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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?