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By Ashleylister @ashleylister

Marcus had known he was special from a young age.  Chosen.  It wasn’t something he could explain to people, or had a care to for that matter.  He just knew that God was watching him; no one else, just him. 
For someone as divinely touched as Marcus, his life had been very normal up until now.  Nothing out of the ordinary had happened.  No burning bushes, doves from heaven or lightning from the sky.  No celestial visitors; no demonic visitors either; it was starting to make him doubt himself.
That was until today.  Today Marcus had realized his mistake.  Marcus hadn’t been listening.   God did have a plan for him.  God hadbeen talking to him all this time, he just hadn’t been tuned in to the right frequency to hear Him.
The epiphany had come as he was lying on his bed, bored out of his skull, listening to his iPod on shuffle.  He wasn’t really paying any attention.  All he could think of was that he was twenty-four, had no friends to speak of and still his path hadn’t been spoken to him.   The silence from Him spoke volumes.  It was as if He didn’t exist at all.  Something was wrong.  Something was very wrong.  He needed a voice to tell him what actions he should take, to map out his future, set his path, point the way.  He needed direction.
He said a silent prayer, begging for a message.  It was in that moment a steady bass line started up, followed by a piano counterpoint, a distorted Les-Paul and a jazz drum-line.  “God is on the Radio” by Queens of the Stone Age crowbarred its way into his awareness as if it was a message just for him.
He listened until the end until the next random track started: “I am a Message” by Idlewild.  It was all too clear: God was speaking directly to Marcus through his iPod!  How had he not seen this before?
From that moment on, Marcus made a vow to obey the word of God that spoke to him through his iPod.  Everyday, he vowed; everyday I will set my iPod to shuffle and obey the instruction it gives me, no matter what.
It had started out innocently enough.  The first track that had any instruction in it was ‘Kick out the Jams’ by MC5.  It seemed a strange instruction but Marcus knew not to question the God of the Pod, I mean, pork was forbidden, right?  All fruit condiments dutifully went into the rubbish.
Following that, there were a few random incidents that led to pleasurable experiences.  Bloc Party’s “Waiting for the 7.18” instructed, “Let’s drive to Brighton on the Weekend” so he did.  He met people, enjoyed a day on the shoreline.  Lounging on the sand with his new friends, Beck’s “Beercan” happily suggested “Winos throwing Frisbees at the sun” and later on Michael Stipe had his say with “Nightswimming” The perfect end to a perfect weekend.
Life improved dramatically.  His new friends loved his quirk of obeying songs.  It was a game to them.  Like when “Infilade” by At the Drive-In started: “Hello Mother Leopard.  I have your cub.  You must protect her, but that will be expensive.  10,000 Cola-Nuts, wrapped in brown paper; Midnight; behind the box; I’ll be the Hyena, you’ll see” That one had caused uproar when he followed the instructions perfectly.  And the time when everyone was hungover and “Put the Lime in the Coconut” came on.  Perfect.  Perfect, perfect, proof that he was channeling something special.
Those were the good times.  It was when he was alone that the voice changed its tune.  He was idling in his bedsit, musing on the nature of this divine relationship and whether he spoke to God or an angel, maybe the Metatron?  Or Gabriel?  Who was it that communed with him?
He decided to shuffle tracks to answer his question. His answer was “Mr Self Destruct” by Nine Inch Nails.
“I am the voice inside your head (and I control you)I am the lover in your bed (and I control you)I am the sex that you provide (and I control you)I am the hate you try to hide (and I control you)I take you where you want to goI give you all you need to knowI drag you down I use you upMr. Self-destructI speak religion's message clear (and I control you)I am denial guilt and fear (and I control you)I am the prayers of the naïve (and I control you)I am the lie that you believe (and I control you)I take you where you want to goI give you all you need to knowI drag you down I use you upMr. Self-destruct”
It seemed a challenge.  A challenge, a message and a warning.  A warning not heeded.  The next time Marcus meditated on shuffle the song that came up was GG Allin’s “Expose yourself to Children”
The next time Marcus meditated it was Nailbomb’s “Wasting Away” (“Carve your rights into your arms”)
The next time it was “Wave of Mutilation” by the Pixies, (“Cease to resist, given my goodbyes. Drive my car into the ocean”)
People started avoiding him. 
The next song was “World Invitational” by Rival Schools (“Burn down where you live and notice who your friends are”)
Homeless, carless, friendless, he still had his God.  He was scared to listen anymore but where was guidance if not in his music?
In a Brighton back-alley, behind the box where he’d once left ten thousand cola-nuts, he put in his earphones and knelt to hear instruction from his God. 
Today God spoke in Billy Corgan’s nasal whine…
“I am one as you are threeTry to find messiah in your trinityYour city to burnYour city to burnTry to look for something in your city to burn,
You'll burnAm I as I seem?I'm downDown, so down
Time is right for a guiding lightTry to turn to reasons in your bitter lifeYour city to burnYour city to burnTry to look for something in your city to burn,
You'll burn”
Marcus skipped the track.
“The roof, the roof the roof is on fire. We don’t need no water let that motherfucker burn.  Burn motherfucker, burn”
Marcus skipped the track.
“C’mon baby light my fire”
Marcus skipped the track.
“I’m the firestarter, twisted firestarter.  You’re the firestarter, twisted firestarter”
For Fuck’s Sake!  There was no getting around it was there?  Obey the God of the Pod.  It was all he knew.  All he could do.  Who was he if he didn’t?  No one. 
“I am the god of hellfire and I bring you…”
Marcus was exhausted.  Everywhere you turned the smell of smoke and the sound of sirens met the senses.  It was done.  He was an instrument of destruction.  Michael with a flaming sword.  Not party to reason but hoping for it nonetheless he asked the burning city to speak to him, as the voice of God had once used a burning bush.  He heard nothing but the crackling of flames.
Desperate, one final time he reached for the iPod.  1% of battery remained.  One final song.
“The world is my expenseThe cost of my desireJesus blessed me with its futureAnd I protect it with fireSo raise your fistsAnd march aroundJust don't take what you needI'll jail and bury those committedAnd smother the rest in greedCrawl with me into tomorrowOr I'll drag you to your graveI'm deep inside your childrenThey'll betray you in my name
Hey, heySleep now in the fire
The lie is my expenseThe scope of my desireThe party blessed me with its futureAnd I protect it with fireI am the Nina The Pinta The Santa MariaThe noose and the rapistThe fields’ overseerThe agent of orangeThe priests of HiroshimaThe cost of my desireSleep now in the fire
Hey, heySleep now in the fire
For it's the end of historyIt's caged and frozen stillThere is no other pill to takeSo swallow the one that made you illThe Nina The Pinta The Santa MariaThe noose and the rapistThe fields overseerThe agent of orangeThe priests of HiroshimaThe cost of my desireTo Sleep now in the fire”

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