Diluvium: A Moment of Stillness
“I had a private consultation with God about how to handle the situation. God said (in as encouraging a tone as possible) that He was sure I’d come up with some way to manage.
This is the Guy who can design whole planets, swirl up storms to deluge them, and make life-giving manna rain down from the heavens in the case of lucky bastards like Moses, but in my case, it seems I was pretty much on my own”
~Noah, Diluvium 14
Well, “Noah and the Ark” has dragged on for much longer than I possibly could have anticipated, taking up a disproportionate amount of space compared to its allotted word count in the Bible. (Like Noah, I may never have embarked on this project if I had known in advance what it was going to involve.) But I promise you that I’ve finished the story and there are only five more installments after today! That’s still a lot of installments. But the end is in sight! If you are not a fan of (a) animals, (b) Biblical characters or (c) water, I apologize for the last several months. But the good news is that my next story, to be posted shortly before Christmas, is entirely different, new, not a comedy, and much shorter!
In the meantime, in honor of Thanksgiving, today’s installment of Diluvium has a bird theme. A very happy Thanksgiving to all,
A Moment of Stillness
I skipped over a sad part of the story. It’s a part I don’t like to remember, which is that while I was dealing with animal-related difficulties on the Ark, all the humans died. Men, women, children … I can still see them: families clustered together on silken wet rooftops, cold and wet and bewildered, standing, forlorn, in the rain. And when the water rose higher than the rooftops … I don’t like to think about it. I have this theory that God didn’t really do it; that Someone who created the sunlight and the stars has Greater things on His mind. I think humans like to understand things, and when we don’t, we make up our own explanations.
“Oh,” we tell ourselves, “It’s raining. God must be punishing me for my sins,” when in fact, sometimes it just rains. Sometimes it pours and floods and thunders; volcanoes erupt; hurricanes roar.
Or, “Goddamn it,” we mutter. “My tower collapsed. It must be because I’ve angered God with my superior language skills,” as opposed to the more obvious reason that we forgot to mortar the foundation. You don’t see the dinosaurs going around complaining that God caused an asteroid collision and ultimate extinction because of the sinful ways of the tyrannosaur. (Granted, you don’t see many dinosaurs at all these days.)
Of course, this entire theory rests on my being mentally insane, since I actually saw God plan the Flood. But at this point, I really can’t tell you with one hundred percent confidence that I’m not.
I really can’t.
Well, however, it wasn’t all bad. There were some highlights to the trip. With that amount of rainfall, for example, we almost never had to water the plants. And we were saved from a good deal of deck scrubbing, and cleaning in general, because the water rinsed away a lot of the mess. (And let me tell you that when you’re dealing with a seasick hippopotamus, you appreciate all the janitorial assistance you can acquire.) Also there were perks such as never having to take the dog for a walk (because there was nowhere to walk him) and not having to worry about impressing the neighbors (because there were no neighbors left to impress). But I’d be lying if I said it was all smooth sailing from there.
It kept on raining and raining, and immediately it became clear that God had overlooked one minor detail in His Plan: Water covered the face of the deep, and what did the birds do? They all came and roosted on the one dry spot left on the planet, which happened to be my ark. You wouldn’t believe the mess they made! And the noise! And the— crap, as if I didn’t have enough to shovel out what with the leavings of the elephant and the hippopotamus. And then, even more problematic, the weight of all those birds added significantly to the weight of the Ark (which was never intended to support that many square cubits of wet bird) and the whole thing began to sink.
We were forced to shoot the birds.
It isn’t pleasant, being stuck on an Ark with millions of rotting dead bird carcasses floating around you on the waves. And then, too, some of the birds were remarkably hard to get. The raven and the dove, in particular: extremely devious creatures. They kept fluttering around out of target range, and then, as soon as we turned our backs, sneaking in with the regular, previously paired off ravens and doves, and acting all nonchalant and casual, like they were supposed to be there. (As if I couldn’t tell there was a problem when we suddenly had nineteen ravens flapping around in the aviary, instead of two.) But finally, I felt fairly confident that I had taken care of them all. ♦
(To be continued…)