God stood with his hands clasped behind his back, watching the scene that was playing across his office window. He gave a long sigh and the image disappeared. God closed his eyes briefly then opened them, trying to let the beautiful visage of clouds and sky that had replaced the violent escapades calm his nerves. His shoulders slumped. It hadn’t worked. Rubbing his temples he said out loud, “Peter, could you please send Adam and Eve along with Lassie the First to my office, please?”
“Of course, sir,” Peter’s efficient voice replied.
For the hundredth googolplex time, God wondered why he had created humans. Zox made having sentient beings in his universe look like so much fun. Zox, Fum, Tob, Rog, and God had spent hours watching their antics and laughing. And Zox had more populated planets than even he could count. God could barely handle the one. He knew it made him Infinity’s joke, but really. No one had bothered to explain independent thought and free will to him. Zox just snorted and told him he should have gone for his masters in Deitism before populating his world. He said they spent a millennium alone on creating pre-destination and fate. To give himself some credit, God had been in the middle of a correspondence course and had really only created Adam and Eve as a model for what he was reading. It wasn’t his fault if while he took a nap between cramming sessions they had gone and eaten a node from one of the Earth’s computer antennas. He had never even fathomed that they might find it eatable. Another lesson he had apparently not reached in his course, sentient beings will try anything once. He had had to change his whole ecosystem after that. Zox still got a kick out of having computer parts delivered by the pizza guy.
Once that “apple” as Adam and Eve had coined it (language was another thing that had gotten out of hand) had been damaged, the whole system had gotten skewed. The computer started spewing out a whole history for the planet complete with natural disasters, genocides, and TV evangelists. At first God was just annoyed. It looked like it was going to take a lot of programming to undo the problem, but there was too much. Change one line of code, and everything fell apart. So he had tried a new hard drive, and the damned system wouldn’t recognize it. Finally, he had gone to the Central Omniscient Beings Office for help. They had dumped a huge ancient book in his lap. It was the Laws of Creation. The clerk had highlighted one subparagraph on the last page for him. It stated, “Once an Omniscient Being has decided to become a deity and create a planet that includes sentient life, said life can not be destroy. It would damage the structure of the multi-universes and all that. Plus, it’s really messy. The planet and its contents must play out the original course laid out until its conclusion. Such actions will be closely monitored and regularly audited by the COBC.”
So God was stuck with the Earth and the damned smart yet determined-to-be-ignorant Homo Sapiens. He had tried to make things better. He had bent the rules and tweaked history a little and inserted a nice and enthusiastic carpenter to try and explain to everyone how much better the world would be if everyone lightened up and loved each other more. The death toll from that had been so large that the COBC police force had come along asking questions about his intentions for this small planet. They had threatened an audit of his galactic taxes to make sure he wasn’t trying to somehow use his planet for fraud.
And each time he tried to make things better, something else was made even worse. The trials over religion verse evolution had given God the worst headaches. Therefore he had to content himself with just keeping things on track until the end of what his humans called "time". (It was their problem if they wanted to make that time as miserable as possible.) With all of that free thought and whatnot, they kept trying to screw it up themselves and make changes for, what they were always sure, was the better.
God had done one thing right. He had created Heaven. Thankfully he had read the chapter on mortality before making Adam and Eve. So each time one of those things stopped breathing, the computer grabbed the essential signal, or “soul”, and put it into service helping to keep everything running smoothly. Adam and Eve had been the first in this mission, as they were the first in everything. And they were among the best, along with Lassie the First. He should have stopped when he had created the dog, God thought, not for the first time. The dolphins were OK too. Animals often made the best recruits. Their sense of right and wrong was much less complicated. Anything based on smell usually was.
* * *
As these thoughts ran through God’s head, Adam and Eve and Lassie were in an elevator on their way to his office, as ordered. Eve smoothed her skirt a bit, even though it wasn’t wrinkled. There were no wrinkles in Heaven. That did not pertain to noses though, and she wrinkled hers as Adam light up a cigarette. Lassie thumped her agreement to Eve.
“Must you?” She asked Adam.
“Well, it’s not like it is going to kill me, is it?” He replied threw a stream of smoke. He slipped his lighter back into the inside pocket of his flannel double-breasted, navy blue, pin striped suit jacket. If there was one thing Adam and Eve were, it was well dressed. Lassie figured it was a subconscious reaction to running around in fig leaves for a lifetime. Along with the impeccably tailored suit (Adam could talk Versace into anything) his wingtips were shined to within an inch of their lives. Eve had on a suit as well, but it was gray silk, also highly tailored without any flare. She had on chunky blue heels, and her still very long light brown hair was pulled into an artful bun at the nap of her neck. Eve always favored the look of the forties.
“You would think he would get rid of the smell, though.”
Adam gave her a sidelong glance and a crooked grin. “You would think. Suits me though. It covers up the smell of his office. I hate going up there.”
“You need to get over it already,” Eve replied.
“Look, I haven’t eaten an apple in, what, well, since The Apple, and just the smell of them is enough to put me in a foul mood.”
“It’s not like he makes his office smell that way on purpose. It’s the computer system. You just smoke to annoy him.”
Adam took a long draw on the cigarette and considered Eve’s comment. “True, I suppose. But do you really think it was necessary to make his desk out of The Tree?”
Eve frowned a little and said, “Well, I suppose even God needs a bit of old fashioned vengeance therapy. It could have been worse. We could be his dining room centerpieces instead of the snake.”
Adam just humphed in reply. Lassie felt a headache coming on. This was the usual reaction to working with humans. She rubbed up against Eve’s leg, and Eve reached down and scratched behind Lassie’s large, pointed eyes. That was better. They were good for some pampering at least.
The elevator door opened and the original couple looked out into God’s reception lobby. The floors and wall were all clear, except the right side where there was a door and opaque brown wall, giving the occupants a spectacular view of the clouds and sky of Heaven. There were several people sitting around in the brightly colored overstuffed chairs that sat around the perimeter of the perfectly circular room, reading any number of magazines. Straight ahead of the elevator was a large brown lacquered desk where Peter stay with his back to the room, looking out of the wall behind him. Lassie moved to the right and lay down in front of the door to God’s office. Eve and Adam walked to the front of Peter’s desk. They glanced out of the window to see what had the usually diligent Peter distracted. There was a volleyball game going on outside. In Heaven, this was always an interesting sport, as the players would play with wings attached. It made for some very exciting spikes. Adam cleared his throat. Peter jumped and turned quickly around.
“Oh, sorry about that,” he said as he shuffled some papers around his desk. “This is a big game. Gabriel and I have a bet on.”
“Really? Do tell,” Adam said.
Peter went slightly pink and cleared his throat. “Well if the gold halos win, I do as well. Gab’s got his bet on the silvers.”
“And what, pray tell, does the winner get?”
At this Peter blushed even more and cleared his throat. “The winner gets to be god.”
As seriously as he got, Adam replied, “Don’t we have more than enough of those around here?”
“Oh, not God, but god,” Peter said in a rush. “Whoever wins gets to go down to Earth and put on the show next time some fanatic gets into an overzealous and/or drunken state. I really hope I win, because I really want to outdo Gab’s Joseph Smith performance. It’s legendary.”
“It should be,” Eve said. “It’s caused enough problems.”
“Yes, well, be that as it may…you are, naturally, expected.” And with that Peter went back to the papers on his desk. “Mr. Nixon, I will now hear your appeal for entrance into Heaven. Do you have all the necessary paperwork?”
* * *