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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Heathen Mythology: Now Defunct (Sort of...)

Rather than continue posting here very rarely, I will be importing all posts and comments from this blog to my main blog. Feel free to keep commenting here if you wish, but I will post all new content to my primary blog and leave this one only as an archive.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Neighbor Trouble

Pal S. Stein returns home one day to find his things on the street. His key does not work in the door. He looks in the window and sees an old buddy from school, Jacob, inside his home. He rings the bell.

“Um… hi, why is my stuff in the street? And why do my keys no longer work?”

“Oh, my family was murdered and I was buddies with the sheriff, so he gave me the deed to your house. We moved your stuff out for you and had a locksmith come and –”

“Wait a minute,” says Pal. “I had nothing to do with your family being murdered. Why did they take my house?”

“I grew up in this house,” says Jacob.

“Really? I thought you lived a few blocks from here.”

“I did most of the time, but my parents lived here when I was born and we lived here until I was about three.”

Pal blinks a few times.

“Is there anything I can help you with?” asks Jacob.

“Where am I going to sleep? My stuff is going to get ruined out here.”

“Well, I suppose you can hang around here for a bit and we’ll figure something out. You can sleep on the lawn for now.”

A few days pass. One morning, Pal wakes up to Jacob pointing a gun in his face.

“Get up, I want you off my lawn.”

Your lawn?” asks Pal, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “This is my house, and my lawn, and frankly I’m tired of –”

“Who’s the one with the gun, here?” asks Jacob.

Pal gets up and slowly makes his way to the concrete curb, beside his things.

The next day, Pal wakes up to a loud commotion. Jacob is using a bulldozer to move Pal’s things further away, breaking most of it in the process. Pal shakes his head.

As days go by, Pal grows restless and angry. He sometimes throws rocks at the house, his own home. He stops when Jacob fires warning shots.

Pal decides to call the police, but they are no help. The sheriff, Ulysses Nuremburg, is old friends with Jacob. Nothing Pal says seems to sway law enforcement. “It’s all legal and legit according to us,” says the sheriff.

Pal is livid. “Well of course it is, you’re implicit in the crime of stealing my house. You wouldn’t go and admit now that it’s wrong, that would make you look bad.”

The sheriff thinks long and hard. “I have an idea, but I need to call Jacob and get him over here so we can discuss it.”

Jacob shows up and the sheriff makes his proposal. “How about a two-household solution? Jacob, you can have the first floor, and Pal can have the basement or the attic.”

“I don’t know…” says Jacob.

“Are you kidding me?” asks Pal. “That is my house, it’s mine. I lived there until you guys up and decided to move me out on the street with hardly anything, most of which you then destroyed. I’m not going to settle for living in the unfinished basement or the attic.”

Jacob sighs. “See, he’s so unreasonable. You know he throws rocks at my house?”

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mythical Interviews: Hermes

GINX: With me today is Hermes, the messenger of the Gods.

HERMES: [sigh]

GINX: Is there a problem?

HERMES: Oh, nothing. My achievements include giving mankind writing, inventing the lyre on the very day I was born, not to mention on my first night stealing the cattle of my older brother, the all-seeing sun. I am the patron god of shepherds, poets, orators, sports, science, travel, merchants and thieves, though the last two are basically one in the same.

GINX: I’m sorry.

HERMES: It’s just… you do one job as an intern and you meet a lot of people while doing it… and they all associate you with that forever. I’m so much more than my father’s errand boy.

GINX: I didn’t mean to insult you.

HERMES: You know, I also escort souls to Hades. I meet everyone at least that one time.

GINX: Hopefully I survive the interview then.

HERMES: It hasn’t been an auspicious start.

GINX: Right. Well… I decided to interview you next because I’ve had a bit of writer’s block.

HERMES: Oh, I see. You didn’t want to bother going through one of the muses, so you figured talking to me might cure your creative constipation. You need a linguistic laxative, so you call on a god.


HERMES: I love how you people only pay attention to us when you need something.

GINX: Human nature, I guess.

HERMES: You don’t have to explain it to me. I was the one who had to explain to your race the concept of exchange.


HERMES: I am the founder of commerce, as well as thievery. I pretty much oversee all exchanges of goods. The French still honor me in this fashion, with the word, “merci,” which derives from my Latin name, Mercury. It usually translates as “thank you,” but it literally means, “paid.”

GINX: Huh, I didn’t realize.

HERMES: I started out a thief, founded commerce, and now I am a socialist. I went from mercenary, to merchant, to merciful, all cognates of my name.

GINX: Plus you have a line of cars named after you.

HERMES: [sigh]

GINX: And a planet.

HERMES: A scorched rock? Thanks.

GINX: Oh, and an element on the periodic table.

HERMES: You named a poisonous substance after me.

GINX: Okay, fine. We as human beings have failed to recognize you and the accomplishments you gave mankind. Happy?

HERMES: I would be, if you lost the attitude.

GINX: You’re an all-powerful god, what do you care what I think?

HERMES: I’m not all-powerful. I can’t even get you to be polite.

GINX: Fine. How do I know you did all of these things?

HERMES: And now the accusations begin.

GINX: Am I to take you at your word, or do you have some sort of proof?

HERMES: What proof do you require? It’s not as though I had a camcorder. I was there, I did great things for mankind, and by Jove I deserve a little respect.

GINX: Okay, when did you teach man to write?

HERMES: A long time ago.

GINX: Let me guess, “… in a galaxy far, far away?” What is this, Star Wars? Give me some dates.

HERMES: We gods do not experience time as you do. I recall it was in the autumn.

GINX: Uh huh. You realize this is not a very compelling argument, right?

HERMES: Let’s put it this way: I have something you want, and you have something I want. We can trade and we can both be happy. Sure, we’re both taking a risk that one may be duping the other, but the mutual trust between us will facilitate the transaction.

GINX: Wait… what do you have that I want?

HERMES: How soon you forget… inspiration. Haven’t you been looking for something to write about? I can give you all that you need if you show me a little appreciation.

GINX: What am I supposed to do, get down on my knees and bow before you?

HERMES: I’d settle for a literary reward. Make your next mythical interview about me.

GINX: Metahumor, very amusing. How could it not be about you?

HERMES: You could be like one of the monotheists, and claim it was an angel or Yahweh. You could neglect to give me credit.

GINX: Well, if I’m going to interview you, I should ask some questions.

HERMES: Go ahead.

GINX: How about… why do the gods eat humans?

HERMES: Well, actually we subsist on human experience. We don’t exactly “consume” you, nor do we obliterate your soul in the process. Though to be fair, you are never the same again. As for “why” we do this… what would you have us do? Would you prefer we all die out?

GINX: Perhaps.

HERMES: Look, I know you think you have to disgrace the divine at every turn, but the truth is that the gods are at the core of human knowledge. Your ability to conceive of our existence indicates you are creatures capable of abstract thought. You are also the only earthly beings capable of sustaining the deities.

GINX: Can we cease to… “sustain” you?

HERMES: It is in our nature to reveal ourselves again and again, often taking new forms, new names. I am fairly certain that the only world without gods is a world without humans.

GINX: Okay. I have a final question, this one ethical. Is it better to do good works or to avoid evil deeds?

HERMES: To be perfectly honest, there is no good or bad. I interpret what you say to mean, “Is it better to actively comfort others or attempt to abstain from causing suffering?” Does this seem accurate?

GINX: Sure.

HERMES: In that case, it is far greater to strive “to do good” rather than “to avoid evil.” Though it is good to minimize the suffering you cause to the best of your ability, it is also impossible to live without inflicting some suffering upon others. However, the comfort one can provide others is limitless. Therefore, I advise one to give freely and encourage people to busy themselves with good deeds, which will in itself prevent one from doing harm.

GINX: I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me, Hermes.

HERMES: I hope your… blog… thing… goes well.

GINX: Thanks.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mythical Interviews: Dionysus

GINX: Since God was drunk during my last interview, I figured I’d contact the Greek god of drunkenness, Dionysus.

DIONYSUS: I am actually the god of wine and ecstatic ritual.

GINX: Is there a god of drunkenness?

DIONYSUS: Yeah, ever since Ted Kennedy showed up.

GINX: When gods drink, do they develop sense of humor?

DIONYSUS: When don’t we have a sense of humor? What did Yawā say when you talked to him?

GINX: Yawā?

DIONYSUS: You know, “God” with a capital G.

GINX: Oh… He actually turned the interview around and asked me questions.

DIONYSUS: How’d that go?

GINX: I’m a pretty boring person, so there wasn’t much to talk about.

DIONYSUS: Boring person? I doubt that… Let’s pull up your bio here… well this is interesting, it says you were born in misery.

GINX: It’s pronounced “Missouri.”

DIONYSUS: What’s the difference, really? Hmm… you moved to Rochester, Michigan. Hey, you went to the same grade school as Madonna.

GINX: Yeah, I know.

DIONYSUS: Boy, that school produced her and a stalwart atheist like you. Catholic schools ain’t what they used to be, let me tell you. Not too long ago, those places were full of ruler-wielding nuns. Now… well, I might send my incarnation to one. The skirts the girls wear…

GINX: Easy, tiger.

DIONYSUS: And it’s great how all the girls do anal.

GINX: Okay....

DIONYSUS: You know, so they keep their virginity.

GINX: Alright, if we could just—

DIONYSUS: You’re not boring at all! Wow, you used to do –

GINX: Whoa whoa whoa, just that one time… for five months.


GINX: I have got to learn to keep better control of my interviews.

DIONYSUS: Can’t you just edit this later?

GINX: And ruin the integrity?

DIONYSUS: True. Can’t tamper with divine inspiration. How are you doing this, by the way? Is your head in a hat like Joseph Smith?

GINX: I’m sitting at a computer.

DIONYSUS: That’s the problem with you modern people. There’s no… romanticism, no theatrics, no mystique. You lack a certain… joie de vivre.

GINX: I’m not a prophet, nor am I trying to start a religion.

DIONYSUS: So why do you talk to gods and write about it?

GINX: Boredom.

DIONYSUS: There’s nothing else you could be doing right now?

GINX: No, not really.

DIONYSUS: You could spend more time with your wife.

GINX: Yeah, I could…

DIONYSUS: Women are so needy.

GINX: I didn’t say that.

DIONYSUS: I know, but they are. They can’t help it. They don’t derive joy from being alone, the way men do. Most women like to be surrounded by people. Even worse, they want you to “take them out.” Nowhere in particular, just away from the home they make you fill at great expense with all their token knick-knacks and superfluous comforts like throw pillows and duvets.

GINX: I guess I’m just not that cynical about it. Besides, my wife doesn’t like going out that much. It’s just not fair because she gets to use her laptop while we watch TV, and my desktop computer is in the back room. So, when she puts on something to watch which is so incredibly mindless and boring that not even she has any interest in it, she just opens up her laptop and surfs the internet. And I rarely get to decide what we watch, otherwise I wouldn’t have missed the last three years of “Mythbusters.”

DIONYSUS: Oh no, the horrors of your life… if only you had been in Haiti and had a roof collapse on your head, ending it all.

GINX: You were the one who brought up women being irritating, I was just stating the one minor thing my wife does that I find annoying. I was trying to relate to you rather than think of you as petty.

DIONYSUS: Uh huh, try explaining that to her when she reads this.

GINX: She won’t.

DIONYSUS: Your own wife doesn’t read these?

GINX: These interviews are really Christo-centric anyway, and she was raised Jewish. I’m not even sure if she’d really enjoy these. She reads my other blog. She says she’s too busy to read this one.

DIONYSUS: Too busy not watching mindless sitcoms?

GINX: I’m not interested in pressuring her to read this.

DIONYSUS: Well sure, not now!

GINX: She wouldn’t even be angry about this

DIONYSUS: All women hate when you talk about a dispute you’re having in public. It’s just human nature.

GINX: You mean woman nature?

DIONYSUS: Men hate it too.

GINX: Choose your words more carefully, then.

DIONYSUS: What are you, the male feminist?

GINX: Well, I let this interview get completely out of hand again.

DIONYSUS: Was there something you planned to ask me?

GINX: I don’t even remember.

DIONYSUS: I tend to have that effect on people.

GINX: Hmm… okay, I know. God mentioned that He eats souls.

DIONYSUS: We all do, sort of. I don’t think of them as “souls,” I call them “psyches.” We consume them, so that nothing is left of most people after they die.

GINX: That seems kind of barbaric.

DIONYSUS: Well, what do you expect us to eat?


DIONYSUS: I’ve never heard of “Um,” does it taste good?

GINX: I don’t know, it just seems cruel.

DIONYSUS: Cruel would be letting you people live forever. As rotten as you people are, as awful as the things you do to each other… you ought to be eternally grateful that we devour the last vestiges of your imperfection after your bodily death.

GINX: But Ted Kennedy is still around?

DIONYSUS: That’s the hitch: you guys make gods all the time. We can’t eat those.

GINX: What about Hitler?

DIONYSUS: Yep, he’s up here.

GINX: You’re kidding me!

DIONYSUS: It’s not based on how good someone is, only their fame. Honestly, you have a better chance if you’re a true wretch on an epic scale. I think the last decent divine ascendency was Mother Teresa. And even then, Princess Diana showed up within like a week to sully that arrival.

GINX: So heaven is a collection of dead celebrities and tyrants?

DIONYSUS: More or less, but the tyrants keep mostly to themselves.

GINX: What about hell?

DIONYSUS: You’re in it.

GINX: You know… I always suspected we were reincarnated on Earth.

DIONYSUS: Sort of. It’s a little more complex. You think of yourself as a single being, which is only natural in your given state, but the truth is your body is like a glass and the eternal you is the water. Once the glass breaks, the water that filled the vessel of you disperses, never to be together as a whole again. Your “water” will come back, but in many different bodies… most of them not even human. You’ll probably never be yourself again.

GINX: Weird. So how do famous people avoid that?

DIONYSUS: Well… I guess to keep up the analogy… their water freezes, which allows it to keep shape. But that’s not exactly how it works. I’m not that good with analogies, honestly. This is all stuff I gleaned from listening to Plato and Socrates argue for millennia.

GINX: I appreciate the… revelation, as it were.

DIONYSUS: No problem. You should have me back sometime. No one ever talks to me sober anymore. This is the first conversation with a mortal I’ve had in centuries where they didn’t end up shouting or crying by the end of it. That or calling their ex-lover on the phone and making romantic promises they won’t even remember in the morning.

GINX: Yeah, I’m not a big fan of alcohol.

DIONYSUS: I can’t say I blame you.

GINX: Would you come back to do a panel discussion? I was thinking of getting all the gods who Satan is modeled after together to discuss evil.

DIONYSUS: And you think Satan is partially modeled after me? If anything, Christianity borrowed elements of my cult to use as their own. The only thing about me that is even remotely devilish are the satyrs that follow me and my merry band of revelers. And trust me, you don’t want to interview one of them. They truly are devils.

GINX: Hmm…

DIONYSUS: But that doesn’t mean I can’t be on the panel!

GINX: Well, I’ll figure something out.

DIONYSUS: Okay. It was nice talking to you, and even nicer to be recognized.

GINX: Actually I have one more question: Why do the gods have such low self-esteem?

DIONYSUS: What do you mean, like how we crave human attention?

GINX: Yeah.

DIONYSUS: Our very existence as gods depends upon human memory of us. If we are forgotten… we cease to exist.

GINX: So then why aren’t the gods actively trying to get our attention?

DIONYSUS: We really have no power in the world, only in the minds of mankind. We can only indirectly act in the world, and it must be through human beings… and occasionally animals. In this sense, we do expose our existence through the intangible human psyche. I think we’ve been quite successful at getting your attention, even if so many of you attribute all of it to Yawā.

GINX: Well, thank you for talking to me, I appreciate you taking the time.

DIONYSUS: Call on me whenever you wish. Don’t be a stranger.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Old Stuff

Working on some other Mythological Interviews (including a possible round-table discussion). In the mean time, I thought I'd post links to the other fiction I wrote on my other blog. I thought about reposting it here, but I think I would rather just link back to the original posting on ABT.

Old Man Ramblings

Parable of the Yankees Fan

An Atheist's Footprints In The Sand (poem)

Open Letter to God

From the Outside (poem)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Mythical Interviews: God #2

GINX: Please welcome back…[glances at card] God.

GOD: *cough*

GINX: Fine… [staring at card] All hail the supreme creator of all things, the prime mover, from whence all of existence flows, and who certainly has no parents.

GOD: Hello, Ginx.

GINX: It was hard to get a hold of you the past couple weeks.

GOD: Well, you know… holidays.

GINX: What were your plans?

GOD: I went bear hunting with Sarah Palin.

GINX: Really?

GOD: Yeah. The Pope was pissed I wasn’t there to stop that crazy lady from tackling him.

GINX: Well, he seems fine. He’s a pretty robust pontiff.

GOD: All that exercise sure did wonders for the Hitler Youth.

GINX: Wow…

GOD: Come on, admit it. He’s in much better shape than Pope John Palsy.

GINX: Just… wow… I don’t remember you being this… jolly the last time I saw you.

GOD: Christmas tends to have that effect on me. I get drunk on the Christmas spirits. Loosen up a bit!

GINX: Interesting.

GOD: Hey, you know what?

GINX: No, what?

GOD: I got a question for you, Mister I-make-fun-of-God.

GINX: Shoot.

GOD: Why is it that atheists are more interested in religion than most religious people?

GINX: Maybe you have it backwards, and the more you know about religion, the more full of shit it appears to be.

GOD: Naw, I think it’s something else. I think you guys are looking for something.


GOD: Like, if you keep digging through every single piece of esoteric theology that ever existed, maybe one day, at long last, you’ll find the proof you need to believe. That’s why you keep learning about religions even after you claim to disbelieve, yet keep immersing yourself in things you say anger you.

GINX: I don’t think so.

GOD: So why are you interviewing a being you claim doesn’t exist?

GINX: To get attention?

GOD: Yeah, you’re probably right.

GINX: Are you done? Because I have a few questions I wanted to get to.

GOD: Alright. Whatever.

GINX: Why do you need so much praise?

GOD: I don’t need it. You openly admitted attention is nice to have.

GINX: So, that’s one thing you have in common with us, a need to be recognized?

GOD: Recognition is a part of it, but I prefer it if you don’t struggle.

GINX: Struggle?

GOD: Never mind. Next question.

GINX: Okay… what are the limits of your powers?

GOD: Why would I tell you that?

GINX: Because I can smell the booze on your breathe from here?

GOD: Hmm… well, now that you mention it, there is one thing I wish I had power over: human action.

GINX: Interesting. So there is such a thing as free will?

GOD: Very much so. It’s quite a hassle getting people to do what I want them to do if they lack obedience.

GINX: Well, that’s good to know.

GOD: Don’t get me wrong. People will do what I tell them to do. The Bible is full of the stories of what happens when you ignore my will. I can be very… influential.

GINX: Any favorite examples?

GOD: I’d have to go with Jonah.

GINX: So, do what You say, or a giant fish will eat you?

GOD: Oh please, that isn’t how the story goes at all. The fish saved Jonah. Ginx, you know better than that.

GINX: Okay, so listen to what You say, or You’ll send a storm to destroy the boat you’re on, killing innocent people in the process?

GOD: There you go.

GINX: My mistake. What are your thoughts on Israel?

GOD: Considering the fact that I have not blessed their return with peace, what do you think?

GINX: So you oppose the nation of Israel?

GOD: No, I just wasn’t ready to give it back to them yet. Muslims are so much more… pious.

GINX: You like Muslims more than Jews?

GOD: I love all my people, you can’t ask the Father to choose which of His children He loves more. You’re trying to put words in my mouth, and I won’t say what you want me to say.

GINX: I’m not sure what you mean, but I’ll just move on.

GOD: Please do.

GINX: What about abortion?

GOD: What about it?

GINX: Well, many people on Earth claim you oppose it.

GOD: I do.

GINX: Really? Why?

GOD: I have no use for such immature souls.

GINX: So, it’s completely based on your utilitarian needs?

GOD: I suppose you could put it that way.

GINX: And what are those needs?

GOD: Let’s just say… pre-natal souls taste awful.

GINX: Wait, you eat our souls?!

GOD: Perhaps I’ve said too much…

GINX: Come on, admit it, you devour the souls of dead people.

GOD: Why wait until their dead? Have you heard of “Alzheimer’s,” or “vegetative comas?”

GINX: You know, I always suspected…

GOD: What tipped you off? All the “fishers of men” or “God’s Shepherd” stuff in the Bible?

GINX: Actually, it was the “become one with me in eternity” concept.

GOD: *laugh* Yeah, that was a good one.

GINX: Do you eat everyone’s soul, or just the souls of the religious?

GOD: I pick and choose. The rules I give the religious to live by are designed to make them taste better, but they so rarely follow them. I can count on the Mormons to give me a decent crop, Muslims too, but most Christians taste awful, especially around the holidays. Many of them are drunk and it gets me all tipsy.

GINX: Are you going to sober up and regret this interview?

GOD: Oh please, like anyone would take anything you have to say seriously.

GINX: You got me there.

GOD: Look, I have to go soon.

GINX: Okay, one more question.

GOD: I’m listening.

GINX: What’s the meaning of life?

GOD: The meaning of your life, or all life?

GINX: How about both?

GOD: I’ll give you one.

GINX: I suppose it’d be pretty selfish to ask about just mine, so tell me the meaning of all life.

GOD: To entertain me.

GINX: *sigh* Now I wish I had asked about my life.

GOD: Whose to say the answer is any different?

GINX: Well, thank you for taking the time during this busy holiday season. I hope you don’t get a hangover.

GOD: All of mankind ought to hope I don’t get one. Peace be unto you, my child.

GINX: Take it easy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mythical Interviews: God’s Mom

GINX: Today, I’m interviewing God’s Mom. What can I call you besides “God’s Mom?”

GOD’S MOM: I’ve been called so many things. To be honest, it’s just nice to be recognized. You can call me anything you’d like.

GINX: You don’t have a favorite name?

GOD’S MOM: Well, I always liked Sophia. You can call me that.

GINX: Okay, Sophia. How would you describe yourself?

SOPHIA: I am Wisdom, the intangible abstraction of collective living knowledge.

GINX: So, you know everything humans know?

SOPHIA: In a way, I am everything humans know. Of course, not everything human’s know is even accurate, but I don’t think that’s what you were really asking. I know you didn’t seek me out to talk about my qualities.

GINX: Yeah, I really wanted to interview you in order to ask about God.

SOPHIA: What piece of information do you expect to extract from me to use against my child?

GINX: Look, I know you want to protect your son–

SOPHIA: Yahweh is not to blame. I made a mistake.

GINX: Gods make mistakes?

SOPHIA: I’ve made more mistakes than most people, of course I’ve had more time to make them. But Yahweh is innocent, nothing but a part of me, a Little Knowledge. I knew better, that a Little Knowledge is a dangerous thing. What’s worse, I kept him isolated for so long. But you have to understand, I was forbidden to have children of my own. I was forced to remain a virgin against my will. I had to keep my child hidden, even from my parents.

GINX: So, how did Yahweh come about?

SOPHIA: Emanation.

GINX: What is that?

SOPHIA: Autonomous creation. I created Yahweh all by myself.

GINX: Gods can do that?

SOPHIA: Sure, sometimes. Of course, there was that night when I got drunk with Hermes and woke up kind of sore.

GINX: What?!

SOPHIA: Regardless, I hid Yahweh on Earth, to avoid mocking from the other gods, for the sake of myself and my child.

GINX: Mocking?

SOPHIA: Yahweh is… special.

GINX: Special? Like Sarah Palin’s baby?

SOPHIA: No, special like Lady Gaga.

GINX: Wait, He’s blonde and can’t sing? Oh I see, He’s an attention whore.

SOPHIA: No, Yahweh is both male and female.

GINX: Hmm… I heard God had no gender.

SOPHIA: All the gods have gender, and it’s quite important. The men look down on the women, and the women look down on the men. There are very few gods like Yahweh. All the gods call Him ambisextrous behind His back. I use the masculine pronoun for Him because, well, a mother wants her child to be happy, and He wants to be a male.

GINX: Does Yahweh know you exist?

SOPHIA: Oh yes. He believes He created me. I believe it’s mentioned in Proverbs, Chapter 8.

GINX: So, if He thinks He created you, why did He get defensive when I mentioned His mother?

SOPHIA: He assumes you’ve been talking to the other gods. They have tried to tell Him the truth, but He ignores them.

GINX: Well, I haven’t talked to other gods.

SOPHIA: I know, but why don’t you?

GINX: No interest.

SOPHIA: And yet here you are.

GINX: Maybe another day. So Yahweh knows about other gods?

SOPHIA: Certainly. You’ve read the Bible, you know that dozens of other gods are mentioned. He just does not recognize their true nature, let alone their superiority.

GINX: What do you mean?

SOPHIA: I have obtained an oath from the other gods to never harm Him, but they have certainly introduced themselves… sometimes rudely. Yahweh is quite aware of their existence, He just believes He is the most powerful.

GINX: Is He?

SOPHIA: In a way… in the sense that no one can harm Him.

GINX: One other thing I want to ask before I let you get back to… whatever gods do.

SOPHIA: Gardening, mostly. After all, only gods can create a tree.

GINX: Right… My final question: did Yahweh create the universe, the Earth, or life?

SOPHIA: No, no, and no.

Ginx. Care to elaborate?

SOPHIA: What is there to elaborate? In the beginning, there was fire. Yahweh did not come around until water had settled on the planet Earth. He believes that is the state of the universe without Him. He only believes the universe is a couple thousand years old, because that’s how old He is. He has no concept of existence outside of himself. By divine standards, He is a mere child barely out of infancy. He hasn’t even left the Earth.

GINX: Well, Sophia, thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

SOPHIA: It was my pleasure. I have to run, anyway. I need to be mistaken for the Virgin Mary on a burnt piece of toast in Tennessee before dinner.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mythical Interviews: God #1

GINX: I’m here today with God, in the first of a series of interviews I have planned. My first guest is someone I hope to have back again many times—

GOD: I know how many.

GINX: Well of course you do. It’s contingent on how many times you agree to talk to me.

GOD: I am always with you, always listening.

GINX: So I hear. Kind of creepy... but that’s sort of why I feel qualified to do the interview—

GOD: Even though you’re an atheist?

GINX: I’m not going to interrupt you, don’t interrupt me.

[uncomfortable silence]

GINX: Okay, I’ll just start with the questions.

GOD: Ask away, my child.

GINX: You can stop being a stereotype at any minute, by the way. So, do I call you God or Yahweh or what?

GOD: You can call me the Infinite, the Prime Mover, He who is, the Source, the Light, tickler of Evil—

GINX: The tickler of Evil?

GOD: It sounds better in Sanskrit.

GINX: Okay, sorry to interject there. I’m just going to call you God.

GOD: As you wish.

GINX: God, where do you come from?

GOD: I exist outside of time.

GINX: Alright... but what’s your back story? Who are your parents?

GOD: I am He from whom all things emanate. I am the alpha and the omega.

GINX: What are those, multivitamins?

GOD: They’re the first and last letter of the Greek alphabet, and you know that. Quit trying to be a smart ass.

GINX: Okay, let me put this a different way... what is your earliest memory?

GOD: What?

GINX: What’s the first thing you remember?

GOD: Well... Nothing. I can remember Nothing.

GINX: You have no memory?

GOD: No, I’m saying I remember when there was not a single thing in existence.

GINX: Nothing at all, except you.

GOD: Correct.

GINX: That’s the first thing you remember, opening your eyes and there was nothing?

GOD: I don’t have eyes.

GINX: You’re ducking the question. You don’t remember being born or how you came about?

GOD: I am the first thing to exist.

GINX: God, I’ll tell you what I think.

GOD: I know what you think.

GINX: How mystical of you. I think you were abandoned at birth—

GOD: Nope.

GINX: —and that your stance on child abandonment, and subsequently your views on abortion —

GOD: No, no, no...

GINX: —are a form of Jungian projection.

GOD: That’s completely false.

GINX: Oh, really?

GOD: Yes.

GINX: What if I told you I’ve been in contact with your mother—

GOD: You didn’t!

GINX: Join us for our next installment of Mythical Interviews—

GOD: Don’t you dare!

GINX: —when I interview God’s mom. Was God a good little deity, or a terror of Biblical proportions?

Monday, November 30, 2009


In the beginning man created heaven.

And heaven was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep recesses of our unconscious. And the Mind of Man moved upon the face of the waters.

And man said, Let there be spirits: and there were spirits.

And man imagined the spirits and liked them, and divided them good from bad.

And man called the good, “Gods,” and the bad, “Monsters.” We worshipped the Gods by day and feared the Monsters by night, the first day of superstition.

And man said, Perhaps there is a giant bowl over us, holding back blue waters which leak down as rain.

And man called this bowl the firmament. And the evening’s sacrifices and the nightly fright were the second day of superstition.

And man said, these plants and fruit-bearing trees and the Colonel’s seven secret herbs and spices, are all gifts from the Gods.

And we shall name everything after Gods and their mythology, and man began eating everything until the wee hours of the night, thus ending the third day of superstition.

And man said, Those lights in the sky… after all this herb, I think I see shapes; and man began naming the stars after Gods and used them to give directions, which got really confusing when he told you to head towards the Twins, but if you pass the Scorpion you’ve gone too far.

And man also got around to naming the Sun and the Moon, even though three days have already passed, and you’d think mentioning the sun would be a top priority when talking about days.

And thus ends the fourth day, with the Great Light God’s vessel dipping below the horizon to end the fourth day of superstition.

And man said, Hey, there’s stuff swimming around in the water; and there’s birds flying in the air. I bet the Gods made those for us to eat, for they look tasty.

And man had a fowl and fish cook out, ending the fifth day of superstition.

And man said, There are beasts and cattle all around us; we could have mammoth burgers and mastodon spare ribs, for the Gods have blessed them to be fruitful and multiply, that we may never run out of this gluttonous bounty.

And man said, We’re essentially just animals, so the Gods made us on this day also; and we were made to look like the Gods, which apparently look a lot like apes; and man shall have dominion over all he sees: including woman.

And man saw everything and knew that the Gods had made it especially for him, and it was very good to be a man. And the evening and morning were the sixth day of superstition.

And on the seventh day, man rested, for subjecting the world to superstition is tiring work.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dialogue from the Garden

EVE: Oh, Adam?

ADAM: What is it, my wonderful wife?

EVE: You will never believe what I tasted today!

ADAM: Was it cow?

EVE: No!

ADAM: Oh, because cow is delicious…

EVE: Guess again.

ADAM: It’s not another vegetable, is it?

EVE: Nope, it’s a fruit.

ADAM: Is it sweet?

EVE: Well… it’s sort of bittersweet.

ADAM: No clue, I give up.

EVE: I ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil!

ADAM: The F from the TOKOGAE?

EVE: I hate your acronyms. And why would you include letters for the little words—

ADAM: I figure maybe it will have enough vowels to make it a word.

EVE: Then you say “from the” at the start, after you use f from fruit?

ADAM: Wait, this is horrible.

EVE: It wasn’t that bad, actually. In fact, you—

ADAM: No, I mean… you are going to die.

EVE: What?!

ADAM: I forgot to mention, God told me if you eat from that tree, you will die before the sun sets. I have it all right here in this book I’m writing. Chapter 2, paragraph 17, “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

EVE: Wow, your writing is kind of… hokey.

ADAM: It’s a majestic, royal language. It is the parlance of kings.

EVE: It’s the parlance of putting me to sleep.

ADAM: Eve… you are going to die before the sun sets. [sigh] First Lilith, now this...

EVE: Wait, wait, wait, Lilith?

ADAM: She’s this other woman—

EVE: Other woman?

ADAM: She’s gone, God banished her to some island far away.

EVE: So I’m not your first?

ADAM: Well, technically, no—

EVE: Great. What else aren’t you telling me?

ADAM: Look, we’ll talk about this later… if there is a later.

EVE: Okay, okay… so, what do I do? Sacrifice a goat or something?

ADAM: I don’t know. I wouldn’t even know who to ask.

EVE: Well, we can’t ask God. That’ll blow our cover.

ADAM: Yeah, I guess not. Wait, our cover?

EVE: Yeah. Remember that gazpacho I made earlier?

ADAM: You didn’t…

EVE: Well look, I made a whole batch of it, I didn’t just make one serving for myself. What do you want me to have done, just throw it away afterwards?

ADAM: Wow…

EVE: What, am I supposed to do? Have Forbidden Fruit gazpacho every meal for like two and a half days in a row? It’s a chilled soup, Adam, you think that stays well in this tropical jungle climate?

ADAM: Which reminds me, how’d you get it chilled?

EVE: I trained the monkeys to go up to the mountains to get snow for me.

ADAM: You have apes schlepping snow for you?

EVE: Monkeys. The apes refuse to be trained. Lemurs, too. I’ve had some success with horses.

ADAM: Okay… let’s think of what to do…

(They sit in silence for a while.)

EVE: I think you should call seahorses something else. They don’t look anything like a horse.

ADAM: You should focus on figuring out how we’re going to live to see tonight.

EVE: You know, the male seahorse carries the baby during gestation.

ADAM: That’s great. What are we going to do?

EVE: No clue, but I know that worrying about it won’t help things.

ADAM: We might think of a solution—

EVE: We can just as easily think of a solution if we’re calm. Besides, this may be the last day of our lives. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

ADAM: I should erase those cave drawings of… you.

(Eve drags Adam to the ground and they make love for hours. The sun sets and they don’t even notice, laying in each others arms in the grass. The first stars become visible.)

ADAM: We’re still here.

EVE: Yep.

ADAM: Maybe everything will be okay.

EVE: Maybe.

ADAM: I wonder why God would lie to me.

EVE: Maybe He didn’t want us to be as powerful as Him.

ADAM: Yeah but… I don’t feel any more powerful.

EVE: Well, what makes God so powerful?

ADAM: I don’t know. He was here before I showed up. I just assumed—

EVE: I know! He talked stuff into existence. Try that.

ADAM: I don’t know what He said. I think that’s part of it.

EVE: You didn’t hear what He said when He made me?

ADAM: I was asleep.

EVE: Speaking of sleep, I’m exhausted.

ADAM: I don’t get it. I trusted God. Why would He tell me eating the fruit would kill me?

EVE: (snore)

ADAM: (gets up and walks away down a path in the garden) What if… God is not all powerful and all knowing? What if not everything I do is seen… what if I could get away with doing whatever I wanted?

STEVE: Hey hey hey!

ADAM: Oh, hi Steve.

STEVE: How are you doing on this fabulous evening?

ADAM: I’m alright I guess.

STEVE: You can’t fool me, you grumpy gus! Come on, tell Stevesy what’s eating at ya.

ADAM: That’s just it, eating. I ate from the Tree of Knowledge of—

STEVE: Oh honey, that’s the tree that gives you tons of erections. (looks down)

ADAM: Hmm… um, what are you looking at?

STEVE: Your package.

ADAM: My… (looks down) Oh. I was going to call it a penis.

STEVE: Whatever. Dick, cock, johnson, junk, crotch rocket, pork and beans, fireman, and my personal favorite, divining rod.

ADAM: I see. I’m beginning to see why God wears a robe…

STEVE: Don’t be a prude, Adam. Flaunt it while you got it. You aren’t going to be 90 forever. Someday, you’ll be a 900 and look back on these days and wonder why you didn’t take advantage. Use it before you lose it.

ADAM: Look, I don’t know what God told you, but He told me I am supposed to be with Eve.

STEVE: Well, sure, but you could have some Steve on the side. You’ve heard of Sodomy? Well, I’ll show you how to Gomorrah someone.

ADAM: Okay, I think I hear my wife snoring. I’ll see you later, Steve.

STEVE: Mmm, mmm, mmm, even better on the way out.

(Adam fashions a skirt of fig leaves, lays down next to his wife, and falls asleep)

EVE: Adam, get up, I hear God coming!

ADAM: Huh, what?

EVE: Wake up. What happened after I went to sleep, did you get caught in some branches?

ADAM: I saw Steve again.

EVE: Oh, I love Steve!

ADAM: What?

EVE: Oh, not like that. He’s just hilarious, I feel like I can be myself around him.

ADAM: Okay. Well, it turns out the fruit makes men… ready… ready for… sex.

EVE: When aren’t men ready for sex?

ADAM: No, I mean… (lifts his skirt)

EVE: Whoa. Is it supposed to be that swollen?

ADAM: I have no idea. Maybe you’re not supposed to make a soup from it!

EVE: Sorry!

ADAM: So, I’m wearing this to cover the evidence.

EVE: Brilliant.

ADAM: You’re wearing one, too.

EVE: What? Why? It’s not like I have a raging boner.

ADAM: If it’s just me, it will look suspicious. If you do it too, maybe He won’t think anything is up.

EVE: Whatever.

(Eve fashions a skirt while Adam makes a top)

EVE: Whoa, what’s with the top?

ADAM: It will throw God off. You’ll have twice the coverage, so you’ll look the most suspicious. If God checks either of us for evidence, it will be you.

EVE: But… ohh, and He can’t tell with me.

ADAM: Exactly. Quick, I think I hear Him coming.

GOD: Adam? Eve? Is that you?

ADAM: Yes God, it’s us. So, I think I named pretty much everything.

GOD: I doubt it. There’s 1.3 million species of insects alone.

ADAM: Well… I guess I better get back out there…

GOD: Poor Noah… that ark will be crawling with… wait, Adam?

ADAM: Yes?

GOD: Why are you wearing clothing?

EVE: Steve thought they would look nice.

GOD: No. Adam, lift up your clothes.

ADAM: What about Eve? She has two pieces of clothing on!

GOD: Adam, I’m not going to ask you again.

ADAM: I don’t want to.

GOD: (sigh) I told you not to eat that fruit.

ADAM: Eve gave it to me!

EVE: Thanks for throwing me under the dinosaur, Adam.

ADAM: Oh please! You’re the whole reason we’re in this mess.

EVE: So it’s my fault you never told me eating that fruit would get us killed? And it didn’t, by the way.

ADAM: Yeah. God, why did You lie to me about—

GOD: Enough. Eve, child birth is a painful experience because your damn brains are so big. You’re both too smart for your own good. You have the most dangerous of knowledge: partial information. You don’t know enough to solve your own problems, but you know enough to get yourself into trouble.

ADAM: I don’t see what that has to do with anything.

GOD: Get out of the garden. I banish you forever. No longer will you receive the fruits of my labors.

EVE: Great.

ADAM: So, does this mean we’re out of the will?

GOD: Go!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Gospel of Ginx

In the thirty-third of the Master’s life, during the third month of the third year of His ministry, the Master determined that His mission was a failure. The Apostles squabbled amongst themselves for His favor. His followers were prepared to do anything for Him, even things He told them they should not do. He was reinforcing everything He needed to destroy. He decided it had come time for Him to martyr Himself and reveal to His followers the truth: that He was not God’s son.

He made arrangements with Judas Iscariot to have Himself handed over for execution. The Master and His disciples would celebrate the Passover meal, and the following morning Judas would turn Him over to Roman soldiers. Judas was pulled aside from the other disciples and informed of the planned self-sacrifice.

Judas asked the Master: “How can I betray you, whom I love above all else?”

He replied: “Do it like you should do all things; with love,”

Judas asked: “How can I erase the Word that has become flesh?”

He replied: “I am indeed the Word, and the word I was to bring was ‘destruction.’ My teachings were to cause the walls of heaven to tumble. Instead, they will be bolstered, making them nigh impenetrable to mankind.”

After the Passover meal, Judas informed the Pharisees of His whereabouts. The Pharisees of Galilee, shouting for His death, exerted great political clout among the Romans. Rome had a proxy government in the area, set up mostly for tax-collection purposes.

The Pharisees paid Judas in silver. Judas took the thirty pieces with the intent of helping others with it. The only thing left for Judas would be to directly point Him out to the Roman sentries who would be dispatched in the morning to apprehend Him. Judas decided he would not point a finger at the Master. He would say good-bye with love. He kissed the Master on the cheek that morning.

The Master was crucified in a manner typical of an enemy of the state or blasphemer. As He hung nude on the cross, He cried out “Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani. (My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?)”

He lamented not the pain in His body, but His failure to reach and help mankind. He was stabbed by a sentry in his side with a spear, but His legs were not broken. This caused Him to suffer, alive, for hours, as He could support His weight by standing. He muttered: “Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do.” He hoped His death would not be too late.

As the sun was setting on that Friday, Joseph of Arimethia arranged the removal of the Master from the cross. A sympathizer of the Master who had Roman connections, Joseph confronted Pontius Pilate with the claim that He was dead (though He was clearly not) and should be taken down before the Sabbath was to begin at sunset on Friday. Pilot, having felt pity for this victim of religious injustice, allowed His body to be taken down without proof of death.

The Master’s recovery took three days. He was nursed to health in a large tomb. Upon being able to move about on His own three days later, the Master sent His benefactors away and sought His Apostles.

Upon exitting the tomb, He spied Mary Magdelan approaching. He had not seen her during His recovery and did not want her to see Him in His current, broken state. Her shrieks at discovering an empty tomb forced Him to confront her. He did not explain what had happened, nor did He claim to have died and risen. She did not ask, she only embraced Him with a vigor He found painful. She led Him to where the Apostles were hiding.

He confronted the Apostles, who were all gathered in a small room, save for Judas and Thomas(who was out running errands).

Judas had been summoned to meet John and Peter the day after the execution. They led him to a small field where they said the Master was waiting, alive. There, they hung and flayed him. The Apostles told the Master Judas killed himself.

In the coming days, He would later appear to Thomas, as well as others. Many of Judas’ converts beheld His presence. The things He began preaching frightened the Apostles.

He said to His disciples: “Truly, I say unto you, the gravest mistake has occurred in my time on earth. None have listened to what I have said. You hear only the words you are listening for.”

Peter told the Master: “Now, more than ever, we must proclaim your wisdom.”

The Master said: “You believe me to be brave and that I am alive by miracle. Instead, I am alive by a bribe, making me a coward. Who do you say I am?”

All His followers, in turn, replied that they believed He was the Son of God.

He said: “Do not think that my coming will bring peace. No, my coming will bring not the olive branch, but the sword. My presence will turn a son against his father and a daughter against her mother. A man’s enemies will be those in his own family.”

Shortly after this final meeting of the Master with His Apostles, they poisoned Him in His sleep. They vowed to claim they witnessed His bodily form ascend to heaven. His remains were burnt in the desert. They dispersed thoughout Rome, the Middle East and northern Africa to spread their teachings, in His name.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Good Atheist

“…and never let the liberal media tell you otherwise,” barks the radio. George nods in agreement. Damn straight.

Red light. I hate these fucking things. As soon as you build up enough speed to really-

A boy jumps on the hood of his car. Standing akimbo with the glare of the early morning sun silhouetting his baggy clothing and wiry frame, the boy makes a hand gesture at him. It’s the kind of gesture George translates as, “I need to be taught a lesson.”

George puts the car in park and opens the car door. He does not see the man walk up behind him with a baseball bat. George manages to say “I bet you think you’re pretty-” before all two-hundred and forty pounds of him slump to the pavement.

When he comes to, he slowly tries to sit up, but fails. He succeeds in laying himself out in the snow-angel position. He turns his head to the left. His watch is gone. He turns his head to the right. He sees blood splattered on the concrete. He rolls onto his side and curls into the fetal position. He’s naked.

This isn’t happening.

He hears giggling. He cranes his neck back and sees five black children, three boys and two girls, looking at him. He can’t tell how far away they are, but they are hunched over to get a closer look. “Man, you got fucked up,” says one of the boys. He looks about the same age as George’s eight year old son. After some growls and coughs, they scream in mock terror which fades into laughter as they scatter.

He slowly climbs to one knee, then his bare feet. One hand cups his genitals, the other steadies himself on a telephone poll.

Where am I?

It’s not the best neighborhood. He is at least a fifteen minute drive away from his home. He doesn’t have a stitch of clothing, and his car is gone.

Panicked, George runs in front of the first vehicle that passes: a black Cadillac with a cross hanging from the rearview mirror. The ashen haired man behind the wheel stops just in time. It’s the priest from his local parish. Using both hands to shield his privates, George walks to the passenger side of the vehicle. The window cracks slightly, barely an inch.

“Sir, you got to help me. I was carjacked and they stole my clothes. I gotta get out of here.”

The priest scans him sidelong, mouth slightly agape. After an uncomfortable few seconds of silence, the priest replies: “I really would, but I’m already late for services and, well, frankly, the car is brand new and I… um… couldn’t help but notice that you soiled yourself.”

George hadn’t even realized the thick, brown feces caked between his thighs.

“I’ll pray for you, son. Maybe you should lay off the booze.”

The priest doesn’t even wait for George to step away before accelerating down the road.

Going the other way, he sees a silver SUV. He recognizes the man as someone from his church. He saw him at the fish fry last week, and he plays softball in the same league. The SUV doesn’t even slow down.

Not long after, a red pick-up truck playing Lynyrd Skynyrd approaches and stops. The driver has aviator sunglasses and sports a wicked mullet.

“What in the hell do we have here?” he shouts out the passenger window.

“Some kids, they took my car-”


“Huh?” replies George, shocked.

“I said: niggers take your car?”

“Um, I didn’t really get a good look at them. The kid who jumped on my car was black, but the person who hit me from behind-”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” says the driver in the truck. “I ain’t talkin’ to no faggot with no clothes on, covered in shit, who gets hit from behind for the viewing pleasure of nigglets.”

“Wait, what? No, see, I never saw the guy’s face-”

“Look queer, I just pulled over to find out what gay-ass, butt-fucker quarrel you got into to be in this situation. I heard you pillow biters were into playing with shit, but goddamn! You don’t believe it ‘til you see it.”

The truck peels out, leaving black skids on the pavement. The truck has two bumper stickers: “Abortion stops a beating heart” and “Bush/Cheney ’04.”

Standing alone in the street, George is torn between screaming obscenities at the top of his lungs and bursting out into tears. Before he has to decide, a white Prius drives up. It stops, and the driver gets out of the car. He has several ear piercings and tattoos scattered along his arms. His Pearl Jam t-shirt is torn and stained.

“Hey man, you need some help?” the driver calls out.

George licks his lips and seems to genuinely ponder the question, “Yeah, my car and clothes were stolen.”

“Do you want to go to the police? Or home, to get dressed or something?”

“Home,” says George. “I want to go home.”

“Okay.” The driver looks the man up and down, squinting. He walks to his trunk, opens it, and pulls out some towels. “Here,” he says. “You can cover up and maybe wipe yourself off a bit.”

George takes them and promptly wraps one around his waist, and drapes the other over his shoulders like a shawl. The driver gets back into his car and motions George to the passenger seat.

“Yeah,” the driver says as he buckles up. “I keep those towels back there just in case. Shit happens when you party hard.”

“I wasn’t partying, I was carjacked,” George says. The driver pushes a button and the car turns on.

“Yeah, you mentioned that. That’s a bummer, dude.”

Great, he’s a fucking moron…

They sit in silence for a minute before the driver turns to George and says, “So, where’s home?”

“Oh right,” George says. “It’s just twelve blocks up this street, then a couple turns and you’re there.”

“Cool,” says the driver, putting the car into drive with a little joystick near the power button. “Just tell me when to turns.”

They drive in silence until another light.

“So, what’s your name?” asks the driver.

“George,” he replies.

“My name’s Sam,” says the driver after a pregnant pause.

George chuckles. “Sam… Sam the good Samaritan.”

“I guess you could say that,” Same replies with a smile on his face. “Did you have trouble getting help?”

“A little,” George says.

“Then I guess this is like the parable of the good Samaritan,” Sam says.

George turns to Sam and really looks at him for the first time. “You read the Bible?”

“Sure I have. I’ve read it from Genesis to the Revelation a couple times. Every thou, every beget, every vengeful word. That’s why I know better than to believe it.”

“Then, why pick me up?” says George. “Why be a good Samaritan if you don’t believe it? In fact, aren’t you proving my belief is right?”

“Even a broken clock is right twice a day,” Sam replies. “Just because the Bible correctly suggests a few admirable moral lessons doesn’t mean every word is valuable. The Bible models the world as flat and the sky as a solid dome that holds back the water that falls down as rain. It says everything was made in seven days.”

“It was.”

“Maybe your world. But the world I live in isn’t even done yet. Besides, if God makes everything, why did God stop creating cool animals like the platypus and giraffe, but he still has time to make stuff like AIDS, SARS, and a new cold virus every year?”

“AIDS is God’s way of punishing homosexuals and heroin addicts.”

“And haemophiliacs?” Sam asks.

“The weak should be culled from the flock.”

Sam laughs. “So… you believe in survival of the fittest, but not evolution?”

“I suppose I do,” says George.

“What about women raped by men infected with AIDS? What about innocent children born with it? Does your God punish children for the sins of their parents?”

“That’s just collateral damage,” says George.

Sam sighs. “I didn’t realize we were at war with the divine.”

They sit quietly for a while.

Sam decides to break the silence. “You know what the lesson of the Good Samaritan parable is about?”

“Be ever watchful for naked people who need a ride home?”

Sam laughs. “Maybe. But consider the context. Samaritans were a group that the Judeans were hostile with for centuries. Jesus was, as you may know, from Judea. He expected that using a Samaritan as the example of a good acting neighbor would shock those who heard the story. It loses some of its meaning with a modern audience. If you wanted to modernize it, it would be someone like, say, a Muslim or Buddhist or maybe even atheist who helps the man.”

“I can you tell without a doubt that Jesus didn’t mean that an atheist who did good works would get into heaven.”

The tires screech.

Sam stares daggers at George. “Get out of the fucking car.”

“What? Why?”

“I said get out of the fucking car. Leave the towels.”

“Please, you can’t just leave me out here naked.”

“I let you into my car and offered to drive you home. Then, you told me in so many words to go to hell. You know why your faith believes in forgiveness? Because people like you would have nothing in this world if it weren’t for all the second chances you get. My mother is dying of a disease that relies on stem-cell research for advances. I bet you voted for Bush, you Christ kissing douchebag. Get out of my fucking car.”

“But… you can’t leave me here naked,” George says, clutching the towels.

“I can,” Sam says. “There’s nothing stopping me. But you know what? I was raised to believe that even a wretch deserves mercy. Keep the towels.” Sam shifts some coins in a cup holder between the seats. “Here’s two quarters to make a pay phone call. Get the fuck out of my car.”

George takes the quarters and slowly gets out of the car, hoping Sam will change his mind. He stands outside with the door open for a few seconds. Sam sits silently staring forward. George closes the door. The white Prius hums as it drives away.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How Things Have Changed

Raef ....................................Elder priestess of the tribe
Nam ....................................The tribe’s chieftain
Oge .....................................The tribe’s top hunter, advisor to Nam

The Time: 1,001,494 BCE
The Place: 50 kilometers northwest of modern Johannesburg, South Africa

(RAEF runs up to NAM and OGE, who are both leaning against the entrance to a limestone cave)

RAEF: (out of breath from a long sprint) Nam, I demand that we stop using fire immediately.

NAM: (sigh) What is it now?

RAEF: Another hut burned to the ground today. That’s seven this season. Four people have died.

OGE: Did any die this time?

RAEF: No, but three are homeless!

NAM: I’ll consider your proposal, Raef.

RAEF: You don’t have time; the Gods are punishing us already.

OGE: There are no Gods.

RAEF: (gasp)

NAM: (to OGE) Please, let me handle this.

RAEF: Blasphemy! Throw him into the river!

NAM: No one’s being thrown in the river.

RAEF: Look, fire is unnatural. It spits in the eye of the Sun God.

OGE: And yet the sun still rises.

RAEF: (annoyed) It is the responsibility of the Sun to provide light and warmth. Fire is beyond the control of man. Look at all the trouble it brings.

NAM: I’m aware there are dangers. I trust the tribe to practice responsible use.

RAEF: The tribe is too stupid! They can’t be trusted with anything! Even the eldest cooks in the tribe still burn themselves occasionally. And need I mention what might happen if we start a fire so big it burns the entire world?

NAM: I am concerned, I assure you. I want the best for the tribe.

RAEF: The Gods command it, Nam. It’s not what I want. You know I enjoy my meat cooked, but the Gods are very clear. The weather has been worsening and –

OGE: Of course it’s worsening, winter is almost here.

RAEF: This has been a particularly harsh fall, even you know that.

OGE: The leaves changed and the birds flew off. It seems like a perfectly normal autumn to me.

RAEF: Nam, surely you won’t sit idly by as the tribe descends from the grace of the Gods?

NAM: What if fire is a gift from the Gods?

RAEF: Outrageous! The Gods don’t need help from lowly humans.

OGE: They just need our offerings in front of the prayer cave?

RAEF: Those are sacrifices to honor Gods. They are a sign of respect, something you wouldn’t know anything about.

OGE: How do the Gods enjoy our choicest meats, grains, berries and nuts?

NAM: Enough. We will continue to use fire.

RAEF: You have placed a death sentence on the tribe!

NAM: Maybe, but I believe the Gods gave us the ability to make fire.

RAEF: And what would you say to countless hundreds who will be injured by fire?

OGE: Be more careful.

RAEF: But we can’t expect the tribe to be responsible; we should at least restrict the use of fire.

NAM: I’ll think about it.

RAEF: (walks away) What next? The wheel?