Divine Message

Amy Foster Myer

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Genesis ch.1, v.31.

And on the seventh day, God rested . . . but as a rather high-strung kind of Guy, God did not look forward to sitting around all day. And since we all pretty much agree that a day to God is, like, a gazillion years, that’s an awfully long time to sit on your duff, doing nothing except being grateful to One’s self for all the good One has done.

So God started in on His restful activities. He caught up on laundry, though a pair of red underpants somehow found its way into the whites, pinking all his robes, for which God blamed Morning Star.

Then God scooped the kitty litter, which was long overdue. And, finally, sorted through the junk mail that had been piling up, and clipped the coupons He intended to use and put them in the drawer with His spare keys, and circled the date on the fridge calendar when His Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon was set to expire.

But that only took half of God’s seventh day. Half a gazillion years.

So God thought about what He had not yet made and in what areas He might make improvements before He invited friends over to see His new place. He pondered the oceans: the deep blue seas and the fish and leviathan streaming through the warm, salty waters; and He pondered the skies: the many species of birds that hummed, soared, circled and dove in graceful formations. He gazed down upon Adam who squatted flat-footed in the dirt and picked his toes and wiped his boogers on the grass; and upon Eve, who constantly scratched the scar below her breast where Adam’s rib itched her. And God thought about all the land animals, ending with serpents, which He had so very much enjoyed making, the clay rolling out long and thin between his palms, then dropping from His hand in a neat coil which rose to life, hood-open and hissing.

Finally, God considered the land — and more particularly — the Garden. But it had barely been twenty-four hours since He’d finished creating it, and an old college professor had once said to put your work aside for a few days before revisiting it, lest one either gloatingly submit it too early or anxiously revise out the bits divinely inspired. So God, in thinking of what was missing, what could be made easier, more streamlined, created texting. And when He was finished, He sent this new thing, this text, to all of His friends telling them of the marvelous thing He had made and they texted Him back things like “OMG!” and “LOL!”

And He saw what He had made and saw that it was good.

And so it happened one day while Adam roamed about the Garden naming things, he set his phone down upon a fallen log covered in spongy green moss. And a family of slugs slimed their way onto it to google things they had been arguing about and make long distance phone calls to their family in Sweden.

And when Adam saw what they had done, he grew angry and flicked them into the dirt and threatened to throw salt on them if he caught them nosing around his phone again.

Adam, forlorn that he had nowhere to carry his phone, lifted his hands to the heavens and called out, “Why hast thou forsaken us, oh Lord, and our iPhones?”

But God was on another call to his cousin in Greece and did not answer Adam’s plea.

But Adam’s wife had hidden behind an as-yet unnamed bush to eavesdrop and skittered back to the house to retrieve her plastic bin of crafting supplies. And with the leaves of a palm frond and the rope from a hemp plant, Eve hot-glue gunned a satchel in which Adam might carry his phone rather than having to place it on the ground or clench it between his ass cheeks as he strolled about the Garden.

And so Eve searched for Adam to present to him this great gift and found him standing at the edge of a very dark, very deep chasm, stroking his chin in contemplation. A plywood sign had been erected near the mouth of the cavern, which read “Glory Hole” in sloppily painted red letters. But that was only Morning Star’s crude attempt at humor and was not, in fact, the cave’s official name. Naming things was Adam’s job, by golly, which he took very seriously, and spent many hours late at night deeply engrossed in thinking about, querying to his animal friends about while they took turns playing free cell.

Eve presented Adam with her creation there on the shore where sea met chasm and said she had reserved the naming for him alone. Slinging the bag over his shoulder, Adam could not help but feel a bit like a girly-man as he spun in a circle and the bag bumped against his hip.

“What am I supposed to do with this . . . this man-purse!” Adam demanded, tossing the thing back at Eve and resuming his consideration of what to call the great chasm.

“Oh, go to hell!” Eve shouted and flung the Earth’s first man-purse into the chasm.

“That’s it!” Adam cried and turned to thank Eve, but she had gone back into the woods, probably to go cry about it to Mrs. Rabbit and make all the woodland creatures refuse to call stuff by the name he’d given it like they had done when Adam refused to eat Eve’s poison-ivy tarts, after which for many days everyone went around calling the sky “the great blue sheet” and the sea “the wet spot” while they snickered behind his back.

And so a few weeks passed in which Adam continued to lament his lack of a place to put his phone and Eve stormed from the room when he brought it up. So one evening, while Eve was making more man-purses to sell on Etsy — Mrs. Goat had said that any man truly secure in his sexuality would be happy to have one — Adam texted Deer, Wolf, Goat, and Rabbit and asked which of them would like to be made into the first ever set of clothes. An honor, he texted them, the highest form of flattery — wearing another person’s skin. The epiphany had struck in the middle of the night — what their phones really needed were pockets. But in order to have pockets, one must first have pants.

And Rabbit, who was off screwing his wife’s best friend like a — well, you know — was the last to text back “Not It!” And so it came to pass that Rabbit became a loin cloth to cover Adam’s dingle and keep his phone off the ground while he toiled in the dirt or ran about naming things.

And Adam saw what he had made and saw that it was good.

And years passed in which Adam and Eve enjoyed the fruits of their labors and the company of their friends and held lovely soirees with Chinese paper lanterns strung between the palms and fancy cocktails with maraschino cherries frozen in ice cubes clinking about in their IKEA martini glasses. But Serpent looked upon Adam and Eve with contempt and dreamt how he might pull them from their pedestal.

In the middle of the garden stood a great tree which never lost its leaves and produced small red fruit which God had forbidden Adam and Eve from touching because, so He said, forbidden apples made the best Waldorf-Astoria salad this side of the Euphrates.

Since Eve was more of a citrus girl and Adam preferred legumes, they both swore solemnly, offering their extended pinkies to make the ultimate promise, to never eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree.

But Serpent, with his unlimited data plan, sent Eve hundreds of texts a day, trying to convince her to eat of the forbidden fruit. Eve texted back things like “No” and “Leave me alone” and “If you don’t cut it out, I’ll make a pair of boots out of you. I learned how to do it from eHow so you know I’m serious.” And though the last threat frightened Serpent, especially after he researched it himself and saw that eHow had gotten it exactly right, he continued with the textual harassment because, hey, it wasn’t costing him a cent.

Eventually, Eve succumbed, worn to the bone first from the barrage of texts and then from Adam, who scolded her about how much this all cost them. And Eve ate of the forbidden apple so Serpent would shut up about it. And she gave it to Adam who also ate of the fruit because he wanted Serpent to shut up about it too.

And when God came to the Garden to harvest apples to make His celebrated salad and found that He had one less than the recipe called for, He grew angry with Eve for not just blocking Serpent’s texts and with Adam for not showing her how.

And Adam and Eve hid from God. They turned off their phones and threw them under a bush. They avoided the places they usually frequented — the topiary garden, the clothing-optional beach — in case God poked His Head in for a look around. But Adam had become obsessed with Candy Crush and when he turned his phone back on to play it secretly, God used His friend-finder app to track them down.

And God — still smarting from memories of that dinner party, the hushed whispers that He was losing His touch and perhaps someone else should bring fruit salad next time — banished Adam and Eve from the Garden forever.

But even worse, He took their phones away and cancelled their plans, though He had to pay a $75 cancellation fee for each phone, which the woman at customer services would in no way let Him wiggle out of. And God gave them two pre-paids that didn’t even have a single game or voice recognition or one-touch dialing.

And God sent them, textless and bereft, to wander the Earth.

Some years later, after Adam and Eve had settled in with a nearby village of hunters-and-gatherers, they gave birth to twin boys, sons so different Eve could tell by scent which of them stood behind her. One was a farmer who as a boy had tried to make a garden from small pebbles he planted in the dirt. He’d grown into a slight man but strong and deeply committed to ideas of justice. The other was a shepherd and a hunter. As a boy, he had practiced skinning on the family cats and grew to hate vegetables or anything that had grown in the ground, consuming only meat. He was big and strong, but selfish, and his father’s favorite.

One day, while Cain carried a bushel of grain through his brother’s pastures to the storehouse, he overheard Abel speaking to one of the shepherdesses from the neighboring village, giving her his number and telling her to text as often as she wanted.

“But won’t your father be mad?” the shepherdess asked, skimming her fingertips over the thick coarse hair that grew in abundance on Abel’s arms and back and of which Abel was so proud.

“Nah,” Abel said. “We’re on a Family Share Plan.” And Abel sneered and described his brother as a weakling with spaghetti arms whom no woman could love or want to text.

And in his heart Cain hated his brother and wished to take back his texts for they were his birthright whether he used them or not.

That night, Cain knocked on the flap of sheepskin separating Abel’s half of the tent from his.

“Come in,” Abel called and Cain entered, finding his brother in the metal tub they used for baths and laundry, pouring conditioner over his shoulders. Waggling the bottle, Abel indicated he wanted Cain to rub it in.

Kneeling by the tub, Cain explained how he only wanted his fair share of texts. He made great speeches, discoursing on the philosophies of morality and justness, punctuating his long address with catchphrases he picked up from the online law school he attended between harvests. His main argument being it was only right. That he should not have to pay ten cents for his texts when Abel used all the family’s. That it was God’s will that all should have equal parts of the Earth’s bounty, including the Family Share Plan.

At this, Abel laughed and asked just who Cain expected to text him? And Cain shrugged, then mentioned his friends, to whom he occasionally sent text-vites to set up a role-playing game in the basement of one of their parents’ tents. And Abel reached for his phone which was lying on his towel and tappity-tapped out a very long message and showed it to Cain, that he was telling his girlfriends that his hairless farmer of a brother wanted to text so he and his hairless dorks-for-friends could pretend to be dragon slayers. And the shepherdesses texted back things like “LOL! UR brother looks like an Egyptian hairless!” and “Ooh, Abey, let me stroke your shoulder hair.”

And so, enraged, Cain followed his brother into the pastures the next day, and when the shepherdesses’ backs were turned, beat him to death with an iPad, which turned out to be about as durable as Consumer Reports reported, though the mute button got stuck and some blood oozed its way under the screen, creating quite a few issues with movie watching. And Cain took Abel’s phone and texted the shepherdesses that Cain actually had a really big schlong, that RPG’s were a totally valid way to re-realize reality, and that if they knew what was good for them, they’d stop texting him — as in Abel — quickfast and start texting Cain.

And when Cain’s phone erupted in a flurry of texts, none of which would cost him a dime, Cain saw what he had done, and saw that it was good.

Years passed. Cain was cast from the world as his parents had been cast from the Garden, sent to toil the barren soil of the desert, marked in such a way that all who saw him fled lest he murder them for their data plans as well. More years passed. Men and women multiplied over the Earth and got themselves into mischief the likes of which even Serpent himself could not imagine. They built the Tower of Babel, erected by those who wished to touch Heaven and speak directly to God. A shameful attempt to encroach upon God’s Personal Bubble, and particularly onerous in light of God’s Gift of a year of unlimited texting. And so God cast down the builders and placed new languages upon their tongues. Then the phone companies had to come up with new versions of old phones that included all the new accents and letters needed (and they had thought Sanskrit was tricky), which left the multitudes out of touch for a considerable amount of time, years of darkness and despair.

More years passed. When the sin of the world became too much for God to stand, He decided to erase the peoples from the world as He had done when he re-installed The Sims and a fresh gleaming world popped back on the screen. And so God sent a message to set an alert on the calendar in Noah’s phone as well as a text to each of the animals God wanted to keep. And Noah, waking from a rye stupor, built a boat based on the schematics he drew up using his blueprint app and emailed it to his three sons and so they were saved, along with all the animals who had received the text. Except the unicorns, who were not out playing and frolicking about as certain fairy tales would have it, but were actually doing volunteer work in Calcutta and were in a no-service zone when they were texted to board the boat. Some say this is how the dinosaurs went extinct too, but not even God has an app to tell Him what happened to them.

And more years passed. Years in which God was bountiful and received many thanks and sacrifices and e-cards with dancing gerbils, which He saved and watched whenever He was feeling glum. Years in which God was angry and vengeful and rained fire and sulphur from the Heavens and sent men on holy wars against one another in His name, having read Machiavelli on his kindle during the morning train commute, and deciding that the only way to make men more grateful of all He had done for them was to unleash murder and mayhem in the name of religion, economic sanctions, and oil.

And still more years passed. Men no longer prayed to the God of their fathers, forgetting both His gifts and His wrath. Instead, they bowed to Macintosh and Apple, to MP3 players and sports heroes facing sexual assault charges, to French press coffee and German cars and Italian shoes — all of which could be bought, sold, traded, and delivered via the nation’s largest 4G network.

And God saw what He had made and clasped His chin in His hand.

Then He settled the headset over His ears, the mouthpiece resting just above His bottom lip, and logged into His internet gaming account where His partner, an electronics store manager in Hong Kong, waited.

AMY FOSTER MYER earned her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. Her work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Prime Number, Blue Lake Review, Eunoia Review, and others. She evades writing by playing the banjo (pretty badly), drinking beer (also pretty badly: she spilled beer in her bed three nights in a row), and staring off into space (one thing she’s good at). She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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