God walked into a bar and said, “Let me in, let me in,” in a whiny fake-wolf voice. It wasn’t long before he was causing trouble. He took a two-by-four and built a pyramid and said, “Why can’t you do that?”
The bartender said, “It’s a foot tall and you used a circular saw.”
“Some men would wear this on their heads.”
“I’m not one of them.”
“Pyramid power. It mummifies cats and keeps me from reading your thoughts.” God tried to put it on the bartender’s head while ordering a tuna sandwich.
“You sure you want tuna? I don’t know if we got any dolphin-safe stuff in the pantry.”
God displayed anger. It was pretty and he held it with a flourish, a flounder, and a multi-colored umbrella. “You think I care what you serve me?”
“I care that you serve only me!” He broke his pyramid on the side of the bar. “What you touch, that’s on your conscience. You worry about it. But me? It doesn’t matter what I eat, it’s all the same; I made it. You’re the one who suffers. Or not. I’m the one who takes it as it comes. Take it, leave it, make me a tuna melt and rebuild my pyramid while you’re at it.”
“Where’d you get the Styrofoam peanuts you stuffed it with?”
God was six leagues high. In modern terms, that alternates between six inches and six feet. Airplanes ducked around him. His eyes were hexagonal with tetrahedron points. You couldn’t slip anything by him. God was minute. He wore a flannel checked lumberjack shirt. He wore a smoking jacket. He wore an ascot, a top hat, long underwear with a trapdoor, knitted mittens. God was infinite. He didn’t fit his bathrobe; he went nude. He touched Adam. Adam said Hey!
“Adam never understood.” God thought he had the Right to grouse.
“Am I the one, me whose soul is in flux, that you gotta defend yourself to?”
God was all sorts of prima donna. “I’m defending Adam.”
“Yeah. You would.”
“I’m filled with Cain. My blood runs cold. You let Cain off the hook pretty easily and now I pay for it every winter night when I can’t get warm.”
“Women loved Cain.” God said, “Cain was a badass.” He leaned on the bar and toyed with the spigots.
“Don’t do that.”
“Did you know that the boys were only twelve and thirteen? Bar mitzvah time, not funeral time. But Adam, he was fully realized.”
“A lot to spring on a full-grown man, don’t you think?”
God did this crazy thing where his head spun around in circles and he said, “You really want me to explain all this? No one ever understands! I’m not like the grievous artiste type. I didn’t just do it to be cool.” He pounded his fists on the counter so that the Heavens above shook, but the earthworms in his sandals felt nothing. “So here’s what I was thinking, if you really want to know. I figured, once he had Eve, that he’d just fuck her all day and I wouldn’t have any trouble from him. But damn that boy, he wasn’t a total perv. They grew into it, the subsequent generations. And by then, that’s not what I wanted anymore. The days lulling about and watching them copulate under the oak trees had passed. I wasn’t tame and irrelevant in my head anymore.”
“Why tell me?”
“Because you’re listening.”
“No, I’m making your fucking sandwich.”
“Don’t use language like that to me.”
“Do as I say, not as I do.”
God started doing amazing things with the peanuts. “You’re my captive audience.”
The bartender tried not to look at all impressed by pony-shaped peanuts prancing and shaking their manes on his counter. Battles and entire wars recreated. Stars imploding, black holes contained within a shell turned to glass. A stapler production line. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
“Are you dying?” the bartender finally asked, hoping to stop the stampeding, to stop the glassblowing demonstration, to stop the forward progression of life. “Trying to get the word out there?”
“The Word is already out there.” Civilization crumbled in a nutshell. “And no, I’m not dying. My heart is broken. I’m pissed. Spirits don’t do it for me anymore.”
The bartender thumbed over his shoulder. “I’ve got some Jäger on the shelf there. Or some Everclear if you don’t value your life. If you’ve got a life. Do you have a life?”
“I didn’t mean booze. I meant sucking the spirits from the lifeless. That kept me hopped for a while. And then I went after the passionate when I got sick of biding my time unto their deaths. Do it while they’re fresh. Whoo! Those were nice.” God spun the barstool around. “Got me charged. And kept them out of trouble. But now…I’m afraid the only thing that could pacify me anymore would be the Dalai Lama. That would be a pleasant nibble. I’d just suck it out his ear. He’d never know. I have a feeling it would be like nitrous oxide and a nose full of bubbles.”
“You’d start a religious war.”
Petulance on high. “They wouldn’t know who’d done it.”
“Word gets out. Religious terrorism. You want to be on the wrong end of that?”
“No. I want to be human.” God’s body stopped fluxing in size.
“Because it’s the worst thing that can happen to anyone.”
The bartender shook a little Tabasco into the melt. Let God say whatever rude and blasphemous things he wanted to say. Words were dead, they’d lost their meaning, and God’s Word, that was just poetic justice anyhow. Heaven and Hell were too closely intertwined. Heaven on Earth, God in the masses, a sour tongue, and spite on a stick. “So why’d you create us?”
God leaned across the counter, excitement in his eyes, like he’d never been able to share the creative spirit with anyone before. Light bulbs popped and a part of the roof crumbled. Life was created and destroyed. A nude pygmy ran from the front door to the back. “I was drunk. I’d just created the process of fermentation. I didn’t know what it would do. It made the dust fascinating.”
God tried to display fascination. He squinched his fingers and leaned across the counter to squeeze the bartender’s shoulder, left him a hunchback in a frilly dress with pouty red lips and indented fingerprints. “Like I said, I’m not an artiste.”
The bartender slapped his hand away with the spatula.
“I started to play and mold it and I held it up to the light and it shimmered and I said Hell yeah! Which didn’t make it into the Book. Censorship. Damn censorship.”
The bartender glared at God over his newly crumpled shoulder, his false eyelashes fluttering in a breeze from the crumpled ceiling. Quasimodo in drag.
God put sympathy on his head, but his face was full of snickers and mirth. “Bothers you much?”
“I’ve been through worse.”
“Ha ha, whatchoo gonna do about it? Tempt me? Come on, I dare you.”
“Go to Hell.”
“My magic words!” God changed the bartender back in form, leaving the fingerprints molded into his shoulder. He knocked his glass to the floor and let it scatter into a thousand pill bugs imitating the Third Reich. A thousand pill bugs trying to goosestep, falling over each other. God grumbled, like he’d been waiting for the bartender to laugh, then he plucked out the man’s eyes and reversed them. Still the bartender barely flinched. “You people plague me. Like you know better. Your arbitrary laws. Cutting out my words. I can’t even look back at the Creation and see it accurately, why I did it, what I was thinking, my thought patterns. The recipe’s gone. All because some asshole wanted benevolence and sanctity. Trying to recreate the Maker in the image of the world. Like: if we had this type of Maker, we’d all live in Utopia. Fuck that.”
The bartender was pretty proud of the fact that he plagued God. God should have been indifferent to little annoyances. But just like the humans made in his image, he couldn’t seem to ignore the petty shit. “What were you thinking when you made us?”
“That it’d be one hell of a show. A lark. Something for the weekend. It got out of hand.” God put his mouth to a spigot and poured. Worms, gummy fish, manna from Heaven, and sulfur poured out. He burped out pot smoke and butterflies. “You ever see a kid playing with toy cars? Crash! Bang! Death! I created you to watch you wallow. What is the Creation Story but a soap opera? Death and love triangles. You think I did it to watch you twiddling your thumbs and being good sitting in a corner with a dunce cap pointing sky high?”
The bartender pulled the tuna melt out of the frying pan. “Here you go, old man. If it’s sweet and salty, that’s the dolphin. If it’s bland, it’s just tuna.” He pulled off the frilly apron that had been left behind.
“Is it dolphin-safe or not?”
“I didn’t look at the can. Figured that was the only way to save my soul.”
“You mean this thing here?” God pulled out a little jar, clear glass, filled with a murky gas. He set it on the counter, unscrewed the lid, and poked his fork inside.
The bartender frowned. “You plague me.”
“Likewise.” God grinned. “And I’m better at it.” He pulled the soul out on the end of the fork, sniffed it, and added some Tabasco. “Impasse?” God shook his head and took a bite. “Twenty-love.”
A graduate of Bath Spa University in England, Dawn Wilson has had the pleasure to dabble in kitsch, surrealism, and espièglerie. Her work can be found in Rabbit Catastrophe Review, Gone Lawn, Paper Darts and Metazen, among others, and is forthcoming from the likes of New Dead Families, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Punchnel’s, while the author herself can be found dismantling the kitchen for wearable items, or at http://nightdawn.wordpress.com. She is at work on a madcap novel.