What Frank Had to Say to God Almighty

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By Benjamin Davis

Credit: Nikita Klimov, @ni.nikita.ta on Instagram

Welcome to “What Happened When Frank Died.” In this column, for as long as I’m allowed, I’m going to kill Frank. Like—a lot. Worse, every two weeks, he will then be subjected to a multiverse of afterlives: absurd, funny, brutal, depressing, wild, creepy, heart-wrenching afterlives. Some will be based on existing theories, some on my own demented imaginings. In each, Frank will begin anew, searching, as always, for his lost family in the messy business of the many potential Great Beyonds. Frank (thankfully) does not remember his past-afterlives. Yet, attentive readers who pick up clues along the way will be able to solve the mystery of what happened before Frank died.

Frank died.

God whistled a tune.

Frank sat across from God, looking around the room. Nothing special, walls, mostly. He looked back at God.

“Who the hell are you?” asked Frank.

God stopped whistling. “God, I think, right? You guys are still calling me God?”

Frank stared. “Uh-huh.”

“Any-who,” God muttered, shuffling awkwardly.

“Right.” Frank said after a minute. “I’m going to go.”

“Wait!” God said. “Just…” God sighed, “…wait. You can’t go yet.”

“And why is that?” Frank asked, crossing his arms.

“Well, you see,” God said, wincing, “you’ve been selected, so, you need to decide if you forgive me or not.”

Frank chuckled, then, looked coldly at God who’d put on an innocent hopeful smile. 


God sighed, face slackened.

Frank frowned. He sat back across from God. “Seriously, is this some kind of joke?”

God didn’t move, only looked at Frank the way an old dog looks at a veterinarian with a long needle. “I–I have to do this, it’s my punishment.”

Frank snorted, leaning back. “For what?”

God looked away. “For creating your world. They said it was too cruel. That I was arrogant to think I could make a world with free will. Cowards, they’re always making these fluffy little playgrounds for fluffy little dumb creations. I wanted to do something new, something innovative.”

God looked about to cry with frustration. Frank almost felt pity, then thought about it.

“You know, because of you I–” Frank took a breath through his teeth. “You took everyone I ever loved from me.”

God moaned. “I know, I know, I know! I get it. But some are still willing to forgive. It wasn’t all bad, was it? I gave you ice cream. And puppies? Don’t you like puppies, Frank?”

Frank stood up. He looked down at God.

“What happens if I don’t forgive you?”

God ran a finger along the side of the chair and shrugged. “I only know I need a certain number of my creations to forgive me before they’ll let me back into the academy.”

Frank shook his head, looked around the room, and spotting a door, he started toward it.

“Do you forgive me?” God called after him.

Frank turned. “How many creations need to forgive you?”

God sighed. “I don’t know.”

“Okay, what happens to you if not enough of us forgive you no matter how long you try?”

“I don’t know,” God recited, again. “This?” God motioned to the room they were in.

Frank rubbed his forehead with the back of his hand.

“Can you tell me what is through that door?”

God shrugged.

Frank waited for God to say something else, but God was looking down at his hands, weaving them together then pulling them apart.

“Well, this has been disappointing,” Frank admitted to himself, and God.

Frank turned, opened the door, and stepped out.

“Do you forgive me?” God called after him.

Frank stopped. “No.” He stepped through the door.  “I don’t even forgive myself,” Frank finished, no longer anything but a fading voice.

Benjamin Davis has stories & poems in 25+ literary journals like BOOTH, Hobart, Maudlin House. His first book of poems, The King of FU (2018), was such a smashing success it shocked the indie press who printed it into an early grave. He is now working on his first six novels.

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