The writing of Under the Black Sand is in the final stages. Sentences are being polished and paragraphs shortened. Whole scenes are being deleted without mercy, if they drag along or don’t add to the story. Here is one which is still in, but only just. It may very well be cut before the book is completed. This is a lecture on society and religion by the protagonist.
The university was close to the cemetery but Peter was running late anyway. He walked briskly onto the podium and took centre stage. He looked over the audience and smiled at his flock. He raised his hands, like the Messiah they clearly needed. He gave himself a few seconds to get into the mood, to remember how he wanted to start. And it made for a good drama.
‘God created man in his image. Then He created the woman as an afterthought because the dude needed someone to play with. It also probably occurred to Him that it was kind of stupid that all the animals were created in pairs, except for man.
‘Our society is built on this rubbish. We are born, we go to Sunday School, we get married in a Church in front of God that forgot to create a woman and then we live happily ever after with that one and same person until we die and meet the maker in a Church. Oh, and you better make sure that this other person is of the opposite gender because same sex relationships are bad and perversive unless you are serving God. Then all talk about gender and age becomes irrelevant as the servants of God enjoy the sweet taste of youth.
‘We were not designed to live with the same person our whole lives. It’s not called wedlock for no reason. Notice the lock? Men were supposed to spread their genes as far and wide as possible and women were supposed to pick the best genes available at any given time. It would be an evolutionary disaster to stick with one person your whole life. And pretty boring, if you ask me.’
He smiled at an oh such a cute redhead. He also noticed a few faces looking at him in disbelief.
‘Right, you don’t believe me? How many of you have had a relationship problem? You’re pretty young so that may still be in the future, but believe me, it will come. What once was pure bliss will turn into a boring routine. He will ignore you, instead of being all over you. When you say something, he will make mumbling noises and not hear a thing. When you kiss him good night, he will quickly look away from the computer and allow you to kiss him on the cheek before going back to the game he’s playing or whatever. The horrible thing has happened. Boredom has settled in and the relationship has begun the inevitable downward spiral. And believe me, you will be divorced within a couple of years or doomed to waste your life with someone that doesn’t appreciate you.
‘How can this happen? Let me try to explain. Tell me, what is your favourite food? I’ll use lasagne for argument’s sake. You love it but it’s a pain to make so you only eat it once a month or thereabout. Still, every time you have lasagne you love it. How can you ever get bored with lasagne? You would think that it’s impossible, but it’s easy. Here’s how.
‘Your rich uncle dies, leaving you a fortune. You hire a chef to cook lasagne every day for you. Great! Lasagne every day. What can possibly go wrong?’
He looked at a few faces in the audience.
‘You’re right. After a few days of eating lasagne, even your favourite food starts to get a bit tired. You get bored with it. A few days later, you’re sick of it and you can’t stand the sight of lasagne. It used to be your favourite and now you can’t stand it!
‘Lasagne is still great. It’s just that too much of a good thing is no good. Same with relationships. Your partner is still fantastic, still the person you fell in love with and couldn’t get enough of in the beginning. The best thing to ever happen to you. But an overdose is still an overdose.
‘Religion has taught us that we are supposed to be true to one person our whole life. Society has told us that our partner should be roughly the same age. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what we do in our bedroom, and who we do it with. And it better be a shared bedroom, because it is economically impossible for most people to live apart. Religion and stigma has a lot to answer for.
‘The thing is, we don’t have to believe in God to fall into the traps set by his servicemen. Our whole system is an unnatural set of rules, agreed on by old men with a political agenda. Our current system is a fabrication. Their vision of what life should be like. Look around you and you will see that we live by rules created by people, no more intelligent than you are. In many cases, they were less intelligent and a lot more ignorant.
‘Our system is not a law of nature. We made those rules ourselves and they have, in many cases, nothing to do with the human spirit or how we would naturally like to live.
‘The best way to preserve the status quo is to have people’s attention diverted away from the source of this nonsense. We have christians against muslims, catholics versus protestants, communists versus capitalists. It’s a cockfight and as long as the cocks are focused on killing each other, the owners, the ones that set the fight up, are safe.
‘The system relies on conflict and misery. We have feminists fighting old farts. Should the woman be allowed to work or should we lock her up in the kitchen? Why even bother to ask the question? Why should we doubt for one moment that women have the same rights as men? They can do whatever they want. Make their own choices. The thing is, they usually don’t want the same things we do. They are different, because evolution had other plans for them. And don’t think that is a bad thing. Just like I may prefer red apples and someone else green ones, they may prefer shoes to cars, pink to blue, or blue to my pink.’
He looked at her when he said red and she smiled ever so slightly back.
‘It’s all about choice and accepting who we are. Not what some old book says we should be. Whenever I’m not sure about why we do certain things and behave in a certain way, I imagine the purest form of human society. What would a caveman do?
‘Looking at the stone age, we see people living in larger groups than we now do. Yes, we live in cities, but we are isolated from most of the people around us. Cavemen lived with their extended families. There was no nuclear family. Men went out hunting while…’
The redhead hung on his every word. It would be a great evening.
Now it’s just seeing if the scene adds depth or drags on. Time will tell.