Diluvium

by Jessica

cat

Happy Monday, everyone!

Without further ado, I present my latest (tongue-in-cheek) Bible story, Diluvium. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please post any feedback in the comments section, and have a great week,

Jessica

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Diluvium
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Installment 1  ◊

It started with a cat. My daughter brought it home from school one day while I was still at work and when I get home, there’s this vile, flea-ridden cat in my living room.

“Excuse me,” I said. “What is this cat doing here?” I was still all grimy and sweaty from a long, hot day in the vineyards, so I couldn’t just march in and remove it myself. (I have a strict policy about no muddy boots in the living room, even when the person wearing the boots is me.) So I had to stand there, shouting for help.

You would think that when a man gets home after a hard day of working to support his family, the aforementioned family would flock to the door when he arrives, bringing him chilled wine, and possibly a cheese plate. But the only person around was my son. He was sitting in the window seat, gazing dreamily out at the olive trees, and he glanced up as if he had only just become aware of my presence.

“Cat?” says my son, scratching his head.

“Yes,” I snapped. “A cat. Right there in the living room. On my favorite chair.”

“Oh yeah,” said my son. “I hadn’t noticed it.”

“How could you not have noticed it?” I demanded. “It’s two feet away from you. It’s meowing.”

There are times when I’m concerned about my son’s IQ. He’s never been the brightest. He’s always moseying around the house mumbling to himself, and his mother says he’s writing poetry, but I haven’t seen anything resembling poetry come out of him so far. What I think is that he’s just about as nutty as his barmy great-grandfather, Methusaleh, but I try not to mention this because it upsets my wife. She says he’s a genius. Genius, my foot. The genius gets up off the window seat and examines the beast on the recliner.

“You’re right,” he confirms. “It’s a cat.”

“No kidding,” I tell him sarcastically, “I’m not having a problem identifying it. I’m having a problem removing it. Now, pick it up and dump it out the window.”

“But Dad,” says my son. “It’s so cute.”

I glare at him. What you have to understand about me is that I hate animals. Hate them. There are some people out there who say, “what, you don’t like dogs? You must be a terrible person.” Well, guess what: I don’t like dogs! Mangy, flea-bitten, confounding creatures, always wanting to go in and out, in and out. (Why can’t they make up their minds??) Guess that makes me a bad person then. Too bad, so sad; I must have some other redeeming qualities though, or I wouldn’t be the one telling this story in the first place, would I? The dog isn’t even the worst of it. Muskrats; they get to me. And the parakeet! I just can’t stand the parakeet. So this whole situation was ironic from the beginning.

I’m standing there in my living room, trying to decide if it will be faster to try to hammer some logic into my son’s brain, or go upstairs, change my boots, wash the mud off my hands, come downstairs and remove the cat myself (and frankly I’m leaning toward the second option) when my daughter comes in.

“Hey Dad,” she says, flopping down on the sofa. “What’s new?”

“Well,” I say, “I can’t help noticing that there’s a cat on my armchair, which was not previously there.”

“I know,” she beams. “I adopted it.”

What?”

“It’s my new pet.”

I close my eyes.

“Zarabetha,” I tell her, “you do not need a pet. We live on a farm, for crying out loud. If you want something to cuddle with, we have a perfectly good camel, two donkeys, and an entire flock of lambs.”

“We don’t have the lambs anymore, Dad,” argues my daughter.

“What are you talking about, we don’t have lambs? Of course we have lambs! A whole flock of them, out there in the field, eating me out of house and home!”

“Not anymore, Dad. You slaughtered them.”

I rang for my steward. He confirmed that we slaughtered the lambs.

Even I don’t recommend cuddling with a dead lamb (they carry a variety of diseases), so I was beginning to lose the argument, and I was beginning to feel miffed and frustrated, when my wife walked in. Right away, I see an opportunity to get out of the situation without coming off as the bad guy. Emzara is allergic to animals. I mean horribly allergic. We’re talking red eyes, stuffy nose, appalling facial rash. I took her to a camel auction in Ararat once, and she came out looking like I just picked her up from the nearest leper colony. I smile at my offspring.

“Alright kids,” I say, in my most indulgent tone. “I don’t mind keeping the cat, but as you know, I don’t have Final Say in this household. It’s up to your mother.”

“Keeping the what?” says Emzarah. She follows our collective gaze to the varmint on my recliner. Emzarah blinks. She takes a few, disbelieving steps toward the creature. She bends down. She examines it. She sneezes.

Emzarah looks up at the rest of us.

“Oh,” she says, with red patches around her eyes, swollen lymph nodes, and tears running down her face. “It’s so fuzzy.”

*

I’m sulking out in the vineyard later that evening when the Second Bad Thing happens. The cat was only the first straw, but I don’t know that yet. So I’m still really worked up about the cat situation. I’m sitting there in the darkness, brooding over the ingratitude of my offspring. (Did they check with me before releasing a lethal, possibly diseased beast onto my favorite chair? No. Did anyone even offer to move it to the davenport? Once again, negative)– when a Voice addresses me from the gloom.

“Noah,” says the Voice, “this is God.”

“Come off it,” I say, squinting into the darkness, “who is that really? Adriel?”

Adriel is my steward and he’s not bad, considering the level of integrity available among the hired help these days, but he always gets a little puerile when he samples too many of the grape juice leavings.

“This is not Adriel,” says the Voice. “This is God: the Divine Creator of the Universe.”

“Uh huh,” I say, rolling my eyes. “And I’m Lady Godiva.”

“No,” says the Voice. “You’re not.”

“Yes, I’m aware of that,” I snap sarcastically. “What I’m not aware of is who you are, or how you came to be on my property. If you’re not Adriel you’re trespassing, and it would be within my rights to have you prosecuted.”

“When an Infinite Being, present in the sun and the stars, the Universe, and the very molecules of the air you breathe, is present upon the ground as well, it does not count as trespassing,” says the Voice, in a whiny tone. “He can’t help it.”

“Okay, fine,” I snap, rolling my eyes. “You’re God. And pigs can fly! And monkeys have wings!” (By now I was being deliberately provoking, but I really wasn’t in the mood for practical jokes. Partly because of the cat, and partly because I never am.) “And lightning shoots out of the sky and strikes the same spot twice!”

Two twin bolts of lightning shot out of the sky, streaking like meteorites through the dark night, and incinerating most of my vineyard.

“This is God,” said God. “And I have a task for you.”

By now I was lying flat on my back on the ground, trembling and shaking, and feeling slightly singed. I guess you could say that He’d caught my attention.

“Okay,” I muttered. “I’m listening.”

You won’t believe what He asked me to do next.

You know the story. You’ve read it in that Book, you’ve seen it in Sunday School pageants, and you know how it ends. The point isn’t to tell you what happened; the point is to tell you how I felt as events unfolded, and most of the time the answer to that question is: Not Good. When my daughter brought home the cat, that was the first straw. And when God stuck me in a floating ark with a recalcitrant weasel, an eight-ton elephant and the rest of a freaking zoo, well, that was the second straw. ♦

(To be continued…)

cat

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