Saturday, 24 March 2012

Lego Town

My son is God. Standing by the window, he looms his six-year-old shadow over the town of Lego houses on the edge of the great shagpile plain. The plastic people look up at the dark sky but do nothing.
My son has never left the city. I do not know where he obtained his perception of towns or that the city has an end or that anything exists on the other side. He must have seen it on TV.
He stands on the edge of the little town, glancing over everything he has created with an eagre smile splitting his cheeks.
“So what happens now?” I ask him.
“Now I destroy the town!”
“Why?” I ask suddenly. And I do want to know. I try to be a good father: I bought him the Lego and play with him when I’m not too tired after work; but sometimes I do not understand him, this creature I made.
“I built it,” he says. “So I’m allowed to destroy it.” His foot hangs like a dark cloud over the church on the high street.
“No!” I say, but I cannot think of a good enough excuse as to why he should not drop his foot except that he is God and I hope that God would show more mercy. “It seems such a shame to destroy it.”
“But I’m bored with it. Now that I’ve made the town there is nothing to do.”
“Then why don’t you make something happen in the town?”
“Because smashing the town will be more exciting.”
I wonder whether God really had a gripe with Sodom.
“Look!” I say. “Look at this man!” I kneel down and point to a Lego man standing at a Lego bus stop smiling an infallible Lego smile even though he is waiting for a bus that has not been built. “We could make a whole life for him. Let’s give him a name. What do you want to call him?”
“I dunno.”
“What about Peter? Do you like the name Peter?”
“Peter is a stupid name.” He picks Peter up by the neck between his thumb and forefinger and throws him across the town. Peter collides against the police station and his smiling head falls off and rolls onto the street.
“Don’t do that to Peter!” I pick up his body and reattach his head and place him back at the bus stop.
“You can’t do that, he’s dead!”
“Yes I can,” I say. “I’m your father!”
In reply he rams the toe of his school-shoe through the nearest house. People scatter across the road.
“Go on!” he screams. “Fix that, Dad!”
I stand up to my full height and loom over him.
“Go to your room!” I shout. “And don’t come out until you have learnt some respect!”
“Fine. This is boring anyway!”
I stand there, listening to his footsteps stamp down the hall and his bedroom door slam shut. Then I kneel back over the broken house. Two of the walls are collapsed inwards and the roof lies across the single room. I reach down to pick up the pieces. I think about how to fix the house, where the bricks should go and the people should stand. But before I can pick up a block I’ve stopped. I’ve realised something. I’ve realised that this meaningless destruction was merely an act of God. I’ve realised that none of the Lego people seem to care. I’ve realised I could destroy the whole town and they would still find reasons to smile. Suddenly it all seems so pointless.
So I leave the whole mess on the floor and turn on the TV.

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