Plagues, Etc.

Since my drinking buddy God had alluded to his plagues, I asked him about the killing off of Egyptian first-borns.

In several of our conversations, God had alluded to his plagues, and while we were dining in an Upper West Side Asian fusion restaurant, I asked him about his best-known plague, the killing off of Egyptian first-borns. His answer surprised me, to put it mildly.

Plagues, Shumai
Shumai, by Stewart from Taipei, Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

“The Pharaoh and I were good buddies,” God said, putting some shrimp and pork shumai into his mouth, “and he asked me to get rid of the first-borns in his kingdom if it wouldn’t be too much trouble. For — typical for first-borns — they were breeding so recklessly that Egypt was becoming over-populated, and soon there wouldn’t be enough food to go around.”

“Rumor has it that you sent the Angel of Death to dispose of these over-breeders,” I said. His answer to this question surprised me even more.

“I decided to take on the job myself,” he said. “I didn’t want to be a mass murderer, although that’s how the Bible portrays me, so I thought and thought about the project, until at last I came up with the solution — I turned all of the Egyptian first-borns into frogs…”

At this point a well-dressed lady seated at the next table turned around and uttered these words to my companion: “I couldn’t help but overhear some tidbits of your conversation. I’m a lead reporter for The New York Times, and I think a feature about your celebrity presence in these parts would make a splendid front page feature for our upscale newspaper. Not only would the story give you the attention you deserve, but it would remain strictly within the bounds of political correctitude. How about it?”

There was a stricken look on God’s face. For the last thing he wanted was this sort of recognition. I was getting ready to tell the lady that my companion was a mental patient who considered himself the Supreme Being when that Being himself took charge of the situation. He mumbled a few words…

…and both the reporter’s demeanor and her vocabulary changed. “Hi there, old fella,” she said to God. “I write for a rag called Pet News. You pro-bably haven’t heard of it. I’ve hardly heard of it myself. Anyway, I heard you talking about frogs. I’m doing a story about unusual animal companions. So far I’ve got hermit crabs, cockroaches, salamanders, and piranhas. Could you tell me if frogs make good pets?”

“They make excellent pets,” God said. “Much better than dogs or cats. They don’t bark all the time, and they don’t deposit dead mice on your pillow. A diet of worms keeps them in good shape. I’m referring to their eating habits, not the summoning of Martin Luther to a Papal bull. And if you get tired of your froggie, you can always have it for dinner.”

“Good info,” the lady said. “I’ll quote you in my story. Your name is?” “Jones. Jack Jones.”

“Thanks a bunch, Mr. Jones,” the lady said, then turned around to join her companions at the other table.

God now uttered a loud sigh of relief. “If my recasting of that gal hadn’t worked, I might have committed deicide…on myself,” he said. “For the last thing I want is to be promoted by the New York Times.”

“I’m glad you didn’t commit deicide,” I told him. “By the way, was the plague of frogs a success?”

“A total success. The increasingly hungry Egyptians now had something to eat — formerly their first-borns, now a large number of frogs. The Pharaoh was so pleased that he gave me the prestigious Osiris Award.”


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.”

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