by Matt Bell
Read by Rish Outfield of The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine
Originally published in Barrellhouse
The plumber always dies with the same surprised look on his face, his mouth hanging open as he flies upward through the air before being born again at the beginning of the world. He’s tiny and frightened without his mushrooms and his fireballs, desperately banging his head against blocks, looking for more. Sometimes, between reincarnations, the plumber thinks he senses God trying to decide whether to give him another chance or to just bag the whole thing. He’s scared then, but who wouldn’t be? He prays for continuation and then God says Continue and the music plays that means the plumber will live again. Back in the world, he realizes that the God he senses between deaths is there when he’s alive too, guiding his motions. His triumphs are God’s triumphs but so are his failures. It bothers him that God can fail but he doesn’t show it. He is a stoic little plumber, looking for mushrooms and jumping on turtles. He is not a philosopher, or at least not until after the Princess is safe and he has the time to think things through. Still, sometimes when he’s alive and running or, heaven forbid, swimming, he realizes that the God Who Continues is possibly not the only god there is. Surely, that god isn’t the one who put all the collapsing platforms and strange, angry wildlife everywhere. At first he thinks it’s the Turtle King, the one who captured the Princess and started him on this whole adventure, but then he thinks, Who made the Turtle King? Not God, or at least not his God. Does this prove the existence of the Devil? He doesn’t know.
Rated PG for plumbers, philosophy, and good ol’ fashioned shrooms
(Hey! Look at us! Fifty miniatures!)