The Face

by Tom Guyette


A man stood in a field.  He simply stood, and bode his time.


And as he stood, a giant face appeared to him out of the air and said "bow down, and worship me, for I am great!"


And the man simply stood.


The face became angry.  "Bow down and worship me, or I will punish you!"


And the man simply stood.


The face became furious.  "Bow down and worship me, or I will punish you with all of the fury of nature!"


And the man simply stood.


So the face reeled, and the winds blew the man's hair violently, and the ground shook tumultuously, and rain poured down upon the man's head, and turned to sleet, and hail, and snow, and ice, then the fires of the sun burned down upon him and turned the ice to vapor and steam, and blistered the man's skin.


And the man simply stood.


"Why do you not worship me?"  The face inquired, having spent its violent fury upon the man.


And the man looked up at the face and replied, "What reason have you given me?  You come to me without warning, without explanation, and you tell me to worship you.  Knowing neither your history nor your expectations of me, neither your desires nor your origin, I assume you to be intelligent.  So I wait for further explanation.


"I wait further for an explanation, and you brandish punishments before me.  I wait still further, and you unleash punishments upon me.  I wait still further, clinging to the vain hope that within this being lies some shred of decency and reason, and you visit upon me such fury as would fell a mountain!  And still I wait."


The man looked up, expectantly.


"And still I wait," he repeated.


The face smiled.  "My dear child."


"Call me not your child," the man interrupted curtly, "for you have not treated me as one."


"Does not the mother, seeing its child's folly, visit punishment upon the child?" asked the face.


"Surely," replied the man.  "But only once the child knows to what standard it is being measured, and to what benevolent aims its mother aspires.  Try again in another two thousand years."


And so it went.


And so it continues to go.