Monday, February 2, 2015

A Martian Considers the Possibility of Church Life

What follows is a brief excerpt from my book, The Martian, the Angel and the Robot. By the time you would reach this point, the story takes some things for granted. So I’ll fill in the gaps. The three characters here are the title characters, Fred, a martian, Will, an angel, and Bob, a robot from a mechanical world. They are all strangers to Earth, masquerading as humans when they leave their house. The story describes alien views of day to day life. This is their first conversation about religion. It opens with a question from the martian, and he isn’t even certain what religion is.
“Should we go to church?”
“Excuse me?”
“Should we go to church?,” Fred repeated.
“Church?,” Bob asked, “where humans gather to believe in God?”
“Yeah.”
Will was as dumbfounded as Bob by the question. “Why can’t you believe in God right here?”
Fred looked back and forth at his friends. “I don’t know.”
Bob whirred slightly. Some minor part of his robot anatomy had slipped, so he let out some strange sounds from time to time. It seemed to embarrass him slightly. “Sorry about that. It’ll pass as soon as I tighten up the Q dials right.” He shifted weight and the whirring was quieted a bit. The moment, however uncomfortable, had granted him time to develop the pertinent question. As obvious as it was, neither he nor Will realized that it should have been the first words spoken in response to Fred’s unexpected query. “What makes you think we should go to church?”
“Mrs. White thinks we should go to church.”
“Mrs. White wants us to go to church.” Will was in his angelic form. This was not the first time the others noticed that confusion could dim his aura slightly. “Who the hell is Mrs. White?”
“We tend her lawn.”
“She’s one of your customers,” Bob said.
Will chuckled, “Well I don’t think they do that for anyone else.”
“Right. Sorry. Why does Mrs. White care if Will and I go to church? We’ve never met the woman.”