The matters of which I hereby set down to narrate
took place during a time in the nearly distant past.
The good long-runner ship Cedwin The Second,
of noble origins but on a dubious mission,
faced emergencies that forced a crash landing
on the fertile but backwards planet of Durth,
located somewhat out of the customary shipping lanes,
and was consumed by flames.
Over time, the two hundred survivors of this tragic event
inter-mingled with the natives of that land
who were pure in spirit and noble in al l aspects of physical beauty.
These people of Durth were spiritually advanced,
but lacking in most elements of modern society,
including learning and knowledge and the comforts of social advancement.
Life was primitive, and even without certain inventions and mechanizations,
the admirable Pirates of Cedwin, as they were affectionately known,
swiftly converted the local people from their barbaric practices,
and in a few generations advanced them from hunters into harvesters
and began to instill in them the Eternal Principles of the Guiding Light.
Due to the necessities of their situation, the so-called Pirates
reverted to the ancient art of storytelling to preserve
their culture and their heritage over the many generations that were to follow.
In truth, as time passed on that place as they marked it,
the mill of Rubio begat the mill of Semzig begat the half-mill of Chalindalia,
and all that before the blossoming civilization of Durth found ways around
the peculiar lack of metals of their planetary home and the people were able
to build silicate-based machines that could preserve their thoughts over time.
And so the stories brought by the Pirates from their other world were finally recorded.
Years later, after their civilization advanced to where
the Durthians ventured off-planet and eventually joined (or re-joined) the federation,
the Rogue Pirate’s Bible was extensively researched.
Its lineage was retraced by learned men, and the recorded whole with all its fragments
was determined to be the false and entirely heretical document that it is.
This was followed by a brief period of unrest called The Holy Chopping, during which
the appropriate fanatics were regretfully sent to the higher reality,
and so righteous order was restored throughout the federation.
And so it is wise to note and consider carefully that this forbidden volume
is intended only for literary research purposes, so sanctioned by The Guiding Light,
and will self-destruct, page-to-page, as it is read.
So it is decreed. So it shall be accomplished.
The Story of Ud
How we got to way back here from way, way back there.
The Leap Not Taken
Bothered by nasty dreams, Noah takes a metaphorical sleeping pill.
Fire, brimstone, abominations and angels, sort of.
Headline from the Clay Tablet Gazette: "JerichoFalls
Due To Budgetary Constraints!"
David as sure-shot Billy-the-Kid. The real story as told by his brother.
A lusty tale of biblical proportions.
Getting It Right
The scribe’s life is never an easy one.
Mind-tripping with The Young Lord.
Jesu Christi & The New Recruit
"And to think," the Master said, "I could be in Phu Ket sipping one of those tropical drinks with a little umbrella in it."
In The Garden
Ruminations on risk-taking.
Maggie & The Magic Man
Watch out who you’re calling whore, buddy.
A few centuries later, on the Mayan plains...
LATE 2ND & EARLY 3RD MILLENNIUM TESTAMENTS
Christ ends up financing a film of dubious literary
pretensions. XXX, in fact.
The Next Step
Maybe it sounds stupid to you ant-brains, but what if life is some sort of wheel?
The 40 Virgin Valu-Pak
A couple of guys pick up their prize.
Maybe we just conjure Him up when we need Him.
Transfer of Power
It’s just as hard on the old farts going out as the new
guys coming in.
Steve ’n Jay
Steve McQueen acquires a taste for the afterlife.
At heart, the cannibals of Borneoare little different from
The East-Of-The-Hudson Literary Mob
Jesus at the MagicCastle
Faith, hope and charity…no matter what you’ve read, sometimes, the greatest of these is hope.
At the Poker Table
Like bees to honey, we keep coming back for more.
The Creator, Hemingway & The Gay Bullfrog
The noble scribe reacts to the advancing wave of genre writing.
Richard Feynman meets Teilhard de Chardin somewhere among the roses.
Yeah, we know, ’Go ye forth and populate the earth.’
But, Lord Almighty, what about after that sucker is all filled up?
Right. You think it’s so easy being God.
You can’t always get what you desireth/
But sometimes you get what you deserveth.
Well, curiosity did kill the cat. On the other hand, if you never go looking, you never surprise yourself, either.
The Story of Ud
It was somewhere around the dawn of time as we know it, and Ud and God were walking along the banks of the same river where Ud had gotten his name. On this day everything was tame and beautiful with a warm breeze through the palm trees and a calm blue sky way up there where it was, but back when Ud had been a wee baby, there had been a terrible rainy season with weeks and weeks of angry grey cloud skies and the rain had come pounding down seemingly without end. The river had risen higher and higher until the tribe had to flee for their lives. Ud’s mom, carrying his baby sister, had slipped on the steep sides of a ravine leading away from the dangerous currents, and they had both tumbled, slipped and fallen, and had been carried away in the swirling waters. "Ud!" his father had cried, stricken in his grief. "Ud!"
`Ud’s father had gotten over it pretty fast. Stuff like that happened all the time and they weren’t really a family, but they more or less hung out together as it seemed better that way. Back then, Ud’s father had gone off away from the river into the deep bushes where he stoned small rodents for meat or caught fish in the ponds with his hands, and his mother had cooked the meat and swatted the kids along with the other women in their little group.
In those days, words were slippery as that riverbank, and so Ud’s name, the thing people called him, had become that simple cry of grief from his father’s throat. Back then the way of things was that you just used the first sound that came to mind, and you called a thing that sounded like what you thought it was. So a tree could be an urk because you fell out of it or a glag because you used a sharp and pointy branch from it to stab somebody who annoyed you, and he said ’glag!’ when you caught him a good one in the eye. Or mostly it was too much of a bother, so you just pointed at stuff and waved your arms and everybody understood or they didn’t, and then they just did what you wanted or walked away shaking their heads.
And now here Ud was, walking with God and complaining, as he always did, about this and that. God didn’t say anything, but He was thinking This guy’s name should be Ud The Discontent.
Why, you ask, did God put up with it? Well, you know, He still puts up with a lot, even today. The guess is, God is one-of-a-kind, and even with all His busy work chores to keep the universe in balance, He still needs stuff to do to keep his mind off of infinite loneliness. And, well, everybody likes to be appreciated.
Anyway, Ud didn’t know many words, so it was a good thing God could think-talk, and that He could deal in abstractions and then squeeze what He meant into Ud’s tiny little brain.
One thing in Ud’s favor, he really was a curious little monkey of a fellow. "I want to know the names of those things up there," Ud said, pointing to the pale moon in the afternoon sky.
"That’s the moon," God replied without a fraction of a second’s hesitation. "And those millions of pointy lights you see after the dark-time comes-well, those are stars."
"Moooooooon," Ud said, rolling the word around on his tongue for the sheer taste of it.
"No, just a moon," God said. He pointed, "That thing up there."
"And Starrrrrrrrrs," Ud said.
"Yes, stars," God repeated. "But not until tonight."
"Humph," Ud thought-muttered, obviously not satisfied. "Yeah, okay, but that’s just a blinking little first step," Ud stared unhappily at the Creator. "I want…I want…I want to know the names of everything."
"Well, look, it’s actually quite simple," God said. "If you want that, you have to give them names, yourself. You have to be the name-er." He touched one of Ud’s ribs. "Words are made up of individual sounds, and the sounds are like your ribs. Each one is different, but there aren’t a lot of them, just one for each thing that you name."
Ud looked dubiously down at his ribs. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, I am," God said. "After all, I am God. There are only a few sounds called vowels, and you use them the most…A, E, I, O, and U…and sometimes the Y sound."
"And sometimes Yyyyyy," God reminded him.
"Well, that’s not so hard," Ud said.
"The other kinds of sounds make up the consonants. They are all the clicks and buzzes you use. Rrrrr and C-c-c-c and G-g-g-g and J-j-j-j. All told, there are less than two dozen of those. Together, the vowels and consonants make up words."
"You mean you just switch them around to get other meanings?" Ud asked. Slowly a look of illumination crossed his ordinarily dull and expressionless face, the way it turned happy the moment when he found a patch of wild orange fruit in that good place across the river or when a pretty girl smiled and lay on her back, looking up at him. But after a moment, his expression was replaced with one of doubt. "But who am I going to talk with? I’m the only person who knows this ribs-are-sounds thing."
As Ud was doubtfully tapping his own rib, Norg’s daughter Vee ran by, heading for the river to take her morning bath and comb her hair. She was called Vee because she’d been a little baby and had come slipping right out of her mother with no trouble at all. God reached out and took her by the hand. "How about Vee here?" he asked.
"Yeah, I guess that would be okay," Ud said, "If you think she’s got the brains for it. Show her how this sounds-into-words thing works."
God slapped the girl on the forehead, a Zen move to get her mind churning, and he said, "I take the ’U’ from Ud and replace it with an "A". That makes Ad. Then I take an A and an M and I stick them together at the end, and we have "Adam".
"Cool," Vee said, having no trouble at all with the concept. "Do one for me."
So, in no time flat, the three of them were in an animated discussion about this and that, making plans for a family, actually-a family that would become a tribe of God’s special people, people that used words to describe this or that instead of simply pointing and grunting.
"You’re sure you want to do this?" God warned.
"Yeah, why not?" Adam asked.
"Well…you know, once you start using words, you lose some of your spontaneity."
"Spon-tan-whatever…? What’s that good for, anyway?" Adam asked.
"Well, you won’t be able mingle with animals so easily," God said.
"No big deal," Adam shrugged. "They don’t mingle too good, anyway, except maybe dogs."
"And cats," Eve added.
"And you’ll always be pondering odd notions like I think, therefore I am, and Energy equals Mass times a Constant squared and Time goes so slowly/ yet time can do so much," God warned them.
"I still think it’s a good deal," Adam said.
"Oh, Adam, you know so much!" Eve bubbled, not yet having been enlightened to understand men’s many basic flaws or to be cantankerous in the customary feminine way.
"So then, we’re good with this thing?" God asked one more time.
"Yes, right, done deal," Adam snapped across a mind-thought, a little annoyed and already set to go on to the next thing.
Maybe, God frowned, eyeing him thoughtfully, Maybe I should have taught him patience first. But there was some flustering distant business with two galaxies about to collide a matter of hundreds of light-years away and The Maker knew time was short before He had to get on over there, so He quickly ran through the contract in his mind.
"There are just a few things," He said. "Once you have words, you get to morality, you know, the concept of right and wrong."
"No," Adam said, "I don’t know."
God sighed, "Well, here’s the thing. The old way, when you got all hot and bothered and had sex with a nice babe, that was cool, and then you went on to the next thing, probably went out looking for a bunch of bananas to eat and a safe place to sleep so the tigers don’t eat you or the apes hold you down and screw around with you. The good, simple life. But now that you have words, you have to start putting things together and your life can’t always be so uncomplicated any more."
"Ohhhh…" That look of awareness came over Adam’s face again. He pointed to Eve. "You mean, because we had sex, she’s going to have a baby, and because we’re a family, we have to care for each other."
"Fam-i-ly…" Eve said, liking the sound of the word.
"Right, you got it," God said. "Imagine an apple tree in a garden." God pointed to a scraggy old apple tree with a few rotten apples barely hanging on from the last season. "You get to pick an apple because you’re hungry. But you wouldn’t eat all the apples, because then there wouldn’t be any left for everybody else, and you’d have a stomach ache, to boot."
"Well, that makes sense," Adam said, kicking at one of the small, slimy spotted snakes that were everywhere underfoot and never had the sense to get out of the way, "But that’s sort-of a bad example, isn’t it?"
"Sometimes you have to go with what’s at hand," God shrugged. "How about you, Eve? Are you with us on this?"
"Sure! Because, because, because, because…what a wonderful world it was," she chanted. God could see she wasn’t really paying attention. She was looking across the meadow at Thuck, the son of Argle. Thuck was slim and yet muscular and he had wavy brown hair that looked golden when the light of day struck it just right.
God had the momentary feeling that maybe this new blessing wasn’t going to take properly here without a little more work, but when he looked over at Adam, he was no longer paying attention, either. A couple of his young pals had a game of toss-the-snake going on a sandy stretch by a bend in the river, and Adam looked like he was itching to get his tossing arm into the play.
"See ya later, alligator," he thought-said with a wave of his hand.
"B-but what about f-f-family?" Eve wailed at his back, but that only seemed to make him hurry away at a faster dogtrot.
God found himself wondering if he should reconsider; maybe these creatures weren’t evolved enough to think actual ideas using words to form concepts. He was about to call on His mighty powers to reverse what he’d done using mind blank and a simple time-shift, but then Gabriel gave Him a last warning honk about the colliding galaxies. No more goof-time for His little experiments, so He signed off from his two earthling pupils with the usual signature thunderclap, and launched Himself across the cosmos trailing smoke and flame. Why had He made the place so damn big?! Oh, wait, He thought, remembering that it hadn’t been so big at first. Well then, why had He let it get all out of control expanding in every dimension with all that pep and steam? He didn’t have any answer for that. He didn’t even have time to try to remember which angel had first come up with the old slogan, a prime truth that was as deep as any other: God’s work is never done.