Diluvium: In Which Noah and a Buffalo Receive Assistance from his Family
“The funny part of it all was that I don’t even like doom-saying. I absolutely can’t stand those psychopaths who go around howling, ‘Oh, it’s the end of the world … everyone must convert to my personal branch of religion/Satan worship/veganism, or there’s going to be a judgment.’ I prefer to keep myself to myself, and just get on with things, avoiding the spotlight. So it puts me in a really awkward situation when God actually DOES tell me that the end of the world is coming, and I’m the only one capable of spreading the news.”
~Noah, Diluvium 9
Today’s post is dedicated to my little brother Nick, in honor of his 25th birthday tomorrow! Nick, old man, from an early age, you have been one of my most devoted story listeners. I realize this was not always by choice, but I appreciate it all the more, particularly when I compare your patience and endurance to the attitude exhibited by my other earliest listener. (Though as the editor of this blog, she has long since redeemed herself. So much so that I’m thinking of devoting an honorary retelling of “The Snow Queen” to her at one point very soon …)
For those of you who don’t know Nick, it’s appropriate to dedicate a comedy to him, because he has a great sense of humor. So without further ado, I bring you Diluvium 10: In Which Noah & the Buffalo Receive Assistance from his Family. Happy Birthday Nick!
◊ Installment 10 ◊
On the home front though, things were better, other than the manic depressive buffalo I had accidentally acquired from an unprincipled zookeeper who described it as merely “mopey,” and the unspecified disease that seemed to be ravaging through our camel population, threatening to do away with most of the quadrupeds. My wife turned out to be a real animal lover, aside from her crocodile aversion, which was a shame because the crocodiles, and other scaly reptiles, were some of the few animals she wasn’t violently allergic to. She spent a lot of time sneezing and having asthma attacks in the pantry, but she didn’t object to the fact that our house and yard had basically been taken over by a menagerie of raucous, riotous, flesh-eating wild animals, which is not something one can automatically take for granted in a wife.
My sons, at first, were not what I would call wildly enthused about the project. They objected to things such as being forced to work on the ark ten hours a day, and being insulted by the neighbors whenever they went into town, also to the buffalo, which I was forced to tether in their bedroom at night because someone had to get up and check its temperature every six hours, and give it an antipsychotic pill, or else it became unreasonably violent and frequently charged the nearest bunk bed, with unpleasant consequences for any humans that happened to be in it. Oh, it wasn’t ideal. But eventually they came around.
For example, Shem, my oldest, has always liked building things, and even though he pointed out that, according to preference, he would rather have built something other than an enormous, apparently useless boat thousands of miles away from the nearest ocean, it was good practice for building a hen coop some day, also the tree house I had never let him construct as a child. (I neglected to point out that, after the flood, it was highly unlikely that there would be any trees left standing on the planet, because it was best to keep him cooperative.)
And Ham, my second child, said that for his part, he thought it would be fun to have an ark, because if the flood really happened all his friends would be jealous, and then, after the flood was over, they could all go fishing on it together. (A statement which alarmed me at the time, but which I failed to correct, because I wanted him to labor willingly.) Ham has never been the brightest. He is, for example, named after a hunk of meat. His first word, while staring at the dinner table from the viewpoint of his highchair as a child, was “Ham.” Which is not what we were eating. Everyone started babbling and cooing about the baby speaking his first word, and I was the only one concerned that his first word was a mistake. This concern increased after I realized that my three sons were going to be largely responsible for repopulating the planet, but maybe Ham will turn out to be sterile.
It was only Japheth who remained a problem, and he’s never been a worker. We actually found that his poetry had a soothing effect on the buffalo, so we mostly left them alone in their room together, with Japheth murmuring something about autumn leaves in a singsong tone, while the buffalo drooled, a situation which seemed to be mutually satisfying to both. ♦
(To be continued…)