William Crump and the black rain
Boess, ruler of the ancient gods, spent his every hour watching over the new king. The world was very different now from the one Boess remembered and the king was very unking-like, spending much of the day wandering around his undersized palace in his undergarments.
“Wiggley,” Boess shouted, summoning the weather god.
“Yes Boess,” Wiggley said, meekly.
“I want you to go down to earth to keep a watch over this new king.”
“But can’t you watch over him with you all-seeing eternal eye?”
“Of course I can, that’s what all-seeing means. But I’d rather have someone on the ground.” In truth, Boess was beginning to doubt his all-seeing, eternal eye, for in this new world he had woken up in it was overwhelmed with images and he could barely tell which was real. Like the images the king watched on his screen every night, they must be illusions, but they looked real, they even sounded real. Were they there at all, did the king see them, or was his all-seeing eye deceiving him?
Wiggley wasn’t a very good spy. In fact he wasn’t a spy at all, he was a weather god, and gods aren’t renowned for hiding away in corners unnoticed. It’s a fact of divine survival, nobody worships you if they don’t know you’re there, it’s why no society has ever worshipped a god of not being seen and without believers a god is nothing.
Consequently Wiggley failed in his efforts to be inconspicuous and the king, or William Crump as he was known to everyone who wasn’t a god, saw him through his window and went outside to say hello.
“I thought it was you,” he said amiably.
“Me? Oh it isn’t me,” Wiggley said. “No, you’re mistaken, I must be some other god.” Wiggley, as well as being a poor spy, wasn’t a very good liar either.
William laughed. “You like your gods don’t you. Well, I couldn’t help noticing you were standing around doing nothing, I wondered if you’d like to join me for a quick pint.”
Wiggley looked bemused. “A quick pint?”
“Down the Red Lion,” he nodded towards the pub at the end of the street. “They’ve got Old Peculiar on at the moment, ever had it?”
Wiggley shook his head.
“Well, the first round’s on me. Come, come, don’t just stand there waiting for the gods to tell you what to do. I’ve not had a chance to celebrate my find yet – you know, I haven’t raised a glass to my becoming king.”
Wiggley had no choice but to follow the king to the hostelry, he knew little of earthly ways, but he knew he could not turn down the command to toast the new king’s reign.
At the bar William took out a twenty pound note and waited to be served.
“Now if I really was king then I’d have a whole pile of these and we could drink all night,” he said to his companion.
“Let me see,” Wiggley took the note from him, memorising its every detail.
“Never seen a twenty before, eh? I guess that’s your way of saying you’ve no money for a round yourself.”
“On the contrary,” Wiggley replied, and pulled out a wodge of recently materialised notes, each of them identical to the one he had just seen, down to the moustache drawn on the queen’s face in blue biro.
“Looks like we’ve got a serious evening’s drinking ahead of us.”
And they had.
I won’t even bother covering the first six pints, that was just the warm-up.
It was only during the seventh pint that things started to get interesting.
You have to remember, that although Wiggley was a god, he had never had beer before, and he found that the Old Peculiar had a strange effect on him.
“What was it you said you did?” asked William.
“Shush, don’t tell,” Wiggley whispered, “but I lied when I said I was another god.”
“Yes, I’m not another god at all. I’m me.”
“And who are you?”
“I’m Wiggley the god of sunshine,” Wiggley said, though strictly speaking he’s an all-purpose weather god and if sunshine was his speciality he wouldn’t be based in this country.
“So you can make weather happen.”
“Of course,” Wiggley said. “It’s my job. How can you doubt me?”
“Make it rain then.”
Wiggley obeyed the king’s order. He felt obliged to, you can hardly turn down a king’s command. But Wiggley was an outdoorsy sort of weather god, and didn’t know that when you commanded a god to make it rain you generally mean make it rain outside. So he took command of the elements available inside, the sprinkler system installed in case of fire, and made rain happen.
In just over an instant the king and the god were soaking wet. The rain didn’t last long, the landlord hit the override system and came round shortly afterwards, with towels for all customers to dry themselves with. “Very sorry about that, must have been someone smoking in the toilets.”
“Well you made it rain I guess.” William said as he dried himself.
“I did,” Wiggley agreed.
“I had sort of expected the rain to be outside, but in many ways that was even more impressive.”
The evening progressed. Neither of them were particularly bothered by the 'rain', the towels had removed the worst of it. More and more pictures of the queen with a blue moustache were handed over the bar, and the barrel of Old Peculiar became much depleted.
“It’s a shame,” William said, and this must have been about ten pints in, though to be fair everyone had lost count by this time, “it’s a shame that it only ever rains rain.”
“It only rains rain?”
“Yes, how dull don’t you think.”
“Well what should it rain?”
William held up his glass. “This. That way we can top up on the way home.”
“Black rain. Okay then.”
So Wiggley made it rain Old Peculiar and, as it was time for them to go home, they took their empty glasses with and, as William had suggested, topped them up with rainfall as they walked.
“Black rain tastes brilliant,” William said.
“I must do this more often,” Wiggley agreed.
“We must do this every week,” William said as they reached his door. “You can make it rain a different colour every time.”
“Yes,” Wiggley agreed. “I’m so bored with rain-coloured rain.”
“See you next Thursday then.”
“See you next Thursday.”
Wiggley’s orders were to watch over the king, but he was feeling strangely tired and he returned to the realm of the gods for a much-needed sleep, only just remembering to turn off the black rain before turning in. After all, he was supposed to be spying on the king, and spies mustn’t draw attention to themselves by causing Old Peculiar floods.