Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Fiction. The Flood

Hello. If you remember last week I said I would be posting some old stories I've written on a Friday. After all, they don't really *expect* you to work on a Friday afternoon right?

Here's an oldie, about God, Noah and the WI.
And a picture of Tess. Just because.

(unfortunately, whereas the footnotes appeared at the bottom of the page in Word, here they appear, obviously at the bottom of the story, not sure what to do about that)

The Flood
Even a cursory look at the Bible and some history books will prove that once God gets a good idea He uses it again and again.  And so it was the Noah trick.
The problem had arisen because God had spent the last century engaged in a heated philosophical debate. It had started between Descartes and Pascal, but God didn’t really get involved until Nietzsche stuck his oar in. God ended the argument fifty years later by suggesting to Nietzsche that maybe he would feel more at home in Hell. That shut Nietzsche up, and God, at a loose end, looked around Him at His marvellous creation[1].
What a shock confronted Him! What humanity had become in his absence. He had two choices. Give up on Earth and create a new universe or do the old Noah thing again. In the end God went with the flood.
He searched high and low for a good and pure man to carry the world into a new era. He searched again, and finally He made do with Vicar Molyneux.

Looking down on Vicar Molyneux taking a quick fag break, God Spoke.
“Timothy.” The windows rattled. The summer clouds seemed to dissolve as sunshine burst down upon the chosen man. God had Spoken.
The Vicar looked up, blinded by the light, “what the hell...”
“Timothy, I have an important message...”
“Who is that?” He interrupted, looking up at the sky.
No one had ever asked Him that before.
“It’s Me.” He replied just a little sheepishly.
“Close enough.”
“I have a message for you.  The world has grown corrupt, evil is rife in every household, mankind has been starved of goodness. You will make a boat, large enough for two of every animal, yourself, your wife and your son.”
Tim rubbed his neck uncomfortably, “Um… hey, God, I’m sure it is all part of your ineffable plan, but do you have to speak so loudly?”
“Eh?” Damn, He was God, He shouldn’t say things like Eh
“It’s... it’s my mother-in-law. She sleeps in the afternoons, and if anyone wakes her she gets, well, grouchy”
“Only the righteous can hear my voice, and when they hear it they will be joyful.” Not grouchy.
“Oh, that’s okay then. God! One more thing before you go. What about all the people of the world?”
“They will die, for Evil has entered their hearts.”
“So, I should stop preaching, because they are all destined for Hell?”
“No, you must never give up on a lost sheep.”
“But aren’t you giving up on them?” hastily he added a respectful ‘sir’.
God sighed silently, yes He was rather, wasn’t He.
“They will see the error of their ways at death, and I will welcome them into my Kingdom.” He was starting to regret the whole idea.  But Vicar Molyneux seemed to buy it.
“Anymore questions?”
“Just one. If I make the boat a little bigger can I bring my son’s girlfriend along?”
There was silence.
“It’s just that .. well he’s getting to that age now, and he really likes her, and I’m pretty sure if I didn’t save her as well he wouldn’t speak to me for months. And when there are only two people to talk to in the world months can seem like ... well a really long time.”
God started to wonder whether this was really a good idea. “Yes Timothy. You can take her along, they will need to repopulate the world...”
“Hm, I’m not sure that my wife will want him doing that.” Timothy muttered
“... and you may take your mother in law, the new world will need wisdom.”
“Well, I’d rather not, actually.”
“MAKE THE BOAT TIMOTHY!” God boomed. He returned to Heaven, feeling sure that man used to be more respectful of him.
Timothy sat down, rubbed the back of his neck, and wondered how much of the communion wine he had drunk. He had another cigarette.
A car pulled up.
“Tim! Put that cigarette out at once!” Yelled his wife across the garden. A few birds that had been hiding in the bushes flew away in fear.
“Jenny! God just spoke to me, we have been chosen.”
“Don’t you dare try and change the subject, Timothy James Molyneux.”
He stubbed it out, “I did speak to him, Jenny. He told me to make a boat, because he was going to flood the world.”
Her face softened. She felt his forehead.
“Were you reading your Bible in the garden again?”
“It’s like that time you thought you turned water into wine, last year.  Remember?”
“Well, I’m sure that I put water into that communion jug...”
“Deary, too much sun isn’t good for you, it confuses your mind. You doze off and dream about goodness knows what.”
“But, I’m sure this really happened.”
“Well then, maybe you should buy a canoe.”
“Where would I put all the animals?”
She tutted. “I’m going to check on mother, I’ve got the W.I. girls over this afternoon. Try and stay out of the way will you?”
She walked off. He was unsure of himself now. Had it been a Divine vision or -more likely - inadequate sun cream?
He looked up to the sky for a hint, the light blinding him. And on cue came,

The W.I. girls were discussing their long term plans to help the poor and needy.
“Of course, it may not matter anyway, if Timmy is right.”
They all looked up.
“He seems to think that the world is going to end, with a giant flood. Only he will be saved.”
“What made him come up with an idea like that?” Asked Francine, a formidable middle-aged[2] widow.
“God spoke to him, of course.”
 “God spoke to him?” That was Amelia, a tiny, sharp-tongued raisin of a woman.
“Oh yes, they’re on first name terms, donchya know.” She replied, sarcastically.
“Well, it could be possible. I mean, it’s happened before, in the Bible, and Timothy is a good man.” Said Francine, helping herself to another custard cream. Secretly she had rather a soft spot for the Vicar.
“I think I will blow up my son’s old dinghy, just in case,” laughed Dorothy.
The women joined in the laughter. But Marge, who had been arguing with her husband for the past three years that they shouldn’t spend their retirement money on a boat to sail the world in, decided that she would give in to him this evening. And Janet decided that it was about time that she had her son over for dinner (the youngest one, that is - the son with the yacht.) For, all of the women had noticed that dreamy, other-worldly quality the Vicar had, and none of them could deny, absolutely, that if God spoke to someone, it wouldn’t be him.

The problem with W.I. women is that, on the whole, there is nothing they enjoy more than a good gossip. And they have a lot of friends, who also enjoy a good gossip.  The rumour started as an offhand joke about a Vicar’s apocalyptic message from God while tipsy on the communion wine. But of course the end of this convoluted game of chinese whispers was that everywhere you looked, town or country, new boats were being made to supply the demand. The upshot was that the entire female population of the upper-middle class, had, in a few weeks, heard ‘on the grapevine’ that a boat would be a wise financial investment.
Husbands, of course, need little persuasion to buy something that will make them superior to the neighbours. And if you find it hard to believe that within the year the demand for boats was so great that new companies were springing up every day, you have obviously never had to pay a woman’s phone bill.
 Timothy on the other hand was having a hard time of it. Preferring the tried and tested methods, he had decided to acquire an ark the old fashioned way, by building it himself in his back yard. It soon came clear to him however, with his rudimentary workings-out in the back of the Library’s ‘Encyclopaedia of Animals’, that either there had been a lot fewer animals in Noah’s time, or they had been really cramped.
By the time he had hit every one of his fingers with his hammer, he decided that it really wasn’t working. He sent away for a brochure.
“Jenny, love, look at the price of these boats.” He remarked one evening in front of the television.
Being used to his insanity by now she just sighed.
“We are going to have to sell the house, and the car, and use Bobby’s college fund to get a decent sized one.”
“Timmy, enough is enough. We are not selling the house.” She used her most severe tone, and it was all Timothy could do to mutter under his breath, “a lot of use it will be when it’s full of water.”
That night Timothy prayed very hard for a boat.
And God kindly obliged the next day, when his wife’s car came screeching to a halt across the garden path.
“Timmy! Timmy! Timmy!”
She was jumping around like a woman possessed, waving something in her hand.
“What ever is the matter?”
“We’re millionaires, Timmy! We won! We won! We won the lottery!
Mother came down the stairs in her dressing gown and fixed such an evil stare on her daughter that Jenny was immediately silent.

Understandably, Timothy had a very difficult task persuading Jenny that every penny had to be spent on buying a ridiculously over-priced boat. But eventually she gave in and handed the cheque over.
But new problems soon rose. Bobby had split up with his girlfriend, and was resisting his father’s hints that he should find a nice girl (preferably one with childbearing hips). His mother in law had caught wind of what was happening and had demanded her own little boat, to be towed along by the main one - a sort of watery version of a granny flat.
And most serious of all, he was having immense difficulty in locating two of every animal.
So far he had two cats, two dogs, two mice, hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, and two stick insects donated by Bobby’s school. And even of that small collection he was starting to have serious doubts whether either of the guinea pigs was female.
He had just started on the insects and was digging for a worm, when Jenny shouted at him.
“You’re not bringing a worm in here, the house already smells like a zoo, I’m not having anything crawling in here.”
“Jenny! You’re a genius.” He kissed her cheek.
That night as the village vicar pulled on his black balaclava he wondered as to the sanity of what he was contemplating. It wasn’t really stealing, he was giving two of every animal in the zoo a chance to repopulate the glorious new world. And no matter what the papers would say tomorrow he was sure that it was a good thing. The plan was a crazy one he had to admit, but God had spoken to him in a dream the night before and told him that it would happen soon, very soon. He was starting to get desperate.  
When he tried to envisage how it would happen tonight, he could not. But God would help, he would make the tigers walk meekly by his side, and the lions would sleep peacefully with the lambs, as it is in heaven.

Timmy opened one puffed and bleeding eye.
“Where am I?” His voice sounded strange to him. Was that due to the damage to his throat, or the damage to his ears?
The policeman sitting in the chair beside him looked up. “Hospital. You should be in the funny farm, though you’d probably try and steal all the animals in it.” He laughed at his own joke. “Go on, I have to know, what the hell was your plan? Even if you got those tigers into that van, what would you have done with them?”
Timothy sulked silently. His faith in God’s omniscience was starting to wane.
“God told me to. Can I go to the bathroom now?” He needed guidance.
While Timothy went in to his en-suite bathroom Ken, the policeman waited outside.

When Ken went back to the station he had lots to report to the curious guys.
“So I heard him, right, talking to himself. ‘God’, he says, ‘God, what do I do now? I know this is all part of your ineffable plan, but I can’t see through it.’ And he pauses, for a moment, like he was listening to someone. ‘A slip?’ he yells. ‘What now? I’m under police guard. They think I’m a mad man.” (The word ‘amen’ resounded around the police station.) “So he pauses again, ‘OK,’ he says, “but what about the animals. How do I get them all now?’ A minute later he comes out, smiling. I ask him if he was going to try and steal any more animals. And he says no, he says that God will recreate new ones for the new world.”

“Do you think we should call psych. out?”
“Absolutely, the guy’s raving.”
“So, who is with him now?”
“Jake.” Ken replied.
A little voice from the back of the room piped up “No, I’m here!”
The policemen spent the next half hour trying to figure out what had happened to the organisation of their usually smoothly running team. It just didn’t add up. He had been left alone.
“Maybe it was God’s doing.” Suggested someone sarcastically.
“Phone the hospital, he’s probably still there. And someone go round to his house. Take the psychiatrist with you. I want to know if he is a danger to anyone.”
The nurse at the hospital was shocked to discover Timothy gone. He must have had an accomplice, to help him walk any distance. But even still, she doubted whether he could have got very far. She didn’t know, of course, that Timothy had the accomplice, and that anything was possible.
The policemen arrived at the vicarage. The rain was starting to get worse, it had smeared the writing on the note that was pinned to his door. It was almost illegible.
But eventually it was decided that Timothy had ‘gone away for about 40 days.’
“He thinks he’s bloody Noah.”
“The animals, the 40 days, the rain. And I beat he’s bought a boat recently. He’s bloody Noah.”
“But how did he know it was going to rain? The forecasts all said brilliant sunshine.”
“What are you suggesting?”
“Nothing, nothing.”

God looked down, to check His awful flood expecting to see a lone boat floating on top of the terrible deluge that He had unleashed with a wave of the hand. What instead greeted His eyes was a water party. Thousands of boats splashing over the roof tops. Boats driven by inexpert hands coming dangerously close to each other all over the landscape, but no harm done so everybody laughed, because they at least were safe. Harassed mothers yelled at their curious children who stood too close to the edge as they watched dogs, cats and cows alike floundering in the water.  He had succeeded in wiping out only the lower classes. In the water that covered the posh ends of town massive shiny yachts glided through the water, the owners sat on their plush velvet seats and idly watched as their children and husbands stood with large sticks, threatening away any of the unfortunate that swum helplessly in the water.
God sighed.


The deadline for the coursework was today. They all had to bring in the projects that they had been working on.
Ned looked at his pathetic attempt forlornly. This was the most important part of the course, it was the climax of a long, long time of hard work. Ned imagined his teacher’s disapproving look, the tutting and ridicule from his classmates, and that look of pity from Alison. Alison. He had so wanted to impress Alison. Now he would be failed, and he could imagine what his dad would have to say on the subject.

It all happened as he’d imagined. He ran out of the class, red-faced. Alison - with her perfectly working model -ran out after him. “Ned, wait! You tried so hard. It’s such a shame. The whole thing is so sad...”
“I don’t suppose I will be seeing you anymore, my dad is going to ground me for eternity now.”
“Well, good luck.”

“Don’t shout so much darling, it’s not his fault.”
“Not his fault?” The booming words seemed to echo around the cavernous room.
“You always excuse him, but he is so lazy - he didn’t get that from my side of the family. And now, because he didn’t pay any attention to what he was doing he has failed. 87 generations of this family graduated from God University, and they all created wonderful worlds. I just don’t know how I am going to be able to face Clive at church next week - his son got honours you know.” His father picked up the universe with distasteful fingers and gave it a withering look. “What the hell is this thing anyway?”
Lowering his shameful eyes away from his father’s glare, Ned tossed the universe in the wastepaper bin and shuffled out of the huge mahogany study.

[1] Although theologists are right that God can be everywhere at once, he does prefer to have his attention undivided when arguing with dead philosophers, and around tea time.
[2] Middle-aged are her own words. Timothy had secretly decided that if she was still in the middle of her life she would live to be a very, very old lady.

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