Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
I’m about to tear the end off another sachet when a voice sounds in my mind.
“Go easy on the sugar. Too much of it makes me ache.”
I look about. There’s nobody else except for the two staff. It’s not a busy period: early in the morning at the all-night café round the back of the shops in Crawley.
Returning to my task, I rip and tip, then stir.
“Is it really necessary to have six sugars?”
Same voice. Still nobody nearby, no visible artificial speakers, either.
It’s 06:00 at the arse end of Sussex. Okay, I’ll go along with it. But in whispers. No need to get carted off as a nutter just yet.
“You haven’t tried the coffee here.”
“I haven’t tried the coffee anywhere. I’ve often been coffee, though. Tea, too. Quite honestly, I’d rather be something carbonated. Better still, champagne. Bubbles are fascinating.”
“No texture unless it’s too cloudy to see anything in.”
I’ll admit to being curious.
“The threads that comprise things. Waves, strings, and more that you have no words for.”
“Because you can’t see or feel them, and as your sciences don’t predict them, you won’t look.”
Hold the phone…
“Yes. Yours. I don’t need science. I already am.”
“Best word you have is ‘god’.”
I look about. Still no sign of tricksters: not that being unable to see them means a whole damn lot, these days.
“So you’re a god. I have divine coffee this morning.”
“Don’t be silly. How can a cup of warm fluid be a power? In size terms for this reality, I’m about the size of a lepton.”
“Is that like an atom?”
I remember a teacher talking about subatomic particles. Very small, then.
“You’re a bit small to be a god, aren’t you?”
“For your universe, yes. For my universe, no.”
“Size is only relative within a single reality. Thus, here, I am represented as a tiny particle. In my reality, I am the all. Right now, your reality could be part of a grain of sugar plummeting towards a cup of tea in another reality. We’re all part of a gigantic moving pattern.”
My head hurts. But…
“It’s a dance?”
“Yes. A more appropriate term in some ways, too.”
“So, before this grain we’re in hits the other-reality tea, answer me one thing: why am I talking to my coffee?”
“Just because the sugar we’re part of dissolves, it doesn’t mean we do. Conservation of energy and a few other things prevent that. Why are we talking? Because I’m curious.”
“Why did your god give you free will? I haven’t given my sentients any, and things are a lot simpler.”
No, wait… What?
“I have no idea. Why on Earth would you expect me to be able to answer?”
A woman’s voice cuts in.
“Because he knew I’d be nearby. Gods are like that. We tend to know when and where the more powerful ones are.”
I look up to meet the regard of sparkling pink eyes.
“To answer the question: I willed it. The alternatives are too tedious. Despite nearly resetting creation a couple of times when humans drove me to despair, they continue to display flashes of beauty, insight, and creativity far beyond my imagining. It gives me hope. You should try it.”
“I’ll consider it.”
“Do that somewhere else. Leave. Now.”
My coffee bubbles violently. I watch it.
“You should get a fresh one. That one’s gone off.”
I look up.
There’s no-one there.