“Gollah created the world — He created the universe — and everything in it, perfectly. Excellently. Tailor-made for life on Earth,” says Pope Mohammed. His hands are on handle bars. His feet are in stirrups. His head is in a helmet. Pope Mohammed is wearing bicycle shorts and a fitted jersey that reads “CAUTION” on the front.
“Everything?” You ask. You are riding beside Pope Mohammed wearing blue jeans that are a little worn on the thighs and a faded blue t-shirt. A group of roller bladers pass you both rolling in the opposite direction.
“Gollah created the world,” says Pope Mohammed looking over his shoulder. He looks forward again. He spits to his right. You are on his left, peddling, with one pant leg rolled to the middle calf.
Pope Mohammed says, “Gollah created all the animals, the insects, the reptiles. He created everything. Splendidly. Magnificently. It was all part of Gollah’s perfect plan.”
“Everything,” you repeat. “Perfectly.” You aren’t thinking. Just repeating.
A woman with a taut stomach and tan skin wearing shorts and a sports bra runs past you in the opposite direction. You can hear the soles of her shoes grinding against the gravel with each step.
“Gollah created women … perfectly,” says Pope Mohammed, looking back over his shoulder. “Gollah created them to supply the world with babies.”
You see the lake nearby. You see the birds flying between trees over tennis courts. You see a plane flying toward O’Hare over the Lawrence Avenue flight path. You smell a grill, and meats cooking on it, and smoke rising from it. Around it, you see a Mexican family camped under a tree. Some of them are playing volleyball with a soccer ball. You hear a child squeal happily playing on a blanket with her mother.
“Gollah created everything,” says Pope Mohammed downshifting. His legs look like their going to fling from the peddles. “Gollah created everything perfectly. Look how amazing this world is. There is no accident. There are no flaws.”
Pope Mohammed upshifts and moves in front of you. On the back of Pope Mohammed’s cycling Jersey, it reads, “CAUTION: POWERED BY NATURAL GAS.”
You peddle back to Pope Mohammed’s left side.
“So Gollah created everything?” You ask Pope Mohammed.
Pope Mohammed doesn’t hesitate. “Yes, isn’t it beautiful?”
You peddle a few times and you ask, “Gollah created cancer, disease, death, destruction, famine, war?”
“No, Gollah did not create those things.”