2 May


nuclear destruction photo: Destruction Devastation-1.jpg
It was a strange kind of place. The war had fizzled out – the war that really did end all wars, you can’t fight if all the armies are dead – and the Mullah stood there in a blasted wilderness looking around him and shaking his head.

“Destruction,” he muttered to himself in his own language, “is pretty damned ugly. All this rubble! All this stench of dead bodies and foetid flesh… it’s all pretty damned ugly!”

“You talking to yourself?” asked the Pope in his own language, stumbling onto the scene. “I suppose it’s what you Muslims do, spend eternity talking to yourselves. I suppose it’s your eternal search for an evasive truth that caused the wars?”

“If I could understand a single word you’re saying I might find myself agreeing with you,” sighed the Mullah. He smiled without a trace of humour turning the corners of his lips. “But as it is I despair! Yet I suppose there’s one positive to come out of all this mess. At least I’m not alone at the ending of the days. At least I’ve got the companionship of another man even if he is of another God.”

The Pope shook his head. He might have spent some of his earlier life learning Arabic, but he hadn’t. Instead he’d prayed a great deal and, in order to understand sin, crept off to a nunnery in order to tup the odd glowing novice. Then he’d grown up and almost become serious. So communication was likely to be a problem, especially if, as it appeared, they were the only two men left on an entire planet of smoking destruction.

“The right side has been victorious,” he said after a while. “We’ve wiped the Islamic scum off the face of the planet! Now, in time, there will be a new population and the only God around will be mine!”

The Mullah was no better linguistically educated than the Pope, and he couldn’t understand even a smidgen of the frocked man’s Italian. So he smiled and bowed his head and nodded.

“Allah made it and Allah supervised its destruction,” he sighed. “We fought like demons for the right to worship him and yet, you know, very few of us believed in him! Underneath it all we are men of science like the rest of you! But faith was important to us. It was a cultural thing. And it provided me with a living, of course, better than most to tell the truth!”

“You could be speaking Martian,” smiled the Pope, “for all the sense I can make of your words. But I’ll tell you this: if I’d known back then the consequences of my devotion I’d have changed direction as a young man and gone into prostitution. As it is, the last twenty-odd years have been spent with a series of clandestine meetings with geriatric nuns who wanted to taste the joys of the flesh before god claimed them, and I was too weak to resist… Prostitution would have been a most satisfying calling…”

“I could have been a scientist,” sighed the Mullah. “I had ideas, you know, about the storage of solar energy and how to make batteries that could power an entire house from a few minutes’ sunlight! I’d researched the science and added a few ideas of my own… But no: they showered me with prayers and I became their spiritual adviser instead, and all for this what did I end up with? … The brutality of a religious war and the chaos of destruction.”

“Yes, I’d have enjoyed being a male prostitute,” sighed the Pope. “A great deal more rewarding than masturbation, which I became quite good at in the privacy of my papal palace. But I did my best … I preached the good word from the even better book, I told them all about our Lord and His loving kindness and forgiveness… but they didn’t listen… it was as if I was speaking a different language…”

“Instead,” murmured the Mullah wishing he could make sense of the other but not able to, “I had my head in ancient texts and forgot there’s always a tomorrow following hot on the heels of today as I tried to tease significance out of bland words. I was lost in a century in which our prophet preached his hatred, and tried to make out that it was love…. and now look around.”

He waved his hand at the chaos all around them and the Pope nodded. There was something in the physical language that he understood.

“We may well be the last men on Earth,” he murmured. “There must be a future, though I cannot see whence it might come…”

“And all the ashes will blow away … green shoots will master the deserts … mankind will return!” suggested the Mullah.

It was as if the Pope suddenly understood what the Mullah was saying, as though his fabled Tower of Babel had informed his mind of a new possibility and created a fresh understanding of what had seemed to be an alien tongue mere moments ago.

“We will have to play a game,” he grinned, humour at last lighting something inside his eyes. “If there is to be your dreamed of future, we need to kick-start things. How about this, my friend, one of us will have to play Adam and the other Eve. How are you when it comes to sodomy?”

© Peter Rogerson 02.05.15



  1. georgiakevin May 2, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

    Wow! Your posts always make your readers think and this post perhaps more than any of your other posts, well done my friend well done, wow!

    • Peter Rogerson May 3, 2015 at 8:30 am #

      Thanks Kevin. Any luck yet on the teaching post?

      • georgiakevin May 3, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

        No and I have reached the frustration point. I have been on 6 interviews for 10 positions not got one of them………………sigh I used to be so good at interviews…………… I have another interview Thursday.

  2. Peter Rogerson May 3, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    I wish you best of luck then, Kevin. I’ve left the chaosof employment behind me by growing old and retiring…

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