Dialogue Extract

God and Stephen Hawking

GOD
(RE-GOWNING HIMSELF) This is where I get to have a bit of fun. We’re going into another time dimension, and I’m going into another character dimension. For my own devious purposes, I’m now taking the guise of Stephen Hawking’s first physics tutor at Oxford. A man probably not up to his pupil’s intellectual capacity, but considerably wiser than him in other ways. (TAKES A SHEAF OF PAPERS FROM THE FOLDS OF THE GOWN.) I’ve always seen myself as a player of parts. (GOES BRISKLY TOWARDS STEPHEN WAVING THE PAPERS.)
GOD
Mr Hawking, Mr Hawking - what is this? I asked you for an essay on the Newtonian concept of mass, not a critique of your text books!
STEPHEN
Sorry, Doctor Berman. It was more fun finding the mistakes in them than fiddling about with dear old Newton once again. I mean he does hit the Earth with quite a dull thud himself, doesn’t he?
BERMAN
(SIGHING) You’re going to come a cropper yourself if you don’t take things a little more seriously, Mr Hawking. You’re a lively chap - I’m sure you keep your friends endlessly amused with all your witty parodies of us lesser mortals. However it took Newton half a lifetime to work out his theories on gravity, so you’re going to have to do a little more than this if you want to get a decent degree.
STEPHEN
Yes.
BERMAN
You never take any notes during our tutorials. Why not?
STEPHEN
Well, er.... like the text-books - there doesn’t seem much point writing things down until one is convinced they’re right.
BERMAN
Oh, you’re challenging my teachings now?
STEPHEN
No, no.... it’s just - everything seems so incomplete still.
BERMAN
That’s the nature of science. If we knew everything there’d be nowhere to go.
STEPHEN
Well that’s it. I still don’t know where I’m going.
BERMAN
Nor did Newton - until he let his observations tell him. (HANDS BACK THE PAPERS. STEPHEN IN TAKING THEM DROPS HIS TEXT BOOKS.) There, you see....
STEPHEN
(FROWNING) Sorry. I can’t seem to.... (STOOPS TO PICK THEM UP)
BERMAN
You’re subject to his laws just like the rest of us. You’re a clever lad, Stephen, but it won’t all come by divine inspiration.
STEPHEN
No. I don’t believe in divinity anyway.
BERMAN
Ah. Now if you were reading theology, then we could really have an interesting debate. However you’ve settled for more terrestrial matters, so for now you must accept that I am your God, and though I may work in mysterious ways they are intended to lead you into the paths of righteousness.
STEPHEN
Yes. I’m afraid I must go, Doctor Berman. I’m late for rowing practise.
BERMAN
Ah, yes - you’re coxing the college eight, aren’t you? I hear you take a somewhat hazardous line with them too sometimes.
STEPHEN GRINS AND GOES. THE BACKSCREEN REVERTS TO THE MILKY WAY. GOD TURNS TO THE AUDIENCE.
GOD
You see what I’m up against? He is representative of my problem. The march of science is phenomenal I have to admit, but it is rather leaving me out on a limb. I need all my resources to fight back. (JANE ENTERS. SHE GAZES AT THE HEAVENLY BACKSCREEN. GOD LOOKS AT HER, THEN KNOWINGLY AT THE AUDIENCE.) Sex. Now there’s a great weapon. Did I contrive such a bizarre procreative method deliberately in order to cause mayhem amongst your species? Or was it simply a grotesque effect of the primeval chemistry? Well, wherever it came from I don’t see why I shouldn’t try and use it to my advantage now.