Author: David Henson

The God Locator, no bigger than a TV remote, projected a hologram of the world with veins of light indicating the presence of God. The projection could be small as a grapefruit or big enough to fill a room. In certain areas, the light sparkled more brightly. These “halos” blinked on and off in different locations around the virtual planet to indicate where God’s invisible presence was especially strong in the real world at any given moment.

The effects of the God Locator rippled through the population.

Followers traveled in flocks, leaving shrines in their wake, as they pilgrimed to locations where halos appeared in the simulation.

Illegal gambling syndicates took bets on where the halos would materialize next.

One woman claimed she regained her sight, when, after a lifetime of blindness, she spent three days and nights inside her GL’s hologram. Her book, “I Can See Clearly Now,” became a runaway best seller.

A group called the Agnostic Collective offered a million dollar reward to anyone who provided convincing evidence of a real-world halo.

William Chaugeaux, the creator of the technology, sometimes felt guilty about the folly his invention wrought. But he usually dealt with the pang — and accompanying migraine — by buying another car. He charged very little for the device itself, and his factories could barely keep up with demand.

One day, lounging on his private beach in back of his palatial home, a holographic globe shimmering on the small table beside him, Chaugeaux called his chief engineer, Ms. Wence, to discuss his vision for the God Locator 2.0. “I want zoom-in capability. Imagine going to street view where there’s a halo,” he said, massaging his temples.

“Got it. Any change to the fractal randomizer?”

“We’ll use the same halo positioning algorithms,” Chaugeaux said, rubbing the sides of his head more vigorously.

“Fine. As long as we’re altering the design, we could easily incorporate regular AAAs. People are spending a fortune on our special batteries, and their life will be even shorter with the 2.0.”

Chaugeaux pressed the heel of his hand to his forehead. “Exactly …” he muttered, but was in too much pain to continue and disconnected the call.

Stretching his neck side to side, Chaugeaux noticed that a halo in the God Locator hologram beside him seemed to be near his location. He glanced reflexively into the sky, but of course, there was nothing. Just the blazing sun.

He began to sweat and kneaded the back of his head with his thumbs. The sun seemed even hotter. He felt his skin burn and thought he could burst into flames. He ran for the house, but the sand scorched his feet. Overcome, he collapsed and squirmed like one of the worms he focused the sun’s rays on with a magnifying glass when he was a child. Shrieking and laughing deliriously, he wondered if whoever found his ashes would claim the million dollars.

A short time later, a couple trespassing on Chaugeaux’s beach came across him. In the emergency room, doctors gave Chaugeaux a mild sedative, a numbing spray for his slight sunburn, and strong painkillers for his hysteria-inducing migraine.

Fearing addiction, Chaugeaux flushed the pills and instead bought a ‘57 Chevy in pristine condition.

The GL 2.0 was a huge success even though the price of batteries doubled and their life was 30 percent shorter. Numerous people tried to claim the million dollar reward, but the Agnostic Collective remained steadfastly unconvinced.