[LNHY] Matthew Almighty II

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 30 00:45:33 PST 2006

                 Matthew Almighty II

                         Act I

No-Joke City Elementary School...

  "Yes, Mrs. Collins?"
  "What is one plus one?"
  Jason thought for a moment.  "Two."
  "That's right."
  Jason continued.  "I know it's not three
  "Nor is it five, let alo-o-one four or six
  "One plus two is two plus one
  "This is a standard math rule
  "This is standard!"
  "Jason!  That's enough!"
  Jason ignored his teacher's protests and continued. 
"I added one and o-o-one.
  "And I got the answer two!
  "Why do I find it hard to add two and three
  "When I know one and one is two?"
  Just then a group of students at the back stood up
and started chanting, "Huh huh huh hu-uh huh."
  "I know this much is two."
  "Huh huh huh hu-uh huh."
  "I know this much is two."
  "Everybody... please... stop this," their teacher
pleaded but, instead, from out of nowhere, a student
produced a saxophone and started playing it.  Jason,
similarly, was able to somehow find a microphone and
started singing into it.
  "I added one and o-o-one," he sang.  "And I got the
answer two!"
  Yet another student strummed a guitar on cue.
  "Why do I find it hard to add two and three
  "When I know one and one is two?"
  The group of students at the back started chanting
"Huh huh huh hu-uh huh" and Jason repeatedly sang "I
know this much is two" until, finally, his voice faded
away.  When everybody had finished, the remaining
students started to applaud.
  Mrs. Collins, meanwhile, was calling the appropriate

  "This is unacceptable!" No-Joke City Mayor Todd
Barnes complained.  "We've been trying to isolate
No-Joke City from the kind of silliness that goes on
in the rest of these Loonited States... and now look
what happens!  We need to order an investigation to
find out what happened!"
  City Councillor Robert Ramirez shook his head. 
"Answering a math question by singing to the tune of
'True' by Spandau Ballet?"  He guffawed.  "Lame. 
Freakin' Lame."
  Matthew Pauli raised his hand.
  "Yes, Matthew?" the Mayor asked.
  "Perhaps we shouldn't make this a big deal," he
  "What do you mean?"
  "I mean, this is No-Joke City.  Nobody is supposed
to be funny.  And yet we're discussing something that,
frankly, some people might find very amusing."
  "What's your point?"
  "The very fact that we are discussing it could be
considered amusing.  People might regard us as being
the straight men perpetuating the joke by merely
talking about it.  They could accuse us of being
  Mayor Barnes shook his head.  "I don't understand
why you would want to insult those of us here in this
manner.  I assure you, I have never, ever, at any time
in my life ever been funny.  Never.  And I'm sure my
collegues here all feel the same way!"
  Matthew managed to suppress his smile.

  A few days later, FBI special agents Fox Sculder and
Dana Mulley arrived at No-Joke City Elementary School.
  "I'm not sure I understand the problem," Sculder
  "Our students spontaneously started... singing,"
Mrs. Collins said.
  "And this is bad because...?"
  "Nobody sings in No-Joke city."
  "Nobody sings, dances, tells jokes or even laughs in
No-Joke City."
  "See, now, that's what I find odd, not that some
kids would start singing in class, because that's what
normal kids do anyway, but that nobody even laughs
here.  Do you think it's possible you are just taking
this too seriously?"
  "No.  We believe that something supernatural was
involved.  Where did the microphone, saxophone and
guitar come from?"
  Sculder shrugged his shoulders.  "Maybe they brought
them with them."
  "I would have noticed.  And, besides, they have
never brought such things to class before.  They
themselves don't know where these things came from or
why they started singing."
  Sculder smiled.  "I think your students are playing
a joke on you."
  "They wouldn't do that."
  "Oh no?"
  Mrs. Collins sighed.  "This is No-Joke City.  People
do not play jokes."
  "But in other cities..."
  Mrs. Collins started to get angry.  "Maybe in other
cities young people are allowed to play jokes on their
teachers but here in No-Joke City we bring our
children up properly!"
  "I see."
  "You specifically asked for us," Dana Mulley pointed
out.  "Why?"
  "Frankly, we asked for you based on your
  "Your ability to walk in to a seemingly normal
situation and identify a supernatural cause for what
had happened, and always in less than an hour, even
less if you cut out the commercials."
  Fox Sculder shook his head.  "I'm sorry, but there's
absolutely nothing supernatural going on here."

  Matthew Pauli had returned home to his wife Jolina. 
He was feeling frustrated: he had taken it upon
himself to try to change the people of No-Joke City
for the better, to get them to lighten up, to see the
humour in things, maybe enjoy life a bit better.  He
thought he was doing everybody a favour.
  What if they didn't see things the same way?  What
if they saw him as some sort of monster?  Would they
ever come to appreciate what he was trying to do for
them?  What would they do if they knew the truth?  How
would they react if he were ever revealed to be the
one last wikicopy of Matthew Petrie to keep his God
given powers? 

                        Act II

  Matthew Pauli was created for and sent to Tel.isay,
a city on the island of C.bu in the Philippi.net.  He,
along with 554 thousand other wikicopies were created
by Matthew Petrie after God had granted him all of his
powers and Matthew Petrie realised he needed others to
do his work.  It was Matthew Pauli's job to cure all
illnesses and improve the lives of the people living
in Tel.isay.  
  Thing is, he found people there to be surprisingly
happy and, as for health, it was only the elderly who
had any really serious problems.  He remembered going
around thinking, "He's fine... she's fine... he's
fine... she's... fi-i-ine," all with a big smile on
his face.  So, of course, he finished early.
  So he went to Mars.  Matthew Petrie had always
wanted to go to Mars but, in the excitement of
creating 554 thousand wikicopies of himself, all with
the purpose of saving the world, he completely forgot
about wanting to go to Mars.  So with all of the
people in Tel.isay having been declared either "fine"
or "fi-i-ine", Matthew Pauli decided to transport
himself to Mars.
  Mars was cold.  So he made it warmer.  Mars was dry.
 So he made it wet.  Mars didn't have enough air.  So
he planted trees in the warm, moist soil and then got
impatient waiting for photosynthesis to do his thing
and just added put oxygen and nitrogen into the
atmosphere.  There.
  This all took a while.  Well, actually, only a few
days.  But these had been eventful days.
  Back on Earth, God had sent his angels out to tell
religious leaders all over the world that the
wikicopies were EVIL.  In retrospect, it should have
been obvious to God that playing to mankind's natural
fear of the unknown was going to heighten mankind's
aggressive tendencies and lead to conflicts, but God
was only concerned at the time for his desire to get
his powers back.  Soon, with interfaith tension
threatening to reach the breaking point, God and the
wikicopies agreed to put an end to it, with them all
giving up their powers and God telling the whole world
to cool it and stop killing each other.  In return,
the wikicopies, all 554 thousand of them, were allowed
to continue to live, but as ordinary people without
God-like powers.
  Matthew Pauli, however, had been on Mars.  He wasn't
involved in the whole give-up-the-powers deal.  And
apparently everybody had forgotten about him.  So,
morally, what should he do?  Should he go to God and
give up his powers?  What if God gets pissed because
he hadn't given up his powers when he was supposed to?
 What guarantee did he have that God would let him
continue to exist?
  To solve this problem (and give himself someone to
talk to so this entire issue wouldn't be an internal
monologue like something Tom Russell would write) he
summoned Doctor I. Forget of the Before God Guys to
his presence and explained his dilemma.
  "So what do you think I should do?" Matthew asked.
  "Interesting," Doctor I. Forget said.  "Very
  "I say you should keep the powers.  God has
obviously forgotten about you."
  "But I want to continue to do good.  How can I
continue to do good without God finding out?  What
would stop God from coming down and claiming my powers
as his own?"
  "The problem, as I see it, is making people happy
without making them know that anyone is even doing
  "So what do you suggest I do?"
  "About my problem?"
  "What problem?"
  Matthew sighed.  Doctor I. Forget was a genius but
he had this nasty habit of forgetting what he was
talking about.  Matthew could have fixed this problem
but, alas, the Before God Guys were immune to the
power of God.  Which makes sense.  After all, it must
be a real embarassment for God to have people older
than him.  It was, after all, a bit of a conundrum how
there could have been people older than God when God
was supposed to have created everything.  So,
naturally, the Before God Guys decided to make
themselves immune to God's powers, just in case, with
the unfortunate side effect that God couldn't help
them either.  Nor could anyone with God's powers,
  "Nevermind," Matthew said and returned Doctor I.
Forget to his teammates.  But Doctor I. Forget had
given him an idea: where in the world were there
people who were unhappy who didn't even know they were
unhappy?  The answer came to him like a revelation! 
No-Joke City!
  No-Joke City was the coldest, most distant city in
the Loonited States of Ame.rec.a.  I mean emotionally,
otherwise I'd be talking about Nome, Alt.laska. 
No-Joke City was a city where everybody wore drab
colours and didn't so much as smile.  Matthew decided
it was his job to brighten up these people's lives.
  Matthew created a house on a lot where no house had
been before and altered everybody's memories so that
they always remembered that house being there.  He
also altered everybody's memories so that they would
remember him and his wife growing up in No-Joke City. 
He took a chance by (literally) making his wife a
Filipino in what was a predominantly white
neighbourhood, but -screw it- he decided it was worth
the risk.
  At first, Matthew's changes were subtle: a little
colour here, a little sunshine there, anything to
crack a smile on these rigid faces.  But having
God-like powers doesn't mean you can easily grant
yourself infinite patience: he decided that the way to
change people's attitudes was to go through their
children, getting them to play more and genuinely have
fun, despite their parent's protests.  He might have
gone a bit far with the incident in Mrs. Collin's
class however.
  Mrs. Collins knew that her students hadn't started
singing on their own accord.  She knew that some
supernatural forces were at work.  When the agents
that teh FBI had sent had concluded that there was
nothing strange going on, Mrs. Collins had the school
board contact somebody else.
  "Major Lee Serious!" Mayor Todd Barnes said. 
"Welcome to No-Joke City."
  Major Lee Serious shook the mayor's hand.  He would
have cracked a smile... except he never did.

                       Act III

  If you're granted superhuman powers, your first
instinct might be to satisfy your own desires. 
Matthew Pauli's fantasy would have been to create his
own New Year's party and create guests perfectly
fitting his predilections: he would have created for
himself twelve Filipinas, eleven Thai girls, ten
Indonesians, nine Vietnamese, eight Malaysians, seven
Cambodians, six Japanese, five Chinese girls, four
Koreans, three Indian girls, two Latinas and a
partridge in a pair tree.  Never mind what the
partridge was for.
  Ah but Jolina wouldn't have liked it: she would have
gotten jealous.  Never mind that, she too, was created
in the exact same way, as an ideal woman to satisfy
his deepest desires, the fact is that he imagined her
as someone who got easily jealous and so that's how
she came out.  Too late to change her now.
  Besides, he had to be careful, living here in
No-Joke City.  He had to maintain an air of
respectability and that meant having an orgy involving
him and seventy-seven women would have been too much. 
Not that he couldn't do it: all he had to do was grant
himself superhuman stamina and flexibility... but,
no, he didn't want to take the risk of drawing
attention to himself.
  In retrospect, the whole sing-song at the school was
a bad idea: the authorities in No-Joke City had first
sent in government agents to investigate and then,
with the investigators they had sent concluding that
nothing out of the ordinary had happen, they sent in
Major Lee Serious and his Deadly Serious Squad.  No,
he needed to cool it for a while and stick to making
minor changes, and not injecting any more wholesale
silliness into this overly-serious town.
  So why why why did Matthew summon Swell Boy to City
Hall?  He needed to learn to stop acting on impulse.
  "Look!" he said, having himself appeared from out of
nowhere in City Hall without anybody noticing.  "It's
a daemon!  He must be the one behind what happened at
the school!"
  "Aha!" Major Todd Barnes said.  "I knew it!  I knew
that Satan was behind this!"
  "What are you guys talking about?" Swell Boy asked,
obviously because he didn't know what they were
talking about.
  "You corrupted our children!" Bea Serious said.
  "How am I supposed to have done that?"
  "You made them sing songs!" Barry Serious said.
  "I think you have me confused with Barry Manilow."
  "Huh?" Noah Joe King said.
  "You know, he said 'I write the songs that make the
whole world sing'.  He was practically admitting it."
  The entire Deadly Serious Squad just stood there
looking confused.
  "You know, it's a song.  What?  You don't listen to
music?  No?  What is this place?"
  "This is No-Joke City," Mayor Todd Barnes explained.
  "Ah.  That explains it then.  So you guys don't tell
jokes, huh?  Do you even have a sense of humour?  Can
you even tell when somebody is joking?  Wow.  Isn't
that like a disability?"
  "Are you making fun of us?" Major Lee Serious asked.
  "See?  You can't tell.  You have to ask."  Swell Boy
sighed.  "You don't know about sarcasm, irony,
slapstick, satire, any of that.  Wow.  I can't imagine
what that must be like.  I'm being serious now.  I'm
telling you that just so you know."
  "You talk too much!" Noah Joe King said.
  "Hmm," Swell Boy mused, "you may be right.  There
are times when I probably should have kept my mouth
shut.  Like when I was a kid.  You know, if you ever
find out you are a son of Satan, you really shouldn't
tell anybody.  You should just keep your mouth shut. 
Keep it to yourself."
  "You are a son of Satan!" Bea Serious said.
  "Ah!" Swell Boy said.  "See, I shouldn't have told
you that."
  "Go back to hell, hellspawn!" Barry Serious said. 
The Deadly Serious Squad all pulled out their guns.
  "Um... you know I would feel a lot more confortable
talking to you people if you weren't pointing guns on
me."  He shook his head.  "You know, I get tired of
this sort of attitude.  People see me and they see a
daemon and they automatically think I'm evil."
  "Are you saying you aren't?" Major Lee Serious
  "Are you saying I am?" Swell Boy asked.  "We are who
we are, not who we were born to be."  He sighed.  "You
know, I wish I could live in a world where a daemon or
an ogre could be seen as a hero.  Maybe they could
make a cartoon hero out of an ogre.  It would be
different because the hero is an ogre.  It would make
a lot of money, except that kids here are taught from
a young age that daemons are evil, evil, evil and it
would be hard for anyone to see us any other way."
  "Do you expect us to feel sorry for you?" Noah Joe
King asked.
  "Well, sure," Swell Boy said, "I mean, I'm innocent
of... wait... what am I accused of again?"
  "Making our children sing," Bea Serious said.
  "Right," Swell Boy said.  "That's exactly what I'm
talking about.  Can you imagine me trying to get
children to sing?  If I walk into a room and there's
young kids then they all start crying.  No way I'm
going to get kids to sing."
  "Um..." Barry Serious said, "I think I believe him."
  Now Major Lee Serious was a brilliant strategist so
he immediate saw a problem with this line of
reasoning.  "But if you weren't the one who did it and
you didn't even know where you are... then how did you
come to be here?"
  "I don't know," Swell Boy said.  "I was at home
watching... um... the Dis.net Channel when suddenly I
was teleported here."
  "Well then," Major Lee Serious said.  "Perhaps
somebody is playing a joke on all of us.  Perhaps
somebody here amnogst us."
  Everybody turned to look at Matthew Pauli.
  "Oops," Matthew said.

                        Act IV

  A few moments ago, Matthew Pauli teleported Swell
Boy to No-Joke City City Hall, there by setting up a
confrontation between him and the Deadly Serious
Squad, who subsequently accused him of being behind
the strange singing incident in said town.
  A couple of moments ago, Swell Boy was able to
convince the Deadly Serious Squad that he wasn't
responsible for said incident.
  A moment ago, attention had turned to Matthew Pauli
himself as the prime suspect not only in the
mysterious singing incident but also in the sudden
appearance of Swell Boy in City Hall, presumably as a
means of providing himself with a scapegoat but, in
actual fact, as a means of providing further hilarity
through irony, sarcasm and potential slapstick comedy
should Swell Boy and the Deadly Serious Squad had
started fighting.
  Having realized that the maneouver did not go
entirely according to plan, Matthew subsequently
teleported Swell Boy back to from whence he had come
and then altered the memories of everyone in City Hall
so that they would forget Swell Boy ever having been
there in the first place, thereby diverting suspicion
away from himself and forcing the denizens of No-Joke
City to consider the said mysterious incident
mysterious once more.  Yes, I know it's deus ex
machima.  Yes, I know it's cheating.  But that's what
Matthew did.  Really.  Deal with it.  Accept it and
move on.
  "So..." the mayor said, "where were we?"
  "You were just telling us about what happened in the
school," Major Lee Serious said.
  "That's right," Mayor Todd Barnes said.
  "So... do you have any leads?" Major Lee Serious
  "None, I'm afraid," the mayor said sadly.
  Just then, Matthew got an idea.  The only way for
him to get the people of No-Joke City to move on and
forget about what happened would be if he actually did
create a scapegoat for himself, someone who could be
blamed for the singing incident at the school.  And,
with his God-like powers, he could do just that.  He
only needed a moment's concentration.
  With that moment having passed, the phone rang.  The
mayor answered it.
  "Hello?" he said.
  The person on the other end of the phone started
singing, >>I just called... to say... I did it.
  >>I just called... to say I am the one... oh yeah.
  >>I just called... to say... I did it!
  >>I'm the one who caused those children to sing!
  >>O-oh yeah!  O-o-o-o-o-oh yeah!<<  He hung up.
  "I think I have a lead on who was behind the
singing," the mayor said calmly.
  "Did we have time to trace the call?" Major Lee
Serious asked.
  "No," the mayor said, "but we have call display so
we just need to contact the phone company and find out
where he is calling from."
  "Why don't you call him back?" Matthew asked.
  "He hung up on me," the mayor said.  "Presumably he
didn't want to tell me anything."
  "Then why did he call?"
  "I don't know."
  "Maybe he wants to be caught," Matthew suggested,
"but he wants you to take the initiative and call him
  "That's just silly," the mayor scoffed.
  "It's worth a try," Major Lee Serious said.
  The mayor made note of the number on call display
and called him back.
  >>Hello.  Who is this?<<
  "You called us, remember."
  >>Ah, yes.<<
  "So you tell us who you are."
  >>I am Silly Man.<<
  >>No.  Silly Man.  Two words.<<
  "Silly Man?"
  >>That's right.<<
  "What's your real name?"
  >>That is my real name.<<
  "So your parents, Mr. and Mrs. Man, they named you
  >>I suppose so.<<
  The mayor let out a deep sigh.  
  "Ask him where he is," Matthew Pauli suugested.
  "So where are you?" the mayor asked.
  >>I'm right outside City Hall in a phone booth.<<
  "Alright," the mayor said.  "Stay where you are. 
We'll come and get you."  He hung up and pointed at
the Deadly Serious Squad.  "He's outside in a phone
booth.  I want you four to go out there right now and
deal with this."
  They all cocked their guns.  "We're ready."  They
didn't see any humour at all in this situation.
  "Then go!"
  The Deadly Serious Squad filed out of the building. 
Matthew Pauli followed closely behind.  They all saw
Silly Man standing in front of a phone booth: he was
wearing a yellow, blue and orange striped clown
costume with white frills around the neck, sleeves and
ankles.  He had green hair, a red nose and big red
shoes.  He was dancing and singing, "Nana nana nana
nana Nana nana nana nana Silly Man!" over and over
  "Excuse me!" Major Lee Serious said.
  "Silly Man!  Silly Man!  Friendly neighbourhood
Silly Man!" Silly Man started to sing.
  "Are you the one who made the children sing?" Bea
Serious asked.
  "I am the one who made the children sing," he sang.
"I made them sing of love and special things!"
  "Right," Major Lee Serious said as he pulled out a
heavy-caliber weapon and aimed it at Silly Man's head.
 Without so much as issuing a warning, Major Lee
Serious pulled the trigger.  Now, this being a heavy
caliber weapon, the bullet didn't just leave a hole in
Silly Man's forehead: it passed straight through
leaving a massive exit wound at the back of his head
and then struck the glass in the phone booth behind
him.  Silly Man then fell backward into a pool of his
own blood mixed with glass, brains and shattered
  "Hoi!" Matthew said.  "That's not funny!"
  "It wasn't meant to be funny," Barry Serious said.
  "We don't tolerate people messing with our
children," Major Lee Serious said.
  "He only wanted to make people laugh," Matthew said.
 "For that he deserves death?"
  "Absolutely," Noah Joe King said, straightfaced as
  "Um... so... this kind of makes me wonder about the
'mysterious' disappearance of Jim Carrey a few years
back," Matthew said.
  "That investigation concluded with no leads as to
his whereabouts," Major Lee Serious told him.  "I see
no reason why you would want to follow it up."  He was
obviously quite serious.
  "Alright," Matthew said, feeling a little
intimidated.  "Nevermind."  Matthew stuck around long
enough to see the mayor congratulate the Deadly
Serious Squad on a "job well done" and then went home.

  When Matthew arrived home he was, understandably, a
bit upset.  His wife, who was used to seeing him in a
jovial mood sat down next to him to ask him what was
wrong.  "What's wrong?" she asked, unaware that the
narration had already told the reader what question
she was going to ask.
  "It's okay," Matthew said.
  "Tell me."
  Matthew sighed.  "It's my work.  I try to make
people happy.  I really do.  It's like people just
don't want to be happy.  It's frustrating."
  Jolina nodded.  "Okay.  Hey!  Let's have sex."
  Matthew sighed and shook his head.  "Sex.  That's
your answer to everything."
  "You don't want sex?" Jolina asked, understandably
  "Oh no no no!" Matthew said quickly.  "I do. 
Really.  I mean, it's great that you always want sex. 
Really!  Just give me a moment to get in the mood. 
  Jolina smiled.  "I can help you get in the mood,"
she said and then she... well... nevermind.  There's
no point making this story acraphobe.

  Matthew later reflected about whether he was doing
the right thing here in No-Joke City.  After all, he
could just go back to the Philippi.net, get a job
teaching at an all-girl's college and live happily
ever after... but he just didn't feel like giving up
just yet.  He needed to be more patient: maybe the
adults here will never learn to laugh but if their
children could learn to crack a smile once in a while
then maybe THEIR children would be able to laugh and
then his job would be done.  That's all he wanted to
do, to make people laugh.  What was the point of
people having anything if they couldn't laugh?  If
they couldn't be happy?  Matthew considered this to be
a worthy goal and he was willing to stick around for
the long haul.

                      THE END

Before God Guys and Deadly Serious Squad created by
Arthur Spitzer


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