On Saturday 4th March we held our first Story Slam at the studio. The event was organised by one of our members, Sarah Hindmarsh, and consisted of an afternoon workshop and evening social. The workshop consisted of attendees being given a writing prompt and a set amount of time to write a story. In the evening the stories were anonymously printed out, stuck on the walls and judged by attendees to the social. The winner was Victoria McDonagh. Here’s her winning entry written using the writing prompt: What if nobody had discovered America?
If nobody had discovered America, the world would certainly lack a few things. The right to bear arms, the right to free speech, and Donald Trump.
God sat back and considered the mess the world had gotten itself into. Global warming, terrorism, the Kardashians. He shuddered. The spread of Christianity to America and the wider world had seemed a good thing at first. There was no doubt about the methods of conversion, but soon many happy souls were queuing up outside his gates. The marketing department were happy with their efforts and the figures. But things soon got very busy. St Peter missed his lunch breaks for the last couple of hundred years and rather needed a holiday. The normally pristine angels were looking a bit haggard with keeping so many souls in order.
God peered over at America again. The new president was in his office, tapping away on his Twitter account. God had tried to start his own Twitter account, but no one had believed it was him.
It was time for a conference call with the other deities, God decided. The world couldn’t go on. The big meeting room hadn’t been used in quite a while, so God asked a couple of the archangels to dust it down. God told his personal assistant to pencil out the rest of the week and to make the necessary arrangements for the other deities for their stay in heaven.
In the meantime, God started to draw on his whiteboard:
Reasons to keep America. Reasons to have America undiscovered.
The debate raged on for days, but eventually many of the other gods and goddesses agreed to reverse time and have America remain undiscovered. God turned back time and gently diverted Columbus’ voyage back to Spain.
All seemed to go well at first. Then it quickly turned into a mess. Queen Elizabeth’s explorers didn’t bring back any potatoes, so in a few hundred years it would become all fish and fried turnips. Other calamities occurred, too many for God to count. God did not account for the creation of new deities from America either.
The upper plains were getting rather crowded with the new deities that had developed in the undiscovered America. Interesting Mayan and Aztec gods and goddesses who were a little bloodthirsty. It made the upper plains varied at least.
As the centuries developed, the technology of South and North America improved, but the rest of the world had stayed a tad underdeveloped due to the discovery of electricity and light bulbs taking an extra century or so to refine.
It all felt very wrong, changing the course of history. God started to fret, unsure it was the right thing to do. Simply removing a large country from history brought a different array of problems.
‘If I can say something God,’ an angel offered.
‘What?’ God rubbed his eyes.
‘What if you just let America be discovered again?’
‘And let Trump and the Kardashians loose on history? Never.’
‘Maybe, if you went back right to the beginning.’
The angel had a fair point. It was God’s first universe. Everyone had a steep learning curve. God had been learning a lot over the last 15 billion years; it went in the blink of an eye. He could make a fresh start.
‘Perhaps,’ God said. The Dryopithecus period had certainly been one of his favourite periods to watch over. There were still a lot of tweaks and improvements he could have made.
‘Maybe it’s not America’s fault, or anyone else’s, it’s just the way things developed.’
‘I did lose it for a bit in the early Roman period,’ God commented.
‘The Greek gods did mess their corner up a bit as well—it’s not just your mess. The rest of us are responsible too.’
God mulled that over. ‘If I do reset the universe, you may be demoted for a few million years. I didn’t need such a big structure back in the early days.’
‘Everyone’s paid into the union and we built in a clause just in case something like this happened.’
‘I’ll speak to the other deities as well—it’s not just me who has a say in this.’
God had expected a huge outcry at his proposal, but most of his fellow deities were rather open-minded. There were a few protests such as Loki, who grumbled about having to wait so long to trick people and sleep with their mothers.
‘Are we agreed to reset the universe?’
There was a chorus of agreement from the board room.
‘Then it’s settled, we’ll restart and see how things develop.’
God pulled a key from his jacket and pressed down on the boardroom table. In front of him, a small panel slid back to reveal a large red button with a keyhole beneath it. The same happened for the other deities.
‘Please put your key into the keyhole, and turn it to the right.’
Once all of the deities had turned their keys, God hit the big red button.
For a while, there was nothing.
God floated around, enjoying the peace and quiet for a bit. The Wi-Fi signal wasn’t as strong here, but he could stream some music he liked. He’d have to keep the mindfulness stuff—it did help with staying relaxed. He was a little nervous at starting the universe over again, but he was sure the other angels and deities were on board with his new vision.
They kept a lot of the old things but decided to introduce the idea of hygiene in early cultures. This helped prevent the spread of the bubonic plague, and not as many people smelt as horrid as they had.
When it came to America being discovered, God intervened only a little, but where needed. The Spanish were much better houseguests in America, with less of the disease spreading and mutilating the local populace in God’s name.
When it finally came to Trump, God decided that the poor man could keep all of his hair. With a little less to prove in being a man, Trump entered the presidential race for the right reasons and didn’t threaten to build a wall or get rid of women’s wombs and ovaries to reduce abortion rates.
The world was a little bit better off, especially now that Trump didn’t know how to use Twitter. God made sure of that.
© Victoria McDonagh
This story is copyright of the author and may not be reproduced online or in print without prior permission.
A few words from Victoria on the Story Slam…