In The Beginning...

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, he was pretty busy. The very first day, after creating the heavens and the earth, he also made light. Having done so, he was then able to see how good a job he'd done.

“Not bad,” he said to himself, there being no one else around to say anything to at that time. But he wasn’t completely satisfied and wondered if working in the dark had been such a good idea.

So, the next day he added the rest of the universe.

“Whew!” he said, looking at it all and stretching, trying to work out a little kink that had developed between his shoulder blades. “Lookin’ good!”

But the more he thought about it, the more he felt it still wasn’t quite right. Maybe he could do something about all that water.

So, on the third day, he did some gardening and yard work, gathering the water into pools, creating dry spots where he could grow trees and bushes and flowers.

“Way cool,” he said. And it really was very nice. And God watched it sitting there, looking very nice, a lot of color and texture, a good balance of the various horticultural elements. Yes indeed, very nice. Pretty as a picture.

Yep, there it was.

By the end of the day he was getting pretty bored.

So, on the fourth day he created time.

“Oh, yeah!” he said, fascinated by the intricacies of the clockwork-like motion of all the bits and parts, the whirling planets, the wheeling stars, the movement and change, everything spinning around and around and around. He suddenly became quite dizzy and found himself staggering about until he finally fell on his ass.

“Whoa, dude,” he said. “Cosmic.”

He rolled over onto his back and just enjoyed the ride.

He was still lying there when day five dawned. He watched the light grow slowly brighter and saw the glimmer of the sunrise on the distant horizon. Colors seemed to coalesce out of the darkness of night, and shadows to shrink quietly and furtively away.

God sat up slowly, carefully, lest everything begin to teeter and slide again. But it all seemed to be staying where it belonged, so he stood up, stretched, and just stood there for a while, wondering what he would do with the rest of this new day.

He began to make his way down to the beach, tromping through the lush vegetation. Suddenly he bellowed out a cry of pain and surprise, and starting hopping about on one foot, the other clutched in both hands. An enormous thorn had jammed deep into the big toe of his left foot, and it hurt like, well, he didn’t know what it hurt like. Pain was a whole new experience. He figured he’d worry about fulfilling criteria for similes later, and for now just say it hurt like a thorn jammed into a big toe.

Tentatively, gingerly, he grasped the thorn and tugged at it, sending another jolt of agony through him. But it slipped out of his toe easily enough and a bright red liquid bead oozed from the wound. He regarded it mournfully. It throbbed. He lowered it cautiously to the ground and hobbled on.

He began to hear the surf sloshing up onto the sand, a pleasant sound, he thought, and smiled. Soon he came to the edge of the greenery. Before him lay the expanse of the ocean glittering in shades of green and blue and gold as the rising sun beamed across its rippling surface. To his right and left the pristine shoreline dwindled into the infinity of distance.

It was silent but for the susurration of the water upon the strand, tranquil and restful. He eased himself down onto the sand, careful of his foot, relaxing into the ambiance, listening to that still, quiet voice within; his own. It was something he was quite accustomed to and had developed an ability to engage in lengthy and far-ranging conversations with himself. True, there were times when the dialogue became a little predictable, the topics a bit stale. At times he dimly wondered what it would be like to hear another voice. That thought came to him now as he listened to the near silence around him.

“Hmmm,” he pondered, gazing at the water and then at the sky above. In short order the sea began to churn. Gobs of stuff began to leap forth from the waves and sprout wings. Slithery things in shades of scaly silver began to undulate and gambol in the breakers. Shrieks and caws began to fill the air, a cacophony of unintelligible racket. He looked up just as one of the creatures flew over him and something splatted on his face.

“Shit!” he said.

Other sounds began to impinge upon his awareness, grunting, growling sorts of sounds. Things were rooting about in the thick undergrowth. Suddenly, in the distance, something howled. Answering howls came from another direction. It was a primordial sound. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and a shiver ripple down his spine. He felt the ground under him tremble slightly, and then again, and again, a steady, measured vibration. It seemed to be getting closer.

It stopped. He turned around, scanning the area. That’s when the grey mountain lifted itself above the treetops, followed shortly by a very, very long neck surmounted by a massive head, from the maw of which serrated fangs protruded menacingly. He did a slow fade into the foliage. This wasn’t turning out to be the idyllic garden he had had in mind.

He made his way stealthily through the rampant verdure, almost at every step encountering some new creature. Many seemed docile at first glance, but either ran or displayed claws and teeth when he tried to get too close. He was becoming a little alarmed at his own creative fecundity, and he was beginning to wonder how he was going to manage it all without some assistance. And this was only one planet amid the multitude he had flung across the void. He was pondering the problem as night fell on the fifth day.

And by morning he had come up with a solution! He’d pawn it off on someone else! It would have to be somebody rather like himself, but with a local connection, somebody who would be fruitful and multiply and assume stewardship of this place. Something between a clever ape and a god.

“Hmmm,” he thought.

God scooped together some clay and began to fiddle about with a design. Soon he came up with a workable prototype, based on systems similar to those of the other living creatures on the planet, but with some sophisticated tweaks. These critters were going to have enough intelligence to actually think for themselves, to reason things out. These were two traits he especially liked in himself and he figured they could use the tools. So, in a few hours he was looking at a couple of anatomically correct specimens. He sparked a life force within them and stood back.

They blinked and looked around.

“Hey!” God greeted them. “I’m God.”

The male cleared his throat and smiled, politely expectant.

“Yes, well” God continued. “I suppose you wonder what this is all about?”

The female smiled as well.

“You see,” God said, “I’ve made everything, and it’s all very good I’m sure, but, well, now that it’s done I’m not sure what to do with it. I thought maybe you guys would like to have it.” He beamed hopefully.

The two looked around again, this time taking particular notice of each other. The male turned to God and said, “Works for me.”

“Ditto,” said the female, arching her eyebrows provocatively.

“Great! Alright then,” God said, a little underwhelmed. “Well, here it is then. Good luck with it all. Maybe I can stop by and visit once in a while?”

“Sure, sure,” the man was saying.

“Yeah,” the woman said. “Don’t be a stranger.”

So God left them to their own devices. He wasn’t sure what to expect. Right off the bat they didn’t seem particularly impressive or inspired. Perhaps, given time, they might become a little more interactive. Sure, he told himself, give the kids a chance. Let them grow into themselves, become their own persons, develop their own ways of doing things and thinking. After all, that was what he had wanted going in, someone else in the universe to talk with, another intelligence to fill the void. In the fullness of time he would look in on them again, see how they were getting along, answer any questions that might be giving them trouble, offer a few tips, that sort of thing. He began to imagine it, to enjoy the idea of establishing a relationship with these new creatures. He wondered what changes they would make in their world, what ingenious methods of fulfilling their needs and desires they would devise, how they would handle the responsibilities of stewardship and companionship. From his perspective there was nothing but potential. All things were possible. He sighed in satisfaction and decided to take the day off tomorrow.

It never occurred to him that anything could go seriously wrong, forgetting completely the big thorn, the bird shit, and the scary, saber-toothed beastie that had towered over the forest.

David K. Aycock 2013