Herb Asher said, “There is a great war being fought at this moment between God and Belial. The fate of the universe is at stake, its actual physical existence. When I took off for the West Coast I assumed — I had reason to assume — that everything was okay, Now I am not sure; now I think that something dark and awful has gone wrong. You police are the paradigm of it, the epitome. I would not have been grappled if Yah had in fact won. I will not go on to California because that would jeopardize Linda Fox. You’ll find her, of course, but she doesn’t know anything; she is — in this world, anyhow — a struggling new talent whom I was trying to help. Leave her alone. Leave me alone, too; leave us all alone. You do not know whom you serve. Do you under- stand what I’m saying? You are in the service of evil, whatever
else you may think. You are machines processing an old warrant. You do not know what I’ve done, or been accused of doing … you can make no sense of what I say because you do not understand the situation. You are going by rules that don’t apply. This is a unique time. Unique events are taking place; unique forces are squared off against one another. I will not go to Linda Fox but on the other hand I do not know where I will go instead. Maybe Elias will know; maybe he can tell me what to do. My dream was shot down when you grappled me, and maybe her dream, too; Linda Fox’s dream. Maybe I can’t now help her become a star, as I promised. Time will tell. The outcome will
determine it, the outcome of the great battle. I pity you because whatever the outcome you are destroyed; your souls are gone now.”
“You are an unusual man, Mr. Asher,” the cop beside him said. “Crazy or not, whatever it is that has gone wrong with you, you are one of a kind.” He nodded slowly, as if deep in thought.
“This is not an ordinary kind of insanity. This is not like anything I have ever seen or heard before. You talk about the whole universe — more than the universe, if that is possible. You impress me and in a way you frighten me. I am sorry I grappled you, now that I have listened to you. Don’t shoot me. I’ll release your vehicle and you can fly off; I won’t pursue you. I’d like to forget what I’ve heard in the last few minutes. You talk about God and a counter-God and a terrible battle that seems to be lost, lost to the power of the counter-God, I mean. This does not fit with anything I know of or understand. Go away. I’ll forget you and you can forget about me.” Wearily, the cop plucked at his metal mask.
“You can’t let him go,” the speaker sputtered.
“Oh, yes I can,” the cop said. “I can let him go and I can forget everything he’s said, everything I’ve heard.”
“Except that it’s recorded,” the speaker sputtered.
The cop reached down and pressed a button. “I just erased it,” he said.
“I thought the battle was over,” Herb Asher said. “I thought God had won. God has not won. I know that even though you are letting me go. But maybe it is a sign, your releasing me. I see some response in you, some amount of human warmth.’”
“I am not a machine,” the cop said.
“But will that continue to be true?” Herb Asher said. “I wonder. What will you be a week from now? A month? What will we all become? And what power do we have to affect it?”
The cop said, “I just want to get away from you, a long distance away.”
“Good,” Herb Asher said. “It can be arranged. Someone must tell the world the truth,” he added. “The truth you know, that I told you: that God is in combat and losing. Who can do it?”
“You can,” the cop said.
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