In The Beginning

In The Beginning

‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’

Gabriel stopped writing and looked up at God. ‘That’s a bit brief, isn’t it? Aren’t you going to go into any detail?’

‘Of course I’m going to go into detail. That’s just the opening line. It sets the scene for the rest of the chapter.’

‘Oh, OK. I’ll shut up and write.’

‘If you would. You’re interrupting my flow. Right, have you got that down?’

‘Yep, got that.’

‘And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.’
‘Sorry, was that a new sentence, or a continuation?’
‘A new sentence.’
‘You’re starting a sentence with “and”?’
‘Yes. Is that wrong?’
‘I think so, yes. But you’re God, so knock yourself out. I don’t suppose anyone will notice.’
‘Good. Because I’ve got a few sentences that start with ‘and’. I like the way it sounds. It gives it a certain tone that I’m looking for.’
‘Right. Fire away. I won’t interrupt again.’
‘That would be appreciated.’
God continued with his explanation of how he ‘created’ the Earth and Heaven. Gabriel just took the dictation without comment, until he got to Chapter Two.
‘Just a minute. You’ve already made Man and Woman on the previous page. Now you’re making Man again, and then taking a rib to make Woman? Why can’t you make her from dust as well?’
‘It makes it sound better. Like Woman is part of Man. It kind of justifies why men rule the world, and women do the washing up. This book is all about giving some order and purpose to humans. They’re getting a bit out of order, and I feel I should be whipping them into shape a little. Once I’ve got this down on paper, I can then start talking with a few of them, and giving them some rules to live by.’
‘And what about the repeating yourself bit? You’ve made Man twice.’
‘True. We’ll go back and edit that later. Or maybe we’ll leave it in. It’ll give the scholars something to fret about in years to come.’
‘Ooh, I like the sound of that. OK. We’ll leave it as it is.’
God paced up and down, while Gabriel studiously took the dictation, biting his lip at the unlikely events that were being described for as long as he could. It didn’t last long.
‘Hold on a minute. Are you seriously expecting people to believe that Adam lived for nine hundred years? What’s all that about?’
‘Why, does that sound a bit too long?’
‘Just a bit, yes. Anything over a hundred is stretching it rather. I just don’t see what you’re trying to achieve here. I get all the Creation stuff, and the serpent and all that. Although, to be honest, I don’t know why you don’t just tell it like it really happened. But why would you want to tell people that years ago they could live for nearly a thousand years, when now they are lucky to see out their fiftieth birthday?’
‘Look. You know what happened. I know what happened. I want humans to respect and worship me. They’re hardly going to do that if all I say is that I made an amoeba, and then spent the next two billion years playing lightening games with Thor while life just evolved. I need to give it some gravitas. So I’ve embellished it just a little.’
‘This is your idea of just a little, is it? OK. You’re the boss. What’s next?’
‘I don’t know. What do you think about a massive flood?’
Gabriel rolled his eyes, picked up his pen, and said ‘Whatever. I’m just not sure how we’re going to get this published, let alone get anyone to read it.’

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