a writing by Paul Butters

The amphitheatre seemed to stretch for miles, all the way to the horizon. Spectators thronged, filling the great bowl with a hum of chattering conversation. In the centre was a podium, occupied by a handful of officials dressed in gold. They were sitting behind a great table, at the middle of which, was another great bowl. Millions of conversations filled the stadium with an air of expectation.

(Amongst the crowd) Person One turned to the nearest individual: “I’m a newbie here. What’s going on?”

Person Two: “They are about to make the draw. You have got a ticket haven’t you?”

Person One: “Yes. To be honest, though, my mates talked me into it. It’s supposed to be fun. Been too busy to check it out properly though.”

Two: “Well, what it’s all about is we each win a prize.”

One: “Cool.”

Two: “Keep your voice down. They’ve started. Just listen for your number and raise your hand when you hear it. You will be passed your ball.”

One: “What will be in it?”

Two: “You moron. Haven’t you done any research? You will be given a Life on a planet called Earth, in their so-called twentieth century. You will experience maybe eighty years or so of being a human being in a pre-warp society.

One: “Oh.”

The lottery proceeded at a rapid pace. In due course “One” was passed his ball, drawn from that enormous bowl.

One (to Two): “Who’ve you got then?”

Two: “I’m gonna be Charles Windsor: initially Prince Charles of England. Not bad.”

Three (chipped in): “I’m going to be Barack Obama, President of The United States. Wow!”

Four: “Well I was William Shakespeare last time, but now I’ll be someone called Elvis.”

Five: “Stephen Hawking, me.”

Two (To One): “How’s about you, friend?”

One (frowned): “It says Paul Butters, in Yorkshire, England.”

Four: “Good God man! What a beauty. You lucky sod.”
Everyone within earshot murmured approval.

One: “Is that good then?”

Two: “Good? You really haven’t looked into this have you? Haven’t heard of Paul Butters? Pshhhh. You’re a lucky buggar. Hadn’t come across this Obama guy myself, I admit, but You, you’ve read nothing!”

One: “Should be a good trip then.”

Four: “Yeh, if you’re up to it”.

So they all began to make their collective way to the departure area. One by one they entered the launch tubes and vanished. As each baby was born on twentieth century Earth, he or she had already received the appropriate soul while in the womb. A smack of the bottom, and life began for each and every one.

Paul Butters

(C) PB Humberside 8\2\2011 at 14.10.

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