lever."

    "A fucking what?"

    "Yes, you worked very well with the eye-bolts and gears around you; you made good connections and healthy relationships with everyone you met. All in all, a good fit for you." God smiled proudly, looking pleased with me. "Now, that's not to say you couldn't have been better. That's my job, to figure out how you can reach your full potential, as you yourself change and develop with each new life. You're about to become a piston, or as you would understand it, an Irish farmer in the 17th century."

    God paused and frowned, as if He remembered something unpleasant. "It's not always easy you know, sometimes people just don't fit correctly. Hitler was gear about a mile that way," He said vaguely gesturing in one direction. "At first it seemed that everything ran smoothly, but the edges eventually wore down and sprung out, ending up in the failure of millions of pipes, gears, wires, coils, rods, and three major engines. When a piece faults that badly, it takes a while for me to heat them up and reshape them into something better."

    I blinked, trying to understand the metaphor God seemed to be making. Something had made me confused. "Are you saying that there are only a constant amount of "real" people that exist, cycling through different reincarnations? In other words, no new people are born?"

    He smiled and raised an eyebrow. "Actually, that's a mystery that's beyond me. This furnace right here is one of many that produces new souls, brand new people that start off as small screws and bolts," He said, holding up the screw in His hands. "The process beings anew, and this machine never stops growing. I think I'll make this one a teacher, to start."

    "But why?! What is the purpose of this machine? If we're all little mechanical parts, what's so great that we're ultimately creating?"

    God looked me dead in the eyes, a sudden serious change in his attitude. "The true purpose of this machine is literally nothing. It does nothing. If you spend infinity trying to trace every change in energy and motion. it would come back to where you started."

    "The whole point is that it WORKS, even if it doesn't produce jack shit. This is the key concept; the machine is beautiful as a whole not because it makes anything, but solely because it runs as one being." He smiled. "Your purpose, and everyone's purpose, is to be as helpful as you can to each other. To uplift one another and promote peace, to support those in need and make a difference in the world, all for life to cycle as perfectly a machine as possible."

    "It's time to go now, friend. Good luck with your next life." God took me by the hand, and I was born again.
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