In the Beginning, there was a conversation on a bench in Central Park.
I was seated on a bench in New York’s Central Park, and on the bench next to me sat a woolly-whiskered fellow who looked vaguely familiar. On a whim, I asked him his name.
“You can call me God if you wish,” he said.
“Aren’t you supposed to be sitting on a cloud in the sky?” I asked him.
“You ever sat on a cloud for any length of time? Nothing could be more boring. I came down here for what might be described as a change of scenery. Also, I want to let folks like you know that the way Bible portrays me is pure crap. Here, let me show you…”
He took a Bible out of one of his capacious pockets and tossed it into the air, whereupon it turned into a pigeon. It wasn’t long before several enormous globs of pigeon poop landed in front of me.
“As you can see, the Bible is crap,” God remarked.
With this particular deed, he won my admiration more, far more than if he had engineered something sacred. In fact, I ought to confess that if he had performed some sort of holy act, I would have run for the proverbial hills.
God went on. “The Bible doesn’t bother to mention any of my countless screw-ups,” he said. “You want an example? Consider my first attempt to create a primate. I took some protoplasm, molded it, and the result was…a two-legged, upright Norway rat wearing a petticoat.”
I succeeded in controlling my laughter, but just barely. “But you’re supposed to be an expert creator of plagues,” I said, trying to make him feel more positive about himself.
“Hah! The Bible says I punished Egyptians with a plague of locusts, but if you want to know the truth, all I could manage was a flock of hummingbirds.”
As we were talking, a multi-gender individual wielding a double barreled
revolver approached us. A not uncommon experience in these parts. “Gimme your cash, no damn checks or money orders, please,” she/he said first in a soprano, then in a baritone voice.
I was reaching for my wallet when our assailant yelled, “Pee-yew!” and ran off, holding his nose. For seated on the bench next to me was a badly rotting human cadaver. Pee-yew, indeed. A moment later, that cadaver became God again.
“Another screw-up,” God said. “I tried to turn myself into a cop, and I must have made a linguistic error, because I end up as a smelly corpse.”
“You got rid of the mugger, that’s what matters,” I told him, adding that if he was perfect, as the Bible said he was, he would be a far less interesting individual. Plus, I told him that I’d rather encounter a corpse than a cop any day of the week.
Hearing my words, God gave me a high five, perhaps the first such gesture of this sort I’ve ever received from a divine being. Or he tried to give me a high five: his hand missed mine, and he succeeded in slapping my face.
It was now time for me to leave, and as I rose from the bench, I said to God, “Let’s get together in the not too distant future. Maybe go out for drinks, although now that I think of it, you probably don’t drink.”
“You gotta be kidding!” he replied. “Given my job, I’m a drinking man…or I should say a drinking deity.”
This time his high five was a complete success.
Part of a series detailing Lawrence Millman’s experiences with his drinking buddy God. Soon to be gathered together, assuming a publisher is interested, as a mini-memoir entitled “Drinks With God.”