By Larry Centor

Published by
Short Story Library, September 6, 2009


God, in his wispy self, was relaxing in the chair at the head of the large oval table. Overhead, the ceiling was a limitless clear blue sky. Beneath, the floor was a limitless clear blue sky. The occasion was an extraordinary meeting of God and his Celestial Editorial Board. It was extraordinary because it was perhaps once in a millennium that God actually attended a meeting. Seated around God were the senior members of the CEB, those human and existential beings charged with promulgating the divine proclamations of the editor-in-chief.

“Got me an idea,” said the disembodied voice at the head of the table.

“Lay it out for us, Boss,” said Shmuel Brassicles.

“We’ve been sitting here for, oh hell, what year is this anyway?”

“It’s about 1,200 BC, Boss,” replied Yussel Cloxicles, “more or less.”

“What zone?”

“That’s Hellenic time, Boss,” said Yussel Cloxicles.

“You know all those stories we tell each other when we’re partying?”

“Yeah, yeah, Boss,” said Ephraim Toadicles.

“I’m thinking it’s time - Hellenic time - as it were,” God said, then paused and chuckled. “Get it, Hellenic time? Get it?”

“Got it, got it, Boss,” said Ephraim Toadicles.

“Good! Good!” said God.

A couple of groans could be heard around the table. A few chairs scraped impatiently on the cloudless floorless floor.

“I’m thinking it’s time we wrote all those stories down, sort of a record of the times we had, the parties…”

A lengthy pause as a few sharp wisps escaped the wispy whole. “…the girls.”

“You really want to? Nah, Boss,” said Shmuel Brassicles, “You might be asking for some negative feedback. Now all they know about is those two yolds who couldn’t avoid one lousy apple. And maybe they’ve heard a whisper - excuse me, Boss - about that old drunk and his boat.”

“Well, there are those, agreed God. But we’ve also got that nut and the lions.” God paused. “How lucky was that guy that he hadn’t bathed that week?”

“Good thing for him you gave lions a great sense of smell,” said Shmuel Brassicles.

“Probably talked them to sleep. Listening to him, even a lion could lose his appetite.”

“How about Jonah, Boss? Huh, Boss?” asked Ephraim Toadicles.

“Whale of a story,” acknowledged God.

“Good one, Boss. Good one,” said Ephraim Toadicles.

“Can we use the ‘sin cities’ story?” asked Yitzchak Scripticles.

“Why not?” said God. “Salt of the earth, that Lot. Good man. Too bad about the women.” God paused again. “But it’s not like they were exactly pillars of society.”

“Wait! Wait! I think I have an idea for that story,” said Yitzchak Scripticles. Quickly, he outlined his idea for a story involving the so-called “sin cities,” and the women turning into pillars of salt.

“Yitzchak, that’ll never fly,” said God. “But, hey, we’re just brainstorming here. Maybe you should work it up. Let’s see how it reads. And Shmuel, you tackle that story about the lions.”

“You know, Boss,” said Yitzchak Scripticles, “unless we’re careful with our timeline, that Aesop - whomever of whomevers he may be - may try to steal our thunder.”

God’s wispy self seemed to swirl a tad faster. “What we have to do,” he said, “is push our story back to a time before I thought of writing.”

“You’re going to create the oral tradition of story telling, Boss?” asked Yitzchak Scripticles.

The wispy self seemed to turn a faint shade of pink. “Perceptive, Yitzchak. Quite perceptive.”