They just won’t shut up about Jesus

“But why a spanner?”
“It’s a proof of concept. It doesn’t matter what it is – “
“Aren’t mice traditional?”
“Mice are squishy. That’s like a level two thing. Anyway, it mostly works on mice too.”
“It always works on spanners. Will you just look at the spanner?”
“Can I look at the mice? What happens to the mice?”
“Oh for – “
“Okay, okay. What am I looking for?”
“You tell me. What’s it look like? Wait, I’ll put the recorder on. “
“It’s… a nice spanner. It’s shiny. It has a red handle. Can I just note this doesn’t seem very scientific?”
“Whatever. Try and use it.”
“Um. Do you have something – “
“Just try something!”
“Fine. Geez. OK, here: kitchen tap.”
“I’m tightening the kitchen tap with an ill-fitting shiny spanner. Posterity, thou shalt wonder about the point of PhD’s one day – fuck! What is that?”
“It’s – let’s see. Blood. Pretty sure it’s blood. That’s interesting.”
“What the hell? What’s going on?! Where is all this blood coming from? Why blood?”
“The spanner. Maybe it’s the red handle –“
“You’re not making any sense!”
“The spanners come out weird.”
“Interesting-weird. Most of the other ones did tequila. And mercury.”
“Your spanners go through your time machine and turn water into tequila?”
“I don’t think it’s a time machine.”
“But you built it. You said – “
“Well, it’s hardly an exact science. So far. Maybe it’s doing something – trans-dimensional.”
“You’re just making words up. Your trans-dimensional spanners turn water into blood? How messianic. “
“Shut up.”
“What – who is that?”
“Oh, whatever. You wanted to know what happened to the mice?”

13 thoughts on “They just won’t shut up about Jesus”

  1. Hilarious. I love all dialogue stories. The way they can tell a story without the benefit of description.

    I like the story too, very obscure and different but still a good plot.

  2. You really do dialogue exceptionally well – lovely command of voice, the two speakers are instantly distinct and idiosyncratic, and their responses feel entirely realistic. (Bonus points for “Posterity, thou shalt wonder about the point of PhD’s one day – fuck!”, it made me laugh a lot). The lateral off-the-wallness of this also makes me very, very happy, as does the nifty way that the whole thing doesn’t quite make sense until you realise that the final question is being answered by the story’s title.

    Minor quibble: I’m not sure the extreme randomness of mercury/tequila actually chimes too well with the apocalyptic bits of saviour/blood. There’s something that doesn’t quite cohere, on some sort of subliminal symbolic level. On the other hand, maybe I read entirely too much fairy tale.

    1. Thank you muchly. It is very silly, and was written more or less unplanned (worked so well last time), and it meanders more or less randomly, which is what I intended.

      I know what you mean about the tequila and mercury line. I debated it back on forth – on the one hand, something like wine and molten lava would fit much better with the blood. On the other hand, I thought I wanted it to be really random, rather than apocalyptic…. I will ponder this some more, it will be tighter if I focus on one thing only.

  3. Good fun and a nice round about exposition of the idea. The dialogue form is dense and gets a lot across in a small space with a fair dollop of humour.

    I agree with Dox that the non-biblical miracles distract some from the central religious idea. Also found the mention of time-machines slightly distracting without adding much. But I do love the humour generated in the dialogue here.

    Fun read.

    1. Thank you, glad you liked.

      As I said to the doc, the question is whether the central idea is religious stuff, or the sheer randomness. I need to make it more of the one or the other, I think.

      The time machine thing is part of the general non-sensicness (is that even a word) of the story. It jumps, it meanders. does it work? Not entirely sure! It was fun to write though.

      1. You know, maybe the problem with the tequila/mercury/blood/Jesus thing is not that they’re too random, it’s that they’re not random enough – because there’s a Jesus/blood connection, one starts looking for other connections. I loved the randomness of the tequila/mercury, maybe the blood needs to be maple syrup or paint or artificial food colouring #12 or something?

    1. > On a side note: spanner seems to produce ‘fuck’ a lot – three stories.

      And although it didn’t happen in the story, mine was sort of about fucking.

      No-one needs this blog to be SFW, right? :)

  4. Awesome!
    You have a real talent for dialogue, yo. Word. Words, even.

    The tone was perfect and really evoked (!) that showing-someone-your-experiment and getting-them-to-go-through-the-same-steps-so-that-they-believe-it.
    > Will you just look at the spanner?
    > Can I just note this doesn’t seem very scientific?
    really brought this home for me.
    Strong personalities on the two peeps.

    On the first read through, I didn’t get that the caps were the mice. Reading it again I can’t see how I missed it – it’s obvious. I am thick.

    I really like the “title as story ending” thingy also. Tricksy.

    I concur wrt the comments above about choosing random or religion and sticking with it. It doesn’t break the story, but it would improve it to keep it on one track.

  5. Two people, α and β, are talking about α’s phd work. α had said that their work was initially about time travel, but the results are not what they’re expecting if it were time travel. Indeed, α now thinks that it is something to do with trans-dimensional shifting. It ends with some (maybe Angelic) voice, presumably from our phd student’s other dimension, telling them to prepare their souls.

    I liked this. As others have said, the dialogue is good and funny :)

    Unlike A and Docinatrix, I also enjoyed the randomness of the tequila / mercury, which goes well with the last sentence (where α ignores the voices) — it reminds me of students getting their first results, when the results are interesting and very unexpected. This goes for the post-hoc change of the theory from time-machine to trans-dimensional shifting as well.

    > What’s going on?!
    ?! has always irked me. It reminds me of speech bubbles in comics, and informal IRC / email / LOLcat / 4chan writing. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Some writers (*cough* Neal Stephenson *cough*) use it a lot.

  6. I really enjoyed this. As has been said, the dialogue is spot-on. It sounds completely right and is very, very funny. And I also love the way the title connects with the piece.

    I didn’t see it as being particularly religious but saw it on a re-read, and love the random mercury/tequila bits. I also love the blood from the red spanner. Maybe if the spanner was working on something other than a tap it wouldn’t be so religious. For me it is the water into wine that makes the connection to Jesus. If the wine came from nowhere that might change things.

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