“Ma, where’s Murray?”
“Out with Zeus.”
“He names a dog Zeus and he gets away with it? Isn’t that like sacrilegious, or illegal or something?”
“Hannah dear, it’s only sacrilegious if you first make a law against it. Like, ‘thou shalt not covet’ or ‘thou shalt not name a dog after a major- or minor-, or even half-god of the universe’, for example.”
“And could I do that?”
“Maybe, ask your father.”
“But what if I make a law like that and someone breaks it?”
“Well, Hannah, I guess it might depend upon several things like, who breaks it, or if only one breaks it, or if a whole lot of them break it, or if they break it by only thinking about it, or planning to do it, or doing it only once, or if they do it a lot while no one is watching, or if they do it and then apologize after but nobody believes their apology, or if…”
“Ok, ma, thanks, I’ll ask Dad.”
“That’s good dear. He’ll appreciate that since…”
“Dad, Ma said I should talk to you. It’s about Murray.”
“Have you spoken with Murray about the matter first?”
“Not exactly, sort of, but not in those exact same words.”
“Well, dear, it’s disrespectful if you go over your brother’s head without speaking with him first, and so I suggest that you give some thought to possibly…”
“My god, no wonder nothing ever gets done around here anymore.”
“What was that dear?”
“So, Murray, Dad said I should talk to you about something super really important.”
“Did you leave a note in my in-box?”
“I tried, but it was full and not accepting any more messages, not since the BCE changed to AD.
“Am I detecting a note of hostility and an incipient challenge to the established proto…”
“Cut the crap, Murray, I’m you your sister. I need you to get in touch with Moses.
“Unfortunately, Hannah, Moses passed on some time ago.”
“Too bad. He was your front man, your mouthpiece, your homey with the commonfolk. And then you just drop him off at the edge of the Jordan like a day-old knish? Who’d you get to replace him.”
“Ah, good question. I’m still interviewing. I’ve had so little time to… I wish I had made better use of his skills, sending him off into the desert was just a holding action until I…”
“You’re shitting me, right?”
“I’ve had a few good prospects but, you know how it is with…”
“I cannot goddamn believe this. You’re telling me that you you’re okay with things down there with the floods and fires, polar ice melting, a million species of plants and animals you made yourself all those zillions of years ago, gone (and don’t tell me it was only six days because we both know that’s a crock because of the mutability of spacetime) and you do nothing? Nada?”
“Murray, are you even paying any attention? It’s not like it was just an unpaid internship with Moses. He traipsed through the wilderness for forty years to find the promised land and when they got there you told him you’d changed your mind, and said ‘no dice folks’, go back down the mountain and walk around for another 38 years and then attack the Amorites and, no worries, you just massacre them and take their land. Are you kidding me? Then you did the same with the Reubinites, the Gadites, Manassites, the meteorites and stalactites and stalagmites, the Hittites and the Bagelbites, and the others.”
“You’re mocking me.”
“And you sent them off smiting and wandering, meanwhile saying don’t worship the stars and the moon and the earth and the water but the should obey you about what they should eat and how many prayers to say how many times a day, and don’t eat anything non-kosher. When soon there’ll be no more shrimp or pigs anyway, Murray. I hope you took pictures of all the mountains and valleys and islands, giraffes, dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and Euterpe precatoria palms, because you can say ‘sayonara baby’ to it all unless you get off your skinny-ass butt and do something. Maybe you should have just let them go on worshiping the sky and the trees and the water in the first place.
“Look, bro, you signed up for ‘eternal.’ No one told you to say that. Moses kept calling you ‘the Eternal.’ He didn’t call you the ‘maybe-sometimes-guy’, or the ‘just-for-a-little-while-guy.’ They counted on you. People believed that shit. Have you looked at your firmament, by the way? Filled with satellites and pieces of satellites, used rocket parts, methane, microplastics, mylar balloons, and dead insects.
“You wanted a monopoly. ‘Have no gods before me.’ You said that. And with me and Myron here, and all the rest of us, Artemis, Aphrodite, Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer, Buddha, and Gaia, … sure, we had our problems but nothing like what’s going on now. At least we answered the phone. But with you, who does anyone get when they call customer service?
“Face it, Murray, Deuteronomy may really have been the last chapter for you.”
“Thank you, Hannah. I get it. I don’t need your help if that’s what this is supposed to be. I’m not interested. I just figured I’d get them started and then, you know, let free will take them the rest of the way, right? That was the whole point with the snake and the apple.”
“But Murray, look where that got them. I mean after they ate the apple and put clothes on, you could have dropped some hints about the black plague or Styrofoam, or anything with the word ‘atomic’ in it, or don’t build houses downhill from Vesuvius, or avoid anyone with Stalin as a last name, or don’t dig down further than say ten cubits, and stay away from gun powder, bat caves, and people who won’t wear a mask, for example.”
“So, what should I do now?”
“You need a new Moses type, Murray. One with creds. Experience. Charisma. I’ll set you up, man. Word! I can get you touch with this guy named LeBron.”