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He left, trying to be as cheerful about it as he could be. As he wandered through the mall, he used his PID to request a ride.
He made it to the exit and saw a car waiting. He took a moment to look around, failing to see anybody around. He knocked on the driver’s side window, intending to ask if the car was there for him. The PID indicated his ride was still a few minutes out, but the driver might not have taken the time to say he was there.
The tinted window rolled down, revealing Nobody’s masked face. “I’ll take you home.”
Paul stood there, dumbfounded. It was strange to even consider. The man could immediately teleport wherever he wanted. Why would he own a car? What wasn’t strange was the fact that he was there. Nobody almost always seemed to appear when Paul was at his most angry or frustrated. It also happened to be when Paul least wanted Nobody around.
He went into the back seat and buckled in as if Nobody were indeed the public driver he’d requested.
“You own a car?” Paul asked.
“I’m borrowing it,” Nobody said.
“The perfect and holy Nobody stole a car?” Paul challenged.
Nobody, who hadn’t started driving yet, turned back in his seat. That opaque mask covered the flat stare, but Paul felt it just the same. “I didn’t steal this car. More importantly, I’ve never once said I was perfect. Anyone who says they’re without sin is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
The phrase felt like a Bible verse, which annoyed Paul even more.
“So what it is?” Paul asked. “What’s the little pearl of wisdom you plan to throw at me before you drop me off and vanish?”
Nobody turned back in his seat and began to drive. “Why don’t you tell Lidia how you feel?”
Paul shut his eyes. His anger surged, but he wanted to keep it under control. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“Answer the question that I asked,” Nobody said.
“No!” Paul said. So much for keeping my anger in check. “You think you can just randomly appear and ask all these pointed questions, and I’ll just go through your imagined script without wanting answers of my own?”
Nobody didn’t say anything.
“Why do you get to have all the answers you want, and I have to sit here and be interrogated?”
Nobody didn’t say anything.
“So you’ll ignore me unless I answer your questions?”
Nobody didn’t reply.
“Then pull over,” Paul said. “I’m done explaining myself to you.”
Not only did he refuse to say anything, he just kept driving.
Paul’s rage flared, and he flung his fist into the center compartment nestled between the front seats and the back row of the car. By some miracle, he managed to pull the punch, but he still put a tiny ding in whatever material the compartment was made of.
“Let me out!” Paul roared.
The car pulled over. Paul stared at the door. What was he going to do, walk the rest of the way to his dorm? Maybe he could call for another ride? He glared at Nobody.
“Lidia and Jordan are happy,” Paul muttered, resting back in his seat. The car pulled off the side of the road and continued its journey.
“So,” Nobody said. “Don’t you think you could do more for Lidia?”
“I wouldn’t do that to Jordan, ever, and Lidia isn’t some sort of thing we can fight over. She could have kept trying to start a relationship with me. She didn’t.”
“Why not compete for her?” Nobody asked.
“I already said I wouldn’t do that to Jordan, even it if worked that way, and it doesn’t,” Paul said.
“Because it’s wrong.”
“So there is a wrong,” Nobody said.
Paul flung his arms in the air. “Of course there is!”
“Who decides what that is?”
Paul rolled his head in disgust. There it was, his inevitable need to turn this into a conversation about God.
“Everybody knows there is a right and wrong,” Paul said.
“But who decides what that is?” Nobody asked.
“You’d say God.” Paul didn’t bother hiding the sneer from his tone. “But people know what right and wrong is.”
“But where does that awareness come from?” Nobody asked. “If were were simply mammalian animals, we’d kill each other or worse just to satisfy our animalistic needs and wants. Some people stoop to those methods because their need seems so great to them they have no choice. So we do indeed have morality, but what is the source of that morality?”
Paul waited, frustrated at the logic. He thought years back about how Dorny would rant and rave at him for hours. There wasn’t any logic in what he said, just random thoughts filled with portions of the Bible even Paul knew were misquoted. Of course, thoughts of Dorny only led to thoughts about Bill, who also spoke with such reason and logic.
“You know the worst thing about your religion,” Paul muttered. “You all can’t get along yourselves. Some of you say this is what God wants, and others say this is what God wants.”
“When I want to understand what God wants, I turn to his Word.” Nobody said it so softly it was hard to hear under the engine of the car.
“Yeah, but you can’t even agree on that!” Paul shouted. “And what does any of this have to do with Jordan and Lidia.”
“Everything,” Nobody said simply. “Everything comes down to a person choosing what master they want to satisfy. If you wanted Lidia, you could pursue her. She may refuse you, but that’s her choice.”
“I’ve already told you, I’m not going to try and take Lidia from Jordan. She’s not a thing to steal,” Paul said.
“Then why do you covet her as if she were a thing?”
… to be continued …