The Scriptwriter

The plots for our lives are written in the back room of a sleazy bar by a no-name genius. Our own, more plausible narratives get stood on their heads by his prodigious but heartless invention. Our stories make sense: Children outlive parents. Love endures. Things happen for a reason.

The scriptwriter decides otherwise. Who pays his bills, keeps him in cheap booze so he can turn out these twisted scenarios day after day, century after century?

And it’s not just our private lives he scripts. Think of the other shocking stuff he comes up with. We thought we knew we were made in the image of the creator of the universe, immortal, destined for eternal bliss. This Darwin character, the scriptwriter’s brainchild, tells us we’re second cousins to the slime on our shower curtains. Others like him can prove the rocks we stub our toes on are nothingness populated by a sprinkling of atoms, themselves just bits of unpredictable energy.

The scriptwriter breaks our hearts, destroys our faith as casually as you or I break an egg. His characters’ misery, the cruel twists of the plot we have to live as real life, are no concern of his. He gets paid by the line: so many drinks for so many lives upended by the unthinkable. He must feel contempt, if he feels anything at all, for the feebleness of our imaginations. Does he read our plays and novels, watch our movies? Naive as those are, our personal expectations for the real world are no better. We see happy endings, justice, a purpose to our existence. Our gullibility only eggs on the Scriptwriter, knowing as he does that fools like us deserve the worst he can dish up.

About Thomas J. Hubschman

Thomas J. Hubschman is the author of Look at Me Now, My Bess, Song of the Mockingbird, Billy Boy, Father Walther’s Temptation, The Jew’s Wife & Other Stories and three science fiction novels. His work has appeared in New York Press, The Antigonish Review, Eclectica, The Blue Moon Review and many other publications. Two of his short stories were broadcast on the BBC World Service.

Posted on February 26, 2013, in Other Thoughts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. In some paradoxical way, this post is hugely refreshing. Maybe it’s because it is important for inveterate optimists like me to remember that we really haven’t any idea if the universe has any meaning at all. We aren’t even near understanding how it works, let along what it means.

    On the other hand (says the inveterate optimist), if it is we who have created “god” in our image and not the other way around, then it is we who can give life and the universe meaning. It’s not out there is some “divine plan” we so often look for.

  2. Amen, Amen! Walter Kaufmann, best known as Friedrich Nietzsche’s biographer, said the Greeks were the first people to “grow up.” By which he meant they (meaning the philosophers, not ordinary people) were the first to realize and state that we are on our own, with no supernatural daddy or mommy to look out for us.

    We make up pretty much everything, in any case, ya? I mean, our brains are really dream machines, awake and asleep (not my phrase, a neurologist’s). We construct models of reality out of raw sense data, fashion narratives to explain just about everything. Ironically, this means we live by faith, literally–our own and others’. We can never know reality directly, only our dream version of it. But that’s enough, or should be.

  3. Yes, it is enough. I know that most people who believe in the traditional God don’t understand how not only liberating but deeply fulfilling, how enriching that “enough” can be. It is for me. Even death takes on a different perspective.

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