Writing Excuses Exercise

First draft; final to follow soon.

David Alan Jones



“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President.”

“The pleasure is mine, Pastor Phelps. Won’t you have a seat?”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Forgive me for staring. You look so human.”

“I am human, Mr. President.”


“Meat all the way through, sir. Same as anybody.”

“But I thought –“

“Mr. President, I was born in Atlanta. My parents are both from North Carolina. They’re parents came from material gathered in the early surveys — all human.”


“Test subjects. We put them back.”

“Minus some eggs and sperm.”

“Necessary. My progenitors are methane breathers after all.”

“Is that your strategy: victory through familiarity? Conquer us by becoming us?”

“I think we’ve made it clear we aren’t here to conquer you, Mr. President.”

“Try to see it from my perspective, Phelps. Until yesterday aliens stood in the same category as Sasquatch and the Loch Ness monster: plausible, fun to debate, but abstract.”

“And today?”

“Today the stock market crashed.”

“We feared some people might react badly. Please don’t think we disregarded the likely outcomes, but there was no other way. Either we revealed our presence, or we remained invisible. It couldn’t be done by half measures.”

“Why the subterfuge? Why live among us for so long?”

“We’re missionaries, Mr. President. We can’t tend the flock if we don’t walk amongst the flock.”

“So we’re your flock?”

“All things, living and inert, belong to the All-Point.”

“Ah, your message. I hope you’re not too disappointed; I’ve already had a sneak preview. The Prime Minister and I had an interesting chat not half an hour ago. He said your counterpart there made him want to scream. He would have preferred you came to destroy us. Instead, you’ve brought ‘the gospel according to the stars’, that’s a direct quote. He fears how you’ll change things here.”

“May I still deliver my message? You’ve only heard it secondhand. If there’s one truth between our Earth religions and the Plan of the All-Point, its this: you don’t ask the bus driver what it’s like to fly an F-16. You ask the fighter pilot.”

“I’ll hear your message, but let me ask you one question first.”

“Anything, Mr. President.”

“My advisors say you’ve been a Baptist minister for over thirty-three years.”

“At Abilene Full-Gospel Baptist in Macon, yes sir.”

“How do you square preaching Christianity for all those years while secretly practicing a faith so antichristian?”

“The Plan is not antichristian or anti-Muslim, or anti-anything. Christ, Muhammad, Confucius: each of them recognized the pull of the All-Point in his own way. Even your scientists proved the All-Point’s existence with no prodding from us.”

“Then tell me of this All-Point, Pastor Phelps. Tell me why it’s so important that you’ve turned every nation on earth upside down to preach it.”

“In the beginning, in all the beginnings that ever were, there was the All-Point: that infinitesimal dot, containing within its vastness all time, space, matter and energy.”

“And it was a sentient thing — a god?”

“For creatures such as us to call the All-Point a ‘sentient thing’ is as an ameba contemplating what it’s like to be man. It is the Over-Consciousness, the universe regarding itself, the void looking in upon the void.”

“If this All-Point was conscious as you say, then it must have died at the Big Bang.”
“Yes and no. During infinite cycles of birth and reunification, the All-Point has explored the meaning of existence. It has given up self, sacrificing its Oneness, over and over again in order to create this universe.”

“And each time it has collapsed back in on itself, reforming?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then why the religion, Pastor?”

“Pardon me?”

“Why the religion? If we belong to this All-Point — are destined to return to it one day — then why bother worshipping it at all?”


“I don’t follow.”

“Entropy, sir. The law that sates all things in this universe are winding down like clockwork.”

“I know the principle. We’ve seen it. The universe is expanding faster than we ever imagined; too fast for it to ever …for it to ever recreate the All-Point. No Big Crunch. No return to the dot.”

“No Big Crunch and the heat death of the universe.”


“Forgive me, but I had expected you to require more explanation on the science.”

“The wife and I read sci-fi. It’s a guilty pleasure.”

“But an instructive one, obviously.”

“Still, I fail to see how religion will solve this problem. Do you believe faith can overcome inertia? Surely you don’t think prayers can slow stars.”

“Among our people we have prophets — seers and revelators — who post-tell the infinite past. They tell us that each time the All-Point has made its great sacrifice it has eventually reformed to ponder and delight in all that it learned during the epoch of birth. According to these Seers, this is the first time sentient life has evolved. Ever.”

“Are you saying that by creating us the All-Point has somehow destroyed itself? Committed suicide to birth its greatest creations?”

“The opposite, we believe. For whatever reason, in this current incarnation of the universe, something has gone awry. The All-Point has already past the point of reunification by any natural means. For that reason it has, through our evolution — the evolution of all sentient beings — recreated its consciousness so that it might fight for survival.”

“Fight how?”

“That, Mr. President, is what we must learn together.”

The End

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