Shopping with God
28 October 2002
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat; and it was so. And God saw that every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.
And on the eighth day God saw that every thing and every creature upon the earth was good; and He saw that to have his creation in combinations, and to offer them within a profitable exchange system was also good. For God was bored, and this concept was pleasing. And God said, Let's go shopping.
God and I went shopping on the first Saturday after half-term; I hadn't been shopping with Him for quite some time but wasn't as worried about this as I'd thought I would be, if you see. God was a bolshy petulant git when he was in a mall. Give him an inch and he'd take a 36" waist, complaining that the sizes were getting smaller.
And God said, You're late aren't you? I've been here for ten minutes like a Billy-no-mates, and all of those horrible little fuckers in shell-suits have been laughing in me. "Sorry" I said, trying to find my wallet in my coat pockets, retrieving dust motes and chocolate instead. God eyed me, tugging his beard absentmindedly. The wallet appeared in my hand in a puff of smoke. Muttering a swift, Behold, he turned and moved smoothly into the mall. I ran to catch up.
God had already thrown several tantrums when we got to Next. He was trying to squeeze into a purple shot-silk effect shirt. The buttons barely met across His wide chest, and I worried that He was going to rip a seam in it. Little bugger, He snapped, Trying to skimp on cloth for profit. I tried to catch a sale-assistant's eye but they were all studiously avoiding the curses coming from our cubicle. When a few grey curls of smoke started sliding out, a young male assistant hurried over. "No smoking in store, sir" he started as locusts started swarming and gathering above. I dragged God out in amidst the screams.
When we got out I saw that the purple shirt was still hanging off His wrists. Seeing me looking, He said, It's all mine anyway; I am the creator and this is my bounty. Besides, it's only nineteen pounds and they'll never notice. Shall we get a coffee? Normally, I hated going anywhere near the food hall with God, but given how pissy He'd been I didn't want to argue or leave. I still had to get a toiletries birthday present for Susie who was leaving my office on Monday. Nothing on any of the food stalls looked appetising; the sushi seemed to be sweating with embarrassment about being in such close proximity to the congealing tacos. Whilst I was eyeing the (relatively) safe sandwiches God was stacking up on burgers, fries, ribs and an XXL Coke. Seeing my empty tray He asked, Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden? The pasta bakes look pretty good.
We ate. God had already bought some socks and several ties, in addition to the stolen shirt. I tried not to look at the mess that he was making with the food and the sauces, but the chaos spreading out across our table was making our beard itch. I could feel my own surly feelings rising up to match His bossiness. Got what you want then, son? He asked with a mouthful of meat. I looked at my food. "I just need to get some stuff from Boots and I'm done" I muttered. God roared. What, razors? Some Dr Scholls? He snorted. I said nothing and picked at my salad; He thought He was so fucking funny at times. Getting no rise out of me, God's mood worsened. He stuffed the last of His fries into His mouth and rose, spilling the last of His drink. Shall we go then? I know I wouldn't want to take up too much of your valuable time.
The rest of the afternoon wasn't as awful as previous shopping trips, although several of the perfume-ladies in Debenhams should have counted their blesses that they'd only received boils. I found an aromatherapy set for Susie and some hand-cream for me; God picked up some books and a fondue kit. At the point when I thought that I couldn't take any more of the patronising behaviour towards innocent members of the public (benevolent and loving, my arse), God announced that He was tired and was heading home.
I walked Him to His bus stop. He blessed me, and there was an embarrassed pause before we quickly hugged. Well then son, He said, take care. Not too many late nights now. I was struck how old He suddenly seemed, weighed down by His shopping. The bus drew in, and I gave Him a sudden manful pat on the back as He got in line to pay His fare. I waved as the bus moved off, then walked across the water-feature in the mall's courtyard, heading home.